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7v7 - Split Pitch Small Sided Game

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Moving up and down the pitch, in attack and defence, is vital for a team to be able to play like a team. Out-numbering the opposition in every part of the pitch is not just essential in keeping possession, but also helps win the ball back quickly. However, getting your players to move up in attack and down in defence, as a unit, requires time and patience and this game can help you put that process into motion.

This 7v7 Small Sided Game (SSG) or 6+1 v 6+1 SSG is a great way to instil the habit of getting your player to keep moving and supporting the "active" players. This activity also helps improve aerobic or endurance fitness for your players, improving their cardiovascular capacity. This game can also be played as an 8v8 or 7+1 v 7+1 small sided game.

Age Group: 14-years to Professionals


- The playing area is a 50 x 70 yards although you may need to adjust depending on the players
- The playing area is divided into four equal-sized areas (1 through 4)
- Two goals on either side of the playing area – size depends on players’ abilities
- Two teams of 7 players, including a goalkeeper
- Balls placed near the goals to ensure quick re-start



- The game begins from the centre-spot with teams trying to maintain possession and score in the opposition’s goal
- All players from the attacking side must be in two concurrent areas. For e.g. if the player from team X is in Area 2, then all other team-mates should either be in Area 1 or 3
- Players need to get back into the right zones (concurrent ones) when possession changes hands, within 2 to 3 seconds
- Allow only a maximum of two passes within each Area. The ball must be passed/dribbled into an adjoining area after two passes have been made within an area – this ensures that each lateral pass is followed up by a vertical pass/dribble
- Players need to play two-touch football in Area 2 and 3
- All defending players must be in their own half when the goal is scored. Failure to comply will result in the goal counting for double
- Teams are only allowed to make four consecutive passes within their own half. The ball has to be passed/dribbled into the opposition half after the fourth pass
- Failure to meet any of the above conditions results in an indirect free-kick to the opposition. The first pass from the free-kick counts as the first pass within an area/half

The game runs for 20 minutes with two 1-minute breaks every 8 minutes. This allows you to talk to the players and give suggestions or direction to their play.


- Vary levels of defensive intensity – as the players get accustomed to playing, go from "no pressure" to "match-pressure"


- Maintain 60 to 65% of MaxHR (Maximum Heart Rate)
- Players need to be aware of game situation
- Team needs to play as a unit, moving around to create passing opportunities and support/covering defenders
- Support from defenders needs to come quickly and effectively
- Central play needs to be faster
- Defence must move the ball out quickly
- Passing should be precise, slick and smooth