EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Space race

If players want to receive a pass, rather than standing around waiting for a team mate to play one in their direction, they have to create space for themselves – in tight spots that means shaking off close markers.

What this session is about

  1. Creating space and time to receive and release the ball.
  2. Losing a marker.

What to think about

  • Players move away from where they want to receive ball, at an angle, so the defender follows.
  • A quick cut back will leave the defender trailing.
  • If a player moves too soon/too late to receive a pass, the space might be closed down.
  • Use communication, whether it is verbal, eye contact or movement.
  • If a defender doesn’t follow your player, he has created space just by moving.

Set-up

Use an 18-yard square for the session, a 10 yards by 15 yards area for development and a 25-yard square for the game. No goals are used.

Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
10 minutes10 minutes15 minutes15 minutes10 minutes

What you get your players to do

In pairs, one player is an attacker, the other a defender. The attacker moves around the playing area with the defender following. The attacker can do anything (within the rules) they want to get away. Use several pairs at once, so more players can be involved.

After 10 seconds, if the defender is within touching distance of the attacker they are chasing, they win. If they are not, the attacker wins. Players switch roles repeatedly.

An attacker (A) tries to evade a defender (D) during a 10-second period. If the attacker is out of touching distance at the end, he wins.

An attacker (A) tries to evade a defender (D) during a 10-second period. If the attacker is out of touching distance at the end, he wins.


Development

Use one server, one attacker and one defender.

The attacker tries to create space by making a run to lose the defender, before receiving a pass from the server.

The server tells the attacker to “turn”, “back” or “hold” the ball. If the call is “turn”, the attacker turns and tries to dribble past the defender to the end line.

If the call is “back”, the ball is returned to the server. If “hold”, the attacker shields the ball and passes to the server who comes on to the field to create a 2v1. The aim is to dribble the ball across the end line.

The server (S) tells the attacker (A) to hold the ball and fend off the defender (D) so, as a pair, they can dribble the ball over the end line.

The server (S) tells the attacker (A) to hold the ball and fend off the defender (D) so, as a pair, they can dribble the ball over the end line.


Game situation

Play a small-sided game in a 25-yard square with no goals. Both teams must have an equal number of players on the pitch and on the outside of the pitch, on opposite sides. Teams score a point for each successful pass one of the outside players makes to a team mate in space inside the area. Play for two minutes, after which the players switch roles.

Players try to create space inside the area to receive a pass from a team mate on the outside to earn a point.

Players try to create space inside the area to receive a pass from a team mate on the outside to earn a point.


What to call out

  • “Call for the ball with a run.”
  • “Find a space the passer can actually reach with the pass.”
  • “Change of speed, change of direction. Be unpredictable.”
  • “Vary your movement – attack space behind defender.”
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