Overloads in wide areas – Warm Up


This warm-up introduces players to the principles around creating overloads in wide areas, allowing them to identify and exploit opportunities and, ultimately, create goalscoring opportunities via full-backs and wide midfielders and forwards.


Mark out a playing area relative to the age and ability of your players. The area should be split into thirds, with additional end zones.

Separate players into two teams of four. Teams should set up 2v1 in their defensive third, 1v1 in the middle third and 1v2 in their attacking third.


Teams aim to score by dribbling into, or receiving the ball inside, the opposition’s end zone.

Players must start in their allocated third but are allowed to rotate – however, they must always have at least one player occupying each third to provide defensive balance.

The coach starts the practice by passing the ball into a team’s defensive third.

1. Split players into two teams and divide the playing area into thirds, with two unoccupied end zones.

2. Teams line up 2v1 in their defensive third and 1v1 in the middle third.

3. Teams aim to build through the thirds before scoring by receiving the ball in, or dribbling into, the opposition’s end zone.


Players should look to create space (width and depth) by drawing defenders away to create space for others, playing between the lines and progressing into space with the ball to draw the opposition towards them.

Coaches can also work on players’ movement; pinning or locking their opponent, disguising runs, making advanced forward runs from deep, and making third-man runs.

Players should also be encouraged to make the safest furthest forward pass whenever possible and work on up-back-through passing patterns to penetrate the defence.


The coach can make the area bigger or smaller to increase or decrease the challenge. The number of players in each third can also be increased to enhance realism.

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