shadow play and negative transition - positional

  • Organisation

    Mark out playing area 75x60yrds. Preferably on a regular size field with a full size goal. Arrange cones (markers) in the attacking shape of the formation you wish to play your pattern play and then recover to also. NOTE: Your recovery position can be different to your attacking shape, simply add another set of different coloured cones to indicate defensive posiitons. In the diagram above a 4-4-2 with a diamond midfield is used. 1 GK plays in the top goal being attacked.

  • Process

    The team of 10 (11 if you include a GK) play shadow play towards the top goal. 10vs0 (11vs0). Team can work on pattern play and ball movement with the whole team as an attacking unit. The coach (Or nomincated player) plays a pass from the centre circle to one of the back four to begin. The outfield players combine in a realistic method before an attempt on goal. Immediately after the attempt on goal (Refer to Diagram 2) the players retreat and drop to the original cone positions to simulate a negative transition. After a few moments rest play is restarted from the coach at the centre circle again. The coach can demand various patterns are performed prior to scoring a goal: Outside overlap Inside Overlap Central comniation (Quick and fast 1-2 play through the central area) Cross and Finish At least 2 positional rotations (I.e. The right mid switches with a central mid, or the 2 forwards switching sides, etc)

  • Tip

    Immediately tranistion to defensive position. Rest when you get back inn defensive shape, not after the attempt on goal. Encourage outside backs to get high up the lines. Quick passing with limited touches. Communication to get players to drop (i.e switch on! drop! commands). Encourage players to recognise when they can rotate positions. Face the ball (or at least turn your head at intervals) when recovering to the starting position. PROGRESSIONS: Time requirement to drop and recover (i.e. 7 secs to recover to starting positions) Add a team of defenders (passive if needed) 4-6 players. Require 2 touch play. Require 1 touch play. VARIATIONS: Add another set of cones to indicate a defending positions (i.e yellow cones for defending positions, orange for attacking positions). Change formations to keep the players challenged.

Training Set

Progression, Main point, End


90 min


U14 - Men's / Women's

Training Organization

Number of Players

2 players

Form of Training

Group training, Individual training, Team training, Training in pairs

Exercise level

Difficult, Easy, Intermediate

Author: Paul Fraser

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