The Exchange Game

By Alex Trukan

This practice is focused on helping the players to improve the ability to produce high quality sprints throughout the whole match. That is achieved in a high intensity and engaging game which also develops ball manipulation, dribbling and running with the ball skills from a technical point of view. As an outcome of this exercise, players will be able to produce more sprints and also sustain the number of sprints despite fatigue accumulation.

Set-Up and Directions

Organise two squares of 10x10 yards as shown on the diagram (squares can be also organised next to each other). Divide the team into two groups. Each group should consist of 3-5 attacking players with one ball each and 1 defending player. There should be one group in each of the two squares. Attacking players try to retain possession, while defending players try to win the ball. Player without the ball is always a defender.


On the coach’s signal, players in possession of the ball change the squares as fast as possible. The defender stays in the square and waits for the players from the other square to come in.


As the new players come into the square, the aim of the defender is to win the ball straight away. If he doesn't manage to do so, last player to get to the square, becomes a defender.


After that, the game resumes. As a modification, coach can set a ball manipulation activity for attacking players. Also adding more defenders will challenge attackers’ perception and dribbling skills. With two defender in the square, one can stay and the other one can follow the attackers to the next square.

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Each ‘exchange’ of the squares should be repeated 6-10 times in 2-4 series. The work inside the squares (lower intensity) should last 10 seconds between each ‘exchange’ and 4 minutes between series.


- Increase/decrease the distance between squares
- Increase/decrease the number of defenders
- One defender follows attackers to the next square, one defender stays

By Alex Trukan, Development Coach, Nottingham Forest

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