The following posts have been tagged with "soccer counterattack"...

Soccer Kick-Off


Just before the start of the soccer game, the referee will call for the Captains of each team to come onto the field. The referee will then toss a coin to decide which team kicks off first and which soccer goal each team will attack during the first half of the game. The winner of the toss gets to choose which goal it will attack and the other team takes the kick-off. The teams will then take the field and referee will ask if they’re ready to start the match, and will signal for play to start, at which time the kick-off will occur. To start the second half, the team that won the toss takes the kick-off and the teams attack the opposite goal (so they switch sides of the field). Each time a goal is scored, the team that didn’t score gets to kick off. At each kick off, the soccer ball is placed in the center of the “Center Mark” (on the half-way line) & both teams must be on their own half of the field & the receiving team must stay outside the Center Circle until the ball is “kicked”. Moving the ball any constitutes a “kick off”, even if it only goes an inch. However, the ball must move forward on the “kick off”. The “kicker” may not touch the ball again until someone else (on either team) has touched it. However, the “kicker” may put his foot on top of the ball & barely move it forward so a teammate standing nearby can dribble it or pass it backward or forward. Even though a goal may be scored on a direct kick off (i.e., another player is not required to touch it first), it is better to teach your players to control the ball on a kick off instead of just kicking it away. However, kicking it deep to the corner & rapidly “pushing up” to try to steal the ball back is a viable strategy that pro teams even use occasionally. Some coaches teach passing the ball backward on kick off (after it has been touched by the kicker). Before you try this, see Tip No. 7, “Steal Their Kick-Off”, in Premium “41 Tips, Tactics & Strategies.” Don’t spend a lot of time teaching fancy kick-offs; there are so few in a game that it’s not worth it.
For all Rec teams we recommend just lining up and kicking it deep to the corner so your Forwards and Midfielder’s can push up and try to win the ball back. If you want, you can “overload” to the side you’re kicking to, but you must be careful because that will pull your players out of position. But you can safely move the players on the “weak” side (which is the side you aren’t kicking to) toward the center, which will prevent your opponent from easily driving through the center to your goal, put your players in a good soccer position to win cleared balls and put your players in a good supporting position in case your team gets the ball on a turn over. Rec soccer teams are more likely to score on a turn over (i.e., a mistake by the opponent) than on an attack starting with a kick-off. This kick-off has the advantages of being easy to teach and of moving the ball away from your goal so you avoid the possibility of turning over the ball in the midfield and giving your opponent the chance to score an easy goal on a quick soccer counterattack. Our experience is that it isn’t worth Recreational teams spending much time practicing kick-offs (there aren’t many kick-offs and there are many more important things to practice). Kicking the ball to the corner is a good strategy and you avoid the risk of turning over the ball and giving up an easy goal. In fact, many high school teams are now using this kick-off and most of the teams in the 2003 Women’s World Cup used it. According to an article in the July 2004 issue of Soccer Journal, in the 2003 Women’s World Cup almost all the teams ‘had a kick-off designed to gain territory. Teams generally overloaded one side and drove the ball towards that side.’ Soccer Positions Basics & Kick-Offs


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 Over The Top


“Over The Top” has 2 meanings:

1. It is most commonly used to mean a long lofted soccer ball that is kicked deep by defenders toward the other team’s soccer goal. This is a “direct” attacking style of play (sometimes called a “long ball” style) where the objective is to get the soccer ball away from your goal onto the other soccer team’s half of the field in hopes of gaining “territory” by winning the soccer ball and creating a scoring opportunity. It is the opposite of a controlled, indirect, posssession type of play that relies on many short passes. (See “Long-Ball Game“, “Direct Attack“, “Attacking” & “Counterattack“).

2. (aka Over The Ball). This phrase also refers to a dangerous tackle where a tackler’s foot goes over the top of the soccer ball & often cleats the ballhandler in the shin. A variation is when the defender raises his foot above the soccer ball so that if the attacker kicks the soccer ball he will be cleated. This is called “going over the ball”.


