4 vs. 4 in Zones – Muscle Tension Activity

By Anthony Hazelwood

The following activity has two groups of players play a 4 vs. 4 activity, however each player is restricted to stay in a 10 x 10 yd. squared zone within the overall grid. The idea is to have a fluid possession game within the time of play while creating an isolated 1 vs. 1 battles throughout the activity time.

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 the 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: 20 yds. Length X 20 yds. width.
Total Activity Time: 12 Minutes.
Sets: 1 set.
Activity Repetitions: 3 repetitions.
Time of Activity Repetition: 3 minutes.
Recovery Interval Time: 1 minute.
Intensity: High.

Tactical: Creating Space to Possess in a small group format.
Fitness: Muscle Tension activity with anaerobic capacity training adaptations.
Technique: Proper fitness and off/on the ball execution/techniques.
Mental-Emotional: Players fully engaged and concentration is high.
Concentration Level: High.


• Mark out a 20 yd. x 20 yd. grid split into four sections.
• Each player is restricted to stay in a 10 yd. x 10 yd. grid.

• The activity calls for teams to possess the ball and to defend when out of possession.

Coaching Points:
• Creating spaces to receive ball in tight spaces and fending off defenders.

• Ability to hold ball when in possession to gain time to find a suitable passing option.
• When defending, high intense actions to retrieve the ball.

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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