Winning the Second Ball Battle

SoccerSpecific

The ability to be able to deal with the oppositions direct play is an essential part of a teams success. The following session focuses on the technical ability to play good defensive headers as well as the tactical ability of the team to compete for and win second balls and then to transition into their attacking shape.


1.

Setup:

Winning the second ball battle- Technical practice. 3 or more stations set up at Point A with 5-7 players per station. Hurdles set up 30 yards away (A) from Box B (5 x 5 box) and 10 yards between Box B and Box C (5 x 5 box).

Winning the Second Ball Battle 1 | SoccerSpecific.com

Instructions:

Players start from the bottom at the hurdles (A), perform movements before sprinting to Box B. Players decelerate from the start of Box B to the mannequin. At this time, the player at Box C throws a ball for the player to header. The player in Box B attempts to head the ball into Box C and the player tries to control the ball with one touch inside this box.

Rotation – players move from Point A, to Box B, to Box C, back to Point A.

Coaching Points:

  • Defensive header – deceleration and ability to adjust body position to attack the aerial ball at the highest point
  • Aerial control – ability of player in Box C to adjust their body position to get in line with the ball and control the ball in an area close to their body

2.

Setup:

Winning the Second Ball battle 1 v 1. Multiple fields set up if necessary. 8-10 players per field split into 2 teams.

Winning the Second Ball Battle 2 | SoccerSpecific.com

Instructions:

The coach (white) starts the game by throwing a ball up for one player from each team. Both players attempt to win the header and play into the grid. Both players in the grid attempt to win the second ball and then attack the opposition goal. Players rotate to the next station.

Rotation: Players move from the corner (A) to the aerial battle (B), to the 1 v 1 field (C).

Progression: progress to 2 v 2 in the middle.

Coaching Points:

  • Defensive headers – a quality clearance focuses on the height and distance of the header
  • Anticipation – movement from players in the playing area to position themselves between the ball and the opponent, use the correct aerial control and then attack 1 v 1
  • Communication – when progressing to 2 v 2, identify who will challenge for the second ball and communicate with team-mate
  • Physical battle – When progressing to 2 v 2, ability to box the opponent out to give team-mate best opportunity to control the aerial ball

3.

Setup:

Winning second ball battle- 4 v 4 small sided game. Multiple fields set up (30 x 20 yards). 3 min games. Switch end player each set.

Winning the Second Ball Battle 3 | SoccerSpecific.com

Instructions:

Ball starts with a long ball played from one end (A) into the player at the back of the field (B) who plays a defensive header into the playing area. Players in the grid compete for second balls, then normal rules apply. Every time a ball leaves the grid, a new ball is played into the teams end person who is in possession (if red is in possession, a long ball is played into the red end player).

Coaching Points:

  • Defensive headers – a quality clearance focuses on the height and distance of the header
  • Anticipation – movement from players in the playing area to position themselves between the ball and the opponent, use the correct aerial control and then attack 1 v 1
  • Communication – identify who will challenge for the second ball and communicate with team-mates about who will compete for the ball
  • Physical battle – physical ability to box the opponent out to give team-mate best opportunity to control the aerial ball
  • Technical quality – clean possession asap- get the ball out of pressure and open up

4.

Setup:

8 v 8 Winning second balls. 76 x 55 yds field size field. 2 teams of 8 set up into a 1-4-1-2.

Winning the Second Ball Battle 4 | SoccerSpecific.com

Instructions:

Each new ball starts from a long goal kick with both teams competing for the first and second ball. Each team attempt to win the ball and then attack the opposition goal. Whenever a ball leaves the field, a new ball is played from the goalkeeper (in possession).

Coaching Points:

  • Defensive headers- a quality clearance focuses on the height and distance of the header
  • Anticipation- movement from players in the playing area to position themselves between the ball and the opponent, use the correct aerial control and then attack 1 v 1
  • Communication- identify who will challenge for the second ball and communicate with team-mates about who will compete for the ball
  • Physical battle- physical ability to box the opponent out to give team-mate best opportunity to control the aerial ball
  • Technical quality- clean possession asap- get the ball out of pressure and open up