But who got the assist?

It brought it home to me last Saturday when one of my Under 9s had played a fantastic match creating three goals and generally running the game… “but I didn’t score!” he said with a face fighting back the tears. Kids don’t appreciate the importance of an assist.

I had assumed with the uptake of Fantasy Football that all age groups would realise that assists played a huge role in winning games. “Who got the assist?” is a phrase that I hear all the time when Premier League matches are on, but it seems the goal scorer is still top dog when it comes to youth games.

As coaches we love to see a player setting up goals but they don’t get the glory from their team mates on the pitch – so we have to make sure they get the glory off the pitch by pointing out at the end of a game who made the goal.

That’s down to you and I to make sure we do so with our teams. Assists are vital to scoring goals so make sure you get players assisting on match day – and make sure you tell everyone about them!

Try these sessions to get more assists for your team:

To get your players to create more chances to score with brilliant assists you need to set up situations in training where they can experience this. Four square provides plenty of opportunities to make clever passes and set up play around the goal area.

A great session to use for helping with assists is The key player which gives you the tools to coach a key player in your team to set up plays and unlock the opposition’s defence. Balls played into space beyond the defenders and into wide positions are encouraged, as are quick passing moves.

Now try this small sided game called 3v3v3 central and wide advantage which will show your team the benefits of having two types of attack – an additional attacker in the centre of the pitch will force your team to work on quick combination play in central areas and additional players in wide areas will force your team to play more wide passes where crosses can be made into the opponent’s box.

A great player who gets lots of assists is World Cup winner Paul Pogba – he runs the game for his team. Try this game Run games like Paul Pogba to have your players getting points for assists and for scoring goals – it’s a fast game, played at pace and will give your players a good test.

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