Breakaway Attacking & Defending

The following training session comes from Tony DiCicco and was presented at the Soccer Champions Coaches' Clinic. Registration for the 2016 Soccer Champions Coaches' Clinic is now open. 


Create 3 teams.  One player from each team plays 1v1v1 and can score on either goal.  Coach or facilitator plays balls in from opposite side after score or ball leaves playing area (it is important to keep balls flowing into the game as soon as one ball is dead).  Rotate players every minute.  Coach players to be deceptive and “spin out” to attack other goal based on where 2 defenders are.  Teach strikers poise in front of goal to finish chances and encourage each player to work hard for the minute.  This is a demanding physical game but is fun and has a lot of real match carry overs.  Remind players not to tackle the keeper, once the “keeper” call is made.  You can also use this exercise to train your goalkeepers on breakaway saves but remember to make sure your coaching position is by the goal to maximize your coaching impact.  Ages 12 - 18.

Key Coaching Points

For Strikers – 

  1. Read where defenders are. Use change of direction & deception to create opportunities.
  2. See if the goalkeeper is coming too fast (dribble around them), staying too close to goal (pass into corner), or if they are well positioned, shoot low and firm.  
  3. Avoid shots that are waist high as that is where the keeper’s hands are.

For Goalkeepers –

  1. Close down the striker immediately after each touch, this way the keeper is only moving when the ball cannot be played, and is in a dynamic set position when the striker can dribble or shoot.
  2. Ideally the keeper, on a breakaway, is somewhere close to the penalty stripe and not inside the 6 (goal will be too big).
  3. Focus ONLY on the ball.
  4. Keep weight forward and evaluate on each touch the following:
  •           Can I win the ball before the shot? (BEST choice)
  •           Can I smother the ball off the striker’s foot? (2nd best)
  •           Do I concede possession but continue to “stalk” towards the ball & get into best possible position

Register today for the 2016 Soccer Champions Coaches' Clinic at Mohegan Sun Convention Center in Uncasville, CT, March 3-5.

Get more training activities like this from past Soccer Champions Coaches' Clinics.