Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: create space, defend, game, shield, shoot, shooting drill, tackle
How often do you watch your striker reach great attacking positions only to then delay his shot, offering enough time for defenders to get back and put in a tackle? It’s a frustrating part of the game and something that’s certainly not exclusive to youth football!
It’s important to give players the confidence to shoot from anywhere on the pitch, rather than them trying to walk the ball into the net. So below I’ve put together a great practice that, quite simply, encourages players to shoot at the earliest opportunity from all areas.
How to set it up:
- You will need six target cones and seven balls, plus additional cones to mark out a pitch. You will also require bibs and a goal.
- Create a pitch measuring 35×25 yards.
- Three yards in from each end touchline, and halfway up the area, place three cones in a triangular shape.
- Each cone has a ball placed on top of it.
- The game can be played either 3v3 or 4v4.
- Each team defends its set of cones.
- Players must try to knock the balls off the cones at their opponent’s end of the pitch while ensuring their own cones do not come under threat.
- If a player shoots and gets a “strike” (knocks all three balls off with one shot) the team gets six points, otherwise it’s one point scored for each ball.
- Should all three be dislodged, the balls are set up again before resuming.
- Play for three games of six minutes, ensuring players are ambitious in their attacking play and do not hang back crowding around their cones as a defensive tactic.
Developing the session:
If you have three or four teams, play so the team that knock three balls off, then faces a different team. Teams waiting on the sidelines act as ball boys.
Note which teams are the best at winning a strike – undoubtedly this will be because of the frequency of shots and from all distances – and point out to the other teams why they are so successful.
How to advance it:
- Put a goal and a keeper at one end and set up a bowling alley-style group of six cones with balls on at the other end.
- This is a straight knockout, with one team trying to knock all the balls off the cones and the other trying to score three times past the keeper. Which team will fulfil its task first?
Why this works:
The initial practice encourages players to shoot at targets from all areas of the pitch. Teams defending cones will also be pushing forward trying to attack, so the scoring options should be plentiful.
Direction and power are, of course, vital to a team’s success, while the set-up ensures players are aware of the need to shoot quickly and positively. Should they not, a tackle could see the other team attack and complete their task first.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: 2v2, attack, create space, defence, drills, exercises, game, small-sided game
Young players often stand and wait for the ball to be passed to them, then wonder why they are either second to it or have nowhere to go once they have it.
I like to get my attackers moving around and thinking about where they can go to make it easier to receive a pass. In this tight 2v2 game tell them to behave like a ghost, appearing in a defender’s line of sight one second, then gone the next. It will give the defenders nightmares.
Use this exercise so your forwards ask questions of the defence. I like to make my practise sessions as game-like as possible so there is some form of soccer realism created.
Get your attackers to try and prise openings around the penalty area while your defenders are keenly marking and watching out for players dropping off and moving, creating 1v1, 2v1 and 3v2 situations.
Set up on the edge of your penalty area as in the diagram above. You need three attackers, two defenders, a goalkeeper and a few balls.
The middle attacker acts as server and plays the ball to attacker 1 who is marked by defender 1. Attacker 1 must break away from defender 1 and get the ball under control. He will be supported by the server, who is close by, and attacker 2 on the far side, who must try to lose his marker – defender 2.
The defenders must be aware of the attack building up around them. Defender 1 has two players to worry about – the server and attacker 1 – while defender 2 must stay with attacker 2 and not be drawn to the action.
There are a lot of situations developing here in a short space of time. The attackers need to move quickly to first take advantage of the developing 2v1 situation and then the 3v2 situation.
When you are coaching this, try to get attacker 2 to move inside defender 2 and not go wide. If he does go wide, it will create a difficult angle and allow defender 2 to get between him and the ball.
In the second diagram, both attackers must move quickly to the areas marked B and C to put distance between themselves and the defenders.
The server must quickly decide who to pass to – whichever attacker moves fastest – and then play develops from there. You want to see attackers moving quickly to areas B and C and away again, putting the defenders on the back foot.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: balotelli, berbatov, create space, manchester city, Manchester Utd, stop turn
Space is vital to youth players because it gives them the confidence to try things out and to make better use of the ball.
I’m talking stop turns or flicks inside but also just getting your players to stop when they are running side by side with an opponent – as long as they stop the ball as well then they will lose their opponent for a split second giving them time to quickly use the ball.
Sounds simple? Watch the clips below of how the professionals create space with a flick or turn and you can see the effect it has on their ability to use the ball: