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Playing Out the Back Soccer Drill

Exercise Objectives

  1. Coach Playing out from the Back.
  2. Coach passing into the midfield.
  3. Coach possession style football.
  • 2 CBs are positioned at each end of the playing area. 5vs5 in the central playing grid (which can be arranged for specific formations if needed). Footballs can be played in from the coach to either set of CB’s to begin play. CB’s play into the attacking team (Red team in the diagram) and attempt to play the football through to the opposing set of CB’s.
  • Soccer Small Sided Game for Playing out the back.


  • Mark out a 40×44 yrd grid preferably in the space between the half way line and the 18 yrd box. (20 mins)
  • 16 players (5vs5 in the central playing area, 2 CBs at each end, 2 Outside backs.

Start Position(s)

  • Players should be placed in their typical positions. Obviously, 2 CB’s ,etc.
  • The midfield can also be arranged to suit the specific formation being played.
  • When adding outside backs they would be outside backs or wing players.
  • Grid dimensions are approximately 44 yrds (width of the 18 yrd box) x 40 yrds.
  • Coach monitors the game from the sideline or on the field and supplies footballs (if needed).
  • 5 vs 5 midfielders in the central playing area.
  • Teams can be set-up in different formations if needed to practice against a specific opponent.


  • 2 teams compete to maintain possession using the neutral CBs (yellows) to combine with when in possession. Plenty of footballs should be available to be passed in by a coach to make play continuous. Both teams attempt to play out from the back and into the midfield and then into the far CBs.
  • Players cannot press the CBs (until later progressions).
  • When a pass is made into a CB, the ball must be passed to the partner CB (i.e. RCB to LCB) at least once before it can be played into the midfield.
  • Play for 10 mins and then break for a 1 minute rest period between games.


  • Passing the ball all the way through from the CBs to the opposite CBs and back = 1 point. The football must be passed through the midfield players.

Coaching Points

  1. Quick transitions. Attacking transition and defending transition.
  2. Movement to create supporting angles.
  3. Pressing (Cutting off passing lanes, immediate pressure on the ball carrier).
  4. Patience.
  5. Good shape (curved) between backs.
  6. Scanning play to see options.
  7. Limited touches and quick ball rotation.


  1. Play with a neutral central player to make easier.
  2. 2 Touch
  3. Neutrals have only 1 touch.
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Written by Top Soccer Coach

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