Soccer High Line


(aka “Pushed Up”). A “high line” is when the Fullbacks push up toward the halfway line. They may do this to support their team’s attack, in which case they are vulnerable to a fast “counterattack” by their opponent. Fullbacks may also push up and play a “high line” when they are on defense in order to create an “offside trap”, but they are vulnerable to “through balls” played into the open space between them and their Goalkeeper that the opposing fast forwards can run onto. In the 2006 World Cup, Ghana played a “high line” and lost to Brazil 3:0 by giving up 2 goals on “breakaways” to Ronaldo and Ze Roberto. Brazil left their great forwards pushed up so they were even with the high line and passed balls through the Fullbacks that the forwards ran onto. (See “Push Up“)


Soccer Direct Attack


To quickly move the ball forward toward the other soccer team’s goal by passing or dribbling; as opposed to a slow “indirect soccer attack” which uses a lot of backward or sideways (”square”) passes while searching for a weakness in the soccer defense. Unless your team has excellent passing ability, a direct attack will be more effective. (See “Soccer Counterattack“, “Soccer Attacking“, “Soccer Possession Style“, “Styles of Soccer Play“, & “Creating Soccer 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“).


Soccer Breakaway


A soccer fast break where one or more attackers get behind the defenders so that only the other team’s goalkeeper is between them & the goal. Soccer Breakaway’s often happen because a defense is “pushed up” & “flat” (i.e., has no “depth”), which makes it vulnerable to “through balls”. The “Sweepers” job (if you use a Sweeper) is to stop breakaways by kicking the ball out of bounds. In recreational soccer, a good strategy for stopping the other soccer team’s fast break is to teach your FB’s to kick the ball out of bounds. This will give your FB’s & MF’s time to “sag” back to defend their goal. A “sagging” defense with “depth” prevents breakaways by having multiple layers of defenders in position to slow down the attack. On 1 vs. 1 breakaways, the defending goalkeeper should come out of the goal toward the ball in order to reduce the shooting angle. He should do this when the soccer shooter gets within shooting range & once he starts he must run quickly toward the shooter & cannot stop or turn back; if he does, the shooter will probably score. (See ““, “Formations” (3-2-2-3), “Push Up“, “Styles of Play – Soccer“, “Through Soccer Ball“, “Sweeper“, “Last Soccer Defender“, “Soccer Zone Defense” & “Soccer Goalkeeper“).


Soccer Attacking Plan


For recreational soccer teams ages 10 and older, it is very important to have a simple and realistic soccer attacking plan that players clearly understand & can execute. For example, a simple attacking plan could be to clear the soccer ball away from your Defending Third, have your forwards be positioned to win the ball, and launch a quick attack. This is not as easy as it sounds. How to achieve this is described at SoccerHelp Premium.

(See “Soccer Attacking“, “Center The Soccer Ball“, “Clear the Soccer Ball “, “Soccer Counterattack“, “Defending Deep“, “Finish“, “First Attacker“, “Formations“, “Pass To Space“, “Push Up“, “Rebound“, “Shift & Sag“, “Styles of Play“, “Support” and “Win The Ball“).


Soccer Attacking


(aka “Offense”). When a soccer team has the soccer ball they are generally referred to as “attacking”, no matter where the ball is on the soccer field. There are 2 different styles of soccer attacking: a direct soccer attack and an “indirect soccer attack. A direct attack tries to move the ball quickly into scoring range by using mostly forward soccer passes, through balls and breakaways. An indirect attack is slower and uses a lot of sideways or backward passes while searching for a weakness in the defense. Unless your team is very skilled and has excellent passing ability a direct soccer attack will work best. (See “Styles of Play” for more details). Creating soccer space is a very important part of attacking. There are 2 different ways to create space. One relies on the ballhandler (i.e., the soccer player “onball”) to create opportunities. The other way to create space is by movement off the soccer ball & relies on movement by players other than the ballhandler (i.e., players “off-the-ball”) to create space & to create opportunities. (See “Soccer Attacking Plan“, “Soccer Attacking Third“, “Create“, “Soccer Dribbling“, “Go To Soccer Goal“, “Soccer Kick-Off“, “Pass To Space“, “Shift & Sag – Soccer“, “Strength On The Ball“, “Through Ball“, “Push Up“, “Build An Attack From The Back“, “Center The Ball“, “Coaching Rules“, “Commit The Defender“, “Counterattack“, “Creating Space“, “Cross The Ball“, “Defending to Win“, “Direct Attack“, “Finish“, “First Attacker“, “Soccer Formations“, “Soccer Goal Kick“, “Movement Off The Soccer Ball“, “Soccer Possession Style“, “Rebound“, “Release“, “Spread The Soccer Field“, “Styles of Soccer Play“, “Soccer Support“, “Switch The Soccer Play“, “Soccer – When to Dribble/When to Pass“, “Width In Soccer Attack“, “Win The Soccer Ball“.