Drills for Playing Out of the Back

By Danny Carvalho

Question - “I want my team to play the ball out of the back third and build up play to attacking situations. Can you share some drills that start with small numbers and then build up to 11v11?”

Personally, I’m a fan of building from the back with short passes like Guardiola’s teams.

So here goes a session on building up patiently using the lavolpiana with quality passes, spacing and moving forward.

Warm Up (10 – 15 minutes)

In groups of three being one central player and each other player on the sides, central player will pass to one side, receive it back from that player and then pass to the other side, receiving it back again. They will repeat this pattern as they keep going forward. When they reach the end of the set area, they get back to the starting point but first they will do some SAQ on the way for fitness.

Activity 1 (20 minutes)

(2+1)v(2+1) small-sided game to score/defend three mini-goals. When in possession, 3v2 as the defending team will lose a player until the moment they get possession. The mini goals represent the players working between the opponents’ defensive lines.


  • 10-15 seconds to score
  • Instead of 3 mini-goals, 3 target players.

Coaching Points:

  • Body position to pass and receive
  • Look forward. If you can score, do it. If you can't, look for support.
  • Passing lines and support

Activity 2 (20-25 minutes)

SSG 5v5+1 with three mini-goals on each end. The field is split into three zones. The attacking team will have a back three and two players on the final third who cannot merge from one zone to another. When out of possession, these two players up front leave the game until their team wins the ball back. The neutral player will only play in the middle zone.


  • Two up front players allowed to merge zones.
  • Two up front players will never leave the game.

Coaching Points:

  • Body shape to pass and receive.
  • Set good angles for passing lines and support.
  • If you can play forward, do it. If you cannot, look for support.

Activity 3:

Scrimmage 6v6 with three mini-goals on each end. Encourage the teams to play a 2-3-1, having the center mid dropping in between the defenders to build from the back as practiced through the session.


  • 2 points for a goal, 1 point for every lavolpiana that leads to a goal attempt
  • Lavolpiana play + goal = 3 points

By Danny Carvalho, DOC at Corinthians Campinas Youth Club,  Brasil

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