Grassroots Coaching

Coaching soccer – The key principles of attacking and defending

When coaching soccer try and apply the following basic principles of play in whatever coaching session you do.

It is easy to forget, with talk of tactics and formations, that football is in essence a very simple invasion game. You have the ball, you try and score. You don’t have the ball, you try and stop the opposition. This is where good coaches, simplify the game by applying the key attacking and defending principles of the game to everything they do.

I recently watched Wimbledon’s Youth Team play Chelsea in the FA Youth cup and despite losing the game, I was very impressed with them and the way they played football.

Looking on their website, they had this statement “The Academy’s Principles of Play define the style of football our teams play and provide the backdrop for our soccer coaching programme throughout all age groups”¬†It is a very simple statement that coaches should look to apply to all their soccer coaching sessions and match play and tactics.

Coaching Soccer – In Possession

Create Space as a team and as individuals – attacking team shape

  • Can the players spread out quickly, both across the pitch and from back to front. Make the pitch as big as possible.

High tempo possession based football

  • Can the ball be passed quickly and where appropriately, positively and with an attacking, penetrative¬† / goal intent

Playing out from the back

  • Where appropriate, can attacks be built from the back rather than the ball kicked long from the GK and from back to front? Although, there will be situations when this might be the best way of playing out from the back

Transition: counter attack

  • If possession is gained, can the team quickly and effectively counter attack

Coaching soccer

Coaching Soccer – Out of possession

Defensive team shape

  • As soon as the ball is lost, quickly get players behind the ball, be an organised, compact team that defends the goal as its first priority.

Making play predictable

  • Via the defensive team shape, try and keep the play in front of the defenders, make the opposition pass square and backwards. Make if risky and difficult for the opposition to try and play forward and penetrate

Pressing from the front

  • Working on triggers and where appropriate can the team defend from the front. This starts with the forwards pressing and harrying the opposition defence

Transition: 5 second regains

  • Can the team try and regain possession within 5 seconds and then counter attack quickly
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Coach Education FA Level 2 UEFA B