Session All Ages

Receiving under pressure

    Ben Futcher, FA youth coach developer, provides a skill practice that helps players receive the ball under pressure.

    Key objectives

    Players will develop their understanding of:

    • how to use different parts of the body when receiving under pressure
    • the importance of scanning before receiving
    • how to move, protect and shield the ball under pressure.

    Receiving under pressure

    A session plan graphic showing six players and a rectangular area. Two players stand outside the area, one at each end, with a 2v2 happening inside the area. A player outside the area passes the ball into one of the players inside. The challenge is to receive the ball and get it to the player on the opposite side of the area.

    Session plan

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


    Set up a rectangular area that’s appropriate in size for the age and ability of your players.

    This activity requires six players per area. So, if you have a large group, set up as many areas as needed.

    Evenly split each group of six into three teams. In the example above, we have two yellows, two blues and two reds.

    The yellows (end players) are positioned outside the area, one at each end. While the blues and reds play 2v2 within the rectangle.

    How to play

    The aim of the game is simply to receive the ball and work it from one end player to the other as many times as possible.

    To start, provide one of the end players with a ball and let them play it into either the blues or the reds. The player that receives that pass then has to work with their partner to find a way to pass to the other end player – who is on the opposite side of the area. If the in-possession team are successful in doing that, they then get into space to receive the ball back and combine to get to the opposite side of the pitch. And repeat.

    The team that’s out of possession are tasked with defending. Their job is to stop their opponents from passing to the end players – while also trying to win the ball. If they manage to get possession, the roles switch, so they become the attacking side and look to link up with the end players.

    While the game is ongoing, consider observing:

    • if your players understand where to move to so they’re in the best position to receive the ball
    • if they’re scanning the pitch to find their opponents, the space available and the passer
    • if they’re choosing the right moment to move to receive the ball and play the next pass.


    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 an idea, you can add further competition by using a scoring system. Each time a team moves the ball from one end player to the other, they score a point. The first side to get three points wins. Then the teams rotate to ensure the end players get a chance to play 2v2 inside the area.


    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.

    Leave Feedback

    I found this:
    Leave Feedback. I found this: