Receiving to play forwards


This session puts players under more pressure through added interference and progresses into a fully opposed practice. The set-up provides players with guidance for taking a positive first touch where possible, allowing them to advance the play, but also challenges their decision- making when the practice becomes opposed.


Set up a playing area, divided into four sections. Two teams of four, five or six players work simultaneously, each with a target player starting outside opposite ends of the playing area.

One team’s target players should be at the top and bottom of the area, the other team’s target players should be on the left and right sides of the area. Each team needs a ball to start with.


Groups play simultaneously, working the ball from one target player to the other, via the central players.

One team works up and down, one team works left to right. After a few minutes, rotate the players’ positions to ensure all get a turn in the middle.


Players should be encouraged to scan before receiving and taking a touch around the interference. Players should look to take a positive first touch into another box to advance the play.

Players should also be encouraged to receive at an angle, allowing them to receive on the back foot, with an open body. Scanning and body shape become even more important when the practice becomes opposed.


Fewer players per team will mean less interference, making it easier for players to receive with confidence.

More players per team will challenge players more in terms of the quality of their first touch, as there will be a greater level of interference and opposition, as well as less space to work in.


Once you are happy that players are adopting the correct body shape to receive, scanning and taking positive first touches, the practice can be progressed to using a single ball, with teams opposing each other, looking to score by getting the ball to each of their target players.


1. Set up a square playing area, divided into quarters.

2. Players are divided into two teams of four, five or six, each with two target players on opposite sides of the area. Reds work top to bottom and Blues work left to right to rotate the ball between target players.

3. Each team has a ball, playing simultaneously to start with. The session can be progressed to teams competing.

4. Central players are encouraged to work together to take up positions to support the play, and scan before receiving with an open body and taking a positive first touch. If possible, their first touch should take them into another quarter of the area

5. Here, the target player may not have chosen the best pass, as the player receiving has a closed body and may struggle to take a good first touch into another quarter. The more advanced player has a better body shape and can take a positive touch towards the opposite target player to advance the play.

Share this
Follow us