Finishing In and Around the Box with the 4-2-3-1 Diamond Attacking Set-Up

The following session is an excerpt from Soccer Awareness eBook 8: Small-Sided Games for Strikers. This 54 page eBook combines striker training with small-sided games into eight full training sessions, each with coaching points, multiple progressions and developments.

Striker movement is one of the greatest and most difficult ARTS to master. The situation is constantly changing and the striker is constantly moving to create space for him or herself but also for teammates. Small-sided games are important in the development of younger players through increased touches with the ball and more experience with basic tactical challenges.

  1. Use the players on the team in their specific positions at all times, you could have two sets of 3 and 3 as attackers so they learn to switch on to defend also; like defending from the front. A 3 v 3 + 1 attacking and defending game.
  2. Emphasize the diamond set up as in the attacking phase of the 4-2-3-1 is between the opponents back players and their midfield to gain an overload advantage.
  3. Good for teaching strikers how to switch on immediately from at-tacking to defending so have 6 attacking players in there unless you want to work on defending so have the relevant defenders in place.
  4. Build up can be slower using the outside players until the right moment appears then it has to be as fast as possible with quick combinations plays by the attacking team.
  1. This is a Functional practice, a 3 v 3 + 1 with support players involving Receiving, Turning, Dribbling and Shooting. First priority of the striker is “Can I shoot?” Composure in the box is the key factor, defenders don’t want to concede a penalty so strikers have more time than they realize.
  2. No conditions to start but support players stay outside the box. Defenders win the ball they play to the coach or just clear it to outside players. Start again with a new ball to the strikers. Strikers try to receive the ball at an angle so they are half turned and facing the goal so they can get a quick shot in. Others take up positions off this for rebounds etc.
  3. Outside players can be passing a ball around between each other to keep active and when the play is finished inside the box whoever is on the second ball passes it in to restart.
  4. Looking for quick shots, working off rebounds, combination work, 1 – 2’s, quick movement to create space, support play
  5. Use the cone for an offside line likening to the deepest defender so inside attacking players can time their runs off it.
  6. So one team attacks the other defends. How many goals can the attacking team score in 5 minutes?
  7. If the defending team win the ball they pass to their own players on the outside (same as winning and keeping possession in a game) who then give the ball to an outside attacking player and the sequence begins again.
  8. Rotate the teams and each team gets a chance to attack for 5 minutes. Add up all the goals scored for either side in the 20 minutes for a combined winning team. Alternatively have two goals at opposite ends so it is more like a game situation.
  9. Rotate the players within each team.

Coaching Points In Shooting And Finishing

Make it a competition between two teams. Each team has 15 at-tempts at goal, see who can score the most goals. Attacking team continue each attempt until the ball is out of play or a goal is scored or the opponents win possession. Rotate the defenders to keep them fresh. Here the coach passes to (8) who lays it off for (9) who shoots and scores. (8) And (10) follow the shot in for any rebounds.

Coaching Points in Shooting:

  1. Positive Attitude to shoot, quick shooting. Every opportunity try to get a shot in.
  2. Receive on the Half Turn if possible (create space for yourself), take the chance
  3. Accuracy and Power (accuracy first). Be composed
  4. Shooting High or Low (low best because it’s more difficult for the keeper)
  5. Selection of Shot (driven, chip, side foot, swerve etc). You can use defenders to shoot around for placement. Check keepers position (if time!)
  6. Near Post or Far Post (can depend on keepers position, also if you shot and miss at the near post the ball is out of play, if shooting at the far post and it’s missing, the keeper may palm it to a striker following up, a striker may intercept it on its way and score, (it may hit a defender and go in off them)
  7. Rebounds (follow all shots in)

Get this full training session including multiple progressions, attacking from crosses, making transitions and switching positions, a 3 v 3 attacking and defending transition game and more small-sided games for strikers in Soccer Awareness eBook 8: Small-Sided Games for Strikers.

This full training session is also available in the Soccer Awareness Training Center. The Soccer Awareness Training Center powered by Edufii is the ultimate youth soccer coaches learning platform. Join Our Team