Counter attacking exercise to work 2v1s and sprints

This exercise is inspired by my friend Ernest Cardona and I’ve used it in various guises over the last few years. No players likes sprinting in shuttles or suicides, but this game replicates the demands of a futsal match, with a quick attacking sprint followed by a defensive sprint, then a rest of 2 or 3 reps before going again. It’s game realistic, good fun (maybe the players will contest that) and works several different aspects.

Number of players

10-12 players


Balls, bibs, markers


Two teams of players behind each goal (6v6) plus goalkeepers in each goal. Two players from one team begin by attacking the opposite goal without defenders. They try to score v the goalkeeper and the moment the ball is shot, two players from the other team launch an attack while the shooter does a press up. The none shooter retreats to a 1v2. The defenders must get back as quickly as possible. 2 or 3 sets of 3 or 4 minutes work well. Attacking team must be ready to attack as soon as the ball is dead. Keep score to make it more interesting.


The main outcome of this session is fitness, without it being a fitness session. Corrections on the counter attacks can be made in the breaks, but it’s very hard to keep the intensity while correcting mid game. Obviously, 2v1s, finishing, goalkeeping and defending are worked, so decide on your main tactical focus.

Physical – Speed & reactions. Consecutive 30 metre sprints that have an objective of scoring or not conceding and a bit of strength thrown in with the press up.

Technical/tactical – Control, dribbling, shooting under pressure, defending 1v2, recovery runs, attacking 2v1.

Social – With two teams facing each other and keeping score, lots of support from your team mates and encouragement.

Psychological – It’s not easy to motivate a player to sprint, but put a ball in and another team then it becomes a whole lot easier. Decision making under stress is also a key factor here.


  • Make both players to a press-up
  • Change the press-up to another exercise, such as sitting on the floor, squat or even touching the post.

Coaching points

The main focus for the coach here is to keep the intensity during the exercise. In the breaks, the coach can give some pointers on the finishing and counter attacks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *