Tag Archives for " Offside "

How to Teach Offside Without Working on It

Most young players (and many older ones) have a difficult time understanding how to stay onside. Last weekend I found that something I had worked on in our previous session made it VERY easy for even my U9 players to understand.

I have a training session focused on teach players how to complete a successful give-and-go. After a passing warm-up I have the players move through this pattern:


When I'm teaching the give-and-go I focus on

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Barcelona's Offside Trap

By Stevie Grieve

Luis Enrique took over at FC Barcelona in the summer and one of the first things he has done is make sure that the team are much more solid defensively than they have been in previous seasons. Part of this has been to introduce an aggressive offside trap with Gerard Pique and Javier Mascherano; two players who can hold a defensive line high and read when to leave the strikers in offside positions.

There have been various ‘trigger’s for the offside trap, and I will look at 3 of these triggers to play offside;

• When the opponent is forced back under pressure

• When the opponent is on the counter attack but pressure is place on the ball in midfield and a long pass is expected

• When a pass needs to be played first time and the strikers are running beyond the defence in expectation for a long pass

The key to a successful offside trap is that pressure is on the ball when it is used; often an offside line is held when there is no pressure on the ball, resulting in the player in possession having time to pick the correct pass which catches the defence in a position where they cannot recover.
In Barcelona’s case, they offside trap is successful when only 2 of the back 4 are in deep positions, generally with the deeper of the 2 centre backs controlling the line depth.

Against Atletico Madrid, Barcelona secured their first win against the current La Liga Champions in 7 games and the fact that Atletico’s direct approach was nullified by the offside trap went a long way towards the solid defensive display.

Barcelona offside trap trigger – 2v1 on the side


Here we can see the compactness of Barcelona from the

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Timing Runs to Stay Onside

By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

Welcome to the FineSoccer Drills Newsletter. Today’s featured activity works on runs, up front, to stay onside.

This activity uses a half field with a keeper in goal, two defenders on the keepers team and two forwards attacking the goal. There is a midfielder, also looking to attack the goal.


The player with the ball is a static player and the two forwards are the ones looking to move to get open to receive the ball and get to goal. The thing to emphasize is

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How to Stay Onside in a Break-away Situation

By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

Welcome to the FineSoccer Drills Newsletter. Today’s featured activity works on getting to goal and staying onsides in a breakaway type situation.

Start with two attackers just across midfield and a defender at midfield. There is a second defender 10 yards back from the attacker with a ball and a keeper in goal.


As soon as the attacker with the ball touches the ball, the game is

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Build Up and Combination Play

By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

Welcome to the FineSoccer Drills Newsletter. Today’s featured activity works on combination play between a forward and midfielder and staying onside.

Start with 2 cones 30 yards from goal. A forward starts in front of the cones. Another player is 15 yards further back with a ball. There are players ready to take these two players spots and a keeper in goal.


The forward starts by checking away and then

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How NOT To Screw Up a 2v0 Break-Away

Welcome to the FineSoccer Drills Newsletter. Today’s featured activity works on 2 v 0 breakaways.

Recently I have seen a few situations where two players broke through on a breakaway (either because of a poorly executed offside trap or the last defender makes a big mistake). In two of these cases the attacking player without the ball ran beyond the ball, into an offside position, which made him unusable. Here is a simple activity that will help prepare players for this type of a situation.

Start with a keeper in goal and two attacking players 40 yards out (one with a ball). Have a defender 10 yards behind them. The purpose of the defender is to force the attackers to go at speed.


Play starts with the

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Beating the Offside Trap Follow-Up

In a post last December I talked about how I was working with my team to understand the different ways to beat the offside trap. Some of the ideas and exercises I use are from the book, 'Offside!'.

A reader suggested that runs from the midfield was another way to effectively defeat the trap. Here's what David Williams says about these types of runs in, 'Offside!':

"Tell the loan striker to restrict his runs forward

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Beating the Offside Trap

I've never been a fan of teaching youth teams to operate an offside trap. My feeling is that the time spent teaching this tactic is far better spent training players to better understand defending. You're also leaving the success or failure of your defense in the hands of the referees. Even with very good referees, your only one missed call away from a breakaway and likely goal.

I do believe that it's a good idea to spend some time teaching your players how to beat the offside trap. This knowledge is not only useful against trapping teams but also against teams that play a regular pressure-cover-balance defense. A book I've taken some ideas from is, 'Offside! - How to Coach It, How to Use It, How to Counter It.' This book does a great job of explaining how teach the tactic as well as how to beat it.

There are a number of different ways that you can combat the trap. I focus on four

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