Attacking Play

SoccerSpecific

Stephen Craigan is currently the club captain of Motherwell FC in the Scottish Premier League and a former player with Partick Thistle. He made 54 appearances for Northern Ireland including a number as captain. He holds the UEFA ‘A’ License and contributed one of his favorite attacking sessions for SoccerSpecific.

Activity #1:

Warm Up

Set Up:

Players in two groups. Slalom course set up as shown. Fun skills warm up with a competitive edge. Both teams race against each other.

Diagram A
Diagram A

Explanation:

Dribble up through the cones and back so players get used to having the ball at their feet and changing direction with the ball.

Coaching Points:

  • Race 1 – Players can use both feet to dribble
  • Race 2 – Players can use right foot only
  • Race 3 – Players can use left foot only
  • Race 4 – Players must juggle the ball in the air through the course without dropping it

For elite players

  • Race 5 – Juggle the ball using left foot only
  • Race 6 – Juggle the ball using right foot only
  • Race 7 – Juggle the ball using both thighs.

Activity #2:

1v1

Setup:

Two teams – A and B. Area 30×20 with four small goals. Team A defends two goals, Team B defends the other 2.

Diagram B
Diagram B

Explanation:

Player B passes the ball to Player A then defends 1v1. A takes on B and runs the ball through one of the gates to score. If the defender wins the ball he can counter.

Coaching Points:

Defender:

  • Get to the ball quickly, put the striker under pressure, keep him away from the gates
  • Bodyshape is important, be on your toes, push the striker down one side
  • When you get him down the side, keep your eye on the ball and slow him down and your chances of winning the ball will improve
  • When the chance arrives make a tackle.

Forward:

  • Gather up as much speed as you can and attack the defender
  • Try and force him back towards the gates so if you can get past him you are closer to a goal
  • Keep on the move and try not to stop with the ball, it hands the advantage to the defender

Activity #3:

2v1

Set Up:

Area 24×10, 2v1 – Yellow v Red. Two groups/grids working at the same time. Offside is in play to make it more difficult and realistic.

Diagram C
Diagram C

Explanation:

The 2 attackers go at the 1st defender. When they cross the white line the 2nd defender comes in to play and tries to stop the attackers. If the defender wins the ball the play is dead. Attackers look to get to the opposite goal line.

Coaching Points:

Attackers:

  • Figure out how to get past a defender with an overload situation. Try to:
    a) dribble past the defender
    b) play a 1-2
    c) play a pass into space behind the defender for partner to run on to
  • Keep passing the ball to move the defender and when the opportunity arises do either a, b or c to get past

Defenders:

  • Try and keep it to a 1v1 so shape your body to the attacker to show him down the line and block out his pass to his partner.
  • Keep your eye on the ball and try to win the ball.

Activity #4:

3v2

Set Up:

Area 24×20. 2 teams play 3v2 and attack and defend two small goals. Progress to 3v3, 4v3 and 4v4. Adjust size of the area for level of the players.

Diagram D
Diagram D

Explanation:

A plays to one of the attacking players on B to attack 3v2. If defenders win the ball they can counter and score. Repeat the exercise.

Coaching Points:

Attackers:

  • Keep wide apart to make it hard for the defenders to get close
  • Keep the ball moving, inter change positions so its hard for the defenders to win the ball
  • Attack at the middle of the defenders and pass wide if the space closes up

Defenders:

  • Create a 2v2 situation, try to force the ball into a wide area, go man for man leaving the furthest player from the ball free
  • Talk to one another as it is vital to the system working
  • Force the player with the ball down the line for 1v1 or force him to pass back to the middle player who the 2nd defender is marking so a tackle can be made

Activity #5:

Counter Attack

Set Up:

Area – width of the penalty area from half way to one goal. Two groups of 5v2 in 10×10 grid with 2v2 at the top of the penalty area.

Diagram E
Diagram E

Explanation:

Counter attack activity to take advantage of a 3v2 overload. Players in grid complete a set number of passes, play forward to striker then one leaves the grid to link up with the 2 stikers. Strikers have unlimited touches; supporting player can only have 2 touches at one time. Alternate the defenders, attackers and square players. The aim is to gain confortable possession in the square and then play a penetrarting pass to the strikers with a midfield player supporting to create the overload.

Coaching Points:

Strikers:

  • Protect the ball from the defender and not give possession up easily
  • Keep good distance between each other so when the supporting player joins in the defenders have a problem
  • Keep on the move without the ball and look for penetration

Defenders:

  • Try to force the strikers away from goal so be tight on them
  • Try to create a 1v1 and force the striker down the line Both defenders must talk to each other so if one steps up to the ball the 2nd must follow his movements so they work as a team