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Triangle Soccer Drill by Louis van Gaal

Louis van Gaal is the coach of Manchester United and former coach of clubs like Ajax and Barcelona. During the World Cup 2014 he finished 3rd with the Dutch national team. One of the most well known soccer drills of Louis van Gaal is known as the triangle, as shown in the diagram below. Even if Louis van Gaal is not the coach anymore of the Dutch National team, they still do this exercise regularly. In this article we will discuss this soccer drill and four variations.


In this drill we have 2 players at cone B and C and players with ball at cone A. Player 1 passes to player 2, player 2 controls the ball and passes to player 3, who controls the ball and dribble back to the starting position. Please make sure to do this soccer drill clockwise too (so players have to pass with theur left foot)

Variation 1
From this drill we can have several variations. The first variation is to play a 1-2 combination between players 2 and 3 at cone C. Instead of moving outside (like in the original drill), player 3 will move towards the ball now.


Variation 2
The second variation is to play a 1-2 combination at cone B as well. Again notice that player 2 is now moving towards the ball too, instead of outside. After the pass back to player 1, player 2 has to run around the cone (to make space for the pass that completes the 1-2). The video also shows this exercise.


Variation 3
Instead of a 1-2 combination at cone B, player 1 now plays the ball directly to player 3. At cone C we still have the same 1-2 combination as in variation 1 and 2.



Variation 4
In the 4th variation we play a 1-2 combination at cone B and then we play a through pass to player 3 who dribbles the ball to the starting position.

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Y shape passing drill Basic

Y-shape passing drill in 5 variations

In this soccer drill we use the Y-shape to practice passing and receiving the ball. For the coaches who don’t know the drill, the diagram below shows the basic form of this drill. We set the cones in the shape of an Y. We have a player without the ball at each of the far cones, two players without a ball at the middle cone and the rest of the players with ball at the starting cone. We pass the ball to the center player, who turns with the ball and plays the ball to the player at the far cone. Each player moves up one position. The next ball will go the left, etc:

Y shaped soccer passing drill Basic

For a video of this exercise, see (bad audio):

The first variation of the drill is that instead of turning the player at the middle cone plays a wall pass and the starting player now plays the ball to the player at the far cone:

Y shaped soccer passing drill Variation 1

The second variation is that the player at the far cone plays a 1-2 combination with the middle player at receiving the ball:

Y shaped soccer passing drill Variation 2

The third variation is to add a scoring opportunity to the drill. We add 2 goals with goalkeepers and we add two players without a ball in front of that goal to play a wall pass:

Y shaped soccer passing drill Variation 3

Finally, the fourth and final variation we cover in this article is to change the drill if you have a lot of players (more than 12). Then it is a good idea to add two extra cones, so we can work on both sides simultaneously:

Y shaped soccer passing drill Variation 4

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Possession game 3 versus 1 in 3 variations

Most soccer coaches will know the possession game 3 versus 1. In this session 3 players try to keep possession of the ball under pressure of 1 defender.


Most of the times, the players on the outside are static, although on this video you see a good example how good support should be done:

But sometimes your team might have trouble to assist their teammates. Then it is a good idea to add a square in the middle where the players have to play around. This way, when the player who does not receive the ball has to run to the open space, to give the player who gets the ball always two possibilities:


Finally, to keep the defender aggressive, you can do the variation below. In this variation you have 3 defenders who take turns being the defender. This way you always have fresh defenders who really have a motivation to win the ball quickly (because then they it’s the turn for the next defender)


Soccer drills covered in this article:

3 versus 1 possession game basic
3 versus 1 possession game with middle square
3 versus 1 possession game with 3 defenders