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4v4+4+4 in the penalty area

I’ve used this game in the past with teams, most recently with my varsity girls. It is a good exercise for developing awareness of shooting opportunities and to combine with teammates under pressure. The use of player switches – having the players inside switch when passing to outside players – creates a sense of mobility for the attackers and a problem-to-solve for defenders.


Teams play 4v4 in the penalty area, each team with 4 players outside the penalty area. Goals must be scored by players inside the PA. If a team scores, they keep possession on the restart. If the GK possess the ball, she plays it to the “defending” team for a restart.

Coaching Points

Look for quick opportunities to shoot. Consider triangles, diagonal movements of the ball, and play to the far post. If switching in and out, look for a quick step into the box and a shot.


Start with outside players as bumpers, progress to movements in and out – passer switches positions with receiver. Limit touch count, require shot within a certain number of passes.