1v1 attack to defence transition drill

by Pablo M11th Aug 2022

Drill created with TACTICS MANAGER

Statistically, scoring in counterattacks is easier than in other game situations. This is because, while not necessarily outnumbered, the defending team may be caught out of shape. So, the first few seconds after losing a ball are critical for any team. This attack to defence transition drill will help your players stop counterattacks after losing the ball.


This drill is designed for 6 players (3 players per team) to keep a flowing game while keeping intensity, but you can practice it with as few as 4 players, so it is ideal for training sessions with low attendance. You can organise multiple groups playing the same game if you have good attendance.

You don’t need a football pitch, but enough space for the players and goals. In addition, as shown in the picture, you will need a minimum of 6 balls (1 per player), 2 small goals, and enough cones to mark the pitch: two zones with a small goal each (see the main picture). If you can’t get hold of small goals, use cones.


This is a simple 1v1 football game, but a goal telly is kept per team, not individuals. The team scoring the most goals wins. These are the rules and progression of the game:

  • Each team forms a queue behind the cone opposite the goal in their zone.
  • A player in one of the teams starts the attack by running with a ball towards the goal.
  • A player on the other team runs across the opposition zone to stop the attack.
  • The attacking player can only shoot once they run past the red cone (middle of the zone).
  • The defending player is not allowed sliding tackles.
  • The attack is immediately finished when the defender gets the ball, the ball goes out, or a goal is scored.
  • If a goal is scored or the ball goes out, a 1v1 game immediately starts in the other zone. That means that a player waiting with the ball starts the attack in their zone, and the player previously attacking must rush into this zone to stop the attack (transitioning from attack to defence).
  • Once a player has finished their turn defending, they must collect the ball they used during their attacking turn. This is why it is ideal to have two teams of 3 players instead of other team sizes, as it gives enough time to collect the balls, get back to the queue, and restart almost immediately.

You can time this game if you want to keep the intensity up. That way, teams will move faster as the more times players are in attack, the more chances of scoring they will have. So, for example, you can run this game for 10 minutes.

The animation and the video below should help you understand the instructions.

1v1 attack to defence transition drill


This attack-to-defence transition drill focuses on transition, but it also helps improve other aspects of the game:

  • Dribbling skills
  • Defensive skills in 1v1 situations
  • Shooting accuracy. Because the game is played with small goals, it encourages a clinical finish.
  • Patience when defending. Not allowing sliding tackles forces defenders to be patient. Defenders practice how to recover the ball, avoiding reckless defending.
  • Fitness. This game is physically demanding if players per team are kept to 3.
  • Ball control with both feet. Players playing with both feet are more likely to win this game.

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