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1v1 4 goals, 2-pass start

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1v1 4 goals, 2-pass start



The activity is performed in a grid divided into two halves. Pairs of players face each other in one half of the grid, with players located at the other end in the center of the goal line. Two pairs of goals are located at each end of the grid.

The activity starts with a pass from one side to the other between the pairs of players. The player receiving the pass immediately passes to the player waiting on the far goal line.


As soon as the first pass is away, the passer immediately takes the role of defender with the player receiving the second pass becoming the attacker.


The activity proceeds as a 1v1 with the attacker facing the opposite two goals. If the defender wins the ball, they can score in either of the two corner goals. The player must be in the same half of the field as the goals they are attempting to score on. At the end of each bout, players rotate between the stations in a clockwise manner and the next bout begins with a pass between the next two facing players.



Players score 1 point for each goal.


The width and length of the grid can be adjusted based on age and ability. Increasing the length of the grid will increase the physical demands on the players. Modifying the number of players in the activity (in other words, having more or less players waiting in line) will result in increasing or decreasing the physical workload on the players. Decreasing the width of the grid will challenge the attacking player to get in and behind the opponent, given the limited amount of lateral space.
As shown, players must be in the forward half of the field to score. If this restriction is removed, players may score as soon as they are in possession, regardless of their position on the field. The result will be an advantage to the player in possession, requiring the defender to immediately close of all penetrating options as quickly as possible.

What we like about this game

The activity provides an interesting twist on the challenge of delivering 1v1s for player development. The use of multiple passes to initiate each game, the action of the defender engaging from an angle rather than straight-on, the use of multiple target goals, and requirement for the player in possession to progress the ball all combine to create game-like experiences in both the attacking and defending role.

Relationship to the game

A foundation of every match is the 1v1 encounter. The movements and pressure of this game are similar to the situation in which the ball is played diagonally back to a forward or midfielder who must beat an opponent challenging from an angle.
In this scenario, the goals potentially represent either two teammates in advanced positions or the actual goal. In the defensive role, the player is challenged to cut off options, force the attacker back, and potentially win the ball. The counter goals in the corners represent potential teammates available to start a counterattack.

Coaching points

In the attacking role, we look for the player to take their first touch with intent and forward while keeping the ball under control.
With the defender coming from an angle, it may be the case that the first touch in a diagonal away from the defender will provide the best opportunity to get over the half line and in a position to score on goal. Having said that, a strategy may be for the attacker to feint a hard push forward, let the defender overrun the ball, then cut back in the other direction. The structure of the game encourages creativity in the attacking role.
It is desirable for the attacking player to progress over the half line as quickly as possible while retaining possession. This is for two reasons. First, in order to score, the ball must be over the half line. In the real game, the aggressive push into space challenges the defender(s) to organize quickly which can result in mistakes. Allowing the defender to press and delay works to their advantage. Second, if the ball is lost in the attacking half, the opponent must progress the ball over the half line to score on their goal – this distance gives the player time to react and counterpress.
On the ball, we want to encourage the attacking player to use one feint to get the defender off-balance and then quickly take advantage through acceleration in and behind the defender. This is a classic coaching point in 1v1s but the presence of a diagonal confrontation gives the attacking player options on when and how to execute this action.
The coaching points for the defensive role are essentially the opposite – engage quickly, shut down forward progression, be patient, and avoid getting caught off-balance during a feint by the attacker. If the defender can gain possession, we want them to quickly get away from the attacker and score quickly on one of the counter goals.

Adjust for numbers

The activity is designed as a 1v1 encounter. Ideally there will be a minimum of 6 players per activity in order to keep the game flowing from bout to bout. The activity could be utilized with as few as 3 players, with the players rotating positions after each round. In order to encourage engagement, it is suggested that that grid contain no more than 9 players in order to avoid having waiting players become disinterested.


The 1v1 4 goals 2-pass start game presents technical and tactical challenges for both attackers and defenders. The use of multiple passes and the initial angle of engagement by the defender creates a game-like scenario in both roles. The rule requiring possession in the attacking half to score requires the player on the ball to at least progress and possibly get behind their opponent using misdirection and change of pace. Modifications to the length and width of the grid can alter the physical and technical demands of the activity.