Being clinical in front of goal when chances arrive can be the difference between winning and losing, so make sure your strikers are ready with this game-realistic session. MORE
This is a progressive practice session that trains players in the usefulness of forward passing and the benefits of overloading areas. The session embraces all key elements of the game, including freeing up space, keeping possession, making passing angles and, notably, finishing.
The practice starts with a basic set-up and designated players in each third of the pitch, but a coach can add difficulty by increasing playing numbers and adjusting the size of the zones, up to a point where the entire squad is involved.
|80×18 yards, the length divided into the three areas (25, 30 and 25 yards)|
|Cones, goals, balls|
|Number of Players|
The coach serves a ball into the defensive third where one of the two defenders receives possession. The lone opposition player works to delay play and, if possible, intercept and clear.
In this 2v1 situation a pass is played into the middle third where there is a 2v2 arrangement. Once the ball has been received, either of the defenders can move forward to make a 3v2 overload (1a).
The three in the middle zone now work to keep the ball against the two defenders before the opportunity to pass forward to the final zone, where there is a 1v1 situation. Once the ball is moved forward, one of the middle three advances to make a 2v1 (1b), the two working for an early shot at goal (1c).
An appreciation of when and where to pass is crucial, as is the use of soft, angled and shorter passes, plus positive and early shots at goal. Players need to work for space whilst retaining possession, so the timing and communication of forward runs is essential. Players should never get caught square of each other, and movement towards and away from the ball (‘going’ and ‘checking’) is important in creating space.
There are several progressions including:
a. The playing area is enlarged and more players added (2a)
b. The player who played the ball into the next zone cannot be the player who advances – one of his team-mates must react instead.
c. Players must keep the ball for a specified time before being joined by a new player or progressing themselves (2b).
d. When the ball enters the attacking zone, a strike on goal must be achieved within a certain amount of time.
e. At the end of an attack, the move can be reversed so that the opposite end is attacked – another goal and keeper is required.
f. After an attack is completed, a server crosses the ball into the attacking zone for a goalkeeping practice (2c).
The set-up for this practice is perfect for any imaginative coach because the variations and aims are endless.