Short Game – The Barcelona way – By Rehan Mirza

This drill is designed to improve quick play both offensively and defensively. Depending on the age group, the measurements of the grid are approximately 30 yards wide and 15 yards in length with 2 goals (in blue/white) at either end.


The game requires 2 teams of 4 players (blue and red) as shown in the diagram with a neutral support player (yellow) that plays for the team in possession. A server with a good supply (orange) of footballs will be needed to pass balls into the playing area.


The objective of both teams is to score as many goals as possible by passing it through the goals, using quick one touch passing. This requires constant movement from both sets of players with continues rotation using full pitch coverage. This will encourage players to use the width and length of the playing area, making it as big as possible creating more opportunities to receive the ball.


Both teams are encouraged to use the neutral support player where possible as it provides an extra man in tight areas. This replicates the same situation during a game when a team is attacking in the final 3rd of the pitch, or getting out of their own defensive 3rd. A typical example would be players such as Xavi of Barcelona. He will create as many opportunities as possible to become the extra man in tight areas when his team are in possession. This creates quick one touch passing, in order to attack.


Key Points:


Number of goals scored:

Players are encouraged to score in either of the 2 goals in the direction they are attacking as this creates the opportunity to switch directions in small/tight areas.


Speed of executions:

To enable quick movement, players are encouraged to have a limited amount of touches on the ball. This speeds up the passing process and meets the objective of the session. By letting the players play, it will help them discover how to rotate, pass and move, and link up play with their team-mates. It will also help players make quick decisions with less time on the ball.


Clever and tactical play (especially in defence):

Players are more likely to panic when in possession in defensive areas. This drill encourages players to be more confident in short 1 touch passing and then quickly looking to have the ball again ready for another attack.