Transitions In Front: Counter-press In Final Third

SoccerSpecific

The following activity + progressions are aimed at developing two main themes:

  1. Transitions in Front
  2. Counter-Pressing in Final 1/3.

Quick transitions in front does not mean simply ‘being direct’, long-balls etc; within these activities it relates to a tactical choice / playing style whereby a team wants to have their first priority to play forward. Players must develop the game insight + understanding to recognize the key moments to play forward as well as the ability to transition to support the play.

Counter-Pressing is another tactical choice / element of the playing style that must be coached constantly if it is to become a team ‘habit’. The activities emphasize and reinforce that ‘habit’ of immediately thinking ‘Press’ on any loss of possession.

1.

Setup:

Playing area is from 18yd box to 18yd box; this area is divided into 3 zones.  Play begins in the Central Zone.

Instructions:

TRANSITIONS IN FRONT FROM CENTRAL AREAS:

Coach begins play with a pass to either team – the team in possession has a target of 5 passes in the Central Zone and then must attempt to break forward into their attacking zone; if they complete 5 additional passes in the attacking zone a ‘goal’ is awarded.

If they lose possession at any time – immediate ‘Counter-Pressing’. If they regain possession through Counter-Pressing in the Attacking zone and complete 5 passes = 2 goals awarded.

Defending team must attempt to gain possession and break forward through Central + Attacking Zones.

Coaching Points:

Possession Team:

  • Quick ball circulation; look to play forward early.
  • Quick transitions from all players to support the play.
  • Runners from Central areas

Transition:

  • Immediate Counter-Pressing to apply pressure on ball and close space / time for opponent.

2.

Setup:

Playing area is from 18yd box to 18yd box; this area is divided into 3 zones.  Play begins in the Central Zone.

Instructions:

TRANSITIONS IN FRONT FROM CENTRAL AREAS:

The possession team (Black) has transitioned from the Central Zone; the Defending team (Red) has also transitioned back to defend.

Black team must now attempt to retain possession within this area.

**Note: the Coach (C) must keep a 2nd ball ready to put immediately into play. If the ball is cleared from the playing area the Coach must put the next ball in immediately: If to Red team – they must attempt to break forward into the Central Zone; Black team must Counter-Press immediately.

Coaching Points:

Possession Team:

  • Quick ball circulation; look to play forward early.
  • Quick transitions from all players to support the play.
  • Runners from Central areas

Transition:

  • Immediate Counter-Pressing to apply pressure on ball and close space / time for opponent.

3.

Setup:

18yd box to 18yd box; this area is divided into 3 zones. Addition of 6 mini-goals (3 each end of playing area).

Instructions:

TRANSITIONS IN FRONT FROM CENTRAL AREAS:

Addition of 3 mini-goals at each end of the playing area.

Coach (C) must keep a 2nd ball to quickly put into play.

After 5 passes in the Attacking Zone teams may score in any mini-goal. If REGAINING possession through Counter-Pressing – no 5 pass restriction – score immediately.

*In the Diagram the Red team has gained possession; the Black team immediately Counter-Presses to attempt to regain possession as quickly as possible. The Red team must complete 5 passes and attempt to break forward to Central Zone – then Attacking Zone.

Coaching Points:

Possession Team:

  • Quick ball circulation; look to play forward early.
  • Quick transitions from all players to support the play.
  • Runners from Central areas

Transition:

  • Immediate Counter-Pressing to apply pressure on ball and close space / time for opponent = don’t allow opponent to escape!
  • On regaining possession – look to score as quickly as possible.

4.

Setup:

Playing area is from 18yd box to 18yd box; this area is divided into 3 zones.  Play begins in the Central Zone.  Goalkeepers + Full-sized goals added at each end.

Instructions:

TRANSITIONS IN FRONT FROM CENTRAL AREAS:

Addition of Goalkeepers / Goals at each end of the playing area.  After 5 passes in the Central Zone teams must attempt to break forward into the Attacking Zone.  After breaking into the Attacking Zone no restrictions apply.

If Defensive team gains possession – immediate Counter-Press from Black team to attempt to regain possession in the attacking third of the pitch.  Coach (C) must keep a 2nd ball to quickly put into play.

Coaching Points:

Possession Team:

  • Quick ball circulation; look to play forward early.
  • Quick transitions from all players to support the play.
  • Runners from Central areas
  • Be aware of off-side: timing of runs forward

Transition:

  • Immediate Counter-Pressing to apply pressure on ball and close space / time for opponent = don’t allow opponent to escape!
  • On regaining possession – look to score as quickly as possible.