Baseline 2v1 - Drill Breakdown

A drill focusing on developing 2v1 skills in a specific scenario. Relevant secondary focuses include: speed of transfer, receiving on the move, circle possession retention, head-up carrying and tactical positioning

Relevant skills: 2v1's, speed of transfer, receiving on the move, circle possession retention, head-up carrying, tactical positioning

This is a new style of post and it focuses on going into depth with specific drills and really breaking down how we can reinforce not only the primary technical focus but bring into environmental affordances that progress either the player or the team's tactical understanding and playing style.

Baseline 2v1 Drill Description

  • The blue player starts with the ball just outside the 25. They then drive at the circle and roll to play a pass to a second waiting blue player around the 25 on the left
  • The second player shifts the ball down towards a third blue player who begins a 2v1 along the baseline within the grey line
  • Upon reaching the circle and getting past the grey line they can now utilize the whole circle to get a shot off
  • You can alternate between the left and the right side with each ball or completely swap the drill depending on the numbers

Primary focus: Developing 2v1 skills

As you can see the drill is in essence a 2v1 with some contextual arrangements to it. Focus points within the 2v1 would apply all around the pitch in different elements. In this drill, the context is a 2v1 along the baseline. For example, within a game, this could be either two strikers or an attacking midfielder and a striker or others depending on the system and the formation you play in.  

Focus points


  • Change the angle of the defender
  • Utilize a change of speed and/or direction to create space
  • Draw the defender and pass
  • Lead off the left foot as an attacker
  • Ultimately, connect with the other player


  • Use baseline to reduce options
  • Slow down the attack
  • Stay in the tackle
  • Get the initial attacker's head down

Secondary focuses

The secondary focuses can include other technical elements as well as fundamental team principles related to structure and core beliefs. Additionally, the lead-up to the drill can be modified to suit whatever purpose you are developing. In this case, the build-up simulates retention of possession around the circle

Retaining possession around the circle - Handball

In this scenario, the starting player is driving towards the circle - simulating an attack. They identify that there are no options going forward and rollout to provide a pass to a more open player out wide. The player out wide shifts the point of attack once again to the player on the baseline who has limited time to use a 2v1 to gain a circle entry. You can also add pretty much any technical focus relevant to your build-up you would like. In this case, a potential technical focus could be a head-up carry into the circle before rolling out.  

Contextual baseline 2v1's

While these 2v1 concepts are relevant around the pitch, this drill is specific to the baseline. This provides additional environmental constraints to the drill. Not only does the player have to apply the 2v1 principles but they have to consider the limited area they are in, the pressure from the defender to stay on the baseline and the importance of getting into the circle to threaten a PC. Thus, changing the attacker's and defender's mannerisms. These are all crucial concepts that are specific to certain scenarios of the pitch. Finally, the constraint of the grey line simulates the space they would have in a game to execute their skills before they would be closed down by a defender.

Technical focus - speed of attack

Since this drill simulates a shift in the point of attack, the transfer needs to be as fast as possible to maximize the opportunity for the players on the baseline to achieve an outcome. Technical focuses include accuracy and speed of pass, time taken to execute the pass, prescanning to identify player positions (not so relevant due to consistent positioning) and receiving in motion to speed up play. You could pick any one of these focuses to reinforce and more.


This drill takes a regular 2v1 and places it within a game-based context. The build-up play can be manipulated to subtly suit team principles and formation. For example, if playing with a higher-level team the transfer could be modified to a cross-field overhead. Positioning can also be altered to achieve different in-game phases or tactical differences. Such as the player on the left could start further back and receive the ball on the move to simulate an aggressive overload. They could start in and drift out to simulate an attacking midfielder reshaping to move the defence. This drill takes a 2v1 and allows you to suit it to your playing style and your ideas.

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