Small group (3-4) informal football training

We previously looked at how to go about constructing training sessions to maintain football in an informal private setting, combining physical preparation within a football context – with 2 people. Today we expand this number out into a small group of 3-4 players.


Session structure in terms of blocks still looks pretty similar to the 2-person session, or the return to team training layouts that we have previously covered:

Warm up followed by 5-6 x 8-10-minute drill blocks.

So we will look over different ideas and options for drill design, with that in mind, rather than mapping out the whole session layout.


1.Standard drilling;

-If 4 people, can simply be 2 groups of 2 performing very rudimentary closed-chain skill work as previously covered

-If 3, standard lanes become triangles during these closed-chain warm up style skills;

-Handball triangle – every player handballs left, then right at the same time.

-Ground ball/half volley collect

-Yellow lines represent player movement, red lines ball movement.

-Deliverer roles/throws ball for a moving half volley collect to receiver (will receive roughly where the red marker is), and on the up deliver a handball out to either straight ahead or to the left.

-If the ball is handballed left, another quick hand pass back to the deliver.

-The receiver backpedals quickly back to the start

-5 collects, then the next player.


-Square kicking and run/moving triangle

-A player on each of the 3 yellow markers, the player on the top right marker begins with the ball.

-The player on the bottom left runs to the vacant marker (blue) and the player with the ball delivers a pass.

-The player in the top left now runs to the vacated marker and the player who now has the ball delivers. The process continues.

-Start slow, gradually increasing the intensity. Complete 5 passes each before changing direction.

2.Speed drill – competitive

-2 teams of 2 players, shuttle sprint relay

-20 meter shuttle up and back (40 meters total)

-1 player from each team performs their shuttle while the other rests

-Complete 6 sprints each for a total of up + back 12 times for each team.

-Rest 3 minutes, and repeat for a second race


3.Wrestle and run combination

-2 players at a time, the other 2 resting (and timing the efforts)

-2 competing players wrestle 10-15 seconds – aiming to bring the other to the ground, and on the command of one of the resting players (once time is up), complete a 40 meter shuttle sprint (80 meters total)

-Once back from the sprint, the players engage in a second bout of wrestling before a second shuttle.

-Once 2 efforts have been completed, switch roles with the other 2.

-Complete 3 repetitions (this was only 1.)

Covered in a little more detail a few months back.

4.1v1 contests.

-Once again, 2 rest while the other 2 compete.

-One of the resting players delivers a ball (in the air or on the ground) to compete for.

-The competing players compete for 3 contests before switching over.

-Complete 3 cycles each (9 contests each), ideally rotating opponents (which will mean some players get 6 contests in a row – bad luck.)

-Keep score.


5.Sprint relay

-Performed as a 1 group of 4 – but time yourselves

-2 players at each end

-40 meter sprint – 1 end of center square to the other

-Carrying a football as the ‘baton’, meaning you must perform 2 bounces on each run as well

-Hand the footy over rather than a hand pass, and must be behnd the line when receiving the ball.

-Complete 2 sprints per player

-The player who sprints 3rd of the 4 is the best placed to start the timer, and stop the timer

6.Set-shot Goal-kicking – competitive

-No different to that performed with 2 players

-You could perform this as 2 pairings of 2 separately, but the atmosphere much better if all eyes (and heckling are on one player as the take the shot) – with someone on the mark, and another player ready to receive and return the ball.

-10-identical set-shot spots for each player


-Keep scores for the night 8.2.50, 5.5.35, 4.5.29, etc.


Once again, add it to an on-going scoring ladder with the other goal-kicking work you do, keeping record of;







As covered last time, just adding in this record-keeping element adds so much more to something so basic, and guarantees it will become a focus to add in similar drills consistently.


Naturally, all the training we covered on the previous discussion applies here as well (half-lap tempo runs with kicking, MAS running, various goal-kicking and agility combos.) These were just some more ideas or variations to consider with an extra person or 2.


Additionally, as previously mentioned, the drills that have been put forward have endeavoured to combine speed and agility and conditioning in a football setting. However isolating physical components initially is good – this is just for illustration purposes. There are plenty of closed/isolation style conditioning things that you can do – and in fact a combination works well. Also adding in the football element should be built up to (as discussed in more detail in a previous article.)


There are many options with how you can approach this. We are very much only scratching the surface here. Suffice to say that continue to perform a variant of football training where you can. Do your strength and power training where you can. And get the enjoyment factor there out of semi-structured and informal football.


Onto slightly larger groups next.

Strength Coach


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