2 v 1 Exercises

We all want our players to be able to recognize certain situations and then choose the correct option to take advantage of it. One very effective way of showing players these situations is to set the attacking team up with an advantage and condition the defenders to play in a certain way. This allows the attackers to experiment with different methods of beating the defenders and discover which ones work best for them. The result of this is that the players are better able to recognize when these patterns appear in the game.

The exercises below are from Modern Attacking and Goalscoring by Mike Vincent and Phil Rosco. Modern Attacking and Goalscoring includes more than 100 drills, exercises and small-sided games to train your players to create and finish more scoring opportunities.

If you revisit these types of exercises on a regular basis you players will be able to read the cues presented by the positions of defenders and team mates during and game and react quickly and decisively.

Task 1

  • X1 or X2 starts with ball.
  • As player moves forwards D1 can react and defend
  • X1 has two options
  • Take on and beat defender himself
  • Use X2 to beat him

Once X1 + X2 have beaten D1 or been tackled then O1 and O2 can start to attack D2
In all the practices associated with 2v1 and 3v2 have the defenders working for 2 minutes before switching them

Key Points

  • Attitude (want to beat the defender)
  • Keep your distance from each other
  • Player without ball – stay onside
  • Match pace
  • Decision (pass or dribble – The position of the defender)
  • Disguise in pass

Progression 1

  • X2 starts with the ball and plays the pass over to X1
  • X1’s first touch is inside to give X2 space
  • X2 overlaps and they look to beat D1

Progression 2

  • X2 starts with ball and immediately runs towards X1
  • X1 under laps X2 and takes the space vacated

Progression 3

  • X2 or X1 start with the ball and use the moves worked on previously to beat D1
  • However, once the first touch forwards is taken D3 who is stood 10 yards behind practice looks to defend from behind
  • This encourages the players to work even faster to beat D1

Progression 4

  • Exactly the same 2 v 1 space but a further space with a goal and keeper is added.
  • Please note, you could actually start the whole practice with this set-up if you wish
  • Exactly the same as progression 3 now but players can finish on goal
  • Work specifically on type of finish and run of 2nd striker
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