EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Get wide and down the side

When it is too difficult to attack through the middle, good teams create space by using the full width of the pitch. This allows them to cross the ball or pick holes in a defence that has been stretched.

What this session is about

  1. Creating space in wide areas and capitalising on that space.
  2. Improving crossing.

What to think about

Players should:

  • Look for opportunities to switch play and find space.
  • Identify space out wide.
  • Create space before receiving the ball.
  • Look for combination play such as one-twos.
  • Offer useful support to team mates.
  • Execute passing, receiving and crossing techniques well but pass forward and penetrate when the opportunity arises.

Set-up

Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
10 minutes15 minutes15 minutes15 minutes5 minutes

What you get your players to do

Mark out a playing area with a goal at each end and two five-yard channels on each wing, as in the top picture.

Play 6v6, including goalkeepers, but play 3v3 in the central area. Each team has one player in each channel in its attacking half.

Those players must stay in their channels and no other player is allowed to enter those areas.

Play begins with a goalkeeper serving the ball to a team mate in the central area. A goal must come from a cross.

When the ball goes out of play, the game restarts with the goalkeeper of the team which would have been entitled to a throw-in. Wide players should consider passing the ball back if there’s not a good chance to cross the ball. Limit wide players to three touches or five seconds in possession.

Rotate players after a couple of minutes.

To progress, once a wide player touches the ball, one defender may enter that channel to stop the cross or pass.

Each team has a player in both attacking channels from which crosses are made.

Each team has a player in both attacking channels from which crosses are made.


Development

Increase the size of the playing area and play 5v5 in the central area, as in the middle picture.

This time the attacking team can have one player in either wide channel at any time, in either half of the pitch. Limit wide players to three touches or possession for five seconds.

To progress, one defender may enter the wide channel to stop the cross or pass.

Any single player can use the wide channel at any time now but they only have three touches on the ball or five seconds.

Any single player can use the wide channel at any time now but they only have three touches on the ball or five seconds.


Game situation

Use half of your regular pitch and mark out two five-yard-wide “gate goals” placed on the halfway line, as in the bottom picture.

Play 6v5 plus a goalkeeper, who covers the big goal for the defensive team. Defenders line up in a 3-2 formation, in which the “3” cannot go beyond the penalty box D.

Attackers line up in a 4-2 formation. Starting with the two central midfield players, the attacking team tries to score a goal. Goals scored as the direct result of a cross count double.

The defending team scores by clearing the ball out through either of the gate goals. Teams switch roles after seven to 10 minutes. Once either team scores or the ball goes out of the area, play restarts with the attacking team.

Attackers try to get the ball wide to score from a cross while defenders score by shooting through the gate goals.

Attackers try to get the ball wide to score from a cross while defenders score by shooting through the gate goals.


What to call out

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