The following posts have been tagged with "soccer attacking plan"...

Soccer Tips


There are many soccer coaching tips in this soccer Dictionary. See “Coaching Rules“, “Attacking Plan“, “Soccer Formations“, “Creating Space“, “Shift & Sag“, “Spread the Field“, “Styles of Play“, and “Support“.


Soccer System Of Play


The concepts of “Positions“, “Support” and “Shift & Sag” teach teamwork and, when combined with a “Formation” and “Style Of Play“, they provide the organization for your team’s play, and collectively are called your “System of Play”. Starting at U-8, you should teach your players the concepts of “Positions” (i.e., that there are “Forwards“, “Midfielders“, “Fullbacks” and a “Goalie“), “Support” (i.e., “First Defender/Second Defender” and “First Attacker/Second Attacker/Third Attacker“) and to “Shift & Sag“. These concepts are easily taught and, in essence, teach teamwork. They can make a huge difference in your team’s play. How to teach “Positions” is explained in SoccerHelp Premium at “How To Teach Soccer Positions”. How to teach “First Defender/Second Defender” is explained at “Quick Team Improvement Program” section no. 3, at “10 Defense Tips & Tactics” section no. 7 and at “Support” in the Dictionary. How to teach “First Attacker/Second Attacker/Third Attacker” is explained at “First Attacker” in the Dictionary, and In Premium at “Scoring More Goals” and “Attacking Plan”. How to teach “Shift & Sag” is explained in Premium at “Quick Team Improvement Program” section no. 4 and at “Shift & Sag” in the Dictionary. On Premium, also see “How To Teach Soccer Formations”, “Formations” and see “Styles of Play” in the Dictionary.


Soccer Styles of Play


On offense, the two primary styles of play are a “direct attack” (which tries to quickly move the ball into scoring range, often using long passes, “through balls”, or long air balls) and an “indirect attack” (also called a “Possession” style, which is slower and uses many short passes, often sideways or backwards, while looking for a weakness in the defense.) On defense, the two primary styles of play are a “zone defense” and a “marking defense” (i.e., a man-to-man defense). There are several different terms that describe other styles of play. For example, “passing to feet” vs. “passing to space” and “onball attacking” vs. “off-the-ball attacking”. With most formations you can use different styles of play.

When comparing styles of play, you can look to other sports for analogies. In American football, for example, the dominant style of play used to be the running game, but today more teams emphasize the pass than the run. The best teams recognize that a balanced attack that uses both the run and the pass is best. In American football, if a team only runs, the defense will crowd the offense to stop the run. In soccer, if a team only attacks with short passes, the opposing defenders will push up to the halfway line or farther. The threat of through balls and long balls “stretches the defense” and is what forces defenders to stay honest. Another analogy to American football is that when you have the ball near your goal you definitely do not want to turn the ball over. In American football, even the best teams will protect the ball and punt. For this reason, it is best for most rec soccer teams to clear the ball away from their goal if there is any pressure, and hope they can win the cleared balls at least 50% of the time. (Although if there isn’t pressure or you have skilled FB’s you can “build play from the back”).

If you watch a lot of professional soccer from different countries you will see that most good teams from around the world control the ball and build play in the midfield, but also incorporate through balls and long balls into their attack (i.e., they mix the indirect and direct styles of play). In fact, depending upon the league, between 15% and 30% of the goals scored are a result of through balls or long air balls.

The style of attack you teach your team should depend on the ability of your players, the amount of time you can practice, and your coaching ability. The style of attack that will work best also depends on the type of defense the other team plays (e.g., whether they are “pushed up” or “defending deep”) and whether your Forwards are faster than the other teams FB’s. For example, if the opposing FB’s push up and your Forwards are faster, you should try through balls and quick counterattacks. A select team that practices 4 hours per week can play a better short passing game than a typical rec team. In any case, you will want to teach the concepts of “First Attacker”, “Second Attacker”, and “Third Attacker”.

As for a defensive style of play, a “zone defense” and “First Defender/Second Defender” works best for most rec teams. This is because many rec FB’s don’t have the speed or stamina to play a man-to-man style of defense. How to teach a zone defense is explained at “Zone Defense” and at “Support”. (See “Attacking“, “Attacking Plan“, “Boom Ball“, “Counterattack“, “Creating Space“, “Direct Attack“, “Possession Style“, “Spread the Field“, “Stretched Defense“, “Through Ball“, “Long-Ball Game“, “Over the Top“, “Zone Defense“, “Support“, “First Attacker“, “Formations“, and the section titled “Scoring More Goals”).


