Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice


Great way to switch play

davidscwnewSwitching play (moving the ball from one side of the pitch to the other) will allow teams to create significantly more space on a football pitch. And that, in turn, can lead to better goalscoring situations.

Changing this angle of an attack requires intelligence and reasonable passing ability, but get it right and it’s a potent weapon for your team.

Here’s how to do it.

How to set it up:

  • Set up a 45×20 yards playing area.
  • On both long sides, position three goals using poles or cones, each five yards wide. Each team protects three goals.
  • In the area, a 4v3 takes place. The overload is designed to help one team achieve the coaching focus.

Getting started:

  • Teams must maintain possession, use quick switching of play to find space – with both short and long passes – and score in any of the goals.

Progressing the session:

  • After 10 minutes, add two players in sweeper roles behind the goals their team is defending. The opposition cannot score in a goal the sweeper is protecting.
  • Rotate players regularly.

Game situation:

  • Set up a 50×40 yards area with a full-size goal at one end and three small goals at the other. Play 5v4 (including the keeper), use normal rules. The team with the overload attacks the three goals. Here, look for switches from deep and quick breaks forward.

Why this works:

The session encourages forward angled passing, one-twos and through balls, and rehearses offensive as well as defensive principles. Teams that can hold onto the ball and make use of the space will create lots of scoring chances.

* Editor’s choice *

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Limiting space can widen player’s vision

David ClarkeAt the weekend my U11s ran into trouble facing a tight packed midfield. I am going to use this session to practice with my players to help them overcome the trouble next time they face it.

Although simple in concept, this is a difficult small-sided game, and one that is brilliant when preparing for situations where space on the pitch is at a premium – for instance when two sides slot five men into midfield.

The fact the pitch remains long in length means that play can be spread about. That said, attackers must be sure of their control and angle of approach, as the defender’s task is made that much easier by only having to cover a relatively small width.

Teams will generally find that they need to build up through the middle of the pitch using quick skills and passing combinations, so close control and good technique is encouraged and can serve teams well.

 How to set it up

  •  Pitch size: 30×20 yards (min) up to 40×25 yards (max).
  •  This is a 4v4 game plus two keepers.
  •  Construct two channels of 5 yards in width, one down each side of the pitch from the touchline.
  •  The game is played for a set time period of 10 minutes.

The rules

  •  Play as you would do a normal game, but with no offside rule.
  •  If the ball leaves play, you have a few re-start options:

1 The coach passes a new ball onto the pitch

2 The players take a roll in

3 The players take a throw in

4 The players make a pass in

5 The players dribble in

  •  The aim of the game is for the teams to score in each other’s goal, whilst negotiating a much narrower playing area.



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