This training session is all about encouraging positive play from your team. It’s heavily focused on playing forward quickly to achieve an end product. In fact, achieving an end product is the main “goal” of this session and it is a successful way to rehearse your players to make fast forward breaks.
Any coach who runs this session will be guaranteed to see their players making plenty of crosses, taking all kinds of shots and scoring lots of goals.
What do I get the players to do?
Crossing into the box
Set up an area of 60×40 yards with a full size goal and a goalkeeper at each end. Split your players into two teams of eight, with two sets of three from each team lined up on either side of their own goal at positions A and B. Another two players for each team start just inside the halfway line, with one at position C and one at D, as shown [1a].
Play begins with the goalkeeper playing the ball in the direction of player C, who has dropped deep to receive the pass in the midfield area. As soon as the goalkeeper plays the ball, players A and B move quickly up the wings on their respective sides of the pitch, staying tight to the touchline. Player C moves forwards with the ball and passes out wide to player B, who crosses into the box. Players A, C and D have made positive attacking runs into the box and one of them should attempt a shot on goal.
Play restarts from the keeper who was just defending, with the attack going the other way up the pitch [1b]. Continue the drill up and down the pitch, making sure the cross alternates between the two wings.
Small pitch 3v2
The second part of the training session is designed to practice a 3v2 attacking overload. It will not only encourage quick passing but it guarantees a shooting opportunity in at least three passes.
Set up an area of 40×20 yards with a goal and goalkeeper at each end, as shown [2a]. Your outfield players remain split into two teams of eight. Play a 3v2 in the main area with the remaining players from each team waiting to rotate in from the sides of their respective goals.
Starting from the keeper, the team of three begins with the ball and they must attack the opposite goal in no more than three passes. Once the move has died out, one player from the team that has just attacked goes off the pitch and a player from the defending side comes on to go 3v2 in the opposite direction, as shown [2b]. Play continues like this, with players taking their turns to rotate in and out.
The third part of this training session is aimed at getting your players to use width to attack and it helps teams practise the full range of crosses and passes into the box.
Set up a playing area of 60×40 yards with a goal and goalkeeper at each end, as shown . Split your outfield players into two teams of ten, with each team having six attacking players in one half and a back four in the other. You will be running two separate but simultaneous 6v4 drills, one in each half.
Play starts from the halfway line in both halves, with an attacker playing a pass out to a winger. The wide player must stay wide and he has to get the ball in from the wing with an array of approaches, crosses and passes. You want your wide players to be setting up the attackers to take as many different kinds of shots on goal as possible. Look for the attackers to make space and to time their forward runs well in order to meet the incoming ball.
Ensure the attacker who starts the move from the halfway line alternates his passes between wings.
What are the key things to look out for?
As the session is all about positive attacking, you need to make sure players take responsibility to beat their opponents with positive forward movement and to create numerous different kinds of goal scoring opportunities.
For players, there’s always the temptation to play it safe instead of being positive, so make sure you encourage them to be daring in their moves.
How would you put this into a game situation?
I would build the session up into a full 11v11 game, but I would talk to the players about runners, passes, and trying to be positive in the final third of the pitch.