Don’t make 3 v 2s simple

During a match, 3 v 2s happen more times than you think. Yet, each situation can be different, with defenders and attackers arriving from different angles and starting close or far apart. You need to challenge yourself to replicate these scenarios in training.

In the activity 3 v 2 repetitions, I’ve set up a 3 v 2 activity to start working on the right core skills needed to execute this attacking play. The skills are straightforward enough:

  • run straight,
  • attack the defender in his channel,
  • pass hard
  • accelerate onto the ball.

Here’s how I run this type of session.


The start of the session is quite disciplined, with players having to run down narrow channels and pass before they reach a certain point. You can, of course, adjust the distances to challenge the players. Even better, have the players adjust the channels themselves.

There is plenty of activity, with players running through a cyclical drill (meaning they end up where they started). Be mindful that the players work on the skill, not the drill. Slow things down if necessary.

However, give the players time to understand how the drill unfolds. You might find yourself correcting the drill in the first few minutes, but after that, it should be all about the skills.

In essence, you are creating good habits. Be tough on better players who let their standards slip.


  1. Encourage your players to self-organise. That means they realign without prompting.
  2. Also encourage your players to self-coach if you can. You identify with them the key points you want to work on and then they tell each other if they’ve achieved it or not. For example, you might want them to get themselves running straight. They should praise each other when they do, and note when they don’t. Your intervention might be to nudge them in the right direction should they forget to self-coach.
  3. In the real-game set up, it’s a 4 v 2 in one sense, but you are using the same principles. The first two players must draw the defenders onto them before releasing the players arriving from behind.


The first player is the key player in many ways. He should interest the first defender enough without putting the second receiver under too much pressure.

My advice to the players is always to run hard and stay square. Then pass earlier than you think. If you are running hard, your momentum will take you on a few more steps before the ball is released. If you are too close to the defensive line, the pass will go “man-and-ball” to the next attacker.

Lots of repetitions will allow players to work out the distances that work best for them.

Share this
Follow us