Sweeper is Too Far Back

"Discipline (staying within tasks) and continuous communication with each other inevitably lead to team-building."4 Louis van Gaal

In diagram 1 the orange #3 has stayed next to his own goal while his team mates are deep inside the attacking third. From this position he cannot offer them any real support . They are left to play 3v4. If the orange team does pass the ball back to the number 3 the attack will slow down. When the ball has to travel 20 yards back it has to travel 20 yards again just to get to where it started, in essence making a 40 yard pass. Space equals time and time favors the defense. Furthermore, should the blue team regain possession he is too far back to apply any pressure in order to buy time for his team mates recovery. The orange #3 is effectively out of the game and cannot make any contribution to his teams efforts. From this position he cannot accomplish any of his basic tasks.

In diagram 2 the #3 has come forward. He is in a position where he can support the #8 and has an opportunity to find both #6 and #9 if he receives the ball. This is the correct distance. By coming forward he has decreased the time that any pass takes which gives the blue team a bigger problem, the orange team will enjoy a faster speed of play. Finally, if the blue team regains possession the #3 is in a better position to support his teammates defensively. It will be easier for the orange team to become compact and regain their defensive shape. This is a better distance and allows #3 to make a bigger contribution to his teams effort.

"The purpose of pressurizing is to decrease both the time and the space which an attacking player has in which to make his pass or his dribble." 9 Charles Hughes When you consider that lack of pressure on the player with the ball is one of the primary reasons that goals are scored, and that goals are plentiful in small sided games, taking a few minutes to understand pressurizing is time well spent. The following borrows heavily from Tactics and Teamwork. 9 Goal-Side "To be effective the pressurizing player should be on the goalside of the player with the ball at a distance of not more than two yards, diagram on the right. The pressurizing player should always remember that his job, wherever possible, is to keep the opposition playing in front of him and deny the opportunity for the opponent to pass the ball forward... Players who are pressurizing opponents should adopt a position which will allow them to turn quickly. It is important that the defender should turn through 90, not 180 degrees." 9 In order to achieve this the defender will need to position him/herself slightly off of the attackers direct line to goal and stand sideways on. That is, the feet should positioned so that they are not facing the ball directly, but rather the space that the defender wants the attacker to move into. In the diagram on the left the blue defender is showing the attacker to his right side. This makes the play predictable for the defender. If the attacker tries to cut behind the defender, the defender only needs to step back or turn and show the attacker into a channel on the other side. This also allows the defender to poke tackle with the foot closest to the ball, turn and block tackle with the foot farthest from the ball and if the attacker pushes the ball past the defender and tries to run onto it, the defender can easily step in front of the attacker and win the ball. These 1v1 moments are very much a cat and mouse part of the game. The attacker will try to use the ball as bait, some type of move or simply run past the defender. It's up to the defender to exercise control and restraint and wait for the correct moment and only then attempt to win the ball. The Recovery Run

even if he can't win the ball he has a good chance of keeping the play in front of him. Number 9 will have to turn and run back again. opponent and their own goal comes into view.) Recovery lines resemble a funnel. Now. The defender must make up the distance between himself and the opponent while the ball is in flight. (This is a popular moment for coaches and parents to get involved in the game. the defender should slow down just before getting to the attacker. When a defender is marking a player that is waiting for a pass it's best to . Remember the words of Coach Kit Carson. It is."Before a player can challenge for the ball he must recover either level with the man with the ball or preferably on the goal-side of the man with the ball. Often outside defenders follow an attacker who has beaten them rather than recover towards the goal. The distance across the field removes them from any responsibility. players in central positions should follow a line towards the penalty spot. If intercepting the pass is not likely." 9 By taking the path in fig." 9 It's also a problem in youth soccer that children don't recover far or soon enough. 2 puts number 9 closer to the blue player with the ball. The path in fig. 1. Defenders who are outnumbered should also retreat towards their goal. 2) Intercept. The team needs to regroup and concentrate in goal-side positions. This is the time that the attacker doesn't have control and the defender can move in for an interception or tackle. close enough for a Kodak moment. This results in their staying behind the ball. especially on the flanks. however a mistake to recover too far beyond the ball into a position where the ball can still be played forward." Challenging For The Ball 1) Start fast. Once a players reaches a position on the goal-side of the ball the line of recovery and marking or supporting responsibilities should be reassessed. Recovery Lines "Should a player be in doubt concerning his best line of recovery he should follow the following guide. arrive slow. so. but not close enough to be of any use. number 9 will recover to a position where the blue player won't have any trouble passing the ball past him. "Head 'em off at the pass. Young players on the opposite side of the field often fail to recognize that there is a problem. they don't start running until the ball. Players on a flank should follow a line towards the near post.

