4v4+Neutral Player For Rhythm of Play and Speed

By Anthony Hazelwood

The following activity has two teams of four players playing a 4 vs. 4 possession game with an additional neutral player. The restriction in this activity is given to the amount of touches a player can take within a sequence. Initially, the first arrangement will be a 2-2-1 repeat. This means the first player must touch the ball twice, the second teammate touches the ball twice, and the third teammate has a one touch restriction. Once completed, the sequence repeats again and a point is awarded. If the team in possession dos not accomplish the sequence, as defined by the coach, the ball is awarded to the other team. This activity works on ball speed and player reaction speed with awareness to problem solve. The metabolic training adaptation triggered is the anaerobic capacity due to it being two minutes in length with the allotted space and rest periods.

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: One square 36 yd. L x 28 yd. W.
Total Activity Time: 15 minutes.
Sets: 1 set.
Activity Repetitions: 5 repetitions.
Time of Activity Repetition: 2 minutes.
Recovery Time: 1 minute.
Intensity: High.

• Tactical: Creating a rhythm of play with the ball – Ball Speed.
• Fitness: Anaerobic capacity training adaptations; Fast Neuromuscular decision-making actions.
• 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 36 yd. X 28 yd. W grid.
• Four Black vs. Four Yellow jersey players with one neutral in white playing for the team in possession.

• Create ball touch sequences for the team:
 2-2-1 repeat
 2-2-1-1 repeat
 2-3-2-1-1
 Other.

• Added progression/Variation: On the coach’s command, the group in possession of the ball forfeit the ball and must sprint to a cone which outlines the grid. Once completed, they return into the run of play as the defending team.

Coaching Points:

• High competitive mindset.
• Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication.
• Awareness to sequence count.
• Ability to display proper ball speed.
• Correct supporting angles and distances when in attack.

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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