Adjusting training games to develop attacking shape

I’m always delighted to help our readers with their tactical and technical problems. One particular question allowed me to explore several avenues.

As it happened, I was sketching out my answer just before doing a coaching-the-coaches session at a school in London.

I showed my ideas to the organiser, Ian. His first reaction was to sympathise. While the original question came from a coach of U13s, Ian’s team were U18s, and still had the same problem: stopping his players from becoming too flat in attack.

I then discussed my answer with him over a coffee, and he suggested some tweaks based on his own experience. Interestingly, it was more about the game organisation than the game rules themselves.

In essence, I wanted to create defensive games which would force attacking teams to realign with more depth. The rewards were aimed squarely at the defence. If they were successful, they would either gain the ball, or in the case of the overloaded game (where there were more attackers than defenders), they would move over into the attacking team.

While it’s easy to manage turnover ball – the defenders just become the attackers – it takes a little bit of teacher magic to allow a smooth transition between attack and defence in the overloaded games.

We finessed this by splitting the training group into an odd number of small teams. That meant you could say team A and B v team C. Or A, B, C v D and E. In the games with five teams, it would be a rotation of one group after every set of plays.

These details make training move at a good pace. Thanks Ian for the help! And see Stop us being too flat in attack for the games.

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