This session focuses on decisions made by individuals and the team when winning the ball back in a transition.
Turnover of play is one of the most common occurrences in a football match, and equipping our players to know how to maximise space and possession in these situations means we can make best use of the ball.
The session works through a number of different drills, designed to rehearse passing, dribbling, pressing and finishing.
What do I get the players to do?
We warm up using a passing square – four players on cones placed midway along each side of a 12×12-yard square. There are two balls – both go anti-clockwise – with two stationary players as opposite target men. The other pair are runners, swapping positions in time to receive passes from the target men before moving the ball on (1). All players are two-touch. We frequently switch pairs’ tasks, so target men become workers and vice versa.
We want to see quick, accurate link-up play and working players running onto passes.
The five-goal game puts elements practised in the warm-up into a competitive setting. We place five coned goals, each five yards wide, in a 44×18-yard area. There are two positioned vertically in from the left and right touchlines, and another horizontally across the middle. In the example given, this is a 7v7.
If needs be, we can extend the game right up to 11v11, increasing the area size gradually.
In possession, we’re looking for players to make use of the five scoring areas (2a), whilst staying aware of their defensive duties (2b), since turnover of play is frequent and quick. Out of possession, players need to decide whether to press opponents or protect the goals.
Handball retains positional awareness whilst focusing players on one set scoring target. In the same 18-yard box, we play 5v5 up to 11v11, instructing the defending team to either press high (all players beyond the halfway line) or drop deep (all in their own half) to fashion specific attacking scenarios for the opposition.
Therefore, the team in possession must recognise when to play over, and when in front of their opponents. To score, teams pass the ball with their hands into the arms of a target player, who is stood in a six-yard scoring zone midway along the short touchline (3a). We progress the game by playing it with feet (3b).
We conclude with a full-size game (4). Tactically, players must recognise the right option; technically, it’s about executing a pass, a skill or a dribble in order to make the most of a situation.