EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Squeeze and stretch

Defenders often squeeze high up the pitch when their team is attacking. If your players can stop an attack, they have the opportunity to capitalise on the space behind the opposition defence. The key is in the quality of the forward pass and movement from your attackers to break the offside trap.

What this session is about

  1.  Regaining possession to counter attack.
  2.  Passing into the space behind the defence.
  3.  Developing the forward’s role in the team.

What to think about

  •  Do your players recognise the opportunity to exploit the space behind the defence after regaining possession?
  •  Can the players look to play the ball into this space?
  •  If not, can they pass to the forwards? Can a midfielder look to make a supporting run behind the defence?
  •  Ensure the goalkeeper has a realistic starting position.

Set-up

Create a 60 yards 40 yards playing area.

Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
10 minutes10-15 minutes10-15 minutes10-15 minutes10 minutes

What you get your players to do

Have your defenders, or mannequins, 35 yards to 40 yards from goal.

The server passes the ball into the midfielder, who must take a quick touch to receive and then play a pass behind the defence (mannequin) for the forward to run on to.

Forwards must ensure they disguise their runs and stay onside in order to get in behind the defence and score.

The midfielder plays a quick pass behind the defence for the forward to run on to and score.

The midfielder plays a quick pass behind the defence for the forward to run on to and score.


Development

  •  Include a 25 yards by 30 yards grid within the larger playing area for the development.
  •  Develop these skills in a small-sided game starting in the smaller playing area.
  •  The white team attempt to keep possession in the small area (second picture right).
  •  If the grey team win possession it looks to play a quick pass beyond the opposition defence for their forward to run on to and shoot.
  •  Develop further by instructing the forward to receive the ball to feet, forcing a midfielder to make run behind the defence to add a new attacking option (third picture right).
The grey team dispossesses the white team and play their forward behind the defence.

The grey team dispossesses the white team and play their forward behind the defence.


Game situation

Play a normal game with the following rule. On regaining possession, players must immediately look to pass to one of their forwards – whether in the space behind the defence, or into the forward’s feet.

The grey team now plays into the forward’s feet and a midfielder runs in behind to receive a pass and score.

The grey team now plays into the forward’s feet and a midfielder runs in behind to receive a pass and score.


What to call out

  • “React to winning possession”
  •  “Look to pass into the space behind the defence”
  •  “Look to run into the space behind the defence”
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