U12 Practice Plan - 2 vs 1's and 2 vs 2's

Practice Date: Wednesday, July 4th, 2018

This is a soccer practice session geared for U12 players. It focuses on concepts of getting defenders to commit before passing the ball. These U12 soccer drills help players understand how, when, and why this is important when attacking. The practice plan includes the following drills:

  • 3 vs 3 Scrimmage (10 minutes)
  • Two touch champ (10 minutes)
  • Direct 2 vs 1's (10 minutes)
  • Direct 2 vs 2's (10 minutes)
  • 7 vs 7 scrimmage (15 minutes)

End of Practice Discussion

Bring your team together and recap the session using open-ended questions:

  • Why is it important to dribble and make a defender commit before passing? (it opens up more space for your teammate once they receive the ball).
  • When the person with the ball approaches a defender, what are their options? (they can pass or dribble themselves).
  • What should your teammate’s body look like when receiving a pass? (they should be “open” to the field so their first touch can be towards goal.

Have a team cheer, and see everyone on game day!

30 x 20 3 vs. 3 Small Sided Game

30 yard by 20 yard 3 on 3 soccer small sided game


Create two 30x20yd fields with a 2yd goal on each endline. Divide players into four teams and play 3v3. Play two-minute games, and rotate teams after every game to play a new one. Encourage the teams to keep score, and try to beat each team they play.

Coaching Points

None. Let the players play and make mistakes. Only intervene if it is taking too long to get ball back in play.

Two Touch Champ

Two Touch Champ - Soccer Passing Drill


  • Players are placed in pairs, one ball and two cones per pair. Partners are three yards away from each other, and place their cones in front of them.
  • Players start by passing back and forth to each other, but MUST use two touches, and in the same pattern around cones that the coach gives (see below)


Once patterns have been introduced, have players repeat the patterns in a competition, trying to beat the other groups. One point per pass, but playing one touch is not allowed.

Coaching Points

  • 1st Pattern: Pass is played down one side of cones. Receiving player uses outside of foot to play ball behind their cone, and then uses inside of foot to play back to partner on other side. Switch direction after one minute.
  • 2nd Pattern: Figure 8s. Ball is played through center between cones. First touch brings ball behind cone, and 2nd touch plays it back through center. Reverse direction after a minute.
  • Spend 5 minutes individually juggling before moving onto next activity.



Direct 2 vs. 1's

Direct 2 vs. 1's - Soccer 2 on 1 Drill for U12


  • Make two fields depending on numbers to reduce size of lines.
  • Game starts with first player in defending line passing ball to the first person in either of the opposing lines.
  • Once the ball is passed, the first players from each line come out and play 2v1. The attacking team is trying to score on the goal. If the defending player gets the ball, they have to dribble over the end line between the two attacking lines.
  • If the ball goes out of bounds, the game is over, and the next three go. Try to keep the game moving fast to limit wait times in lines.
  • Keep score, and switch lines after 10 balls. Continue with score and play again.

Coaching Points

  • Player with ball needs to make the defender ‘commit’ before passing to teammate. Do this by dribbling at defender so they get closer to you and open up more space for your teammate.
  • Once a defender commits, you can either pass or dribble yourself around them.
  • Communication!

Direct 2 v 2's


  • Same game as before, but make 2 lines on each side of field and add a 2 yd goal to both ends.
  • All balls with one line who starts by passing to one of the opposing players. The first player from each line comes out and play 2v2. Both teams try and score on the opposing goal.
  • If a goal is scored, or ball goes out of bounds, the players return to their own line and the next ball is played in with 4 new players.
  • Get game moving fast! As soon as ball goes out, next players need to be ready to go!

Coaching Points

  • With 2v2, it is very important to still make the 1st defender commit to the person with the ball by dribbling. Doing this attracts attention of the other defender, and allows more space and time for the other attacker to be dangerous.
  • Communication and creativity. Your first thought shouldn’t be to pass! Can you shoot? Can you dribble yourself?
  • Introduce combinations to your players. If you pass to your teammate, can you move on the field in a way to make things unpredictable for the defenders?

A very similar drill that can be used as a precursor to this drill is the Direct 2 vs. 1 soccer drill.



7 vs. 7 Scrimmage

7 vs. 7 Soccer Scrimmage


  • Play 7v7. If your numbers are short, decrease size of field to 40x25 and play 6v6.
  • Cones for goals are 6yds wide and use goalkeepers.

Coaching Points

  • None! Just sit back and let them play. Play full rules for your age group: offside, thrown-ins, goalkicks and corners etc.
  • If you see deception, get excited, even if the move doesn’t work! Give them the thumbs-up and tell them you want them to try it again. The more you encourage the attempt, instead of the result, the more often your players will be willing to take risks in a game.