EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Time and space

Improving your centre forwards movement off the ball inorder to create space in the opponent’s defence.

What this session is about

  1. Combination play.
  2. Movement off the ball.
  3. Passing.
  4. Shooting.

What to think about

A forward must understand that just by knowing where to stand on the field they can make life hard for defenders. If a defender cannot see the ball and the forward then they are in trouble. In addition, by moving into areas you can free up space for midfielders to run into the box unmarked (as done by Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard). These movements and understanding between players should be developed on the training pitch.

Set-up

  • Half a pitch (can be mini soccer for U6-U10 or full size for U11-Seniors).
Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
10 minutes10 minutes20 minutes15 minutes5 minutes

What you get your players to do

Coach passes to the midfielder who must dribble and then play the forward through on goal. The forward must try to run on the blind side of the dummy defender so that he cannot see his run. The midfielder becomes the forward for the next ball.

Next, the midfielder not receiving the first pass must make a direct run into the space that the forward comes away from. This would pull the defenders in two different directions and the passing midfielder now has a choice of who to pass to.

Finally, the forward comes to feet and the receiving midfielder passes to the forward and runs for a one-two behind the defence. The non receiving midfielder runs into the space created by the forward’s run to feet. The forward now has the choice of playing a one-two with the starting midfielder or to receive on the back foot and play the second midfielder through on goal.

Start with a move to run onto a through ball.

Start with a move to run onto a through ball.


Development

To progress you can add two defenders to the practise in place of the dummy defenders. This will illustrate how the movement makes life difficult for “real” defenders.

Add a second option to drag defenders away.

Add a second option to drag defenders away.


Game situation

Play a normal game and look for the attacker’s movements. Does the attacker give the defender problems even if they do not receive the ball? Does the attacker create space for other players to run into?

Now the midfielder must continue their run to provide the two options to play forward.

Now the midfielder must continue their run to provide the two options to play forward.


What to call out

  •  “Always be on the move”
  •  “Time your runs”
  •  “Get out of the defenders vision”
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