EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Zig-zag through the pitch

This session improves your team’s ability to play through crowded central areas of the pitch using quick combination “zig-zag” passes.

What this session is about

  1.  Playing through the middle of the pitch.
  2.  Using zig-zag passes from midfielder to midfielder.
  3.  Working the ball into goalscoring positions.

What to think about

  •  The term “zig-zagging” describes the positioning of midfielders at different angles and lines in the centre of the pitch. This allows passes to be zigzagged through the opposition.
  •  To develop your midfielders’ positioning, play with open shoulders, both goals in clear view at all times.
  •  Midfielders must never stand completely in line (horizontal or vertical) with a midfield team mate but must always position themselves on slight angles so they cannot be marked easily and can cover a larger area of space.

Set-up

Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
10 minutes10 minutes15 minutes15 minutes10 minutes

What you get your players to do

Play 3v3 unopposed in a 20-yard square. Each team of three also has three players outside the square.

One of the outside players passes to a team mate in the square. The ball is then worked across to the other side of the square and passed out of the square.

Players cannot be tackled so must concentrate on their positions between the opposing three and quickly zig-zag passes across the square.

After each turn, the player who passed into the square replaces the player who passed out of the square.

Teams of three zig-zag pass unopposed across the square.

Teams of three zig-zag pass unopposed across the square.


Development

Play 3v3 on a 20-yard square. Place two mini goals on opposite sides of the square.

As before, there are three players from each team spread outside the square, one between the two goals the team is defending. P

layers inside and outside the square look to combine to score a goal. The first team to score three goals wins. The losers go off and are replaced by the three players outside the square.

Players are under constant pressure and learn to pass and move quickly using one and two touch passes.

Teams of three zig-zag pass and combine with players outside the square to score in the mini goals.

Teams of three zig-zag pass and combine with players outside the square to score in the mini goals.


Game situation

Have the 20-yard square inside a 60 x 40-yard pitch with two manned goals.

Play a normal match but with one additional rule: When the ball is in the square, players can only take one or two touches in possession.

This ensures quick play in central areas and forces midfielders and forwards to combine with zig-zag passes to cut opponents.

Play a normal match but players are limited to one or two-touch inside the square.

Play a normal match but players are limited to one or two-touch inside the square.


What to call out

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