The 3-5-2 formation remains hugely popular in modern football, though with so many teams becoming smart to its threat, we need players to be adept and precise in their execution of the set-up if it is to continue to reap rewards. MORE
This session is designed to break lines with an end product, building up to a 1v1 situation and a close range shot on goal.
Primarily it helps players to understand the importance of using the correct weight and angle of pass. The timing of their off the ball runs is an important feature of the session and it should also develop an awareness of how to receive a pass.
We find that players really engage with this activity as it becomes a finishing session, however my coaching points are all based around the pass and the timing and movement of the players.
During the session, players will learn to appreciate the quality of each pass they make to a team mate. It will teach them to make the best pass possible. As the session progresses, the addition of goals makes the weight and angle of the pass even more important, as a quick goalkeeper can now come out and collect through balls that aren’t played just right.
The second half of the session becomes more position specific, with defenders playing out from the back and attackers counter-attacking in 3v2 scenarios.
We would run this session every few weeks, depending on the opposition and whether they play with a high line.
|Up to two thirds of pitch|
|Balls, cones, mannequins, 2 goals|
|Number of Players|
|Up to 12 players + 2 goalkeepers|
|Playing around: 10mins
Playing through 1 & 2: 10mins each
Function 3v2: 12mins
What do I get the players to do?
We set up an area of 30×30 yards around the centre circle, with four mannequins representing defenders, positioned as shown . We’re using 10 outfield players. Four players start tight on the mannequins, one on each, and the remaining players form queues above and below the centre circle.
Players pass and then make a run to follow their pass in the sequence shown. Both ends work at the same time, with play starting simultaneously from the first players in each of the two queues. We want to see the correct weight and angle of pass used, with players spinning off the mannequins to receive on the correct foot. Play for blocks of three minutes before reversing the direction of the passing sequence.
How do I progress the session?
Playing through 1
To add an end product to the passing sequence, we now take the same basic set-up and increase the size of area by adding a goal on the edge of each penalty box, as shown . We’re using 10 outfield players and two goalkeepers.
This time the starting player passes to the player in the circle, who moves off his mannequin to receive and plays back to the starting player. At the same time the player on the left of the circle spins off his mannequin and runs away from the goal before suddenly changing direction, as if shaking off a marker or making a run to stay onside with the mannequin as the last defender. He then sprints onto a through ball played by the starting player, dribbles towards the goal and tries to beat the keeper with a shot.
All players move on to the next station and the player who shoots joins the back of the starting queue at the end he has just attacked. Run this drill in blocks of three minutes, with both sides running simultaneously. Then move the goals to the opposite wings and re-run the drill.
Playing through 2
We next run a different passing sequence using the same set-up. This time the starter plays directly to the widest attacker. He knocks the ball to the central player, who has come off his mannequin to receive. The central player then threads a through ball into the path of the wide attacker, who dribbles towards goal and tries to beat the keeper, as shown .
What do I get the players to do next?
We set up an area of 30×18 yards, with a goal and a goalkeeper at one end. We’re using 12 outfield players split into six reds, four blues and two servers. Three reds start in the half of the playing area with the goal, while two others are positioned in corner boxes at the other end and the final player waits off pitch to rotate in. Two blues start in the half without the goal, while their team mates wait at the bottom to rotate in, as shown .
A server starts play with a pass to the deepest red defender. The two higher defenders split, as they would in a game. The deepest defender then has an option to play to either of his team mates, depending on what the blue pair do.
The red players must try to get the ball to their team mates in the boxes at the opposite end of the area. If the blue team of two wins the ball, they attack the goal. We want to see players attacking with pace, looking to either play through or around defenders. Play two blocks of six minutes, rotating fresh players in regularly.
How do I progress the session?
We use the same set up for the progression but we change the overload, so the team attacking the goal now has the advantage. To do this, one red player leaves the pitch and one of the waiting blues enters, giving the blues a 3v2 attacking advantage in the main area.
Now play starts with a pass out from one of the boxed players to the deepest blue player, who must combine with his team mates to attack the goal at the other end by playing through or around the red defenders, as shown . If the reds win the ball, they should try to pass to the boxed target players. Play two blocks of six minutes
What are the key things to look out for?
In the Transition activity, look at the reaction of both defenders and attackers. Out of possession, the attackers can stop passes being played between them by protecting central areas. Once in transition, they can create width or movement, depending on the decisions made by the defenders.
What are the typical mistakes that players might make, and how do I avoid them?
The timing of runs beyond the last defender will be poor at the start. Address this by showing that the players will have to make two movements – one to come short and then one to run in behind, enabling them to be on the move as the pass is being played.