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Return to play: work with striker and goalkeeper

In the latest return to play guidelines you can easily work within the rules with your striker and goalkeeper – two key positions in the team. The focus can be on either player, but I am going to give my striker a workout which the goalkeeper can also learn from.

I am always looking beyond the final pass or shot to the move that resulted in a goal. You can learn a lot from just recalling what went on for a goal.

Where was the ball won – was it a counter attack or did the goalie play out from the back? Did we force a mistake or was there a good interplay to create space that we exploited?

Recently I went over a goal we scored before lockdown came into effect. It was more or less a lovely high tempo pass from a defender – who had won the ball breaking down an opposition attack – out wide to our winger.

The player went on a great run bursting past the wingback out wide and cutting inside once she hit the final third. As defenders rushed back and her team mates caught up I thought she should pass the ball… but she proved me wrong, cut inside, and unleashed a great shot from just inside the penalty area into the top corner.

Wow. At the end of the game, I listed the skills that went into making that move and that goal possible:

1. An interception
2. Good control
3. An effective dribble
4. The decision to go it alone… the right one
5. The ability to look up to see where the goal was
6. Moving the ball to a position where it could be hit
7. Shooting with power and direction

That’s a considerable list for a 15-year-old to process whilst on the run.
But if I look back over the past couple of months, as a team we have practiced counter-attacks, performed 1v1 decision-making, and played out drills that use control of the ball, dribbling and shooting.

So when I think about it, any one of my players should have the skills to score that sort of goal. For me, the best part of the move was the interception that started it all off.

Try getting your players to score great goals over and over again until it comes naturally to them with the Gale force goals session below.

For more advanced teams Elite Soccer has a session by Jose Gomez called Attack and Counter attack which on one hand is about the patience of a steady attacking build-up, while on the other hand it deals with quick counter-attacks. it’s a good read before you get back to normal training and one to give you some ideas in what you should be working on.

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