3v3 to Small Goals - Muscle Tension Activity

By Anthony Hazelwood

The following activity has two teams of three players (3 vs. 3). The teams play a normal game of soccer, however on the coach’s command, players will need to perform a sprint to an assigned color cone. This activity is a short intensive exercise which trains the players’ anaerobic capacity, with soccer specific muscle tension actions.

When preparing the practice, if needed, concentration and difficulty levels may be increased by having players execute something extra unique by setting more restrictions. Every activity may be modified, and it is up to the coach to be creative. However, it is important to respect the parameters of the exercise time, the rest, the types of actions used and the weekly periodization of the activity.

Additionally, it is beneficial to train a soccer team and its players with all elements of the game being present in the session. By doing so, it will promote soccer specific adaptations to the player’s body, mind, and emotional triad. Ultimately, these adjustments will enhance their real-time game performances on a physical, emotional, conscious, and subconscious mental level.

Area Size: 28W x 18L.
Total Activity Time: 18 Minutes.
Sets: 1 set.
Activity Repetitions: 6 repetitions.
Time of Activity Repetition: 2 minutes.
Recovery Interval Time: 1 minute.
Intensity: High.

• Tactical: Train team to play in a small sided format, to solve small group interactions with sub and sub-sub principles of play.
• Fitness: Anaerobic Capacity.
• Technique: Proper fitness and off/on the ball execution/techniques.
• Mental-Emotional: Players fully engaged and concentration is high.
• Concentration Level: High.


• Create a 28W x 18L activity grid.

• Put one different colored cones 8 yds. away from the middle of each side line or end line (red, blue, green, blue).

• Assign each player a number or letter (1,2,3 or A, B, C).
• Start the game as a normal small sided game.
• On coach’s command, call out a player and state colored cone. Example: Player 3 – Yellow!

• Each player should perform at least one sprint for each round.
• For every two minutes of play – perform one minute of rest.

Coaching Points:
• Player awareness to listen for player selection and selecting cone color.
• In regards to the type of tactical actions to be performed within the activity, it is at the discretion of the coach in regards to the style of play philosophy.
• Look to score, if not, possess to look to score.

By Anthony Hazelwood

Current Seattle Sounders Academy Performance Coach with previous European academy coaching experience as an assistant fitness and strength/conditioning soccer coach with Levante U.D. (2013-2014) and Getafe SAD CF (2015-2016) in Valencia and Madrid, Spain respectively. A USSF “A” licensed coach with a BSc in Physical Education and an MSc in Sports Training and Nutrition.

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