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1v1 + Sideline Neutrals

Set Up

Set up a small sided pitch appropriate for the age and ability of your players. For this game we recommend not making the pitch too wide for a couple of reasons:

1. You want the players on each sideline to be able to pass across the pitch to each other

2. You want the sideline neutrals to be able to score from off the pitch this forces the defender to have to go to the sideline neutrals and block a direct shot to goal


The activity is very simple its just a 1v1 game to 2 goals. Whichever player has the ball also has the two sideline neutrals on their team. Once a sideline neutral gets the ball they are essentially free, the defender can not exit the pitch to tackle them (they can cover and block passes). 

The sideline neutral can dribble the ball up and down the sideline to create space and even attack and shoot to score. We want the defender to have to go defend whoever has the ball rather than just staying with the attacker in the middle.

Make sure you either switch the two sideline neutrals with the two players in the middle frequently so everyone gets a chance to play the various positions. 

You can also play this activity with 3 teams of 2 players playing winner stays on and rotating the players in the middle and sideline neutrals every goal that is scored.



Add conditions to this activity:

  • Player in possession must use at least one sideline neutral before a goal can be scored
  • Both sideline neutrals must touch the ball before a goal can be scored
  • Sideline neutral must score
  • Player in middle must score

Coaching Points

Coaching Points

  • The main coaching point in this activity is working with the 3 players in possession of the ball and showing them how to create depth in this activity. What you will tend to see as the main error is that the 3 players in possession will get stuck in a flat line across the pitch making it easy for the defender to cover all 3 of them. (See diagrams below)
  • Show the players how to use the length of the field to create depth in their attack by having the player in the middle either go high up the pitch or dropping back to their own goal. The sideline neutrals should also use the length of the field to create options to make the defender have to go further to get the ball or enable the other sideline neutral to pass to them.