Strategy of Counter Attacking

Strategy of Counter Attacking

One of the considerations in developing a counter attack strategy is what to do with the forwards once the ball goes past them. This is important and needs careful reflection. I saw the Danish team in Euro 1988 playing with one forward high and the other in a low “mirror” position when the Danes were defending. They, therefore, had a short pass available when the intercepting player was under pressure and a long pass to a high CF when pressure was broken. As you will see in the diagram the forwards for the red team have shifted to “mirror” the position of the ball in case it is won. This is the kind of strategic thinking coaches must consider when putting together a counter attacking strategy.

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Sideways on Soccer Vertical Corridor Exercise

Sideways on Soccer Vertical Corridor Exercise

This is an exercise where the field is divided into several vertical channels. Initially none of the players may leave the channel they are in. The most important condition is that the ball CANNOT be played forward to a team mate in the same channel. The ball must be played into an adjacent channel. This simple condition guarantees angled passes and sideways on reception.

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1 v 1 Introducing Individual Zonal Positioning Concepts

1 v 1 Introducing Individual Zonal Positioning Concepts

The key defensive skill we are practicing here is for the defending player to always be able to see the ball and the attacker at the same time. The defender must gauge whether it is possible to intercept the ball and, if it is not, then must adopt a position behind the attacking player’s receiving foot.

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Brazilian Passing and Receiving Exercises - Sideways on Soccer

Brazilian Passing and Receiving Exercises - Sideways on Soccer

Having studied Brazilian soccer I have been impressed with two things; Their angled passing style of play and the sideways on aspect of their play. Their ability to disguise a pass by “front foot” passing These exercises are designed to incorporate each of these characteristics into our players.

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4 Stages of Technical Development

4 Stages of Technical Development

Accidents occur, frequently, at the airport and, often, involve a stick shift rental car driven by a person from a country where people drive on the right side – like the USA for example! It takes a while to adjust to driving in the UK. You really have to think about it!

I have learned that soccer players go through a similar process when learning a technique. Whether driving in the UK or learning the techniques of soccer there are four developmental phases which will need to be tackled. Let’s stick with soccer and forget the driving thing for the moment.

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Individual Defending Exercises

Individual Defending Exercises

When defense is discussed, it is often in the context of the team. Yes, the defensive system employed by a coach, whether it is man-to-man or zonal, is important. But what are as important and often overlooked are the technical and tactical defensive abilities of the individual players. Following is a practical session that addresses the individual skills of tackling, closing down and containing from the front and back -- as well as exercises that incorporate these skills into a team's defense.

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Soccer is a Sideways on Sport

Soccer is a Sideways on Sport

Baseball, cricket, boxing and golf are all sideways on sports. Baseball players, cricketers and boxers are sideways on because they are one sided, right or left handed. This is not the only reason they are sideways on, however. Players have much less capacity to shift weight if they are flat footed and standing square. Shifting weight from back foot to front foot is one of the secrets to impact power. This is true of soccer players also but the reason we call this section “Sideways On” is because soccer is a 360 degree sport with high levels of activity going on all around the players and they need as wide a scope of vision as possible. Being sideways on gives soccer players the ability to see a comprehensive field of view and gives them many more choices than if they were facing the wrong way receiving a straight pass.

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The American Future Coach: The DaVinci Coach

The American Future Coach: The DaVinci Coach

UEFA’s brilliant Technical Director, Andy Roxburgh, penned the phrase DaVinci Coach shortly after the book ‘The DaVinci Code’ hit the bestselling charts. His 2007 presentation in Basle, Switzerland focusing on the skills of the European future coach captivated an audience of European Technical Directors who came away inspired and anxious to get to work. Over the years I have found that Andy has that effect on people. It set me on the road to thinking about the skills our American “Future Coaches” must have in our unique and challenging position.

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Movement Behind and Across Defenders Scoring Exercise

Movement Behind and Across Defenders Scoring Exercise

Teams should dedicate two sessions, or parts of sessions, a week dedicated to goal scoring and striker movement. These sessions must be realistic scoring sessions. Lining ten players up to take shots at the goalkeeper is not realistic to the game. Players must practice realistic striker movements in and around the penalty box. Here is one such session.

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Transition in the Modern Game

Transition in the Modern Game

Gerard Houllier, former coach of Lyon, Liverpool and Aston Villa says that “The most important moment in the modern game is when the ball is won or lost.” Houllier is referring to the moment of interception of a pass, a goalkeeper’s save, a tackle in free play, or the ball going out of bounds. The reason this moment has become so critical is that defenses are so well organized that many teams can only be scored upon when they are attacked before they get into their defensive shape.

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Fast Break Attack

Fast Break Attack

Both teams have target players on the end-line of the goal they are attacking. Every time a goal is scored or the ball goes out across an end-line, the goalie behind that end-line puts a new ball back in play for his teammates (pictured right). You don’t have to play into the target to score. The target players cannot enter the field of play, but should move along the line between the disc and goal to create good passing lanes for their teammates.

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