Exercise of the Week – 1v1 Square

Being comfortable in a 1v1 situation is so important for young players to learn early, so this week we have a fun 1v1 game with lots of competition.

Check out the description below and the video at the bottom of the page  to see how it works. 

Set up the field as shown in the video below, with 10 – 15 yards between each cone. The game starts with the defender passing the ball across to the attacker opposite them. The aim for the attacker is to try to beat the defender and stop the ball on one of the 3 cones in front of them (not the cone they just starting on). If the attacker can stop the ball on the cone the defender started on then they earn 2 points and the other two cones earns them 1 point. If the defender wins the ball, they can also attack any of the other 3 cones (not the one they started on) to steal the points.

When a player scores, they switch roles. The attacker now becomes the defender and starts on the cone that they just scored on, the new attacker starts on the cone opposite and the game restarts. If the ball goes out of play during the go, then the players still switch roles, with the defender starting with the ball on the nearest cone.


Whoever scores the point stays as the attacker in order to motivate the defender to win the ball back even more and so make life more difficult for the attacker.


To increase the level of competitiveness you can set up a ladder competition. Matches will last 2 minutes, with the winning player moving up and the losing player moving down. Allow for a 1 minute rest between each match.

Coaching Points:

  • Attack the defender at speed
  • Head up/awareness of where the space is to dribble into and attack
  • Encourage creativity (drop the shoulder, step overs etc…)
  • Keep the ball close with small touches as the attacker gets close to the defender and use a bigger touch into space to get past them and accelerate into
  • Distance between the attacker and defender, if the attacker it too close then the defender will find it easier to win the ball
  • Decision making. Though the temptation will be to go for the two points every time, if it’s not on then the player needs to remember that they can still score by going to over of the other cones and getting one point


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