All Ages

Set and shoot

    Adam Dunleavy, FA coach development officer, shares a practice that helps players work on their ability to combine and attack.

    Key objectives

    Players will develop their understanding of:

    • when to be creative and when to combine with teammates to score
    • positioning to receive for a set-back
    • decision-making in the attacking phase.

    Set and shoot

    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 appropriate for your players’ age and stage of development. Place a halfway line down and put a goal at each end.

    We have 12 players for this practice: a 4v4, including goalkeepers, and four ‘setters’. A pair of ‘setters’ are needed at both ends of the pitch. They position themselves on the goal-line, one on either side of the goal.

    To adapt to your numbers, adjust how many outfield players and ‘setters’ take part. If you have a larger group, create as many areas as you need to get everyone involved.

    How to play

    The aim of the game is to combine with your teammates to play the ball to a ‘setter’, then receive and score.

    ‘Setters’ must play the ball back to the team that gives them the ball, but they don’t have to play it to the individual who passed to them.

    If the defending team win the ball, they attack the other goal and combine with the ‘setters’ positioned at that end.

    If a shot is saved, or the ball goes out behind the goal, the keeper passes to the defending team, who move forward to attack the other goal.


    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.

    After a while, if you feel your players are having consistent success – or need additional support – 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 (Youth Sports Trust, 2002). 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 could use wide players that play over the touchline and can’t be tackled. These can play bounce passes to their teammates, and they’re able to give the ball to the ‘setters’.

    If you use this with your team, let us know how you get on by posting in the England Football community forums.

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