By Mike Smith
This session contains several simple patterns of passing and movement, based on a diamond shape, which are especially good for training midfield and attacking movement in the offensive third.
Two Ball Pass and Move
Groups of 4 players set up in a diamond made of 8 cones spaced 7-10 yards apart. Players simply pass the ball ( each pair has a ball ) to the player across from them , check to the cone to their right ( as shown ) and return to receive the ball and pass again. This drill works well when performed in “sets”, where the drill is constant for 1-3 minutes and then 15 – 30 seconds of rest is given before the next set. 3 – 5 sets will take 10 – 15 minutes to complete. Following are 3 additional variations. When all 4 are performed in succession it makes for a very intense yet productive 45 to 60 minutes of training.
The following variation can be used as a recovery drill. Using the same diamond set up, one player sends the ball ( this is also a two ball drill ) to their partner across from them and then checks to the cone on their right to receive the return pass. The player making the return pass then checks to the cone to their right and holds. The pattern is then repeated, except the partners now move to the cones on their left. This can be done in sets or for a total of 5-7 minutes as it is less intense.
For the next progression, add two cones ( as shown ) to opposite points of the diamond and remove one ball to make it a one ball drill. The players on the points of the diamond will shuffle back and sprint forward after making their respective passes. The other two players will move right to start a triangle movement after making their passes ( as shown ). A player at a triangle position sends the ball across to their partner and completes their run. The second player sends the pass to the right and completes their run ( the other triangle ). The third player sends the ball across and then completes their run,( the shuffle back and sprint forward )with the fourth player sending the ball back to the starting point and then completing their shuffle / sprint run. Like the first drill, this activity should be run in sets, with players switching positions after each set.
The final variation is also a one ball drill and adds a dribble to the center before the pass is made. The starting player dribbles to the center, passes to the player across from them and then drops back. The second player dribbles to the center, passes to their right and then drops back. The third player dribbles to the center, passes across and then drops back while the final player dribbles to the center, passes left to the starting point, and then drops back. The coach can decide the number of sets here based on his teams readiness to progress to the next activity.
Good touch, movement , passing and communication are the names of the game here. The coach should roam between groups and stress focus on quality in these areas as needed.
Diamond in Front of Goal
Inside the penalty box, 4 attackers start in a diamond shape and challenge 3 defenders plus the keeper. The idea is to use the diamond shape initially to off balance the defense and expose space. Play starts with a player on the wide part of the diamond ( as shown ) sending a pass up to the top point of the diamond. To start, this pass is “free” but all successive passes / shots and dribbles may be challenged. The defense simply clears the ball out of the box to end play, with the exception of corners which are taken.
If the defenders bite and expose space centrally or behind them, the attackers should take the shot. IF not, the attackers should reset the diamond and repeat the passing and movement until open attacking space presents its self. Groups of defenders and attackers can rotate in and out after every attempt, a certain number of attempts or after a certain amount of time ( 2 minutes for example ) as set by the coach.
After the initial drills, the passing and movement and communication should be crisp on the part of the attackers.
By Mike Smith
Currently the Head Coach for University Heights Academy Boys Soccer in Hopkinsville, KY , Mike is in his 14th year as a high school head coach with 23 years coaching experience overall and 34 year as a student and fan of the game. He holds a USSF D License.