When the opponents regain possession teams need to get compact and establish their defensive shape. the defender can totally dominate the attacker. (5v2 is a good game to teach defenders how to pick the correct moment when to go into a tackle. The defense maybe in no position to stop a quick strike. If the attacker has controlled the ball and is facing his own goal then the defender needs to be close enough to prevent him from turning. turning with a defender right behind you is a very difficult task. Team Pressurizing There are two basic philosophies for team pressurizing. This way the attacker gets no touch. the winger wants the full back to play the ball into the center. 8) If you can't win the ball.intercept the ball. These decisions must be made in a matter of seconds in a dynamic situation and the defender must be careful not to commit a foul.e. Going to ground is a last resort. The defender will need anticipate the situation and move into the line of flight of the ball before the attacker does. The opponents can be spread out supporting the attack and several may have moved ahead of the ball. i. Also. control the situation. The second is more useful in counter attacking play where time favors the defense and mistakes by the attackers are are guided and encouraged. desperate measures for desperate times. the pass is poor and gives the attacker problems. 3) Tackle. 6) Stay on your feet. The moment of winning the ball can present a golden opportunity for a counter attack. And there are times to force the attackers down the line. In these situations it's important that the individual decisions are in agreement with the overall team plan. Finally. If an interception isn't possible than tackling is the next option. There are times to force attackers into the center of the field. 5) Prevent them from turning. if the defender has done everything properly but cannot arrive in time to intercept and a clean tackle is not possible. The first is found in the playmaking style and is marked by an aggressive.) 4) Force the attacker inside or outside. high and low pressure. 7) Launch a counter attack. he arrives at the same time that the ball does. the attacker has poor control. The following will help team pressurizing: . An attacker facing his own goal is much less of a threat than one facing yours. This is the same thing as reducing the passing angles. he has a free supporting player in a good position. Teams that allow themselves to get stretched from end to end or side to side will have a hard time pressuring their opponents. The defender should consider an immediate tackle if. then he should contain the attacker and show him into the least dangerous space. force the error approach. The ball is often put the ball up for grabs.

a sure way to disunity and disaster. One of the first things that a team needs to do is to before they take the field is to decide generally how they want to play. Playing with a sweeper ten yards behind the backs is "so 70's" and obsolete. 4) By shifting across the field. 3) By the top players dropping back. 2) By the back players pushing up. It's normal to find the right back in the center of the field when the ball is on the left flank. This includes the goal keeper. is a game of mistakes and a primary cause of mistakes is lack of concentration. The days when the forwards were all glory and no work are long gone. that some players lose their concentration. not too early.. Teams that play with three forwards can pressurize much deeper than a team that plays with two." 9 Midfielder is Too Far Forward "Football is a game you play with your brains. Back defenders that fail to rapidly push up allow big gaps between themselves and the midfield. The entire team will need to shift across the field to counter the opponents threats. Teams at the higher levels now flood the midfield. when the ball changes hands. This helps to minimize the space between players in each line. It is at this moment. Pressurizing should start the moment the ball is lost. You have to be in the right place at the right moment. How far up field will the team defend? What will everyone's role be when the opponents regain possession? How will the lines react to each other and the individuals in the lines? Without a plan it's every man for himself.. like most games. The forwards represent the first line of defense as well as the last line of attack. Vital moment when the ball changes hands "As soon as the ball is lost all players in a team must think in terms of defending and should work hard immediately to win the ball. Football. not too late.1) Staying within the plan."2 Johan Cruyff . While this can become involved at the minimum teams should have an idea how they will defend as a team.

In diagram 2 the blue #4 is in the correct position. If the #2 or #5 move over they will leave their own immediate opponent unmarked."4 Louis van Gaal . He cannot do this from this position. it is a question of what you do with them. One of #4's basic tasks is to neutralize his immediate opponent." Striker is Too Far Back "Each training session is a form of communication. Each player can concentrate on his own job. The #4 and #7 are on the wrong side of the ball. The drills themselves are not so important. Now the blue team is faced with the problem of who should pressure the #8. It eliminates calls like "somebody mark up" or "I have two men over here. This leads to a higher level of confidence and communication. The number #4 is too far from his proper position which keeps him from doing his job which in turn puts the burden on his teammates. He can pressure his immediate opponent or support the #7.In diagram 1 the blue #4 is caught upfield when the orange #3 passes out to the #8.

