Grassroots Coaching

Coach forwards to run behind the defence

Leicester City and England’s Jamie Vardy  is a real counter attack threat, because he shows the desire, pace and intelligence to make these key forward runs behind defenders.

Exploiting space and getting behind the opposition defence are one sure fire way of creating goal scoring opportunities. But, players and coaches need to work on both recognising when the opportunities present themselves in a game and how to create and exploit these situations.

10 coaching tips to improve  forward runs behind the oppositions defence

  1. Game recognition of 3 key factors 1. Space to pass and run into 2. A forward who has the desire to make a run into space 3. A pass into the space.
  2. The forward runners need to recognise where the space is to run into. Where the ball is and if the player on the ball has their head up and looking to pass forward. How much space there is and where the defenders are.
  3. The forward runner also needs the desire to make the run. To think about the timing of the run – player being aware of offside and the angle of the run – do they run straight or curve their run to stay onside?
  4. Another important factor for the forward runner to think about is the cleverness of their run. For example, can they pull away from the ball and get on the blind side of a defender for a diagonal pass? Can their initial movement be short – to drag the defender to the ball and then spin in behind to exploit the space created? Do they make an angled run behind a ball watching defender?
  5. The passer needs to also recognise where the space is. Sometimes an early ball into space pays dividends – hit the space early, turn the opposition round and let the forwards chase it down.
  6. Other times the passer will need to get their head up and look to make a forward pass.
  7. The connection and communication between the runner and the passer then becomes vital. A timed run and a timed pass can really exploit space behind defences.
  8. The passer also needs to consider, not only the timing of the pass, but also the accuracy, weight and technique of the pass. For example, a fast pass along the floor or a lofted diagonal pass over defenders
  9. Decisions on the pass, control and pass? Run with the ball to commit defenders and time a pass for the runner? Hit an early first time pass to try and catch the defence flat and square.
  10. Game recognition – For example, if the opposition have attacked and lost the ball, they will have pushed up and left space in behind them. This transition creates great opportunities to hit them with an early timed pass and run. Counter attacks where the opposition are briefly outnumbered. Give and goes: Third man runs and gambles on running behind from flick ons, or defenders mistakes are all very important elements for players and coaches to consider on work on in training.
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Assessment UEFA B Attacking Attacking Tips Become Better Players