Playing through midfield with confidence and precision is vital for any team - use this session to coach players how to receive, pass and work space, linking defence with attack. MORE
This session is about playing through, and breaking, opposition lines. It is focused around keeping possession while looking to make a penetrating pass when possible.
It challenges the players in terms of their positioning. It also challenges them in terms of their decision-making – on where, when and why to support, and their decision-making and execution in terms of ball circulation.
It demonstrates all the key attacking principles: a. progression; b. offensive coverage (support behind the ball carrier); c. mobility (support ahead of the ball carrier); and d. space (making the pitch big in width and depth).
We use this session regularly at training, usually straight after a warm up. We use it in preparation for a small-sided game or a conditioned game, when the emphasis is around building up and midfield play, especially when working on attacking centrally through an opponent’s midfield.
It is physically demanding and has a strength element to it, as it contains may changes of direction, short accelerations and deceleration in a small space, therefore should be used on game day +3 (or game day –4), so a Tuesday if you play Saturday to Saturday.
|Up to 44x30yards|
|Balls, bibs, cones|
|Number of Players|
Passing drill: 10mins
Possession games: 6mins each.
Set up in an area of around 25×25 yards, as shown [1a]. We are using 12 players.
The passing sequence is like a figure of eight, with each player moving from station to station, as shown [1b].
To make it work properly remember that the support players looking to receive the pass should work in diagonally opposite positions, so if the first support player moves to the right to receive the ball, then the second support player should move to the left to receive. The reason for this is that the support players are always on different vertical and horizontal lines, meaning that in a real game their positioning should challenge the defensive structure of the opponent and create unbalance between units or within a unit.
This is a possession game with three variations. Set up an area of 44×30 yards that is divided into four 15×15-yard boxes and two seven-yard end zones, one at either end, as shown . Split your players into three team of four: a defending team, an attacking team and a neutral target team. Place a defender and an attacker together in each box (creating a 1v1 in each box) and two target players in each end zone. Players are locked into their areas.
The idea of the game is that the team in possession should combine with each other to play from one side to the other without losing the ball. If they do this, they score a point. As the ball enters the end zone, the receiver must play it across the zone to his team mate before the ball is returned back into the central grids.
The attacking team continues to work the ball from end to end until losing possession, at which point they become the defending team and the defenders become the new attacking team.
As the game is physically demanding, you should rotate the teams every two minutes. Play three games of two minutes, giving each team a turn as target players.
The set-up, organization and rules of this progression are exactly the same as the previous game, but now the attacking team (the team in possession) can now rotate between the four grids (3).
Play three games of two minutes, giving each team a turn as target players.
The set-up is again the same for this final progression (4), but now we take the four boxes out of the central zone and the attackers and defenders now play a 4v4 freely in this space. The principles of the game remain the same and the attackers have to work the ball from one end zone to another without losing possession.
Play three games of two minutes, giving each team a turn in the end zones.
You can use this practice as an introduction to offensive principles that will be present in any small-sided game or 11v11.
When in possession, players should consider penetrating centrally through opposition lines, or outside of the block, or even over the block. They should also consider playing first line passes in front of the block, in order to lure the opponent out and create space between lines; or play into the block with second line passes, to make opponents narrower in order to create space on the outside. They could also play third line passes through the block if they can see poor defensive organisation from their opponents.
When out of possession, players should consider freeing themselves from their marker in order to receive the ball and progress, or support play to attract an opponent out of block. Also look for players to support as the third man to receive a set pass behind the opponent’s first defensive line.