Running with the ball with awareness and speed

Graeme Dell, 29 Aug 2023


This session aims to encourage players to run with the ball to allow them to progress play up the court.



  • Use a full-size court.

  • Divide the court into three zones.

  • The middle zone is marked out either side of the halfway line and is 10m in length.

  • The overall game is a 5v5, including goalkeepers.

  • Create a 2v1 scenario in the first zone. 

  • Set up a 1v1 scenario in the middle zone.

  • Organise a 1v2 scenario in the third zone.


  • The goalkeeper starts the play by passing the ball to a team-mate in the first zone.

  • The player must try to dribble the ball into the middle zone.

  • This creates an overload or a numerical disadvantage (2v1).

  • The 2 players then try to progress the ball into the final third (third zone).

  • The aim is to score in the opposition goal.

  • When progressing play, the ball cannot be played back to a previous zone.


  • Variation 1: once the ball reaches the final third, an extra player from each team can enter this zone to create a 3v2 or 3v3 situation.

  • Variation 2: all attackers can enter the final third.

  • Variation 3: all players can enter the final third

Coaching points 

  • Emphasis should be placed on ball retention to ensure that a team do not lose their numerical advantage.

  • Players should dribble at pace, with purpose and towards the opposition goal at all times to help progress the ball through the thirds effectively.

  • Intelligent off-the-ball movement can create and open up space for key passes to be played in attack.

  • Player should create passing lines in the final third to help work angles for attempts on goal.

  • Ball carriers must follow their pass through and offer a passing option once they progress into the next zone.

  • Ball carriers can make a range of forward movements, such as running straight through the middle, running down the wings, making diagonal runs and performing directional changes.

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