Combining and Playing on Angles

By Sean Reed - 

The following sessions will focus on combining through the middle and playing on angles

Objective: Session 1

Looking at combining through the middle, timing of runs and playing on angles

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Set Up

  • The dimensions of the area can be changed, depending on outcome. For example 20yds w x 40yds (Encourage space to play into) or 15yds w x 30yds (Combining within tight areas)
  • This session can work a number of different players. Ideally you would want 3 or 4 in the middle (no more). The same for the outside. Depending on the numbers you could also get the GK involved as works well for them. If required a coach can go on the outside to make up the extra number
  • If you have more than 1 group working, as they progress you could have two groups working within the same area, traveling across one another. See Diagram 5
  • 3 Players in the middle with 4 players on the outside.
  • Ball on the outside is always played across on an angle; outside players must adjust to receive the ball. Once the ball has been played across then the ball can be played inside for the 3 to combine
  • Ideally when the ball is played to the 1st player on the outside they take 2 touch with playing the ball across, allowing movement from the players inside
  • All 3 players in the middle must touch the ball before it is played out. The players work in the middle for up to 1 minute and then change

Coaching Points

  • Tempo of passing
  • Timing of movement and distances when receiving the ball
  • Body shape when receiving the ball
  • Balance off (Low, Medium and High)
  • Must pass and receive on angles
  • Decision-Making with no. of touches + encourage creative thinking
  • Forward runs

Objective: Session 2

Looking at players combining and making runs from deep (3rd man running)

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Set Up

  • As with the previous session
  • Within this session the only condition is; the 1st pass that is played into the area must be played to the player furthest away

Coaching Points

  • As within the previous session
  • Focus must be on the movement and balancing off
  • Movement: short to go long and long to go short
  • Rotational Movements
  • Low, Medium and High
  • 1st touch to set, timing of movements
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Objective: Session 3

This session will look at supporting deep and making forward runs from deep to combine

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Set Up

  • Same set up us the previous session
  • The 1st ball from the outside is now played immediately inside to the deepest player (1) who then plays back out to the other outside player
  • The outside player will then play into (2) who sets back to (3) to then play forward into (1) who is making a run from deep
  • If the players need more time for their movement the outside players can play the first ball across
  • Is important the players work on their movements (starting position and timing of movements).

Coaching Points

  • As with the previous sessions
  • Emphasis on the movements 1st and 2nd movements
  • Distances (Low, Medium & High)

Diagrams 4 and 5

The diagrams below illustrate additional ideas for how this session could be delivered.

In the first diagram a line is placed across the central part of the grid to divide it in half. The coach can stipulate that no more than 2 players can be in 1 half of the pitch. This will then emphasize maintaining the distances and balancing off.

Another line could be introduced down the central part create 4 areas and again the coach can stipulate that there can be no more then 1 player in each area. Or even create 3 zones to emphasize the low, medium and high. These are just a few ideas for the coaches to help encourage specific outcomes.

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The last diagram illustrates the use of two groups working within the same grid. One group is working up and down. The second group is working across left to right, right to left. The two groups therefore work between one another, which will challenge the players with their awareness, movement, and decision-making.

The next progression would be to carry this into a possession game.

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By Sean Reed

Former First Team Coach of Championship side Fulham FC. Sean is a UEFA A Coach with a Masters in Sport Coaching. He has over 15 years of experience working in professional football from Academy through to First team in the Premiership and Championship.

Linkedin -
Twitter - @SeanJReed

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