Coaching session on winning the moments of transition

When teams are attacking they should spread players out to create space, but when defending they must close up to cut down space and squeeze the opposition.

As well as reacting to the moment of transition, this session can be used for first touch, through-balls into the end zone, practising offsides in the final quarter plus the timing of passes and runs.


How to set it up:

  • Use balls, bibs and cones.
  • Playing sideways across half a pitch, mark out four 15-yard zones with a 10-yard zone at each end.
  • Use a minimum of four players per team, but give one side a one-man advantage.

Getting started:

  • The ball is served to either side.
  • A team can score a point by passing the ball into an end zone for a player to run on to – he cannot be in the end zone waiting. No defenders are allowed in that area.
  • Whether a move ends successfully or not, play restarts with the other team.

Why this works:

The important part of the session is the movement within the zones. At the point of transition, the attacking side must try to get players into all four zones. This stretches play, giving them more chance of retaining possession.

The defending side must try to get its players into three of the zones, leaving the back zone empty. This squeezes play and creates potential offside situations. The team with fewer players will find it more difficult to get players back into each zone.

Progressing the session:

The offside rule is an important part of the session, but you can play without it until players get more used to movement through the zones. Offsides encourage and enhance a player’s awareness to time through-balls and runs into the end zone.

Progress too by encouraging possession time targets – start at five seconds, then 10, then 15, and so on.

This session originally appeared in Soccer Coach Weekly.

For more soccer coaching tips and products visit Soccer Coaching Club.

Dave Clarke

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