EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Running off the ball

If your players have the ability to run forward, off the ball, or make a good-quality pass to a team mate, the team will be able to create more attacks. Forward runs are used to getting into goalscoring positions and to pull the attention away from the player in possession of the ball.

What this session is about

  1.  Running off the ball.
  2.  Passing and running forwards.
  3.  Creating chances to score.

What to think about

After making a pass, encourage your players to make a forward run in front of the ball and into an advanced position on the pitch.

This movement forces the opponent marking your player to track the run and therefore run away from the ball and into a defensive position.

If the opponent doesn’t track the run, then this leaves your player in a position to receive a return pass in space – as long as he stays onside.

Types of runs that can be made after passing include completing a one-two, or as on overlap or under-lap movement.

Set-up

Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
10 minutes10 minutes20 minutes10 minutes7 minutes

What you get your players to do

Set up a passing circuit with two mannequins/flags, players in arranged positions and an assistant to provide passes.

Two balls are in play at the same time.

Player 1 passes to player 2, who passes to the assistant.

Player 2 now runs behind the mannequin/flag and receives a return pass from the assistant to pass to player 3.

Player 3 passes to player 4 and runs to receive a return pass. Player 4 sets back to player 3 and spins to run forward. Player 3 passes into space for player 4 receive the ball and dribble the ball out of the area.

During play, 1 becomes the new 2. 2 runs to join 3’s queue. 3 becomes the new 4 and 4 joins 1’s queue.

After five minutes, reverse the direction of play.

Players use quick forward runs and passes on a passing circuit.

Players use quick forward runs and passes on a passing circuit.


Development

Mark out two areas with a goal at opposite ends, as shown in the middle picture.

This drill involves an opposed 3v1 situation. Two attackers go onto the pitch against one defender. A third attacker now passes a ball into the pitch and joins the two attackers to make a 3v1.

The aim is to make a pass past the defender and into the next zone for one of the attackers to race on to and score a goal past the keeper.

Encourage quick combination play and adventurous forward runs. Use the offside rule to maintain discipline.

The game works continuously on both pitches. Be sure to swap defenders regularly.

Two areas operate at the same time. After a 3v1, a forward runner takes on a keeper.

Two areas operate at the same time. After a 3v1, a forward runner takes on a keeper.


Game situation

Mark out an area with three zones and a goal at each end. Use two teams.

A neutral player (N) stands on each side of the pitch and is limited to one touch only. He helps the team in possession.

Teams must defend one end zone and attack the opposite end zone.

The aim is to free a team mate to go upfield and score in the opponent’s end zone by providing a pass for a player to make a forward run. Use the offside rule. The team that scores most goals wins.

In a small-sided game, players try to break into opposition end zones and score using neutral players and forward runs.

In a small-sided game, players try to break into opposition end zones and score using neutral players and forward runs.


What to call out

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