Combinations and shooting game

by Pablo M08th Feb 2022

Drill created with Tactics Manager

Combinations such as wall passing are a great way to progress through the field. This post describes a combinations and shooting game that encourages quick passes to break through the defensive line.


This drill requires you have access to one half of a football field. You will need enough cones to mark the pitch, 2 x full-size goals that you can move, and a good number of balls to keep the intensity. Distribute the cones to mark three zones, as shown in the picture above.

This drill is designed for a minimum of 10 players and 2 goalkeepers. The players starting with the ball in Zone 1 will move across all the zones, while the other players from both teams must stay in their zones.

If you have more than 12 players to practice but not enough to run two games simultaneously, use the whole width of the field and increase the number of players per zone.


The objective of this game is to create scoring opportunities by moving the ball from Zone 1 to Zone 3 using combinations. The progression of this drill is as follows:

  • A player in Zone 1 starts by passing the ball to their teammate in the same zone or to the midfielder in Zone 2.
  • When the midfielder receives the ball in Zone 2, the two players in Zone 1 move towards Zone 3 and wait for a pass back to them. This combination must be done at speed, preferably using only a couple of touches.
  • The midfielder passes the ball back to one of the running players.
  • The running player that receives the ball passes it to one of his teammates in Zone 3.
  • The player that receives the ball in Zone 3 passes the ball to one of the running players setting them up for a shoot at goal.
  • The running player shoots at goal.
  • The players that waited in Zone 3 sprint to Zone 1 to swap positions with the running players.
  • The defending team now attacks and follows the same progression.
  • Sliding tackles are forbidden.
  • If a defender intercepts the ball, their team restarts from their first zone, and the opposition players swap their starting zones (players in Zone 3 move to Zone 1 and vice versa).
  • Once both teams have attacked and defended twice, swap the midfielders.
  • Repeat until every player has played in the midfield and has started in Zone 1 (had a chance to run towards the goal). 

Have a look at the animation and video below to see the entire sequence.

Combinations and shooting


Passing combinations are very effective to beat defensive lines close to the goal. Timing and passing technique are crucial. It is essential to practise the timing of the return pass so the ball is passed quickly and accurately. This fun game will improve your team:

  • Passing accuracy. Because the game is played in a reduced space, players must be accurate with their passes to move forwards quickly or find gaps in the opposition to create goal opportunities for their teammates.
  • First touch. Because the game is played in a reduced space, players must improve their first touch to control and pass the ball or shoot.
  • Teamwork. This drill encourages collaboration over individual efforts. Players have to coordinate their movements to keep possession, move into scoring position in the right moment, and defend.
  • Positioning. Players have to move on and off the ball to create passing lanes. When defending, players have to position themselves to close passing lanes and block shots.
  • Patience and defending close to the goal. Not allowing sliding tackles forces defenders to be patient and keep their position. Defenders practice how to recover the ball, avoiding reckless defending.
  • Shooting accuracy.  Practising with a goalkeeper and defenders requires attackers to read their movements and shoot with pinpoint accuracy.
  • Quick finishing. Because the shooting zone is crammed with defenders, attacking players are encouraged to shoot as soon as they receive the ball.
  • Goalkeeping at short distance. This is a good drill for goalkeepers to practice saving shots from a short distance.

I hope you find this drill helpful. If you like this post, please share it with your friends.