Overlapping

This session is about creating crossing opportunities high up the pitch by manufacturing 2v1 overlaps and overloads. It’s important to practise this because moving the opposition back four with switches of play and timing of overlaps is a vital part of any offensive side’s armoury, whether or not the final attack goes out wide for a cross.

SET-UP

Area
Up to 54×36 yards
Equipment
Balls, cones, goals
Number of Players
22
Session time
Pass and overlap drill 15mins,
Game-related practice 15mins
plus 10min progression

What do I get the players to do?

Pass and overlap drill

We begin in a 30×15-yard area, with two players at each end. A passes to B, who then drives diagonally into the area (1a). A overlaps and receives the ball, passing onwards to C (1b). Working players now vacate the area, and the link-up play is then  repeated as the move comes back in the other direction.

1a

• In the Pass and overlap drill, A passes to B, who drives across the area with the ball at his feet

1b

• A makes a diagonal run and overlaps B, receiving the ball and passing out to C


What are the key things to look out for?

We want to see good weight and accuracy of pass. Communication from A is so important in terms of when and to where the ball is released on the overlap.

At first, build slowly and use repetition so that the process becomes second nature. Then ask for players to quicken the pace when they feel more comfortable.

Game-related practice

The game is performed in an area comprised of two penalty boxes placed together, plus 5-yard zones on either side. It’s 8v8 in the main area, and there is a player from both teams on each flank (2a).

2a

• In the Game-related practice, the set-up is 8v8 in the middle with two opposing players on each flank

On the flanks, the defending player cannot tackle, so when the ball is fed wide the attacker overlaps, receives the ball, and moves forward preparing to cross (2b). This player needs to recognise the ‘trigger’ to move, namely the infield wide man driving inside, as practised in ‘Pass and overlap drill’.

2b

• When the ball goes wide, the unopposed wide attacker moves it up the wing and prepares to cross


How do I progress the session?

We now make the session opposed. So when the wide attacker takes his first touch, his opposing defender and any infield defender can engage, making a 2v1 (3a/3b). Can the winger find an attacker to restore the situation to a 2v2? Can he create a 2v1 attacking overload and make room for a precise cross into the box? Later, we might also remove the wide zones to make it as game realistic as possible.

3a

• In the progression play is opposed, so blue defenders move in for a 2v1, though quick link-up play sets the red winger free up the wing

3b

• In this instance, possession is turned over and the blue winger advances up the wing


What are the key things to look out for?

We’re looking for timing of runs, good communication between attackers, plus good passing weight and accuracy. It’s important that the overlapping player does not get ahead of the ball, so well-timed runs are vital.

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