The following posts have been tagged with "soccer spread the field"...
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 Attackers want to “spread the soccer field” & get width in an effort to find open spaces to move the ball (e.g., down the side lines) & to “stretch” the soccer defense so holes are created that the soccer offense can attack & penetrate. Defenders, obviously, want to prevent this by maintaining cover, depth, support & shape. (See “Soccer Support“, “Soccer Shape”, “Soccer Depth“, “Soccer Support Distance“, “Spread The Soccer Field” & “Stretch The Soccer Field“).
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“.
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“).
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”).
(aka “Stretch The Field”). When you are attacking, you want to “spread” or “stretch” the defenders to open up holes in the defense. By spreading the defenders, you force them to cover a larger area so the defenders are farther apart & can’t do as good a job of supporting each other. (On the other hand, if you are defending, you want to be careful to not get too spread out or stretched). One way to spread out a defense is by using “width” on the attack. One example of this is if you spread your FB’s wide on your goal kick in order to force the defenders to cover the entire width of the field. Another example of spreading the field is to be sure your forwards stay a pass apart. You can also stretch the length of the defense. An example of this is if the other team is “pushed up” and you put your fastest forward at the halfway line & then send “through balls” or long cleared kicks into the open space between the other team’s FB’s & their goalkeeper. If you do this a few times the other team won’t be able to push up as far and you will have “stretched” their defense. (See “Width In Attack“, “Width In Defense“, “Stretched Defense“, “Stretch The Field” & “Goal Kick“).
(aka Space). Any part of the soccer field where there isn’t a defender, but especially in the area you are attacking (i.e., the area between the ball & the goal). Receivers should be watching for passes to “open space” & passes to open space should be made so the attacker has a better chance of winning the soccer ball than the defender. (See “Pass To Space“, “Creating Space“, “Through Ball“, “Leading Pass” & “Spread The Field“).
(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“.