At any level, a huge number of goals come about through players making intelligent, measured blind side runs. These runs work when balls are slid down the sides of centre backs and a full back, but they need practice, split-second timing and a good understanding of the weight of a pass.
This session builds up from a technical plan into a possession situation, then a game. We would run this on a regular basis – indeed, the technical session is often used as an extension of the warm up.
What do I get the players to do?
First, we set up three mannequins down the centre, each five yards apart. Player 1 begins in line with the mannequins, while player 2 is slightly in from the left touchline.
Player 1 runs with the ball, drops his shoulder round the first mannequin before laying a pass down the right side of the middle mannequin. Player 2 has moved in and makes a perfect blind side run. He bends his path so as to practise beating the offside trap.
In a variation, players 1 and 2 make a one-two around the first mannequin. When player 1 receives the ball back, he lays a straight pass forward.
In the third scenario, and after the one-two, player 1 needs to adjust, deciding whether to play a quick pass, or to let the ball run across him before playing around the blind side of the mannequin.
How do I progress the session?
We use a 60×30-yard area, playing an 8v6 possession game in one half. This is a passing drill whereby two defenders remain in their own half.
The team with the overload (here, the whites) must keep possession for six passes in order to score a point. When reds win possession they have to transfer the ball as a one-two, a third man run, a simple short pass, or as a long diagonal pass – but the run is always on the blind side of a defender. They then play the ball to one of their target players to score.
All reds then move to the other half to protect possession. Six whites retreat to pressure them with two staying back, as the process is reversed.
How do I put this into a game situation?
We play 60×40, with an unopposed 15-yard zone in front of each goal. This is 8v8 , plus two keepers.
When six passes have been made, the team in possession must construct a blind side run. If that happens, the player can move into the end zone, 1v1 with the keeper. The game restarts with the coach serving into the middle area.
What are the key things to look for technically/tactically?
We’re looking for the timing of the run, the weight of the pass, good movement and a high tempo.