Soccer Possession Style


An “indirect” style of play that emphasizes soccer ball control and many short passes, as opposed to long airballs. The argument in favor of this style is that it teaches soccer players to control the soccer ball. The argument against overemphasis on this style is that soccer players can lose sight of the real objective, which is to score, and not to just see how many consecutive passes can be made (i.e, a team should possess the soccer ball in order to score, but the objective is to score and not to just possess the soccer ball). Most Recreational soccer teams cannot be successful trying to play a possession style because they aren’t capable of making 7-10 consecutive passes under pressure. Some people think “Possession Soccer” cannot be combined with “Attacking Soccer” (meaning a more direct style that uses long passes and long “over-the-top” airballs), but that is not true. In fact, the two styles can be effectively combined. For example, the Amsterdam professional soccer team Ajax (pronounced “eye’ ax”) does so, often playing a series of short passes in the “middle third” (in order to lull the opponent and to give their Forwards time to go forward) and then suddenly sending a long airball into the Penalty Box. See “Styles of Play”, “Formations” and “Attacking Plan” for more information and attacking styles more suitable for recreational teams.


Soccer Pass To Space


Teach players to “pass to space” (i.e., to “open space”) & teach receivers to anticipate passes to space, as opposed to “passing to feet”. These passes are sometimes called “leading passes” (if they are made to space in front of a receiver) or “through passes” (if they are through the defense into the open space behind the defense). This is a very important soccer concept to teach & one that I think should be introduced by U-8 & definitely by U-10. It becomes increasingly important, as soccer players become older, & is very important by U-12. An advantage of this style of play (as opposed to “passing to feet”) is that soccer players learn they must be alert and must go to the ball and not wait for the ball to come to them. Passing to space also encourages “movement off the ball”. (See “Creating Space“, “Leading Pass“, “Through Ball“, “Wall Pass“, “Formations“, “Attacking Plan“, “Styles of Play“, “Pass To Yourself“, “Open Space“, “Pass To Feet“. Also see the Section titled “Scoring More Goals”). I strongly recommend you teach “Passing to Space” and “Aggressive Receiving” — Passing to Space is easier for beginning soccer players and will result in much better soccer ball movement, better soccer ball possession, use of Open Space and “field vision”. Aggressive Receiving” is a better way to teach receiving and will result in a big improvement in your soccer players and their ability to retain the soccer ball.


Soccer Offense


(aka “Attacking”). See “Attacking“, “Attacking Plan” & “Creating Space“.


Soccer Formations



(See “How To Teach Soccer Formations” at SoccerHelp Premium for how to teach Formations.) Does your team give up goals on breakaways, have trouble playing good offense or defense in the midfield, or not score enough goals’ The problem may be that you are trying to make your team fit a formation and style of play instead of using a soccer formation and style of play that fits your team. The formations that work for Select or Travel teams usually don’t work well for Rec teams. Rec coaches usually don’t have the time to teach complex systems of play, and complex formations and styles of play can cause players to become hesitant and frustrated. The easiest thing you can do to cause a huge improvement in your team’s play is to change to a simplified, easy-to-teach formation and style of play that gives your team the best chance of being successful. SoccerHelp Premium explains how to choose and teach simplified Formations that are easy to teach and really work for Recreational teams. The soccer formations and style of play explained in “Attacking Plan“, “Scoring More Goals”, “Quick Team Improvement Program” and “Formations” on Soccerhelp Premium will not only result in your Rec team winning more games, but your team will play better, have more fun, and players and coaches will gain a better understanding of the game. For example, Coach Scott, a Texas USA U-13 Boys coach, had only won 1 game of the past 20, but switched to a 3-2-2-3 formation and style of play as explained in Premium and went 6-2-2 (6 wins with basically the same team) and finished in second place. And Coach Lisa’s U-11 Girls team (also of Texas USA) switched to a 3-2-2-3, and doubled their goal production (from an average of 2 to 4 per game). The great thing about both these cases is that it only took a few practices to see the results.

If your team is younger than 10, you don’t need to worry much about soccer formations, but for ages 10 and older the formation you use can have a great deal to do with your team’s success. Your “formation” determines how many players you have at FB (Fullback), MF (Midfielder) & F (Forward). The purpose of having a “formation” is to ensure “support”, “depth”, “width” & field coverage on both offense & defense. Players are assigned a position & with it comes responsibilities. For example, a right side player (whether a RF, RMF or RFB) should not be way over on the left side of the field. (Right and left are as you face the other team’s goal). If he is, then he has left a hole that is not covered. Each player must do his job and trust his teammates to do theirs; that is what makes a good “team”. There are many different formations, but in all (unless you are playing 3 vs 3 or 4 vs 4) you will have F’s, MF’s, FB’s & a goalkeeper. You may hear about a 4-4-2, a 4-3-3, or a 1-3-3-3 formation. These numbers never include the goalkeeper but always start with the player closest to the goalkeeper. Thus, a 4-4-2 would be 4 FB’s, 4 MF’s & 2 F’s, a 1-3-3-3 would be a “Sweeper”, 3 FB’s, 3 MF’s & 3 F’s, and a 3-1-3-3 would be 3 FB’s, a “Stopper”, 3 MF’s and 3 F’s. (These assume 11 players on the team. For smaller sized teams adjust accordingly).

The formation you choose should be based on:

  1. The ability of your players.
  • Your players speed and endurance.
  • The number of substitutes you have.
  • The length of the field.
  • The other team’s strengths and weaknesses.

