Tactics board from youth module course

Coaching Session of the Month

Movements off the ball

Thank you to Alex Trukan who wrote this months session. Alex is a Level 3 coach who works at the Nottingham Forest Academy, in the Foundation Phase. He is also an FA Mentor supporting grassroots clubs, newly qualified coaches, and provides support for fellow Mentors in Nottinghamshire.

This month’s session is focused on movements off the ball. Players will learn how to move when they don’t have the ball but their team is in possession. This will help them to create space for themselves, create space for other players on their team, use the whole pitch as well as move opposition players.

Couple of movements for players to consider:

  • Check in/check out
  • Moving into free space (to exploit space created by somebody else)
  • Moving away from free space (to allow somebody else to come in)
  • Rotation
  • Clock movements
  • Smiley face movements

 Regardless the movements, players might need to consider:

  • Scanning to see their teammates, opposition, ball, spaces
  • Recognising triggers to make a movement (body position, speed of the ball etc.)
  • Change of pace and direction
  • Confidence to start the movement (somebody has to!) and get on the ball
  • Timing of movement to receive the ball
  • Recognising when to stand still/move again

*See supporting image below*

Practice 1 (part)

Organise a square of 25 x 25 yards (can be adjusted to suit numbers). Divide the square into four equal sized boxes. Divide your team into three groups of four. Every group needs a ball. Prepare couple of extra balls to supply if needed.

The conditions of the practice are:

  • Every group passes the ball between themselves
  • You can only pass the ball to a player positioned in a different square than you
  • After you pass the ball, you have to change the square and receive it in a different square next time
  • Pay attention to quality of your pass


  • 5 sec rule you can only spend 5 seconds in a given square
  • Play off one touch if you can
  • Find a square with lowest number of players in it
  • Play a one-two with a different colour before you play to your teammate
  • One team becomes defending team win the ball of the other team and keep possession one player locked in in each square

 Practice 2 (whole) – ‘Playmaker’s game’

Set up a 6v6 pitch with appropriate size to suit your needs. Set up two ‘safe zones’ 6 yards into the pitch as shown on the diagram below. Divide your group into two teams of six. Goalkeepers in goals.

The conditions of the practice are:

  • Safe zone is for the team in possession of the ball opposition players cant go into safe zone nearest to the goal of the team in possession
  • Any number of players from the attacking team can drop into the safe zone
  • Goalkeeper playing out from the back has to make a first pass into the player coming into safe zone (as shown on the diagram)
  • After this, no restrictions on how to play
  • No restrictions to go into oppositions safe zone when attacking


  • Have to make two passes in the safe zone before playing out this will allow more time for the players in the middle zone to make a movement before receiving
  • One player locked in the safe zone he is a playmaker
  • Players in duels every player from one team is responsible for a player from the opposition team
  • Adapt the size and shape of the safe zone
  • Passes backwards only off one touch

*See supporting image below*

 Please adapt and modify these practices to suit your players. Things to consider:

  • Conditions used
  • Shape and size of the area
  • Time restrictions
  • Equipment used etc.

Coaching session of the month images