Build up from your defensive half

by Pablo M26th Jul 2021

Drill created with Tactics manager

Sunday league teams often restart the game with a long kick from the goalkeeper. It may feel like an easy way to keep the opposition away from your goal. However, long balls are only effective if your goalie is incredibly accurate with his kick, and your midfield is unbelievably good at their air game and ball control. Therefore, in an amateur context, a build-up from the back is more effective. The drill in this post will help your team to build up from the back.


This drill requires an actual football pitch and at least 10 players. However, you only need half of the field. So, if your squad is over 20 players strong, you can have your substitutes practising the same drill in the other half of the pitch.

In addition to the field’s full-size goal, you will need 2 small goals and cones to mark a zone as in the picture above. If you can’t get hold of goals, use cones or, preferably, agility poles to mark them. Position the goals in the middle line, one in each wing.


This drill is a simple football game. All standard FIFA rules apply. The objective is to start play from the back and reach the midfield with a controlled ball.

In a real game, it is safer to restart the game through the wings. However, the idea of this drill is to practice an alternative way of resuming the game. The zone created with the cones will help players to practice using the middle of the field. This will give the team another option when the wings are blocked or simply wants to move faster through the park.

The instructions for this drill are:

  • 2 teams: a goalkeeper, 4 players defend the small goals and 5 attack them.
  • Only 3 touches are allowed (e.g., 1 touch to control the ball, 1 touch to change direction and 1 touch to pass the ball).
  • High crosses are not allowed. The ball should always be played on the ground.
  • The defence plays combinations to score in the small goals.
  • If the ball goes out, the game restarts from the goalkeeper regardless of which team sent the ball out.
  • When the pressing team recovers the ball, they can play to score in the full-size goal.

You can see this drill in action in the video at the end of this post.

Be creative and add your own rules. For example, you may want to play with unlimited touches. Whatever the changes you make to the base game, make sure to maintain the spirit of the drill: building up from the back.


The main objective of this drill is for defenders to practice chasing strikers from behind. However, this drill covers other aspects of the game. This exercise will improve:

  • Building up from the back. Because scoring is hard from a distance, the defence must create passing combinations to score.
  • Using the centre of the field. Because only the centre of the field is used, the defence will learn how to safely move through the field when the wings are blocked.
  • Passing. Since limited touches are allowed, players must improve their passing technique to circulate the ball around.
  • Playing as a team. Although individual skills play a part in the game, limiting the touches forces everyone to play as a team.
  • Players’ positioning. This drill is designed to give you a chance to practice your prefered formation. So players get used to their positions in the field.
  • Finishing. Although improving your offensive players finishing is not the primary objective, using a full-size goal and a goalie allows them to face real game scenarios.

I hope you find this drill useful. If you like this post, please share it with your friends. If you know other exercises or have any questions, leave a comment below.