Manchester United’s three balls program

Manchester United’s first team coach Rene Meulensteen developed a so-called three-ball routine to increase team speed and mental awareness. I saw it in action and it was a real wave of movement and attacking action.

I have created my own version for use with my youth teams.

Provides a very effective way to prepare the party for the upcoming match because it improves the speed of defenders and attackers’ movement.

The procedure starts with a shot from outside the box, and then goes to the cross, which must be defended. As soon as the intersection is over, a third ball comes in from the second wing.

Meulensteen said: “This is an exciting exercise – you look at the quality of the pass and the diversity from the wing, watching the run at nearby and far post. Can players react to the ball? ”

How to configure it:

The numbers of players may vary, but in this case we used 10.

You need balls, cones and goal and one goalkeeper.

Place a pole or cone just outside the D field of the penalty area, as well as two additional cones on each wing – one for the early cross and the other for the deep cross.

The middle four players are standing, so the cone outside D is between them and the goalkeeper, one player is more forward than the others.

Two players line up on each wing.

There is one defender in the penalty area.

Make sure the central group has a good supply of balls.

First steps:

Central players give each other with one touch. When the ball reaches the most advanced player, he turns on the cone and shoots for the first time.

When the middle group puts the ball on the right wing, the shooter gets into the penalty area to challenge 1-on-1 against the defender. Both players are preparing to pass from the side.

Then the right crosshair joins the action, and the defender must defend 2 on 1 crosswise from the right. The ball is returned from the central group.

The left crosshair now joins to complete a maximum of 3 in 1 in the middle. Repeat the transition scenario with the other two wingers, this time from the deepest cones.

Session development:

Set as before, but place the attacker and two defenders in the box.

The advanced middle player puts the ball back in front of his teammate before joining the other striker – he must go to a position that is not covered by his teammate.

The ball is switched to the wing, and then a 2v2 cross is thrown in the center.

Why it works:

This is great training for defenders because it is very realistic.

The attacker receives a reward for a good game in the form of goals, and the growing number of attacking players creates a constantly changing offer for the lone defender – who ultimately defends himself against 3-on-1 overload.

The variety of attack angles means that both the attacker and the defender must be aware at all times.