Tactical game in octagon-shaped field

Kasper Hjulmand (former head coach of FC Nordsjælland): 'This is a drill with a lot of transitioning moments. That is also the most important focus point. We would like to go from defensive phase 1 (direct pressure on the ball) to attacking phase 4 (creating and finishing opportunities). In other words: high pressure, recover the ball and immediately create an opportunity. This exercise is very competitive.'

Organisation and how to play

  • a field in the form of an octagon between the two penalty areas
  • a central grid is made that borders the center circle on both sides, with 10 meters from the sidelines in width on both sides
  • the corners are cut off from the field: the diagonal lines run from the corners of the central section to the goal posts
  • red builds up in the first box and plays G + 2v2 there
  • a third red player may enter this space to make it G + 3v2
  • if the ball goes to the center grid, it is 5v4 there
  • if the ball goes to the end grid, a red player may include it (3v2 + G)
  • alternative rule: 2 players of red may include in the attacking grid (4v2 + G)

Attacking phases

  • 1st phase: building up in surplus (G + 3v2)
  • 2nd phase: gain control (opponent does not touch the ball)
  • 3rd phase: break through (looking for the 2 players in the final phase)
  • 4th phase: finishing (coming from the surplus to score)

Defending phases

  • 1st phase: direct pressure on the ball after loss of the ball (counterpressing)
  • 2nd phase: getting under the ball (four in the middle grid)
  • 3rd phase: keep playing in the organisation (four in a line)
  • 4th phase: defending the goal (blocking, tackling)

Variation in numbers (examples)

  • with 12 players: 6v6 in two sections: with formation 1-3-2 against 1-3-2
  • with 15 players: 7v7 + 1 in three sections with formation 1-2-2-2
  • with 17 players: 8v8 + 1 in three sections with formation 1-2-3-2
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Types of drills
Tactical games
Transition a-d Transition d-a Scoring Building up Prevent scoring Putting pressure
Age group
Under 19 Under 17 Adults Under 16 Under 18
13-16 17-20 9-12 >20