Soccer coaching session making the most of your wingers

Flying wingers are the attacking darlings of any team, spreading play wide and exploiting the space behind a retreating defence.

Stretching that rearguard by passing from the wings creates gaps infield, enabling team mates to adopt attacking positions – this puts the opposition under pressure.

In order to do this, wingers need to be able to stay out wide and pass balls into the danger areas because a good winger can move to the ball, control, turn, pass, or advance into space.

So getting your team used to moving quickly so the opposition has less time to respond is crucial.

To practise this, you need to work your wingers so they are moving, turning, receiving, and playing killer passes to split defences.

How to set it up:

  • This session is played in a 20x15 yards area.
  • Mark out as many pitches as you need so your whole squad can practise this – there will be four players in each.
  • You’ll also need bibs, cones and balls.
  • Place a player on each side of the area.
  • On the short sides are servers, while the long sides have working wingers on them. Each player stands midway along their touchline.

Getting started:

  • The ball starts with the server on the far left. On your call, he plays short to his left where winger 1 must run back towards him to receive.
  • At this point, winger 2 (on the opposite side) begins to run the opposite way towards the other server.
  • As soon as winger 1 retrieves the ball, he controls, turns and hits a pass across the area to his fellow winger.
  • Winger 2 receives and passes short to the server on the far right.
  • This server now passes short to winger 1, whose job it is to run back towards him to receive, and the game continues.
  • Play for three minutes, then rotate players, so in time each becomes a server and each has the chance to play long and short passes across the area.

Developing the session:

  • Add goals at both ends and make the servers goalkeepers. When the long pass is made, the player must control and shoot at the goal.
  • Again rotate players around the square at three-minute intervals.

Why this works:

  • This session works well because players have to work hard in retrieving and passing the ball.
  • Controlling under pressure of movement and giving the right pass with correct weight and direction is difficult, and practice will help players in matches.
  • The development also strengthens the notion that there must always be a positive end product for wingers – in this case it’s a shot at goal.

This session originally appeared in Soccer Coach Weekly.

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