In this diagram the #9 has come too far back. This has made the field much smaller for the orange team."4 Louis van Gaal . It also places greater technical demands on the orange team. In diagram 2 the #9 has pushed deeper into the opponents half. the blue team has more space to defend and they cannot support one another as easily. #2 is closer. The distance and angle of the #9 is better. They can even see #9 so his movements will not present them with much of a problem. The orange team has more options while the blue team has greater problems. One of #9's basic tasks is to stretch the opponents. Midfielder is Too Close and at the Wrong Angle "I often stop the practice games and challenge the players to think about the soccer problems they are facing. The orange teams shape is essentially a triangle. From this position. The numbers 4 and 5 are able to mark their opponents tighter because their covering defender. the blue midfielders can only wonder what he is up to. they have far less space to use. not a good shape for 4 players. there is space behind the blue midfield for the #9 to receive a pass. With this position if the #3 passes to either of the midfielders the #9's position eliminates the other midfielder as an option for a pass. with this position he fails to do this and makes life for his team more difficult and easier for his opponents. He has killed the space between himself and the #3. an objective for the blues. a pass from the #3 to one of his midfielders leaves the other midfielder as a target.

while a triangle. These positions. pure mathematics." 3 Barry Hulshoff . they can support each other and they have a smaller area to defend. The blue #7 is free to press the orange #3 closely because the #6 has buried himself. It also opens the channel between the #3 and the #9. 3v3 Bad Shape Improper Tasks "It's simple mathematics.In diagram 1 both of the orange midfielders have come into the center of the field. in effect putting a human wall between them. The orange team is faced with a significant soccer problem in trying to work the ball out of the back. In diagram 2 both of the orange midfielders have taken wider positions. The angle and distance in this case makes it harder for the defenders.. are incorrect. The orange midfield has also closed the channel between the numbers 3 and 9. This helps the blue team. they have much more space to cover and cannot support each other as easily. These positions are in keeping with the players tasks in this moment and help to simplify the situation facing the #3..

One situation in 3v3 commonly occurs and illustrates how poor shape effects other players. they let their player go who can then find open space to receive a pass. This puts an added burden onto his teammates. If they react to number 2's dribble. This frees up the orange 3 who can move closer to the center of the field covering the space behind the number 8. creating a 2v1 against the orange defender. or stay and let him go past me?" This problem is compounded because both players are thinking the same thing. however. the blue team has an advantage. by positioning slightly to the side. and the initiative. Or the blue number 2 can elect to move towards one of his teammates creating a 2v1. but also how important effective communication is. This gives the number 2 an immediate problem as he tries to bring the ball out. If they stay. the number 8 has made the passing angle between the number 2 and 7 much more difficult. then the numbers 3 and 9 must make a decision. this creates a 1v1 directly in front of their own goal. In the diagram at right the blue team is in possession and bringing the ball out from their own goal. making their own tasks much more difficult. In this diagram the orange team is still in a triangle but the number 8 has moved up to directly confront the blue number 2. "Do I leave my opponent and deal with number 2. the number 8 has dropped back deep to protect his goal. This means that the blue number 2 is unmarked and can either directly attack the orange number 8 by carrying the ball between the 3 & 9 or combine with either the blue number 4 or 7. If he takes on the number 8 and loses then it's likely to cost the blue team a goal so it's much harder for the him to carry the ball. since he now has an immediate opponent this makes it much more difficult for the blue team to create a 2v1. Young players might hear "3 players need to be in a triangle. The orange team has adopted the shape of a triangle. Also. in effect becoming a sweeper behind number's 3 & 9. When the opponents . Furthermore. If the blue number 2 carries the attack directly to the orange number 8. because the orange number 8 has elected to defend from a deep position. The difference in these two situations highlights not only how bad shape can make effective team play more difficult. Either way.

They can play like this for quite a while. simply passing the blame for mistakes by addressing the problem from the narrow and vague instructions. Passing Game 5v2 .have the ball you have to protect your goal" and then conclude that the situation in the first diagram is reasonable. Correct coaching can help by pointing out the differences in both situations.

