Shadow Striker

SoccerSpecific

Wayne Harrison is currently the Academy Director for the Al Ain Football Club of the UAE Pro League. Al Ain FC is the most successful professional club in the Gulf having won the 2003 Asian Champions League. Wayne’s responsibilities include curriculum development for the entire academy with the future development of first-team professional players his main priority. Wayne has a wealth of knowledge at the highest levels of the game both as a player and coach. He specialises in designinging training sessions that develop game awareness and quick thinking.

A former Academy Director at Blackpool F.C. in the English 2nd Division, he now writes and presents at coaching symposiums worldwide. Harrison holds the prestigious UEFA ‘A’ License as well as a bachelors degree in applied physiology and sports psychology. Several of his books are currently in print through Reedswain and are recommended reading at coaching courses worldwide.

Visit www.SoccerAwareness.com for further information.

Activity #1:

Set Up:

Playing area is made up of 2 endzones and 1 Central Zone. A 3v3 is organised in each endzone as shown. 1 ball per team.

Diagram A
Diagram A

Explanation:

Both teams pass and move. This phase of the activity is non-competitive (teams are NOT trying to win possession of the ball from each other). The Central Zone mimicks the area where a “Shadow Striker” would move to receive passes in a game situation. Players can pass through central zone to teammates in opposite endzone – Play is continuous.

Coaching Points:

  • Timing of pass
  • Timing of run, angle of run
  • Communication – verbal and visual – visual cues such as body language, eye contact etc
  • Increase tempo as warmup phase develops.

Activity #2:

Set Up:

Same setup as above.

Diagram B
Diagram B

Explanation:

Both teams continue to pass and move. Players from each team must drop into the central zone to receive passes – this mimicks the movement of the Shadow Striker into space to receive passes in a game situation. In the diagram Player 4 Yellow and Red C have checked into the central zone to receive a pass to feet. After receiving the pass each player returns the ball to their end zone to continue the activity in the opposite direction. Play is continuous.

Coaching Points:

  • Timing of pass
  • Timing of run, angle of run
  • Timing for each must be precise for movement to work correctly in a realistic manner.
  • Play must be at a high tempo.

Activity #3:

Set Up:

Same setup as above. The central zone is now divided into 4 areas using cones as shown.

Diagram C
Diagram C

Explanation:

Both teams continue to pass and move. Now, 2 players from each team must drop into the central zone to receive passes – players must be at different angles and depths (cannot be in a straight line)

In the Diagram, Player 6 and Player 4 have timed their runs to receive the ball from the opposite end zone – as you can see player 6 is the deeper target; Player 4 goes underneath to receive the layoff from 6. Player 4 is now faced upfield and can play the ball into thy feet of teammate 5. Note: the diagram only illustrates 1 team moving into the central zone – both teams must send players as this creates a congested playing area to force players to be more aware of spacing etc.

Coaching Points:

  • Timing of pass
  • Timing of run, angle of run
  • Timing for each must be PRECISE for movement to work correctly in a realistic manner.
  • Angles of support in terms of each others position.
  • Encourage 1-touch play in central area – this forces the players to get into the correct positions to both pass and receive as well as have an AWARENESS of the next move
  • PRIOR to receiving the ball.
  • Play must be at a high tempo.