Grassroots Coaching

Grassroots football coaches – Counter attacking tactics

Grassroots football coaches – Counter attacking tactics. Counter attacking is a very effective attacking football tactic. Once the ball is won, the counter attack has to be positive and quick, to advance down the pitch and attack the opposition, whilst the opposition team still have players forward and are caught out of position and briefly the wrong side of the ball and out of the play.

As a tactic, the counter attacking team have to make quick decisions about the best way to counter attack. Sometimes it is simple as pass the ball long and early for runners in behind a disorganised and out of balance defence.

Other times it might be a long ball, a flick and a runner. Or, it might require running with the ball or quick forward passing and running off the ball.

In the video we look at the different ways a team can effectively counter attack and how Grassroots football coaches can implement the same tactics.

  1. Opposition attack and commit players forward. GK gains possession of the ball, this might be from a cross or a save. They quickly run to the edge of their area and kick or throw long and early, taking opposition players out of the game. Needs aggressive and quick runners to chase the ball down before the opposition can reorganise.
  2. Opposition are high up the pitch and attacking. The ball is lost and an early ball over the top is played for runners in behind. Very effective tactic if your team has quick forwards who can time their runs in behind the opposition defence
  3. Positive and aggressive running with the ball.  Attacking players receive the ball and immediately and quickly run at the opposition and or into space. The runner has pace, runs quickly, aggressively and with their head up, looking to break the defensive line of the opposition and team mates run forward to support for a cross or pass.
  4. Aggressive pressing in midfield area. The ball is won around the half way line and the team can counter attack closer to the opposition goal with quick passing, forward runs or running with the ball.
  5. Pressing high up the pitch, in the opposition half. The defending team need to defend high and commit players to do this, which can be risky, but potentially has big rewards if the ball can be won. Much closer to the opposition goal when the ball is won, quicker passing, dribbling, through balls after the ball has been won, less time for opposition to recover.
  6. Defend deep and central and be organised. Invite the opposition to attack and commit players forward. Look to win or intercept the ball. Break quickly, before the opposition can recover and get behind the ball with quick passing, running with the ball and runners off the ball.


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Assessment UEFA B Attacking Sessions FA Level 2