If you want to see how your players could perform in a midfield sweeper role, use this realistic session to help them become comfortable playing in tight areas. MORE
Possession and penetration
Possession is vital but your players shouldn’t keep the ball just for the sake of it. If you play a short passing game, players need to move the ball around to drag opponents out of position and penetrate the spaces left open.
What this session is about
- Short, quick passing.
- Receiving passes.
- Penetration – making through passes to split the defence.
What to think about
- Reinforce good passing and receiving techniques in your players – e.g. right weight/direction on pass, receiving the ball with the “back” foot. This means allowing the ball to travel across the body to the foot furthest away so the player can adopt an open-body stance and see what is around him.
- Tell your players to make themselves available to receive a pass off the ball. Before receiving a pass, players must see what is around him.
- Players should look for spaces between opponents.
- Encourage communication.
|Warm up||Session||Developments||Game Situation||Warm Down|
|10 minutes||15 minutes||15 minutes||15 minutes||10 minutes|
What you get your players to do
Set up a number of five-yard squares, depending on your squad size, and use five players in each, as in the top picture.
Play a 4v1 with attackers positioned around the edge of area and the defender inside.
The first pass by an attacker is always unchallenged. Playing two-touch, attackers try to keep possession by passing to each other while the defender tries to win the ball.
After 30 seconds, the defender’s place is taken by an attacker. The defender with the most interceptions wins.
Repeat, but this time, play 3v1 in one area and create a larger area to accommodate a 5v2 match-up.
Encourage attackers to pass the ball between the defenders as often and as quickly as possible.
Play 2v2v2 in an area 20 yards square, as shown in the middle picture. Two teams combine to play “keep ball” against the third team.
If the third team wins the ball or the ball goes out of play (restart with a pass-in), the team that lost possession has to then defend against the other two teams. Each team wins a point for:
- Intercepting the ball when defending.
- One player makes a successful pass that splits the defenders.
- Being involved in an uninterrupted 10-pass sequence (if this occurs, the attacking team with the most points switches roles with the defenders).
To progress, limit to three-touch then two-touch.
Play a small-sided game. In this example we have used 6v6 (including goalkeepers), as laid out in the bottom picture. Play the “1-0 game” – this is when a team that is a goal ahead is not allowed to score again until the opponent scores.
Encourage players to split defenders with their passes. The winner is the team that is a goal ahead at the final whistle.