Transition Games

SoccerSpecific

Wayne Harrison specialises in designing 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.

His most recent publication “GAME SITUATION TRAINING FOR SOCCER” is 250 pages of themed exercises and small sided games.

Go to www.SoccerAwareness.com to contact Wayne and to purchase his “must-read” books!

Wayne is a regular contributor to our SoccerSpecific.com community – we THANK him for his tireless work!

TRANSITION DIRECTIONAL TARGET GAME

Game Objective:

Developing Movement Off the Ball

Set Up:

A 40×40 yard grid is created as shown in Diagram (a) below – 4v4 inside the grid with 8 perimeter players as shown.

Diagram A
Diagram A

Explanation:

Players must pass the ball to their target players to score. To score again – work the ball back into their own half of the field to be able to return to target players.
Target players (G,H) and (7,8) have two touches as do side players.

Coaching Points:

  • Creating Space by running off the ball to receive or to help a teammate receive.
  • Quality of Passing; long and short to targets and to teammates.
  • Support play: working angles and distances, switching play using the side players.
  • Receiving and Turning in tight situations and dribbling in 1 v 1 situations.
  • Quick decision making is required in this session because the numbersare small, the area tight and the transitions rapid.

Progressions:

  1. No restriction on touches then 3, 2 or 1 touch, but only if it is on.
  2. All outside and target players one-touch only where possible.
  3. Switch with target players as they receive the ball.
  4. Switch with outside players
  5. Use the opponents target players as support players.

Below is an example of the transition and movement off the ball to make it happen. I have left the defensive players static in this situation to highlight the movement of the attacking players.

Diagram B
Diagram B
  1. (2) passes to target player (8) who brings the ball back into the playing area.
  2. (3) makes a run into the other half of the field on the blind side of (C) to receive the next pass. They need to get the ball into that half to be able to score.
  3. (1) makes a forward run into space to receive the next pass from (3) and passes to target player (7) who can start the play again.
  4. (1) then switches with (7) and becomes a target player for the next phase of play.

Below in Diagram (c) is a variation of the game if smaller numbers of players are available – only twelve players involved. All the same principles of the game can be applied with the smaller number.

Diagram C
Diagram C

The above variation will have the inside players “more involved” as individuals reduce the size of the game from 4 v 4 to 3 v 3 so the responsibility of each player then becomes greater to have an influence on the game, as there are fewer players.

IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS:

  1. Observe the Attacking Team – Recognize their movement off the ball for example to work the ball into their own half see if the players make runs early in there as soon as the ball is at a target, some should support short and some long so the target has choices.
  2. Observe the Defending Team – see if they are sucked to the ball or they recognize runs off the ball and track players making runs away from the ball into the other half.

* To lessen the workload and keep everyone involved have players switch with targets and outside side players when they pass to them.

ELEMENTS OF PLAY THE TARGET GAME TEACHES

A) Attacking as a Team and as Individuals

Creating Space by running off the ball to receive or to help a teammate receive.
Developing quick support play working angles and distances incorporatingswitching play using the side players.
Passing long and short to targets and to teammates.
Receiving and turning in tight situations and dribbling in 1 v 1 situations.
Lots of touches on the ball for the players in this practice.
Quick decision making is required in this session because the numbers are small, the area tight and the transitions rapid.

B) Defending as a Team and as Individuals

Pressurizing players on the ball to regain possession.
Supporting pressuring players and tracking runners off the ball.
High pressure to regain possession in the attacking half to be able to go straight to the target to score.

C) Transitions

From defense to attack and attack to defense, quick decision making and improved concentration as the switch occurs. Interchanges of positions between inside players, targets and side support players.

D) As a coach you can work in this session how to defend properly as individuals and a team or how to attack properly as individuals and a team.