Counter-attacking with speed

This is a counter-attacking session in a 3v2 scenario. It is a fantastic training exercise to generate a good tempo, with lots of attacks at goal. It’s always very competitive too.

I would usually run this session the day before a game because of its quick-fire nature and with its constant emphasis on transitions and positive reactions. Attempts on goal, rebounds, recovery runs and crisis defending are all important aspects of this session.

SET-UP

Area
Up to 50×44 yards
Equipment
Balls, bibs, cones, poles, 2 full size goals
Number of Players
Up to 24 players + 2 goalkeepers
Session time
Total: 50mins
Wave practice: 20mins
Small-sided game: 30mins

What do I get the players to do?

Wave practice

Set up an area double the size of your penalty area (36×44 yards) with a goal at each end and a pole gate on each side.

Work with two teams of 12 players and two goalkeepers. Start with three attackers in the area against two defenders, with the remaining players standing either side of each goal ready to join the action. The attackers must try to take advantage of the overload and attack the goal, setting up a shot, as shown [1a]. Whether he scores or not, the player who shoots at goal must run around the nearest pole before getting back to help his team mates defend, as shown [1b].

1a

1. Play starts with a ball played from the keeper to one of the three attackers
2. It’s 3v2 in favour of the attackers, who must try to score
3. It’s a wave game, so players stand either side of each goal ready to join the action

1b

1. Whether he scores or not, the player who shoots must run around the nearest pole before getting back to help his team mates defend
2. The two red defenders leave the pitch and three new players come on and start to attack while their opponent is going around the pole
3. The game now goes in waves of 3v3, with one player always running around the pole after an attack and defenders swapping with team mates off the pitch


The two defending players leave the pitch and three new players come on and start to attack the opposition, trying to capitalise on the advantage given to them while the opposition player is off the pitch going around the pole.

The game goes in waves of 3v3, with one player running around the pole after each attack and players swapping with their team mates off the pitch.

How would you put this into a game situation?

Small-sided game

We progress this session by taking it into a small-sided game where the emphasis is on attacking quickly. Set up an area of 50×44 yards, with a goal and a goalkeeper at each end. Play with three teams of eight players, with one team positioned on the two sides of the pitch and the other two playing 8v8, as shown [2].

2

1. Play starts with a pass out by one of the keepers to his team
2. The second pass must be played forwards with at least two players making a forward run off the ball
3. The attacking team can use the outside players to keep possession but they must play one-touch. This keeps the tempo high
4. A swift forward run from defence and a one-two with the yellow has put the player in a position to create a scoring opportunity


A goalkeeper starts play by passing the ball out to his team – the first pass after that must be played forwards, with at least two players making forward runs off the ball. The attacking team can use the outside players to help them keep possession but the outside players are one-touch – this creates a high tempo attacking game. After five minutes the losing team swaps with the outside team.

What are the key things to look out for?

The main thing to keep an eye on is the mentality of the players – you need to see them adopting an aggressive attitude to their play. This is not possession for possession’s sake, they should be constantly encouraged to pass forwards or make forward runs off the ball.

What are the typical mistakes that players might make, and how do I avoid them?

A lack of reaction to transition is the most common mistake that you will see during this session. Players can sometimes react negatively to a missed chance, or to a team mate not passing to them.

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