Communication. screening and short dribbles." 1 Coaching Soccer Variations of this game play an important part in the KNVB's methods to develop composed. This game involves enough elements to be soccer like. Both teams have an objective. receiving. The object for the blues is to win the ball and dribble it outside of the area. but they don't see how it reduces the angle that you can play the ball through. Do the attackers let the ball do the work? Do they read when they are not the target? Do they create decoys? Do the defenders work together? Without proper goals this game lacks direction so it isn't soccer. By changing the numbers and dimensions of the field the game can be made harder or easier for the attackers. The numbers might be 5v2. . building up play. and the position of his teammates and opponents. First team to three points wins. 6v2 or 6v3. The object for the orange team is to complete 5 to 10 passes without the blue team touching the ball. Perhaps they are two goals up with five minutes left or composed possession is a part of their build up. It is a realistic picture for a team that wants to hold onto the ball. his position on the field. Does the team in possession slow the game down when necessary? Is the correct pass selected? Are the distance and angles of the supporting players correct? Do the defenders read the correct moment to go on for a tackle? Note. the attackers should NOT get themselves stuck in the corners. Insight. All passing skills. It poses real soccer problems and requires TIC solutions. Children maysee that as creating the most space. Technique."There is no ideal technique: how a player kicks the ball with his instep will always depend on the options available to him. both can win or lose.

.Click on the image to see some scenes about 5v2 from the "Street Soccer" DVD in a Real Time video.

You want to give goalkeepers a reliable alternative to saving difficult shots that are driven straight at the legs. 2. One goalkeeper works and the other serves. Young goalkeepers. going through their legs into the goal. Goalkeepers need to be on their toes for the whole of this soccer training drill. or even worse. Goalkeeping tips 1. Train your goalie to minimise mistakes and rebound opportunities for opposition strikers. have problems with these and often opt for kicking the ball away. or end up with the ball hitting. not their feet. Set up the soccer drill Set up a 15-yard square. . in particular. Any shot that is travelling towards a goalkeeper’s legs at pace is difficult to deal with.Hands on soccer drill for young goalkeepers Soccer coaching tips and drills to get your goalie saving a goal using their hands. You need a goal and two goalkeepers.

leaning into the direction of ball. Bend knees to form a "k" shape with legs. As the goalkeeper warms up. The server must initially just pass the ball straight to the goalkeeper`s feet. develop the soccer drill so that the server begins to shoot at the goalkeeper’s legs with force. Scoop ball with both hands into chest.    . Encourage your goalkeeper to step "into line /down the line" of the shot.

. After each save in the soccer coaching drill.  Drop on top of ball to cover the ball and prevent it spilling from the hands and creating rebounds. the goalkeeper becomes the server for the goalkeeper at the opposite end.

Two other players are 25m down field in a marked off target area (cones will do).Drill B. This switches the field and catches the attackers still charging at the goal. The goalkeeper attacks the high ball. Defending the High Cross and Clearing    In this soccer drill. wins it in the air and immediately turns and throws it downfield in the opposite direction from which the cross came. have your goalkeeper in the goal against two attackers. Two players with multiple balls stand on the wings to cross high balls into the box. .


then how much more likely are young players to do so? Use the following soccer coaching tips to get goalies prepared for penalties. a goalie must also watch the player’s approach.Soccer coaching tips to help goalies read penalties Seventy per cent of the penalty kicks at the last World Cup went to the opposite side of the foot the kicker took the penalty with. Key soccer coaching tip: right-footed kickers shoot to their left. Even the head. the keeper’s right. and vice versa. Get your goalkeeper to read the shot   Tell your players to watch the penalty-taker’s eyes and body shape. A ―push pass‖ shot will require the hips to open up in the direction the ball is going. A straight-on approach gives fewer clues. A very wide approach often indicates the shooter is going towards the opposite corner. And then the hips. If junior penalty takers often drop their heads low and have a big pull-back of the leg — expect a cross-body shot. 1. The ball often goes where the plant foot points. Before young players shoot they often look at the corner they are going to hit the ball.    . The ball goes where the hips point. If the head stays up he’s going for the opposite corner. Get your players to watch the plant foot. As well as watching the body language. If professionals make that choice.

Junior penalties are often poorly hit Many penalties. 2. Often the goalkeeper can easily make the save if they just wait and simply react to the shot. Click here for a fun game to develop the skills of your talented penalty-takers. either weakly hit or right down the middle.Key soccer coaching tip: don’t react too soon. especially at the youth level. Use the clues to predict where the ball might go but wait a split second to be sure it really is going there. . are poorly taken.

