The Best Small Sides Games to Use During Training Sessions

The likes of Barcelona and Ajax are known for their ability to keep the ball in tight areas, however this is not a skill that is simply developed overnight. Small sides games form a major part of training sessions in football today, due to their ability to improve passing, control and movement.

Whether it be 3v3 or 5vs, small sides games are used by coaches on a regular basis, with players involved getting an increased number of touches of the ball. As a result of their effectiveness, let’s take a look at some of the best small sides games available to football coaches.


Promotion or Relegation:

With an increasing number of goals now being scored in the latter stages of matches, this exercise involves a range of different scenarios, with those involved needing maximum concentration throughout. Firstly, set up three different areas around the penalty area, including a central zone sized at around 30x30 yards, featuring a target at each end, along with a slightly smaller zone on the left-hand side with four targets, and finally a zone of around 18x18 yards to the right. The central area will be known as the Premier League, zone two as the Championship and zone three as League One.


Six teams are required for this exercise, with three players on each side. On the Premier League zone, a standard 3x3 match is carried out, with the first team to score a select number of goals winning, staying in this area as a result. Meanwhile, in the Championship zone, a 3x3 match again takes place, with players having to score in one of the four smaller targets in each corner. Meanwhile in League One, players must simply complete six successful passes in order to be declared the winner. As well as improving the skills of players, the competition to remain at the Premier League zone only adds to the excitement.


Shoot on Sight:

Goalscoring midfielders are a huge asset for any coach, as they take some of the pressure away from strikers and provide an additional option in the final third. As a result, this drill should be used in order to encourage midfielders to get forward and shoot on a more regular basis. An area of around 30x20 yards is required, with a 15-yard “no go” zone being found inside.


In order to carry out this exercise to its maximum potential, one goalkeeper, one server, two target players, three defenders and five strikers are required. The drill gets underway with a pass from one of the servers into a striker, who must then combine with their partner in order to get a shot in at goal. In the outcome of defenders retrieving the ball, a point can be scored by feeding one of the target players. Swap the positions around on a regular basis to ensure that all players practice different skills.


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