Breaking Down A Compact Opponent

SoccerSpecific

Breaking down an opponent that is organized and compact can prove difficult for many teams; it requires passing ability, dribbling ability, awareness, quick decision-making etc. On the reverse side; coaching players to remain organized and compact while defending is also crucial for success.  The following activities / session develops both the attacking concepts as well as the defensive concepts of a 4-man midfield.

The activities / session develop 2 main themes:

  1. Attacking: Breaking down and penetrating a four-man midfield block,
  2. Defending: Midfield organization to deny attacking options + prevent passes to advanced players

On the attacking side, players are encouraged to always look for the passing option in front; can they probe and find the gaps? Can the players recognize the right moments to attack? Can they recognize the Strikers movement between the lines?

On the defending side, the emphasis is on blocking and preventing successful attacking options; can the players screen, press, intercept and transition to attack?

*Playing area can be adjusted according to age/ability of players.


1.

Setup:

10 Players utilised; Each team consists of a midfield 4 plus one Striker (#9) or #10.  Playing area is divided by a 2-3 yard central channel. Two end zones are approximately 10-12 x 25-30 (depending on ability of players).

Diagram A

Instructions:

2 THEMES: (1) Find Penetrating passes, (2) Compact Defending + Press if Possible –
Team in possession attempts to find splitting / penetrating passes to their Target (#9 / #10). Defensive team attempts to stay compact and create a block / shield as a 4-man unit to deny any penetrating passes.
Also at this phase – one Defensive Player may step across the central zone to PRESS if they feel they can apply pressure / win possession.

Passing to Target successfully = 1 point
Intercepting passes = 1 point
Game is continuous

Coaching Points:

  • In Possession:
    • Always look for opportunity to pass in front / penetrate
    • Interchange positions to disrupt opponent
    • Quick ball circulation.
  • Defensive Group:
    • Stay compact to deny passing lanes
    • Can I Press? Yes – GO! No – stay compact!
    • Communication – verbal/non-verbal is crucial
    • On winning possession look to pass to Target on first pass = quick transition to attack!

2.

Setup:

10 Players utilised; Each team consists of a midfield 4 plus one Striker (#9) or #10. Playing area is divided by a 2-3 yard central channel. #9 + #10 Play in the space behind each block of 4 Midfield Players.

Diagram B

Instructions:

Team in possession attempts to find splitting / penetrating passes to their Target (#9 / #10). Defensive team attempts to stay compact and create a block / shield as a 4-man unit to deny any penetrating passes.
As previous – One Defensive Player may step across the central zone to PRESS if they feel they can apply pressure / win possession.

If #9 or #10 receives the pass he must turn quickly and score in either mini-goal; Midfield Players can turn to Press = Attacker must turn quickly to avoid pressure.
Game is continuous.

Coaching Points:

  • In Possession:
    • Always look for opportunity to pass in front / penetrate
    • Interchange positions to disrupt opponent
    • Quick ball circulation.
    • #9 / #10 turn immediately to score
  • Defensive Group:
    • Stay compact to deny passing lanes
    • Can I Press? Yes – GO! No – stay compact!
    • Communication – verbal/non-verbal is crucial
    • On winning possession look to pass to Target on first pass = quick transition to attack!

3.

Setup:

12 Players utilised; Attacking team consists of a midfield 4 plus Forwards (#9) + #10. Defending team consists of Midfield 4, Central Defender, Goalkeeper + 1 Target Player.  Playing area is divided by a 2-3 yard central channel. *Central Defenders starting position is behind end zone as shown.

Diagram C

Instructions:

Team in possession attempts to find splitting / penetrating passes to their Forwards (#9 / #10); Forwards must then attempt to attack the lone Central Defender and create scoring chances. Defensive team attempts to stay compact and create a block / shield as a 4-man unit to deny any penetrating passes.
As previous – One Defensive Player may step across the central zone to PRESS if they feel they can apply pressure / win possession. Also, the Target player (T) can apply pressure from behind.

Change roles after designated time; allow Black team to attack main goal / Red Defend.

Coaching Points:

  • In Possession:
    • Always look for opportunity to pass in front / penetrate
    • Interchange positions to disrupt opponent
    • Quick ball circulation.
    • #9 / #10 constantly look for passing channels and to avoid Central Defender.
  • Defensive Group:
    • Stay compact to deny passing lanes
    • Can I Press? Yes – GO! No – stay compact!
    • Communication – verbal/non-verbal is crucial; Central Defender + Goalkeeper must communicate from behind
    • On winning possession look to pass to Target on first pass = quick transition to attack!

4.

Setup:

10 Players utilised; Each team consists of a midfield 4 plus one Striker (#9) or #10.  Playing area is divided by a 2-3 yard central channel. Two end zones are approximately 10-12 x 25-30 (depending on ability of players).

Diagram D

Instructions:

Team in possession attempts to find splitting / penetrating passes to their Target (#9 / #10). Defensive team attempts to stay compact and create a block / shield as a 4-man unit to deny any penetrating passes.

Passing to Target successfully = 1 point
Intercepting passes = 1 point.
Game is continuous.

Coaching Points:

  • In Possession:
    • Always look for opportunity to pass in front / penetrate
    • Interchange positions to disrupt opponent
    • Quick ball circulation.
  • Defensive Group:
    • Stay compact to deny passing lanes
    • Communication – verbal/non-verbal is crucial
    • On winning possession look to pass to Target on first pass = quick transition to attack!