EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Change the angle of attack

Intelligence on the pitch isn’t something that comes naturally to all players. Many will make good passes or strong tackles but won’t think about what follows. Smart players are those who learn there is more than one part to a move – they must link, support and anticipate.

In attack, intelligence means finding the best way to create space to score a goal – so if they anticipate where space is and link up play with good support the opposition will be put under severe pressure. This will pull well organised defences out of shape as they try to second guess where the attack will come from giving your team more chance of scoring a goal.

Here are my four best ways to change the angle of attack:

Getting the ball wide is often key to changing the angle it comes into the penalty area. Crossing points helps to get players to use the option of going wide and crossing into the penalty area if they are finding it difficult to penetrate or the penalty area becomes too crowded

Practice plans are a good way to get your players ready for matches – in 4v4 switch opponent teams must be able to quickly move the ball in different directions to build an attack. Defenders must also be able to react to different angles of approach.

For more advanced teams Angles of attack tests a number of developmental characteristics in players, from the technical – multiple and varied touches and passes of the ball, position-specific work and handling pressure – to tactical linking with players in similar positions and game understanding linked to rules and conditions

Younger players like having fun at training and Top Gun is a great way to get them to change the angle they are attacking the goal. The team must get the ball to their Top Gun, but they cannot score until the Top Gun has linked with a support player. When the support player has linked up with the Top Gun they can either shoot or pass back to the Top Gun or another team mate.

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