Soccer coaching tips for support play

When soccer (football) players pass the ball it is vital to the team's success that they don't just pass the ball then think their job is over. Support play will help your team keep possession of the ball and create goal-scoring chances.

Key soccer coaching tip

It's important in youth soccer (football) coaching to teach skills such as accuracy, weight and timing of the pass and timing of the supporting run. Players must not stand and watch their pass, but overlap and give the player with the ball the opportunity to pass it past the defender.

How to set up the soccer drill

  • Mark out an area around 10 metres x 20 metres and start with three players in this soccer drill.

  • In the first part of the diagram, attacker A is in possession of the ball.
  • Defender B holds his position and allows A to pass.
  • Player C makes the overlap, creating the opportunity to pass past the defender.
  • Note: If you are playing offsides make sure player A has timed the pass so that C is not beyond B, and in an offside position, when the ball arrives. 

Soccer drill to get players passing then overlapping for support play

Get your players to read the defender

B can set off towards C once A has passed the ball. One of the skills to pick up is the timing of the pass and the accuracy.
A has to has to be decisive with a crisp pass for C. Note that in the second diagram B is much more active.

Advance the soccer (football drill)

In the second soccer drill, player C plays the ball into A, who has to control, and pass back into the path of player C who has run on to support his pass. Player B meanwhile has come out of the corner and must try and win the ball, so C’s pass must be sharp, A must control, turn quickly and get his pass away to player C’s run. Player C must then hold off player B’s challenge
and get past the end line.

Soccer drill's third phase

The third phase makes a much more demanding run from player C – the overlapping player. The move takes place like an attacking corner. Player A takes a short corner to player B, who controls the ball and shields it from defender D. Player A moves away into the field, while player C overlaps around the outside of B who lays the ball off to C in a dangerous attacking position, running into the penalty area.

Get more soccer coaching tips such as these in my coaching publication Soccer Coach Weekly, which contains advice on how to be a better coach.

Click here for a soccer drill to coach overlap skills and movement.