3-Zone Game: Strikers against Defenders (+ neutral players)

  • Organisation

    • Use cones to set up the field
    • 2 big goals
    • Split the field into 3 zones (see graphic)
  • Process

    Divide the players into two teams and choose 1-4 neutral players, depending on the size of the squad.

    In both zones in front of the goals, two strikers will play against two defenders.

    The remaining and neutral players will play in the middle zone.

    The players in the middle zone should play the ball into one of their two strikers, so that they can then score a goal for their team.

    The goalkeeper has to start the game by passing to one of his two defenders, so that they will have to build up their attack from the back.

    Only the two defenders can play a pass into their teammates from the middle zone.


    • The player that passed the ball to the striker can join the attack (3v2)
    • Alternatively, another player can join the attack instead of the player that played the pass
  • Tip

    Coaching Points:

    • Use the additional player in the final third (3v2) for quick combinations

    • Players in the middle zone should especially block passing lanes to the striker and spaces in behind (final third/ final zone)

    • Defenders in the final zone man-mark the strikers and immediately apply pressure

  • Field size

    Full field

Training Set

Main point


25 min


U14 - U19, U23+


One on one, One On One, Pushing, Quick transitioning (defense to offense), Quick transitioning (offense to defense), Attacking down the middle, Direct play to the forwards, Opening the field in the four line, Man down/Man up, Tactics

General Training Goals


Training examples

Training Organization

Number of Players

13 or more playersr

Form of Training

Team training

Skill Level

Professional, Advanced

Participating Players

Whole team


2 goalies


Defensive behaviors, Offensive behaviors, Part of a team

Spatial Behavior

Free space

Training Location

Grass field, Turf field

Author: Tom Pilarski

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