The following posts have been tagged with "soccer creating space"...

Soccer Width In Defense


Too much width in your soccer defense is bad. The wider your soccer defense is, the more spread out & the easier it is to penetrate. Your defenders should stay close enough together to support each other, but not too close (if they are too close, they lose effectiveness & can’t cover enough space). Your soccer defense should be just wide enough to slow down the attack (i.e., just wide enough that the attackers can’t easily go around you) & should “shift & sag” so there are multiple layers of defenders between the ball & the goal. As your team gets older & plays better teams, the attackers will start to “switch fields” and use a wide attack as a way to get around your defense & to loosen it up. (See “Soccer Support“, “Soccer Cover“, “Support Distance & Relative Position in Soccer“, “Spread The Soccer Field” & “Stretched Soccer Defense“).


Soccer When To Dribble and When To Pass



a.  Any time you have a soccer pass, take it. Dribble only when you can’t pass or if you can dribble & score.

b.  Generally, do not dribble in the 1/3 of the soccer field nearest your own goal (i.e., in your "defending Third") unless you must in order to get past a defender so you can make a pass or a clearing soccer kick, because if you dribble near your goal the other team might steal the ball & score. Especially if the ball is in the Danger Zone, you should clear it, preferably to the side. If you must dribble, dribble toward the side line, not toward the center. (See "Soccer Attacking", "Soccer Creating Space" & "Soccer Attacking Third").

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 Third Man Running


(aka “Third Attacker”). The soccer concept that, when attacking, a soccer teammate “off-the-play” (i.e., a third player other than the passer & receiver) should run to support the receiver. The “third man” can then become a soccer receiver or an alternate receiver and the original soccer passer can become the “third man” after he passes the ball. Good examples of this can be seen in professional soccer games on TV where a “3 man line” will run toward goal on the attack; for example, the RF with the ball, the CF who is the likely receiver & running toward the near post and the LF who is running toward the far post. (See “Movement Off-The-Ball“, “First Attacker“, “Third Attacker“, “Creating Space“, & “Off The-Play“).


Soccer Tactics


See “Formations“, “Creating Space“, “Attacking” & “Defense“.


Soccer Support Distance & Relative Position


On offense, you want to “spread the field” & to add “width”. This means the distance between players (especially F’s & MF’s) will be greater than when they are on defense. The players still “support” each other, but on offense, players will be more “square” than when on defense. For example, if your LF has the ball & is attacking, your CF may be even with him or in front of him & a long pass away. Whereas, on defense, if your LF is the First Defender, your CF will probably sag back & move within 5-7 steps so he can provide defensive “support” (meaning he is helping contain the attacker & is a Second Defender because if the ballhandler moves his way he must become the First Defender) & “cover” (meaning that he is covering space so there isn’t a hole for the attacker’s to easily penetrate; in other words, if he wasn’t covering that space the attackers would go through it to penetrate the defense). (See “Support“, “Cover“, “Depth“, “Zone Defense“, “Sag” & “Creating Space“).


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 Strategy


See “Formations“, “Creating Space“, “Attacking” & “Defense“.


Soccer Pass To Yourself


(aka “Pop It”). As soccer players get older & better, it becomes very difficult for an attacker to dribble past a defender & passing becomes very important. By U-12, your attack won’t work very well unless your soccer team can “pass”, “pass to space” & “pass to yourself”. One way to beat a defender is to “pass the ball to yourself” by passing the soccer ball to open space behind the defender & then beating him to it. The passer has the advantages of knowing where he is passing it & of forward momentum, while the defender must turn around and gain momentum. This is one way to get through the last line of defenders if they have “pushed up” & in that case is like passing a “through ball” to yourself. This works best if the attacker is faster than the defender. I tell attackers to “pop the ball” past the defender & ideally to chip it or kick an “airball” if they can, since an airball is hardest for a defender to block with his foot. Since they can run faster without dribbling than they can if they are dribbling, I tell them to pop it as far as they can while still beating the defender to it. For example, if they are on the right or left side, they can pop it farther than if they are in the center, because if they kick it too far down the center the goalkeeper will get it. If the defender is faster than the attacker, the attacker won’t be able to pop it very far or the defender will beat him to the soccer ball. Second Attackers and Third Attackers must move up with the soccer ball to support the First Attacker. If a defender gets the soccer ball, the attackers must pressure the defender to try to win back the soccer ball. If they can cause a turnover, they may have a scoring opportunity. (See “Through Ball“, “Hopped Pass“, “Creating Space“, “Verbal Signals“, “First Attacker” & “Pass“). How to teach “Passing to Space” and “Aggressive Receiving” are explained in SoccerHelp Premium.


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.