Tags: Grassroots

Central Penetration: Part 2

In Part 2 of our central penetration article, we progress the Rondo practice to a 7v3 in order to deliver the key concepts when using the Up-Back-Through to play through opposition units in central areas.

7v3 Central Penetration Rondo

Set Up

Area 20x14 divided into 4 zones (10x7) to provide reference points on the pitch. Centre Back (Blue 5), Full Backs Forwards (Blue 2 & 3) and Centre Forward (Blue 9) can move along their designated lines.

Central Midfielders (Blue 6, 8 and 10) are locked into their designated half and Blue 8 and 10 are not allowed to occupy the same zone. They play against 3 x Defenders (Red 6, 8 and 10) who are also locked into their designated half with Defenders not permitted to occupy the same zone.

Rotation can occur between Blue 8 and Blue 10 and Red 6 and Red 8.


Blue Team (Attackers): Maintain positions and possession of the ball with emphasis on utilising the Up-Back-Through sequence to play from Centre Back (Blue 5) to Centre Forward (Blue 9) with length and depth provided by Blue 6, 8 and 10.

Red Team (Defenders): If the ball is won, play directly to Blue 6 to replicate a counter attack in a game, or maintain possession 3v3 as Blue 6, 8 and 10 press to regain the ball.

Key Coaching Points

  1. Take up positions to provide depth and length for effective Up-Back-Through
  2. Positioning and body shape of Blue 6, 8 and Blue 10 to receive and advance forwards
  3. Understanding of when to play backwards in order to advance forwards, using an Up-Back-Through passing sequence


  • Body angle to receive the pass
  • Receiving areas of foot or body
  • Angles, distances and areas of structure to penetrate effectively and patiently
  • Understanding slow and quick play through the areas
  • Rotation and movement ahead of the ball to provide passing options
  • Timing of passes - La Pausa
  • Ability to secure possession of the ball and link up with team-mates
  • Understanding of the 3 passing lines (in front, around, penetrate)
  • Passing options behind, ahead and around the ball
  • Communication¬†

Focus - Length & Depth To Create Angled Passing Options

The image above details how the 4 x zones provide reference points for the players to understand and take up positions with appropriate angles and distances in order to penetrate the opposition.

Blue 10, on the same vertical line as Blue 6 (Pivot), acts as a decoy or can quickly play a pass back to the Pivot for Blue 8 to receive the through ball on a different vertical line.  

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