  • Soccer Finish


    Or Finishing, means to complete the soccer attack by scoring (i.e., converting a scoring opportunity into a goal). If your team can’t “finish”, you may need to work on soccer shooting or rebounding. Are your players shooting from too far away or without power? Are players in place to score on rebounds? Are they getting a lot of shots? Are your players taking shots? Are you getting the ball into the Penalty Box with Forwards in soccer position to score? When near the goal are they shooting low & to the corner? (As an example, a few years ago we played a game where we had 11 shots but only scored 1 goal. The problem was that all of our shots were air balls toward the center of the goal & the goalkeeper caught them. If we had shot grounders to the corner we would have scored 5 or 6 more goals). Teach your players to shoot low to the soccer corners when inside the Penalty Box & that accuracy is more important than power. Quick, aggressive players are usually good finishers. (See “Soccer Attacking“, “Soccer Attacking Plan“, and “Soccer Rebound“).


    Soccer Cross


    (aka Cross the Ball, Center The Ball, Cross It, Cross, Crossing Pass or Crossed Ball). A very important term & concept to teach U-10 & older, because “soccer crosses” are a very important way to create scoring opportunities. To “cross the soccer ball” means to kick the ball from the side of the field across the field toward the area in front of the opponent’s goal in order to create a scoring opportunity. A cross is a “square pass” to the area in front of the goal (If a player passes the ball across the field to a teammate out of scoring range, it is not called a “cross”, but is called a “square soccer pass“). A crossed ball is usually a “pass to space” (as opposed to a “pass to feet”). Even at the pro soccer level, the passer usually isn’t passing to a specific person; he’s just concentrating on kicking the soccer ball to the front of the goal (often while on the run) because doing so often creates a scoring opportunity. (This is hard to do. Try kicking the ball sideways while running). A good cross will be to the area in front of the goal & about 7 to 20 steps out from the goal; if it is too close to the goal the goalkeeper will pick it up or catch it & if it is too far out the receiver won’t have a shot. At the high school level and older, a lot of crosses are “soccer air balls” that create the opportunity to score on a “header”. I think it is better to use the term “center the ball” rather than “crossing pass” when giving directions to young players, because if you say “crossing pass”, a young player thinks he should look for someone to “pass” it to. I’ve found it is better to teach your outside F’s to “center the ball” without worrying whether a receiver will get there. Yes, they will sometimes center it when no one is there but it will teach soccer receivers that they must “go to goal” & get in position to receive these “crosses” so they can make a one-touch or two-touch shot. Tell your receivers to stay 3 or 4 steps behind the ball when they run with the dribbler (i.e., the player who will make the cross) so they won’t be called offside & so the ball won’t go behind them. If they are even with the ball they will either have to stop & wait on it or will overrun it & it will go behind them. By staying 3 or 4 steps behind they should be able to slow down & reach the soccer ball but still have forward momentum which will give them power on a one-touch shot. A more important reason to stay 3 to 4 steps back is so the cross doesn’t go behind them. If it does, they have lost the soccer scoring opportunity. If they are behind the ball they will have a chance; if the ball goes behind them, they won’t). Tell them that when they reach the ball they should just block the ball with the inside of their foot & use a very short backswing; if they take a big backswing they will probably mis-kick. Placement is the key, not power. Crosses should go straight across. This is because if the cross is at a forward angle, it is harder for the receiver to kick it (since it is going away from him) & it is easier for defenders to clear it (because it is going toward them) and it is easier for the goalkeeper to catch it. A “Long Corner” is a type of “Cross” to “Center The Ball”. (See “Soccer Finish“, “Soccer Attacking Plan“, “First Soccer Attacker“, “Soccer Rebound“, “Center The Soccer Ball” & “Soccer Creating Space“).


    Soccer Counterattack


    All of your soccer attacks will either start with a kick-off or a “re-start” (such as a goal kick, corner kick or free kick), or they will be “counterattacks” which start when you get the soccer ball on a turnover from the other soccer team. There are 2 types of soccer counterattacks: One is a slow, patient, ball-controlling soccer attack that relies on a lot of short soccer passes in all directions (i.e., backwards & sideways as well as forward); the other is to launch a quick “direct attack” by moving the soccer ball forward as quickly as possible into the other team’s “Danger Zone”. Unless you have a highly skilled soccer team that can complete a lot of consecutive passes, the quick direct counterattack will be the most effective. The concept is very similar to a fastbreak in basketball and if someone says you are vulnerable to a soccer counterattack they are referring to a direct, fastbreak counterattack. You are more vulnerable to a quick soccer counterattack if you push up your FB’s when you attack. There are 2 keys to launching a successful fastbreak soccer counterattack: (1) When your goal is under attack, you must be sure that one or two of your forwards stay out toward the halfway line or even farther if the other soccer team’s FB’s are deep. (Another advantage of this is it will force the other team’s FB’s to stay back, otherwise, they might push up closer toward your goal). (2) Your FB’s or MF’s must quickly kick the ball deep onto your opponent’s half of the field so your forwards can win the ball and fastbreak. (See “Attacking“, “Attacking Plan“, “Breakaway“, “Direct Attack” & “Formations“).


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