Bunching Up, Spread Out To Attack, Create Space Soccer Drill™

(This soccer drill teaches soccer players not to Bunch Up and to Spread Out to Attack so they Create Width and Space, and starts to teach Movement Off the Ball and Team Attacking, Ages 7-12)

“The new bunching up soccer drill has already helped us to spread out more. We ran it in practice on Thursday and we saw immediate results. It is a winner!” Bob, U8, Pittsburgh, Premium Member

“Just wanted to let you know the “bunching up” game is really working for my U8Gs. We had a situation last week where our “short corner” was well defended, and the other teams defense cleared the ball. Our MFs and Fs started to run back to the ball, and when they saw our Stopper move up to win the ball, they stayed spread out. Our stopper won the ball, and passed to our F, who scored. The other coach complimented us on our ability to stay spread out!” David, Premium Member, SC


The idea for this soccer drill came from Coach Troy, a great U8 coach in Maryland.


Teaches players how to spread out from a pack after gaining control of the ball in a Game Realistic situation. The purpose is to stop players from Bunching Up when a teammate has the ball and spread out to Create Width and Space so they can attack. This starts to teach Movement off the Ball and Team Attacking.


  1. Your players to Spread Out instead of bunching up when they attack, which will develop “width” and create space. By teaching this, you are starting to teach “Movement off the Ball” and Team Attacking.
  2. Second Attackers” (those who aren’t “onball”) should stay a short pass away (about 5 to 10 of your steps, depending on the age of your players) and if they are on a breakaway the “Second Attackers” should stay 3 steps behind the First Attacker (the onball attacker) so they aren’t called offside.

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Things Needed:

  1. Several Balls
  2. A goal or cones to make a goal (or goals if you teach more than one group at once).
  3. For young ages, some sort of “Treasure” makes it more fun. This can be a patch or something else.
  4. For efficiency, teach 2 or 3 groups at once. You will need a coach or parent for each group. Depending on how many players you have, some might have to wait their turn.


  • Ages 7-12
  • 3 or 4 players will be on “Offense” and attack a “Goal”
  • One coach will chase the offense
  1. Have a “Chaser” (the Coach or an assistant) who chases the group of attackers to create some pressure and watches to be sure they aren’t Bunching Up.
  2. The Coach gives each player a “treasure”. This can be anything they can carry in their hand (like a patch) or something they tuck in their shorts. The Treasure is something they can keep if they do good, but they lose it if they Bunch Up. They might have to do this game without Bunching Up 3 times to earn the Treasure.
  3. Ideally, split into 2 or 3 groups so lines are minimized and 2 or 3 attacks are occurring at the same time (you will need an Assistant or parent to coach each group, and a “Goal” or a cone goal for each group).

How the Game is Played:

  1. Put a ball about 20 steps out from the “Goal” and spread 3 or 4 players around the ball so each one is 4 or 5 steps from the ball. The Coach explains the “Rules” to the players and gives them each a “Treasure”. The Coach explains that he will yell “Go” and they will all run to the ball, but the one who gets there first should get the ball and dribble toward the goal, and the others should Spread Out and be “helpers” for the player with the ball, and NOT try to steal the ball from their teammate who has the ball (if your players are young, try to use words they will understand). If the players without the ball get too close to the player with the ball (the Dribbler) when they are running toward the goal, the Coach will call the names of the players who are too close to the player with the ball and they will lose their Treasure (they have to give it back to the Coach). The player with the ball is called the “First Attacker” and the other players should run with the First Attacker and be “Second Attackers” and in position for a pass or a rebound.
  2. The Coach is behind the players (the players are between the Coach and the Goal) and yells “Go Go Go” to create some pressure and so the players who are circled around the ball know when to run to the ball.
  3. The players must decide quickly who will get the ball. They will then have to spread out and run toward the “Goal” (a real goal or cones). A passive “defender” who is either a parent, an assistant or a Cone is in front of the “Goal”. The onball player has a choice to either pass or dribble around the Defender directly to the goal and when close can shoot.
  4. The Coach chases the players to create pressure and to watch them to be sure they aren't Bunching Up.
  5. If the players get too close to the Dribbler, the Chasing Coach will yell the names of the player or players who need to Spread Out. For example, if “John and Sam” are Bunching Up too close to the Dribbler, he will yell “John and Sam, Spread Out”. If John and /or Sam spread out, they get to keep their Treasure, but if they don't, they have to give their Treasure back to the Coach and the Coach explains why they lost their Treasure. (For older ages you might not need a Treasure).
  6. The Team Chant below also might help (this is also courtesy of Coach Troy):

You say “When your teammate has the ball what do you do?”

And the team replies: “Stay Away, Stay Away, Stay” Away” – again and again.

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