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One Player Drops Back

Set Up

Above is an approx. starting set up for your pitch change the size to make it appropriate for the age, stage and ability level of your players. Adjust it if it's not working! You may also want to make your playing area wider to make the activity easier for the attackers and give them more width to work with.


Start a 2v2 game the rule in this game is that the team who does not have the ball has to send one of their players back to be the goalkeeper.​

As soon as the other team wins the ball they must send a player back to become the goalkeeper and the team that just won possession of the ball can have their player come out of goal and join their partner with the ball to attack.​

The objective of this activity is to create opportunities for players to be put into a 2v1 attacking situation by sending one player back to be the goalkeeper we achieve this whilst in a fun game setting.​


Coaching Points

Coaching Points

  • When one of the players wins the ball back try and get them to slow down and keep the ball or play the ball back to their partner (goalkeeper) rather than attacking straight away.
  • Work on getting the team mate without the ball to get away from their team mate. Do not take away your team mates space and make it more congested for them.
  • Focus on the attacking pair and especially the player without the ball. Help the player without the ball find space and stay open for their team mate.
  • You will find its very common for the player without the ball to simply run down the field and end up behind the defender in a position where they are in space but they are not open.
  • Try and encourage the two attacking players to use their advantage and beat the defender and then attack the goal rather than bring the ball to the attacking third where it will be a 2v2 

Coaching Questions

Q. When you lose the ball who should go back to become the goalkeeper?

A. Player closest to the goal or player furthest from the ball.

Q. When your team wins the ball where should the player without the ball go?

A. Come out of the goal, come down the field but stay in space and stay open, keep away from your team mate and the defender.

Q. As soon as you win the ball what should you do?

A. Either play the ball to your partner who should be open, or keep the ball, hide it shield it and wait for your partner to get open and create the 2v1

Q. When you are running back to be the goalkeeper which way should you face and why?

A. Run backwards or facing sideways so you can see what is happening, if your partner wins the ball you can get back and help them attack.


You may want to use two cones or larger goals for this activity as it can become frustrating for the attacking pair if they can not score, this can happen if you have a player as a goalkeeper in small goal. Use cones to make a bigger target, we want the 2 attacking players to have lots of success.

If you are working with younger beginner players you will need to manage the players and who goes back to be the goalkeeper, if they are struggling with the concept just freeze the game when possession changes and send one player back to goal and restart the game.