Develop your soccer team's all-round game

The theory goes that getting teams to construct moves from deep helps them develop their all-round game in the right way. And it's a good theory – one that will benefit most teams – but it does take practice.

The idea is that rather than dispatching a big kick upfield that usually gives both sides equal opportunity to win the ball, your team uses skill and technique, passing the ball forward and keeping possession.

It is a more reliable way of fashioning goalscoring situations, providing your players retain the ball.

Practice is vital in order to perfect this tactic. Players need to experience the pressure of having the ball passed to them facing oncoming players. Meanwhile good movement off the ball is essential to keep passing options alive.

When coaching this session "Build-up play", you need to make sure the team playing out from the back has an abundance of outlets and isn't closed down too quickly at first, then progress to a normal training situation.

How to set it up:

  • Create a playing area of 40x30 yards.
  • Place a goal on one side, with three five-yard goals on the opposite side.
  • Play 5v3 in favour of the team that builds from the back. The team of five includes a keeper in their number. It defends the single goal.
  • There are no offsides or corners – the ball goes back to the keeper if it crosses the touchline.
  • Use kick-ins not throw-ins.
  • Play for 10 consecutive balls, then switch so the other team plays out from the back.

Getting started:

  • The keeper starts with the ball. He must roll it out to a defender.
  • Team mates move and combine, looking to score in one of the small goals at the other end of the pitch.
  • No outfield player can have more than three touches without passing the ball.
  • For the first three rounds, opposition players cannot tackle, they can only jockey or intercept.
  • Should the opposing team win the ball, it must attack the central goal.
  • Experiment with numbers as the tactic progresses to put extra demands on attacking and defending teams.

Why this works:

This is a purposeful session that rehearses teams in the benefits of building play from the back. The use of three small goals means the start team's attacking focus isn't directed to any one side, offering variation and experimentation.

In addition, the possibility of play coming back the other way means players must always retain a hold on their defensive duties.

This session originally appeared in Soccer Coach Weekly.

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