5 v 5 'Knockout' Game

By Alex Trukan

This practice is focused on developing aerobic power as well as strength in duels. In a practical sense, it means that players will more able to maintain the quantity of actions throughout the whole game, even towards the end. This game also develops strength to stay on the ball and deal with pressure from the opposition. Players are especially challenged physically as they have to deal with pressure constantly. From a psychological point of view, it will develop competitiveness, a winning mentality as well as resilience. As all of these outcomes are achieved within the game, it's very engaging and motivating for the players. I would recommended this for U14+ and above.

Set-Up and Directions

Organise a pitch of approximately 30 x 40 yards (can be adjusted to suit different team needs). Set up two goals on  opposite ends. Organise four cones/flags two yards out from each corner of the pitch as shown on the diagram below. Divide the group into two teams of 5 players including goalkeepers. Each player should be paired up with a player from the opposition team. Prepare a sufficient supply of balls to ensure tempo and flow to the practice.


The game starts from one of the goalkeepers who plays out to one of the players on his team. Players can tackle anybody but they are primarily responsible for their ‘duel’ player.


The aim of both teams is to score in the opposite goals. There are 5 seconds allowed to take any set piece. There are no corners, the game is restarted quickly from the goalkeeper.


As soon as a player scores, the player from the other team that is responsible for him, needs to make one/two laps around the cones outside the pitch. After that, he is back in the game. As a progression, if the same player scores second time, the opposition player responsible for him is out.



The game should be played 4-8 minutes and repeated 4-6 times with 2 minutes active rest between repetitions.


  • Opposition player who’s partner has scored is out
  • Increase/decrease playing area
  • 6v6/7v7

By Alex Trukan, Development Coach, Nottingham Forest


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