Space and Support

By Danny Carvalho

These two tactical concepts are key in every area of the field for a team that likes to play possession-based soccer. This session focus on the general macro aspects of spacing and supporting. One could say that is an introductory session to these principles.

Warm Up
Split the group into three teams. Possession small-sided game where two teams keep away from one. In the diagram below blacks and yellows are keeping it from the reds in a 6v3.

Activity 1
In this activity, each team will have two players inside a square diagonally apart and three players free in the space. The goal is to maintain possession and pass the ball to the players in the squares to score points. The player in the square can pass the ball on one touch to a teammate and stay in the square or they can receive the ball and dribble out the square as the player who just passed the ball fill in the square.

- Head up and space
- Search for passing lines and good angles
- Think ahead. Plan what you are going to do with the ball before receiving it
- Check your shoulders

Activity 2
In this next activity, we split the group into four different teams. In the example below, each team will have four players. The goal is to keep possession for a set numbers of pass and then transfer the ball to the next square. One point for every time the team achieves it. If one team fails to keep possession, the coach will serve a new ball in the square right next and a player from the team that just messed up goes to defend.

The game goes clockwise. So, the team in possession in the diagram would pass to the top right square and the same defender keeps going to the next square. This team would then transfer the ball to the bottom right square. This team, different than the others, would pass the ball to the coach after all because the yellow team is the one defending in the moment. If this happens, one extra point for all teams in possession.

- Move to support
- Make the square as big as possible
- Don’t rush on the ball. Attract the defender to you and then release it to an open teammate

- 4v2 on each square
- 3v1 on each square
- Raise the number of passes needed before switching to the next square

Activity 3
To give the players this awareness of space and angles, the scrimmage will be played in split zones.
In a 7v7, both teams will play in a 2-3-1 shape where the players are only allowed to merge from one zone to another by dribbling into or after passing the ball to the player already there. The only exceptions are the Center Midfielder who is allowed to merge anywhere they want to go IN POSSESSION and the center forward who is allowed to merge only in the two attacking zones.


- Sometimes your best option is behind you
- How can you overload the opponents in your zone?
- Realize when to give your teammate space to dribble and when to check in to support

By Danny Carvalho, DOC at Corinthians Campinas Youth Club,  Brasil

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