Overloads in wide areas – Practice


This mirrored function practice develops the ideas introduced in the warm-up in a more game-realistic set-up, working in relevant areas of the pitch with key players.


Use just over half a pitch. Place two mini-goals within the penalty area, facing outwards towards the touchlines. Place two more just over the halfway line, facing the rest of the playing area.

Mark out target zones between the edge of the penalty box and the touchlines, the end of which also acts as an offside line. A ‘no-play zone’ should also be marked out on the edge of the penalty area.

The left side of the area mirrors the right, so two groups can play simultaneously (5v3 in favour of the attacking team). Two central midfielders (one attacking and one defending) play centrally across both groups.


Left and right sides play simultaneously. The coach plays the ball in to the deepest player for the attacking team (a centre-back) to start the practice. Coaches can set a limit on the number of touches this player can have.

The attacking teams look to play forward, break into the target zone and score in the mini-goal (replicating a cross). If the defending teams win possession, they can counter attack and try to score in the mini-goal just beyond the halfway line.

1. Set up a mirrored practice, so teams are doing the same activity on the left and right
sides of the pitch.

2. Both practices require teams to set up 5v3 in favour of the attacking team, with two central midfielders (one attacking, one defending) who play across both pitches.

3. Coaches play the ball in and the attacking team looks to get into the target/scoring zone to score in the mini-goal.

4. If the defending team wins possession, they can counter-attack and score in the mini-goal at the bottom of the pitch.


Players should look to create space (width and depth), work on their movement off the ball to exploit space and overload opportunities, and be encouraged to identify and execute openings to penetrate the defence.


The coach can add a number 9 for the defending team, who can press either centre-back on the attacking teams when the coach plays the ball in.

Players can also be challenged to man-mark, to increase the problems for the attacking teams, while a time limit can be placed on the attacking teams to score once they have broken into the target zone. Goalkeepers can be added.

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