Verticality

SoccerSpecific

The principle of verticality has become more prevalent as an alternative philosophy of the tiki taka possession style that was made famous by Guardiola’s Barcelona between 2008-2012. Most famously, the Red Bull teams such as Leipzig and Salzburg have enjoyed relative success with their approach which focuses on breaking lines quickly to cut through the central areas of the field. The session ‘Verticality’ focuses on developing the mentality and technical/ tactical skills to be able to play vertically as a team.

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1.

Setup:

4 players per grid- 4 grids total for 16 field players. Each square is 10×10 yds. 2 minute sets.

Verticality 1 | SoccerSpecific.com

Instructions:

Passing ladders to break lines- variations to be applied (see below);

1. The ball is passed from player to player. Player changes angle of support NEVER receiving passes in a straight line.
2. The ball is passed to the 1st player who receives and turns, next pass the ball goes up, back and through.
3. Each pass from player to player is up, back and through.

Coaching Points:

  • Angles of support- open body position to be able to play forward.
  • Mentality and bravery to break lines- positive mindset to play forward when possible.
  • Technical quality to break lines- first touch, weight and accuracy of pass to the foot furthest away from the defender in order to allow the
  • attacker to advance forward.
  • First touch to break pressure- once the line has been broken, the player with the ball should take a positive touch to completely break the line.
  • Movements to break lines- attempt to receive the ball behind the line of pressure.

2.

Setup:

16 players, Field split into 4 zones- 30 yds width x 40 yards length. 2 full size goal at each end. 2 minute sets x 7 sets.

Verticality 2 | SoccerSpecific.com

Instructions:

The team in possession attempt to move the ball quickly from side to side to create opportunities to break the lines and find their teammates in the next zone. Defenders must shift quickly and as a unit to prevent the pass breaking the line. If possession is lost, the team who won the ball continues in the other direction to the goal.

Coaching Points:

  • Angles of support- open body position to be able to play forward.
  • Mentality and bravery to break lines- positive mindset to play forward when possible.
  • Technical quality to break lines- first touch, weight and accuracy of pass to the foot furthest away from the defender in order to allow the attacker to advance forward.
  • First touch to break pressure- once the line has been broken, the player with the ball should take a positive touch to completely break the line.
  • Movements to break lines- attempt to receive the ball behind the line of pressure.

3.

Setup:

8 v 8 Playing between the lines- field set up starting at each 18 yard box. Width is 44 yards (width of the 18) to encourage vertical passes. Fields split into thirds, with a 3 v 2 in each final third and a 1 v 1 + 2 neutrals in the middle third (adjust based on your numbers). 4 mins set.

Verticality 3 | SoccerSpecific.com

Instructions:

Balls start the goalkeeper who plays into their defenders. The team in possession tries to break the line to play into the middle third to their team-mate and 2 neutrals. At that point, the attacking player and 2 neutrals must combine with 2-3 passes (3 v 1) past the mannequins to try to break into the final third with a pass. At this point, two players (1 neutral and the attacking player) can join the 2 strikers to create a 4 v 3 going to goal in their favor. If the team scores, they get a new ball from the goalkeeper; if not, the opposition’s GK plays a ball in for them to begin an attack. If ball turns over at any point in the middle third, the new attacking team can go straight to goal.

Coaching Points:

  • Angles of support- open body position to be able to play forward.
  • Mentality and bravery to break lines- positive mindset to play forward when possible.
  • Technical quality to break lines- first touch, weight and accuracy of pass to the foot furthest away from the defender in order to allow the attacker to advance forward.
  • First touch to break pressure- once the line has been broken, the player with the ball should take a positive touch to completely break the line.
  • Movements to break lines- attempt to receive the ball behind the line of pressure.

4.

Setup:

8 v 8 Playing between the lines- field set up starting at each 18 yard box. Width is 44 yards (width of the 18) to encourage vertical passes. Open field (no thirds). 6 mins set.

Verticality 4 | SoccerSpecific.com

Instructions:

Balls start the goalkeeper who plays into their defenders. The team in possession tries to break lines to score on the opposition goal. The team can score a triple goal if they can find three split passes before scoring (N.B. a split pass is a pass which breaks the line between two players in a horizontal line). If the ball turns over at any point in the middle third, the new attacking team can go straight to goal.

Coaching Points:

  • Angles of support- open body position to be able to play forward.
  • Mentality and bravery to break lines- positive mindset to play forward when possible.
  • Technical quality to break lines- first touch, weight and accuracy of pass to the foot furthest away from the defender in order to allow the attacker to advance forward.
  • First touch to break pressure- once the line has been broken, the player with the ball should take a positive touch to completely break the line.
  • Movements to break lines- attempt to receive the ball behind the line of pressure.