Top tips for coaching transition

Top tips for coaching transition

As we have shown in our previous blogs transition happens a lot, and the more comfortable we become with it the more effective we can be as coaches.  In this blog The FA’s regional coach development officer Vicky Fisher shares some top tips for how you can incorporate transition into your practices. 

Transition can be messy and often it can be followed very quickly by another, resulting in a period where both teams are competing to gain control of the ball.  The video below is a great example of how this can look, and demonstrates the importance of helping players become comfortable in these moments.


Recognise what the game looks like.  The reality of a team making 20 uninterrupted passes is minimal so set players targets they can achieve.  Be calm and understand transition will happen, players will get it right, but they will also get it wrong and that’s ok.

Directional practice

To ensure practices are realistic play must be directional.  This can be a goal at either end, or a target zone for players to run into.  Having this provides players with a focus of where they are trying to get to when they win the ball back.

Scoring systems for both teams (Attacking and defending)

This could be running the ball over a line, target goals to score in, or rewarding forward passes.  Creating a scoring system can enable transition to happen in a realistic way and ensure teams try to control with a purpose rather than simply kicking the ball out of play on transition.  It also provides further opportunities for out of possession core skills such as challenging, pressing and intercepting.

Identify what you are hoping to achieve

Identify roles and responsibilities of your players.  What is your strategy to regain the ball?  Do you want to win the ball back high up the pitch, wide areas, deep etc.  Where is it most likely to happen for your team?

Check out the practice below from the late Julie Chipchase to see how some of these principles can play out when working with players.