Playing out from the back

Hi all,

Does anyone having any drills designed to help with playing out from the back? We have recently moved to 9a side are are really struggling when it’s our own goal kicks, conceding 3 in both our last 2 friendlies when teams have pressured us straight from the kick and I want to address the issue in training.

thanks for your help 


  • Dean, you don't mention the age of your players (some teams go to 9v9 at different times), this might help suggestions. Pete

  • Sorry Pete it’s for U11’s just moved up from 7a side 

  • Dean, thanks for the extra bit of information (age). This is a really difficult thing to deal with as I don't know the individual ability of your players or what has been prioritised in the years before now but getting caught out when trying to play out from the back has a "positional" aspect but more importantly an individual technical aspect as well and this is why I asked the question about what these players have been exposed to during their earlier years. If your players are not technically proficient it will be difficult to play out from the back in any formation because each individual "link" in the team isn't strong enough and this comes back to each player's individual capability. It gets worse because instead of now prioritising technical development, time is spent working on shapes and formations to solve the problem. But the problem is more likely to be the capability of each individual player. This may not be the answer you wanted but it is a great example of trying to "fix" a problem with a certain approach but that merely masks the real problem in that each player's individual technique may not be of a high enough standard. This is what the FP is for. It is to ensure that individual skill/technique/physical literacy and ENJOYMENT are prioritised so that any formation/shape/team strategy can be employed later on because each link of the team is so much stronger. I haven't given you the answer but I hope it is something you might consider. Pete

  • Afternoon everyone.

    That's what I meant when I suggested areas/pitches. Not zones on a big pitch but different shaped/dimensions on smaller pitches to replicate what goes on in areas of a 9v9 when you are trying to encourage players to play out. So long and narrow to replicate wing play. Wide and short to receive centrally from the GK to help players receive on the turn or at least be aware of what's behind them. Then find solutions to hold onto the ball and escape.

    On any shaped/dimensional pitch still play in SSG 1v1, 2v1, 2v2, 3v2, 3v3. Lots of time on the ball, lots of dribbling, confined space to increase decision making and receiving. Messy yet directional.

    Any thoughts

  • Hi Dean

    The first thing I would look at is why is it breaking down, are the players individually uncomfortable with the ball, are they finding it tough to make a decision, are they interacting with the moment and thinking freely rather than trying to execute a pre determined phase of play.

    To help my kids play out their experiences of football throughout training have always been 1v1 and 2v1 and 3v2. These are mirrors of what the child experiences in the game but broken down to smaller chunks which progress throughout the pitch. Heighten their technical ability with a ball each in training and I did give the boys experiences of playing out/breaking out from the back in 4v3 with a target for the 4 playing out to work the ball to and if the 3 win the ball with their press then they try and score as 1 of the team of 4 is the goalie who is highly involved through coaching points and encouragement, like all of them.

    Try to avoid seeing the game as quick fix's in football training sessions because it dulls down the individuals expression and creativity in the moments you need it the most, all the the timeSlight smile

    In the 4v3 I would give all 7 starting positions and then it was up to them they had to figure it out as it's an expansion of a 2v1 and overload and we need them to be comfortable making the decisions so our training environment mirrors our game day environment, so don't worry about conceding 3 goals, in the right environment these are learning opportunities for the kids if you fully support them rather than trying to fix a problem.

    Hope you have a great season and stay safe


  • I asked a professional football coach this question a little while back as I've had the same thought. In terms of skills to emphasize, he said that reinforcing the idea of creating passing options on the pitch for the man in possession is crucial. Ball control and being able to look up and make a pass sharply is important too. But the main thing he said was the players have to have bravery on the ball, and I feel that such bravery comes from confidence in themselves and their teammates. If it is something they practice every week in training, that they know the people their passing to and know that they know what to do too, even as well that they know what to do if they lose the ball too, then your boys will start doing it more often. Encourage teambuilding and problem solving tasks that confine them to build-up play in defence, and over time they will have the bravery in them to execute it.