Combination Play Race

By Alex Trukan

This practice is focused on improving players’ explosiveness and anaerobic power. It is crucial conditioning component which is for example used when losing the ball and making transition to defence and during recovery runs. In addition to that, combination play element is incorporated to make the practice more realistic and add technical elements to it. The best way of organising this exercise is in the form of competition between two teams what will increase the intensity and engagement of the players.

Set up and Directions

Divide the 10 x 21 yards pitch into three thirds (7 yards long). Set up two channels on the opposite ends as shown on the diagram below. Divide the group into pairs and organise half of the pairs at the beginning of one channel and the other half at the start of the opposite channel. Each pair needs a ball.


The game starts on the coach’s sign. Both pairs try to combine play through the thirds and get to the opposite end of the channel. The rule is that the ball has to be touched minimum once in every third and the ball can be only passed to the next third (no dribbling).


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After both players have crossed the end of the channel, the ball should be left there and they should sprint as quickly as possible to the start of the channel. Whichever pair gets back first, wins the race.



Each pair should repeat the race 4-6 times in 1-2 series. The rest period between repetitions should be 1 minute (other pairs working) and between series – 4 minutes (active rest).


  • Certain amount of passes to be made in each third
  • Increase/decrease the distance of the channel
  • Four zones instead of thirds

By Alex Trukan, Development Coach, Nottingham Forest


About the Author Tom Mura

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