Exercise of the Week – Continuous 2v1 to goal

For this week’s exercise we will look at 2v1s.  This is an important part of soccer/football to train your players to understand how to exploit because there are so many 2v1 situations that occur in any given match.

Set up the field as shown in the video below, with the attackers in pairs either side of both goals, a defender stood either side of each goal and two goalkeepers. Adjust the size of the area depending on the age and ability of your players.

The exercise starts with one of the pairs attacking the goal in front of them. As soon as the player with the ball takes their first touch out of their feet, the defender opposite them can come out to stop their attack. Their go ends if the attackers have a shot on goal, score or the defender steals the ball. When one of these happens, the attackers join the end of the lines by the side of the goal they were just attacking and the defender returns to their starting position. The waiting attackers who are by the goal that was just attacked now dribble towards the opposite goal and the game continues in the same way (they can start their attack as soon as a the previous attack ends and don’t have to wait for those players to leave the field).


  • 2v1 situations won’t last for long in a match before another defender gets back, so you can introduce a time limit to score so that the players understand the need to take advantage of these situations quickly.
  • Introduce offside in order to encourage better timing of runs.


You can add competition between the players to see which pair can score the most goals. Don’t forget to incentivise the defenders and goalkeepers as well, who could also work in pairs and can earn a point for every goal they stop.

Coaching Points:

  • The player with the ball must attack the defender at speed as if they are going to take them on 1v1.
  • Decision making depending on the position of the defender. If the defender positions their body to try and block the pass and leaves space to attack then the attacker should go to goal themselves. If the defender treats it like more of a 1v1 situation and leaves the pass open then the ball should be passed to the 2nd attacker.
  • The 2nd attacker should’t run beyond the ball in order to stay onside and to allow for the pass to be played in front of them to run onto and towards goal.
  • Encourage the attackers to make use of the width of the area, which will give them more space and mean the defender has more ground to cover.
  • Once the players start to feel confident in these situations, encourage different runs from the 2nd attacker, such as runs across the defender and overlaps etc.

Don’t forget to follow Inside Youth Soccer on social media for more insight by clicking on the links below…




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