Overlapping soccer session for wide players

This overlapping soccer session for wide players will help give your players a better understanding of what an overlapping run is and how to effectively use it in a game of soccer. Overlapping runs are a great way to create overloads in wide areas by isolating defenders against 2 players.

If you would like this session as a downloadable PDF then head to the bottom of the page

What is an overlapping run in soccer?

An overlapping run is where a player makes from behind and around the player he just passed to.

This is quite commonly seen in wide areas where a fullback will overlap with a winger to create an overload in the attacking team’s favor.

This type of run can cause some confusion so to execute this properly players must be talking to each other for it to be successful.

Overlapping running can also be used as a distraction, it will confuse the defender and help give the player more time and space on the ball by drawing defenders away.

This overlapping soccer session for wide players will include a video, setup, instructions, coaching points, and questions to ask players.

Overlapping soccer session


Time: 15 minutes

Set up:

  • Create a 15×20-yard area
  • 2 goals
  • Players divided into teams of 3
  • 1 soccer ball per 6 players.


Set up your area and place the 2 goals opposite each on the 10-yard lines and divide your players into teams of 3.

This small be small side 3v3 game with normal soccer rules apart from kick-ins will replace throw-ins.

If a team can complete an overlapping run and score a goal in the same phase of play the goal will be worth 3 points instead of one.

Coaching points:

  • Accelerate behind and around the player who you just passed to create an option going forward
  • Communicate to your teammates
  • You don’t always have to pass to the player who made the over-lapping run.

Questions that can lead to coaching points:

  • As I played the pass to my teammate how and where should I move to?
  • How do my teammates know what is happening or what I am trying to do?
  • What other options do we have on the ball?
  • Do I always have to pass to my teammate who made the run?

Technical activity

Time: 10 minutes

Set up:

  • 15×20 yard area
  • 3 players per team with one soccer ball


Using the same size area one team will be working and passing the ball horizontally and the other team vertically across.

2 players of the same team will be standing opposite each other on the edges of the area with the 3rd member inside the square.

The player on the outside will start with the ball and pass to the player in the middle who checked in and made an angle to receive the ball.

The player who then made the pass will make an overlapping run around and in front of the player who just received the ball.

Next, the player on the ball will then play the ball forward to their teammate who made the overlapping run and they will pass it to their team made on the other side.

They will then check in and receive the ball for the rotation to start again.

The player who was originally in the middle takes the place of the overlapping runner on the side.

Players will make an overlapping run to the right of the player first and after 5 minutes alternate to the left.

Coaching points:

  • Accelerate around your player as quick as you can
  • Pass needs to play in front of the player so they can run onto the ball
  • When you receive the ball after the run take a positive first touch on your back foot into the space

Questions that can lead to coaching points:

  • As soon as we pass the ball to the player checking in what should we be doing next?
  • Where does the pass need to be played for the overlapping runner?
  • What kind of first touch do we want to have?


Time: 20 minutes

Set up:

  • 15×20 yard area
  • 1 soccer ball per area


Keep the set the same however it will now be a possession-based game.

As there is only one ball the team that does not have the ball will be the defending team which means the team with the ball will be the attacking team.

As soon as the ball is passed to an outside person it becomes a 2 v 1 in the middle with the rotations staying the same from the previous drill.

The teams must try and work the ball from one of their outside players to the other, if they do this they will get one point.

However, if players include an overlapping run they will get 3 points (regardless of whether they receive the ball or not)

Coaching points:

  • Assess which decision is best for the scenario, it may not include an overlapping pass.
  • Make a quick decision on the ball
  • Take calculated risks

Questions that can lead to coaching points:

  • Is the overlapping run always the best option?
  • What happens if we are slow with our decision-making?
  • How do we learn and get better?

Conditioned game

Time: 25 minutes

Set up:

  • Create a 20×25-yard area
  • 2 teams of 6
  • 2 goals


Create your area, set up 2 goals on the 20-yard lines opposite each other, and divide your area into thirds vertically.

This will be a normal scrimmage with throw-ins and goalkeepers.

The only rule is that if players can perform an overlapping run (whether they receive the ball or not) to help their team get from section to section and score a goal in the same phase of play it will be worth 3 goals.

If they score a goal without doing this then it will be worth 1 goal.

Coaching points:

  • Allow players to make mistakes and learn from them
  • Focus on individual coaching points with players

Normal scrimmage: 15 mins

How your team can cover for players making overlapping runs

Most commonly the over-lapping runs are used by fullbacks to help support your team’s attack, creating chances from wide areas.

However, when full-backs go up to support the attack they often leave space behind them which the opposing teams’ players can exploit if there is a quick turnover in possession.

To prevent this, teammates must have the awareness to cover the space that has been left behind by the full-back.

How the team covers for the full-back will vary depending on the formation, the tactics you are trying to play as well as the tactics and formations of the opposing team.

If I were playing a 4-4-2 with my opponents playing with 2 forwards this is how I would set up my team to cover runs made forward by my fullbacks

For example, if my right fullback made a run forward I would want to see my right center back move across to fill the gap left from the right-back, the central midfielder dropping back between the two center backs with the left-center back coming more central and the deepest lying player to cover the right center-back and the center midfielder.

I would want to see my left back further up the field in a position to help support the attack if the play needs to get switched out but also in a position where he can easily get back in position if there is a turnover in possession.

This will give my team a 3 v 2 defending advantage.

When covering players regardless of your formation or tactics you will always want to have the man advantage when defending.

Below is an example of how this would look in a game:

Overlapping soccer Conclusion

An overlapping run is a great skill you can teach to your players and it can be very effective in-game situations if used correctly.

Like most coaching sessions you want to create environments that force players to make their own decisions and this overlapping soccer session lets your players do that.

If you found this overlapping soccer session for wide players useful then please comment and share using our social media buttons.

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