2v1 Soccer Drills: Successfully Working in Pairs

Learning to Work in Pairs to Attack and Defend Successfully

When coaching 2v1 soccer drills, our main focus as coaches is to ensure that our players not only understand the importance of working together to exploit space and apply pressure in attacking situations but also work and communicate well to deny opposition attackers of time and space to get a shot off on goal.

Like 1v1 drills, 2v1 scenarios are very common in a real-game situation – so it’s important that these kinds of drills are introduced to your players as early as possible.

Below I have listed various different 2v1 drills that I have used with my own players to great effect.

You’ll need choose what 2v1 situation you’re going to be focusing on (defensive vs attacking) and you’re also going to want to ensure your coaching points are clear for your players to understand.

Key Coaching Points

2v1 Soccer Drills: Key Coaching Points

Here are some points to remember when coaching 2v1 scenarios;

  • Work together to get a shot on target
  • React quickly and exploit the space around the opposition
  • Pass and move quickly
  • Stay aware of your surroundings
  • Communicate and work together when defending in 2v1 situations

What Soccer Drill Software Am I Using?

Tactics Manager 3.0 logo

All the drills you’ll see presented on this page have been created using the SoccerTutors.com very own Tactics Manager software. Create soccer drills and add in your coaching points and progressions for easy reference. You can also export each of the drills into an easy to read and access PDF. If you’re interested you can check it out here…

2v1 Soccer Drills

Soccer 2v1 Drill #1

2v1 Gladiator

2v1 Gladiator

Drill Setup

Split your playing area into 3 zones.

In each zone place one defender. Defenders are not allowed leave their zones. On the opposite side of the goal place you attackers.

Drill Details

Each attack will consist of 2 players. Attackers must work together to get past each defender. They cannot take a shot on goal until the reach the final zone

Variations

  • Variation #1: Zone 1: 2v1 (attacking) / Zone 2: 2v2 / Zone 3: 3v2 defending overload

Soccer 2v1 Drill #2

2v1 Overlap Drill

2v1 Overlap Drill

Drill Setup

The drill encourages your players to be more dynamic in the way they move and attack on the pitch.

Split your group into two teams – one defending and one attacking.

Drill Details

One of the attacking players (BLUES) starts the play by passing the ball to their team mate.

After playing the pass they then start to make an overlapping run round the back of the second attacker.

Each defender looks to close down the space and stop the attacking players from scoring.

Variations

  • Variation #1: Place another group of defenders the opposite side of the pitch to create 2v2 scenario

Soccer 2v1 Drill #3

2v1 Reactive Support

2v1 Reactive Support DrillDrill Setup

For this drill split your players into 3 groups. Place two of the either side of the coach and finally the third group goal-side in one of the corner positions.

Drill Details

When the coach releases the ball, the two players either side must run and try and win possession.

Whatever player wins possession becomes the attacking player. They must protect the ball, keep possession and wait for the 3rd player (corner position) to provide support – creating a 2v1 situation.

Each rotation is complete when either the attacking team scores, the ball goes out of play or the defenders wins the ball and manages to score in one of the opposite goals.

Variations

  • Variation #1: Create a 2v1 defending situation. The once the ball has been won, the supporting player enters the game as a defender.

Soccer 2v1 Drill #4

Alternative Roles

Alternative Roles

Drill Setup

For this drill the goalkeeper controls the play. Each keeper takes it in turns to start the drill.

Drill Details

Whatever color the keeper calls out becomes the attacking team. The player that becomes the active defender is the player who is positioned diagonally to the attacker who first received the ball.

So for example; in the diagram shown, the diagonal player is the red player to the right of the opposition goal as the first player to receive the ball was the blue player on the left hand side of the pitch.

If the goalkeeper decided to play the ball to a red player, the diagonal blue player becomes the defender.

Variation

  • Variation #1: You can easily progress this drill into a 2v2 – You can progress the drill into both an attacking or defending 3v2 overload

Soccer 2v1 Drill #5

Perpetual 2v1 Drill

Perpetual 2v1 Drill

Drill Setup

This a great drill to move onto when you have previously focused on both attacking and defending overloads. For this drill to work split your group into 2.

Drill Details

To start; the wide players attack 2v1. They must work together exploiting the space and try get a shot on target.

Once the ball is dead (through either scoring or going out of play), the 2 wide players turn as face the starting position where they will now defend 2v1 against one of the middle players.

Once this rotation finishes, the drill once again returns to a 2v1 attacking scenario with the middle player becoming the defender again.

Variations

When the coach calls out a number;

  • Variation #1: Time limit each pair (whether attacking or defending) to either get a shot on target (attacking pair) or win the ball (defending pair)
  • Variation #2: Progress to 3v2 overload

Soccer 2v1 Drill #6

Simple 2v1

Simple 2v1

Drill Setup

To get this drill started setup 3 players in a triangle formation. You’ll have 2 players inside the area of play set on either wing (1 & 2) and an attacking player that starts the play on the opposite side to the goal (Attacker).

Drill Details

The blue player chooses a player to pass the ball into. Whatever player he chooses becomes the second attacking players to create a 2v1 scenario.

The other player who did not receive the ball must close down the space and try to stop attackers scoring.

Variations

  • Variation #1: You could progress this drill into a 2v2 or even further into a 3v2 attacking scenario. – You can also split the pitch into 3 zones (horizontally) and have 2 players in each zone waiting for the attacker to reach their zone. The rules are the same (whatever player the attacker passes too – they become the second attacker) however the players stationed in that zone are not allowed to leave that zone – they are simply there to add support to help the originally attacker get through and have a shot on target

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