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The fast way to score goals

Attacking and counter attacking at speed is all about the players on your team being aware of what is happening around them and communicating between themselves so they all move at speed into the right areas at the right time.

It could be your goalkeeper who sparks a fast attack by quickly playing a ball from the back to players in defence or midfield who are unmarked. In this way you can catch the opposition on the back foot and with good possession and support play move quickly upfield into the danger areas.

Or if your midfielders can win the battles in midfield and get the ball or keep possession flowing through the thirds it is the support players who become key to keeping the ball moving and creating goal scoring opportunities.

At youth level fast attacks can be devastating to the opposition. Reaction times are often slower and any speed on the pitch is likely to have a positive effect on your team.

I like to keep my strikers alert to whatever is happening on the pitch. Who has possession? Where has it been won back? Where should I run? The movement of the strikers is key to receiving through passes and going 1v1 with defenders and the goalkeeper.

Even in a fluent passing team though, the most obvious way to take a game to the opposition is with your players carrying the ball forward and looking to exploit the space in front of them. Try Fast forward to get players moving the ball quickly into opposition territory.

While conservative players will look to play a pass sideways or hold their position in a defensive area of the field, more dynamic individuals will always be looking to advance themselves and the ball.

Key to this is having the ability to ‘turn and go’ when receiving the ball in midfield – knowing where to find the space.

This means a key message that coaches at all levels of the game should pass on is the importance of players keeping their heads up and looking around as often as possible in a game. When you run a training session, make sure your players are concentrating on what’s going on around the pitch.

Often a midfielder will collect a ball with their back to play and can expect instant challenges from the side and behind. Having good upper body strength and balance will help your players hold off opponents before rotating and changing direction to advance quickly forward. Try using Turn and go to get your players looking to play forward.

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