Switching Play

SoccerSpecific

Switching Play focuses on the ability of the team to advance the ball from the defensive third to the final third of play, specifically focusing on the movements and technical qualities of the center midfield players to receive between the lines and play forward. This session is fun, competitive and players will learn the concepts implicitly throughout each activity, as it slowly builds in difficulty throughout.

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Some COVID-19 resources for teams + clubs are below:

US Soccer Play On
CDC: Playing Sports
US Youth Soccer Return to Play Guidelines


Switching Play

1.

Setup:

40 x 30 yards. 2 teams of 8 (depending on numbers) with 1 ball per group; 4 from each team start inside the playing area with 4 on the outside. Unopposed exercise; 4 mins work: 3 mins dynamic stretch x 2 sets= 14 mins.

Switching Play 1 | SoccerSpecific.com

Instructions:

Two teams of 8 play with one ball each.

  1. Players on the outside look to receive and dribble into the area, look to combine with a player on the inside and then play to a new outside player. Player who passed outside must go outside. Encourage quick decisions, speed of play and movement.
  2. Players on the outside look to receive and dribble into the area, look to combine with a player on the inside and then play to a new outside player. Any player switches with the outside player. Encourage longer passes, interchange (diagonals) and combinations between inside and outside players.

Coaching Points:

  • Communication- man on / turn

2.

Setup:

10-11 players per grid, two identical grids set up next to each other 40X30. 2 Variations x 2 sets (one going each way), 3 minutes per variation.

Switching Play 2 | SoccerSpecific.com

Instructions:

First passing pattern shown. Red A passes it to B, B turns and passes it to C who pulls away from the flag (defender) and dribbles to D. At the same time, the same pattern goes on between D- E- F. Players always rotate by advancing one place in the sequence.

Coaching Points:

  • Timing of runs
  • Turning with the ball
  • Pulling away from the defender (flags) in order to create space to receive the ball
  • Quality of the pass and movements

3.

Setup:

10-11 players per grid, two identical grids set up next to each other 40X30. 2 Variations x 2 sets (one going each way), 3 minutes per variation.

Switching Play 3 | SoccerSpecific.com

Instructions:

Second passing pattern shown. A passes it to B (who checks at an angle), B plays a give and go to receive through the gate, dribbles towards C and then plays a give and go with C who dribbles down to the end towards D. Same pattern occurring at the same time between D, E and F. Players always rotate by advancing one place in the sequence. 12 minutes.

Coaching Points:

  • Timing of runs
  • Turning with the ball
  • Pulling away from the defender (flags) in order to create space to receive the ball
  • Quality of the pass and movements

4.

Setup:

17 players, three teams of 5 plus two neutral players. Three 15X15 grids set up next to each other. Three mannequins/ poles set up in the middle box as shown.

Switching Play 4 | SoccerSpecific.com

Instructions:

Coach plays in balls from the side. The team in possession (white team) keeps the ball for a minimum of 5 passes Vs 2 red defenders. The white team’s objective is to transfer possession through the two neutrals to the green team at the opposite end. If successful, the green team does the same against 2 different red defenders. If the red team win possession from the whites or intercept in the middle zone, they take the place of the white team on the outside and whites move to the middle as defenders.

Progressions:

  • Allow more defenders, allow neutral players to drop in to help maintain possession and dribble across line into middle zone.

Coaching Points:

  • Keep an eye on the two neutral players in the middle zone and make sure they are working on different planes and providing depth for each other
  • Movement off the ball, look for passing lanes and pockets of space between defenders
  • Receive the ball on the half turn to play through quickly

5.

Setup:

8v8 organised across 3 vertical zones as shown. Full-sized goals in half field (75 x 84 yds). 8 mins x 2 sets (2 min rest). Teams in a 4-3 formation with 1 neutral player.

Instructions:

TACTICAL GAME – DEVELOPING SWITCH OF PLAY:

Defending team is encouraged to compress / compact into 2 vertical zones at any given time. Possession team encouraged to maintain at least 1 player in a wide position on weak-side zone (farthest zone from ball). On switching play – players should attempt to play across a minimum of 3 zones to force the opponent to travel over greater distances to defend. Teams maintain possession through quick ball circulation and movement and attempt to score in their opponents goal. Possession team is encouraged to pass / maintain possession / probe on one side of the pitch to draw the opponent to one side – this creates an opportunity for a quick switch to take place. Switching can be with (1) quick passes across the grids or (2) Direct ball to wide player; both options effective. 8 min games.

Coaching Points:

  • Quick ball circulation and movement
  • Develop an understanding and awareness of switching play quickly to opposite side of playing area
  • Identify that space and numerical advantage can occur on a quick switch of play
  • On any switch – be direct – attack the space / opponent
  • Transitions across to offer support