Creating a style of play: Playing out from the back

Playing out from the back is a great style to have in youth soccer. It gets teams keeping the ball and playing forward into the opposition danger areas.

Ideally, goals are scored by building up play from the goalkeeper and defenders, through the midfield and ending with a shot by the strikers. This starts with playing out from the back.

The best way to play out from the back is to get your defence to spread wide, to get your full backs to push on and play in advance of your centre backs who should receive the ball into feet and play their way out. The key to it is confidence and being patient with the ball. Don’t try to force it and don’t be afraid to play into players that are marked.

Here are my favourite sessions I use to get my team playing out from the back.

Explain to your players that by keeping hold of the ball your team is more likely to advance up the pitch and create goal scoring opportunities. Play out of the back with a defensive diamond is a great session for demonstrating how the centre backs receive the ball from the keeper and the wing backs push up.

Your key sessions should include a target for players to think about as it helps them understand what they are trying to achieve. Triangles – one touch play gets players thinking about linking up from the back with support play.

It is never easy to play out from the back when teams are pressing high up the pitch – Passing out v high press works on both sides of the tactic, helping your team take control with or without the ball.

Small-sided games are a great way to explain a tactic to youth players. Use the game 4v4 playing out of defence to get your players thinking – it’s a great coaching exercise. Another great small-sided game is Playing out to score which puts passing patterns into the context of match situations.

And for a simple tactic try the practice plan Playing out of defence for a great way to get the ball from the back up to the attacking players.

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