All Ages


    Lee Brown, FA regional coach development officer, shares a practice idea that challenges players to intercept the ball.

    Key objectives

    Players will develop their understanding of:

    • how to scan
    • the importance of intercepting
    • how to combine scanning, movement and timing skills to intercept successfully.


    Session plan

    Want to try this with your team? Download the session plan to your device and give it a go.


    Set up an area that’s appropriate in size for the age and ability of your players. Then put an end zone and a goal at each end. Make the middle third of the pitch bigger than the end zones.

    In our example, this is a 4v4 game. So, if you have a large group, set up as many areas as needed.

    How to play

    This game consists of two teams. Both try to work the ball into the end zone that they’re attacking before shooting at goal.

    One player from each team must position themselves on their own end zone line. Their job is to defend their end zone and goal by intercepting passes from their opponents. The rest of the players start in the middle of the pitch.

    Players can go into their opponent’s end zone to make themselves an option to pass to but are not allowed in their own end zone unless an opponent has received the ball within it.

    To score, teams must successfully pass to a teammate who’s in the opposition’s end zone. Then, once receiving the ball, the player has to put it in the net.

    If a goal is scored, the player defending the end zone is given the time and space to start an attack from their area.

    But if the defending team intercept an attempt to score and then score themselves, it’s worth two goals.

    If it’s the defending player on the end zone line that intercepts the ball, they can move further up the pitch to begin an attack – but must return to the end zone line if possession is lost.


    It’s important to think carefully about progressions. Learning doesn’t happen straight away, as players will be figuring everything out at first. Constantly changing the game can mean players miss the opportunity to learn. So, give them a chance to have a go at solving the problems they’re facing in this activity.

    But, after a while, if you feel your players have cracked it – or that they’re struggling – you could progress the game to alter the difficulty of the challenge.

    Whenever you decide to progress the activity, think about using the STEP framework. And however you adapt the session, make sure you keep it fun, highly engaging and appropriate for your players.

    If you’re looking for ideas, you could:

    • ensure the end zone line player is replaced with one of their teammates if they intercept and start an attack
    • award five goals if the end zone line player intercepts and sets up a goal
    • allow players to enter their own end zone when they’re defending
    • increase the number of players defending their end zone line.


    After you have looked at the session above, ask yourself the following questions:

    • How would you adapt or tweak the practice to make it appropriate to your own players?
    • What additional challenges could you set to make the practice easier or harder for individuals or your group?

    If you use this with your team, let us know how you get on by posting in The FA Community forums.

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