Switch play and follow your pass
by Pablo M17th Mar 2022
Drill created with Tactics Manager
Attacking in a straight line all the time is not effective. Instead, players must change the point of attack quickly by switching the ball sideways or even backwards. This drill will help your team to switch play when needed.
This drill doesn’t require much space; a quarter of a football field will do. However, you will need 4 x cones, 1 x mannequin or pole and 1 to 2 balls. Distribute the cones and the mannequin, as shown in the picture above.
This drill is designed for 5 players. If you have more than 5 players to practice, organise multiple groups to run this drill or look at combining it with one of the other drills described on our website.
This drill emphasises passing and first touch. The progression of this drill is as follows:
- The drill starts with the player waiting in cone 1 passing the ball to the player waiting in cone 2.
- As soon as the player in cone 1 releases the ball, they sprint to cone 2.
- When the player in cone 2 receives the ball, they immediately pass the ball to the player waiting behind the mannequin in the centre. Encourage players to use a maximum of two touches: the first touch to control the ball and a second touch to pass the ball. If they can complete the movement in a single touch, even better.
- As soon as the player in cone 2 releases the ball, they sprint to the mannequin.
- When the player waiting behind the mannequin receives the ball, they immediately turn around and pass the ball to the player waiting in cone 3. Again, the player must use a maximum of two touches.
- As soon as the player by the mannequin passes the ball, they sprint to cone 3.
- When the player in cone 3 receives the ball, they immediately pass the ball to the player waiting in cone 4.
- As soon as the player in cone 3 releases the ball, they sprint to cone 4.
- When the player in cone 4 receives the ball, they immediately pass the ball to the player waiting behind the mannequin in the centre.
- As soon as the player in cone 4 releases the ball, they sprint to the mannequin.
- When the player waiting behind the mannequin receives the ball, they immediately turn around and run with the ball to cone 1 to restart the progression.
- Repeat the progression for 10-15 minutes. If you have multiple groups running the same drill, you can make it competitive by counting how many cycles each group has completed in the timeframe selected.
You can add a second ball once players get into a good rhythm. Having a second ball in play will increase the intensity of the exercise by reducing the players’ waiting time. Players will also have to be more alert.
Look at the animation below to see the entire sequence.
Switching play is very effective in beating defensive lines and keeping possession, but players’ awareness and passing technique must be of high standards. This drill will improve these aspects and more:
- Passing accuracy. Players must improve their passing technique to move quickly through each station.
- First touch. Players must improve their first touch to control and pass the ball as quickly as possible.
- Speed and reaction. Once a player passes the ball, they must sprint to the next station and be ready to receive the ball. This requires quick reaction and speed.
- Teamwork. This drill encourages collaboration over individual efforts. Players have to coordinate their movements to pass and time their runs.
- Game awareness. While players move on the field, they need to be aware of their teammates and the ball at all times.
- Automating combinations. The combinations executed in this drill will be automated by players to perform them in a game without thinking about it.
I hope you find this exercise helpful. If you like this post, please share it with your friends and take a peek at our other drills.