Attacking offside elements

More and more centre-forwards are learning how to play smarter when it comes to taking advantage of the rules of offside. Being clever with their movement can cause defenders countless problems, and a principle we like to concentrate on is that of attackers keeping defenders deep by standing in offside positions before coming back onside. This session practices that principle.


Half-pitch plus 18 yards
Balls, cones, goal
Number of Players
Full squad
Session time

What do I get the players to do?

The keeper serves out to a full-back, who drives a long diagonal pass into the midfielder, who runs from behind the far goal. His partner comes out with him from the other side of the goal (1a).


• The keeper feeds the ball to his full-back, and a long pass is made into the emerging attacker from behind the other goal

The centre-forward’s starting position is offside behind the two central defenders. The two midfielders combine, and after one or two passes the centre-forward gets onside before timing his run in behind to get a forward pass and make a 3v2 situation (1b).


• It’s a 3v2 break with the forward dropping back behind the last defender then turning to attack a forward pass

Plays concludes with a shot at goal or save (1c).


• On this occasion the centre-forward involves the left-sided midfielder and a goal is scored

Play now starts from the other end of the pitch. Again, a short pass is made by the keeper to his full-back, and a long ball sent upfield (1d).


• Now the move begins from the other end, with a long cross-field pass

Players who were passive in the first phase are now active, and again we want to see an attack on goal (1e). Rotate players after four attacks and ensure moves rotate from left and right sides.


• Passive players from the first phase are now active, and attackers construct an effort on goal

In the progression, wide players can move out to become wingers. Crosses must be made first-time into the box for inrushing attackers (2).


• In the progression, wide players are now involved as wingers, who cross first-time into the box

What are the key things to look out for technically/tactically?

The simplicity of the centre-forward’s movement is also the most important factor. He must time his run to get onside before being involved in any combination play, and beginning deep of the defenders is pivotal.

Link-up with other players and precision of pass and run are essential if the practice is to succeed.

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