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Winning your battles – small-sided game

WHY USE IT

This practice introduces overloads in a SSG. When overloaded, players may be more willing to take a ‘risk’ and try and beat a player 1v1 as they know they have a safety net of an extra player.

SET UP

One of the teams, in this example, the Blues, starts with a player on the pitch. Every other player needs a ball and should be positioned in their own half ready to join in.

HOW TO PLAY

Game starts 1v0 and the Blue gets a free shot. A Red player dribbles in to attack 1v1 as soon as the previous ball is considered ‘dead’, e.g. goalkeeper save, goal or ball goes out. After the 1v1 has played out, a Blue passes into Blue and joins in 2v1. Once the 2v1 has played out a Red player passes in and plays 2v2. The practice builds into a 5v5 small sided game. Make sure both teams get a chance to be over/underloaded.

Alternatives/progressions

• Goals scored when underloaded are worth two.

COACHING POINTS

• Recap: be sure to recap the things that have been coached before e.g., 1v1 moves, attacking quickly, reaction to transition to help link previous practices to the live game.
• Decision making: explore players’ decision making as to why, when and where they may go solo or combine with others.

1. The first player dribbles and shoots unopposed

2. As soon as the ball is ‘dead’, the first opponent dribbles into play, for a 1v1

3. Once that has played out, a Blue player comes on to play a 2v1 (this continues until 5v5)

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