EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

The switch

When your team attacks, a quick switch of play can be used to create space on the opposite side of the pitch. This can often lead to opportunities to dribble into space or attack the opponent in a 1v1 or 2v1 situation. Here is how you can teach your players these skills.

What this session is about

  1.  Switching play.
  2.  Creating chances to dribble.
  3.  Pulling the opponent’s defence out of position.

What to think about

Often teams will defend the centre of the pitch in order to block central attacks. By switching play from side to side, your team is constantly moving the opposition defence around. This will eventually create space for a player to dribble the ball forward or may create a 2v1 situation.

And if opposition players are constantly moving from side to side, they will soon become tired and this will create gaps for the team to attack in the centre. Therefore, remaining composed and waiting for the correct opportunity to attack is essential.

Set-up

Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
10 minutes10 minutes20 minutes15 minutes5 minutes

What you get your players to do

Set up an area with six mini goals – three on each goal line, as shown in the top picture.

Use two teams. Each team attacks three mini goals and defends three mini goals.

Teams must constantly switch the play from side to side in order to:

  1.  Find the space to score in an open goal.
  2.  Create space to dribble 1v1 or 2v1.
  3.  Pull the opponent from side to side in order to create gaps in its defence.
Two teams try to score in any of the three goals they face by switching play across the area until space or an overload is found.

Two teams try to score in any of the three goals they face by switching play across the area until space or an overload is found.


Development

Use the same size pitch but mark out two lines within the area to create two wide channels.

Now take one player from each team and make them neutral players. The neutral players must stay inside the wide channels until they receive a pass. All other players can go in either channel at any time. This rule allows both teams to always have width in their play.

When switching the ball to a neutral player, the nearest team mate should try to create a 2v1 situation by making an overlapping run.

Now that the neutral player is in possession, he is free to use the runner or dribble inside quickly to attack the central goal or switch play to the opposite side.

Neutral players are used by each team in possession in the wide channels to ensure teams have width in their attacks.

Neutral players are used by each team in possession in the wide channels to ensure teams have width in their attacks.


Game situation

Remove the mini goals and use regular-size goals – one at each end – as shown in the bottom picture. Also remove the lines that created the wide channels.

Play a small-sided game with normal rules. Teams still use the neutral players, who play for the team in possession, to create crosses into the opponent’s box or 2v1 situations, in which the attacking team gets behind the opponent’s defence and into threatening positions.

Use offside rules. Swap the direction of play halfway through the game. The team with most goals scored at the end wins.

Play a small-sided game with neutral players creating an overload. The mini goals have been replaced with normal-size goals.

Play a small-sided game with neutral players creating an overload. The mini goals have been replaced with normal-size goals.


What to call out

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