Decision Making on the Ball

By Sean Pearson

Area Size: 18 yard area x 2

Teams: 15 mins

Players: 6 v 7 (Underload)


  • To realize 1v1 dribbling opportunities
  • To be positive in decision making


The area is separated into 3 zones. 2 wide zones from the 18 to the 6. The central zone which is the width of the 6. Players are only allowed in the zones they occupy.



The aim is to look for 1v1 scenarios when players can be positive and dribble past their opponent. Sometimes players will receive the ball in a 1v1 situation but will not be able to be positive and attempt to dribble. This game is meant to highlight the opportunities for when and where to dribble.

When a wide player receives the ball and there is space to run and attack their opponent in the wide area, encourage the to do so on every occasion. If they receive the ball in a tight area with pressure high up the field, you can also encourage them to use skill to beat their opponent. Only when they are close to their goal should they not attempt to dribble due to possible loss of possession.


If a player in the central zone receives the ball with space to run into and take a player on you should encourage them to do so, only if it is a 1v1 scenario. If a second player begins to pressure the attacker, the attacker must make a decision. If it becomes another 1v1 then they can attempt to dribble, but if it is a 2v1 they should look to find a pass.



  • Allow players with the ball to dribble into other zones to encourage 1v1 situations
  • Open up the area so players can make decisions on when and where to attempt a 1v1 dribble

By Sean Pearson.  Sean is also the author Coaching Team Shape in the 3-3-1, Coaching Team Shape in the 4-2-3-1  and Coaching Team Shape in the 4-3-3

About the Author Tom Mura

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