Player Reflection Tool

Off-the-ball support play


Complete the form

First, complete the 55 questions below as accurately as you can

Choose a topic area

View your results and choose an area to study

Identify two aims

Use video tasks to identify two specific things to work on

Practice to improve

Let your coach know what you are working on

This webpage has been especially designed to help you improve your off-the-ball movement and support play. Your mission is to complete all the homework tasks below and identify two key specific things that you want to work on and try to improve in your practice sessions, team training or on your own.

We will look first at creating space, and then at "third-man runs". We will finish by looking at great attacking play from Japan and Arsenal.

Creating Space

Creating space is most often about moving. Adam Lallana stars in the first video, which shows how even small movements can help you to create space for yourself. In the second video, we see these movements in more detail within game situations. 


Watch the videos and answer the questions:

  • Why is it important to change direction quickly when you are trying to lose an opponent? 
  • If you want to receive a pass, when do you need to move to create space? 

Important: Notice how Adam Lallana only needs to create a tiny bit of space in order to get the ball and shoot on goal.

Third-man Runs

What do we mean by a "third-man" run? The graphic below tries to explain:

A third-man run is an off-the-ball movement made by a player not involved in a seperate passing move. 

The girl at the top of the picture makes a third-man run into a space to receive a pass.

Third-man runs are useful as they provide options for your team-mates, and cause confusion amongst opponents.

Now let's look at some examples of creating space and off-the-ball support play from real games.


Watch the videos, and notice the movements described in the text.

The first video shows a Ryan Giggs goal in an important FA Cup Semi Final against Arsenal. Look at how his team-mate Dwight Yorke runs across his path, and drags Arsenal's Martin Keown out of position. Keown is focused on tracking Yorke's run and this makes him unable to stop Giggs. This is a good example of an off-the-ball movement. Even though Yorke didn't get the ball, he was able to help Giggs to score.

This is one of the most famous goals of all time, scored by Carlos Alberta in the 1970 World Cup Final. Watch how he appears from nowhere to support his team mates and attack the empty space on the right side of the pitch. 


Our last videos show some superb team goals from Arsenal and Japan. There are examples of off-the-ball movement, creating space and third-man runs in all of the goals. Watch one of the videos and pick your three favourite off-the-ball runs. 

Remember: Like Yorke's run in the Giggs goal, the off-the-ball mover doesn't have to receive the ball in order to make it an effective and useful run.

Player Reflection Tool - Home

Dear Learner,

Welcome to your HOMEWORK page! Here you will learn about your chosen topic. It is a good idea to save the URL for this page to your favourites so you can easily return to it when you need to.

You need to work through the tasks on the page, one at a time. This might mean watching videos, it might mean doing other tasks and activities. It may be a good idea to take notes also. Remember that the more work and effort you put into the tasks, the more you will learn and the better you will become.

For most topics, there will be a PRINT OUT at the bottom of the page. You need to print this, complete the questions, and take to your coach. You need to do this so the coaches know what you are working on and are able to help you.

If any of the links on this page are broken, or you have other ideas or suggestions, please get in touch at:


Mark Carter

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Once you have completed all the homework, click on the 'Print the form' link. This will open a form which you need to print out and complete. Take this completed form to your coach.

Then click here to move onto the last part of the Tool.

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Mark Carter

07772 716 876