The moment an opponent loses the ball is the time to exploit the opportunity of players being out of position, so this session looks at transitions and counter-attacking with a specific focus on running with the ball. MORE
Our objective at Peterborough United is to play an open, expansive, forward-thinking passing game, with an emphasis on quick play and forward running. As a result, this is a session we have devised which looks at how players should react when the team is in possession and moving upfield.
What makes this practice unique and engaging is the way it incorporates the core elements of our possession game, but also creates defensive problems that reflect the typical game situation.
We will run this session at least once a week, sometimes twice. It reminds the players of so many of the ‘in-game’ habits we want to see that it forms a core part of the training framework, so is very important to us.
|Use of a full pitch|
|Balls, cones, goals|
|Number of Players|
|Up to 11v11|
|Main practice 12mins, Progression 12mins, 11v11 12mins|
The main practice involves teams of nine, split into three zones. As an area, we are using the space in between the penalty boxes, restricted to the 44-yard width, as shown (1). Ultimately, we are looking for two teams to attack with the simple aim of scoring goals, but at each intersection there is a defined key aspect that we’re looking to extract from the play, as follows, and using the A, B and C thirds as a guide:
The attacking team has two touches in its defensive third, three touches in the middle third and is ‘all in’ in the attacking third. Setting up with these conditions means quick and positive offensive play in getting the ball to attackers.
Once the ball has been passed forward into a new third it cannot be passed back out. As a result, forward players will need to spread out and find space in which to move as the passage of play comes towards and moves around them, because it cannot go backwards.
A ball cannot be carried over a line, but once it is played over the line, the player who made the pass may follow it; however, no defender may follow. This moves players in the mindset of following play and being responsible for the next phase of play once a pass has been made.
The ball must be played through all thirds and a goal can only be scored in the attacking third. This method ensures players understand the value of passing and linking up, since it is the only method by which they can score – other types of goals (for instance, long shots) aren’t allowed to count.
The logical progression of the first part of the session is to allow free movement of players into any zone, but the same touch and ball-carrying restrictions apply. Essentially, we want to see all of the same principles, yet with a freer flow of players into all areas to see the challenges and opportunities those situations will provide.
The key aspects outlined create the bedrock for what we want players to get out of the session, though we also need to protect against mistakes happening. Mainly these will show themselves as too many touches in restricted zones because of poor initial positioning, a failure to run forward (which puts more pressure on players in possession), and ‘low speed’ movements (which limits space).
The game can be expanded into an 11v11 on a full-sized pitch without any markings or restrictions, but with an emphasis on sustaining the technical and tactical themes from the smaller session.