Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice


Think attack, think advantage, think win

By David Clarke

David Clarke

Young players often find it difficult to make quick decisions during a game, so getting them used to thinking quickly and smartly should be part of any coaching schedule.

There are lots of ways to do this and it’s always good to add a fun element.

This session gets players making decisions and scoring points for their team – specifically in overload situations but also in 1v1s – with the use of five cards.

Players must react quickly to the instructions on the cards in order to score points or prevent opponents from doing so.

You need to make five simple cards with player combinations and points on them.

So the cards might work out something like:

1v1 = 5 points

3v2 = 4 points

4v2 = 3 points

2v1 = 2 points

3v1 = 1 point

How to set it up:

  • Create an area measuring 40×30 yards. For younger age groups, reduce the size.

  • You’ll need balls, bibs, cones and goals.

  • Put a goal at each end with a keeper in each.

  • Split your squad into two equal teams – one attacks while the other defends. The defending team must divide itself into two groups, positioned at opposite ends of the pitch.

  • The attackers stand to one side near the halfway line.

Getting started:

  • You need a captain for each team. The attacking captain holds the cards and decides what combination of attacking players works best for each situation. This involves looking at the defenders at each end and deciding which players he would favour his team going up against.

  • The captain hands you the card for the combination he has chosen. His team earns the points shown on the card for each goal scored.

  • Play the ball to the attackers and inform defenders of the chosen formation. Defenders approach once the attackers begin.

  • If a goal is scored, the team attacks the other end in the same combination until it fails to find the net. At this point, attackers return to the halfway line and a new card is drawn.

  • Play until all the cards are finished, then swap each team’s role. The team with the most points wins.

  • Each player must be involved at least twice, and make sure you change captains.

Why this works:

This is a session that requires players to be alert across a number of very different "attack versus defence" scenarios.

And while a 4v1 overload would rarely occur in any game, being able to use every player, stretching a defender and offering forwards a number of passing decisions is good practice.

Sometimes, having too many players in an overload can actually be distracting because players hide away from taking responsibility.

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