Aerobic power through 3v3 small-sided game

Gary Phillips, 21 May 2024


This exercise aims to improve players’ aerobic power in a match-like scenario. The emphasis is on the fitness aspect, with players asked to perform to around 90% intensity.


  • Use half of a pitch.

  • Position a goal at each end of the exercise area.

  • Place a goalkeeper in each goal. 

  • Set up a 3v3 scenario inside the exercise area.


  • A 3v3 match is contested in which the standard futsal rules apply. 

  • The teams contest 5 sequences comprising 2 minutes of high-intensity play followed by a minute to recover.

  • This set is repeated with a two-and-a-half-minute rest between sets.

  • If a team score, they retain possession and restart play from their goalkeeper.

Variation 1

  • Players are limited to 2 touches.

Variation 2

  • A neutral player is introduced to create a 4v3 numerical advantage in favour of the in-possession team.

  • There is no limit on the number of touches.

Coaching points

  • Players should perform the exercise at high intensity, attack quickly and be positive on the ball.

  • Players are encouraged to shoot on sight.

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