By Justin Cresser
There are times when attacking teams are deep in their opponent’s half, but are keeping possession with the players at the back. However, if the ball is lost at the back from a poor pass or a player trying to beat an opponent off the dribble, this can be very problematic as the team that lost the ball is likely to be spread out in an attempt to provide width, and therefore out of position.
When this happens, defenders have to recover as fast as possible over a great distance and therefore require good speed endurance; whereas attackers need to make rapid decisions in terms of passes and movement off the ball and therefore acceleration and speed of reaction would be beneficial qualities to have.
Today’s activity mimics the situation described above and will involve 3 attackers counter attacking against 3 defenders and a goalie. You will need half of a regular-sized playing field for you playing area. Place two cones at the halfway at the points where the centre circle intersects the line. Place a third cone on the half way line 5 yards in from right side line. Have a player stand behind each of these cones. These will be your three attackers.
Set-up another 3 cones where your recovering defenders will start. Place a cone i) 5 yards behind the cone on the halfway line near the right touchline; ii) on the bottom edge of the centre circle so that it is in line with the centre of the goal; and iii) 5 yards in from the left touch line and 5 yards in front the half-line (Figure 1). Note: the defender on the centre circle must start facing away from goal.
Play starts with the coach playing a firm ball towards the corner flag in the top, right-hand corner of the field (for the right winger to run unto). As soon as this happens,