your goalkeeper must watch out for high shots over his head. Positional tips: As easy as 1-2-3 If the ball is in the attacking third of the pitch. even when it's at the other end of the pitch You must also think about the team you are playing and talk about his positions at half time. Click here for more soccer coaching tips to help your goalkeeper learn about positioning. Sweep it up Why are these soccer coaching tips important? Because as well as making saves. the keeper should be in the front third of their penalty area If the ball’s in the middle third. . and remind him of constantly during the game. Coaching reminders The thing you must get across to your goalkeeper. A good position also means the goalkeeper is available to receive a backpass from a team mate under pressure. is to focus on the position of the ball in relation to the goal. The space between the keeper and defenders should be small enough to make it tricky for opponents to play a ball into it without either the keeper or defenders getting there first. a goalkeeper’s job is to provide support for the defence. Young attackers will often try to get the ball as close to goal as possible so your goalkeeper needs to be off his line more. These soccer coaching tips will help get him thinking about positioning and how to help the defenders. the keeper should stand in the middle third of their penalty area If the ball’s in the defending third.Soccer coaching tips to get your goalie in position Getting a goalkeeper for your team is bad enough. If the team has a big kicker. the keeper should position themselves a little distance from their goal-line. but getting one who can change positions in relation to the game is very difficult.

Cover spaces as well as players. Seize the opportunity to challenge correctly for the ball. fouls. Rash challenges.‖ ―Stay on your feet.‖ ―Keep together and work as a unit. . Gaps between players. Failure to intercept or challenge when there is a chance.Soccer drill to coach players to defend as a unit In this soccer coaching drill we look at developing a team's ability to defend as a unit. What you tell your players to do:       Demonstrate a positive. What to shout in the soccer (football) drill:       ―Press quickly.‖ ―Don’t dive in. going to ground. What you tell your players the drill is about:   Working hard together to win possession. aggressive but controlled attitude. supporting and covering as a team unit. Pressing. Remember and apply the work on individual pressing. Observe the opponents' positions and your team mates. Lack of positive mental attitude.‖ ―Win it!‖ What to look for in this soccer drill:      Slow reactions and movement. Keep compact as a unit.‖ ―Get tighter and close the gap.

 Lack of communication and specific information. Each successful long pass gets a point. Now they must make 3/4/5 passes before they can pass into the other team at the far end. Think about letting them defend deep as a team and counter attack. Three other players from each team stand in the middle third. What to think about: Are your players working ―smart‖ or just hard? Are they applying the lessons learned in marking and covering? Think about rotating tired players. Drinks and rest pauses are advisable. Three players stand outside the area at both ends. Relax the eight pass rule in the game after a while and it will be less frantic. What you get your players to do:     Stage 1: Use an area approx 30m x 20m.  . The coach plays a ball into one end and the players at that end step into the grid to receive. Rotate the players in the middle. as done well this is a hard soccer drill. Applaud all goals and good attempts deriving from good defending skills. When they do they get a point and their team-mates in the middle can now pressurise the opponents who are receiving the ball.

They must work as a team. A team making eight passes gets a goal. Click here to order a copy. 64 Small-Sided Soccer Games is a valuable tool for any soccer (football) coaches who would like to vary their training sessions and keep their players keen. All the grey players now work as a team to intercept before the final pass can be made. This encourages the defenders to hunt as a pack and try to win the ball back early.Develop the soccer drill When the ball is played in by the soccer coach. A normal goal also counts. it is their turn in possession. . How would I put these soccer drill skills into a game situation? Play 5 v 5 on a 30m by 45m area with goals. one white player can move into the attacking third. The goalkeeper in possession must distribute in his defending third. whites retain the ball and start again. His team-mates must now make 4/5/6 passes in the other two thirds before passing to him to get a point. Click here for a competitive team game to make defending fun. if not. If they do. Divide the pitch into thirds.

encourage them by telling them that they can win the games by using good defending skills. Instead.Competitive team games to make defending fun In every soccer training session. Giving defenders a proper structure and the correct tactical approach will make their role as a defender much more rewarding and will save your team lots of goals. A good soccer coaching tip is to not tell your players that they are working on a defending drill – some young players will not respond well to that scenario.   Your players will work extremely hard at defending in order to beat the other player and win points for their team. . fun team games and soccer training drills. incorporate some competitive team games to make the principles of defending fun and motivate your young team. Remind them of the proper skills and don’t let them commit fouls – it should be fun but not too rough.The best way to do this is by introducing the theme of defense with competitive.


Number 1 from each team must go into the other team’s area. Game 3 – knock all four balls off the cones: the attackers must each defend a ball balanced on a cone by using good ballshielding skills. Number the players 1 to 5. . The defender must continuously try to stop them completing passes. The defender must knock the four balls off the cone quicker than the other defender. The team is awarded one point for each game they win. Pick two teams of five players. The defender must tackle or dispossess them quicker than the defender in the other area. Game 1 – stop the other team making 20 passes: The team of four pass one ball around the area. The first team to complete 20 passes is the winner.Setting up the games Mark out two 10 x 10 yard areas. Game 2 – tackle all four attackers: Each of the attackers dribbles around the area with a ball.

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