Identifying and Solving Common Game Situation Problems in the Training Environment

Coaches

Here's a podcast:

https://wcctrainingcenter.com/231-soccer-in-the-city-with-director-michael-holstein/

Fri, May 8, 6:14 AM

This will be a series of emails that should cover a handful of situations that occur during a soccer game.  Hopefully over the course of a week we can continue to provide information that will help you identify and solve common game situation problems.  You will notice that our back four system of play that is reviewed on the tactical sessions is also layered into this info.  It would be ideal to forward this content to your team and allow players to read and print off the material.  
 

Defending Topics 

1. Getting tight to a striker dropping deep to receive to feet 

2. Closing the receiving player down in a wide area 

3. Opponents midfield players coming short to receive and turn 

4. Pressure in the center of midfield when they have the ball facing forward 

5. Recovery runs in midfield 

6. Adjustment of the back four as the ball travels 

7. 1 v 1 defending in wide areas of the field and in our defending third particularly 

8. Off the shoulder movement and how to combat it 

9. The Back 4: Defensive Positioning

 

Attacking Topics 

10. Crossing early from wide positions behind the defense 

11. Running offside 

12. Improving corners for 

13. How to beat a man marking back four

 

GETTING TIGHT TO A STRIKER DROPPING DEEP
TO RECEIVE TO FEET 

 

This is what not to do. Striker comes short, center back lets the striker go, and the striker receives and turns and runs at the back four who now are in a vulnerable position. Being able to immediately run at the back four means the striker and teammates have not been delayed which would help other players on our team recover back.






















 

Resulting situation is that they get a break on us and can attack with numbers and we are then at a big disadvantage because they have several players running AT us with and without the ball and the player on the ball is facing forwards and not backwards; which would be to our advantage if we got tight initially to them and prevented them turning. 
 

1. GETTING TIGHT TO A STRIKER DROPPING DEEP TO RECEIVE TO FEET 

All can be corrected JUST by the center back getting tight (or a fullback depending on the part of the field). 



























You can stop this simply by getting tight and making the striker receive to feet with their back to goal, this slows down the forward momentum and allows our players to recover back and get into good defensive positions. It also allows the other center back and the fullbacks time to position correctly behind the pressing center back by condensing the spaces behind them. 
 

2. CLOSING THE RECEIVING PLAYER DOWN IN A WIDE AREA 






















As the ball travels the player (2) must travel to close down (A). (A) Has dropped back into space to receive the ball. 






















If (2) moves late and (A) gets the ball and faces forward when (2) is still not close enough then (A) can pass the ball into the space (2) came from for striker (C) to attack. 


Now (2) is out of position and cannot effect EITHER (A) or (C). (2) Is in NO MANS LAND. (2) Must either go ALL THE WAY, or NOT AT ALL and hope a midfielder can close down (A) or at least delay them. By staying in the space and if (A) then decides to run forward that is a kind of delay because the ball is not being passed forward quickly and (C) cannot attack the space as (2) is still in it.
 

2. CLOSING THE RECEIVING PLAYER DOWN IN A WIDE AREA 



























(2) Now ANTICIPATES the pass to (A) and closes them down as the ball travels and is able to close (A) down so they may even be receiving the ball facing backwards, and now whilst (A) still has the ball (2) is on control of the situation and not the other way around. This also allows (5) and the whole remaining back four to cover across. Also it may delay (A) long enough where a midfield player can get back to help. 


3. OPPONENTS MIDFIELD PLAYERS COMING SHORT TO RECEIVE AND TURN


 Here (A) comes short to receive a pass from a defender. (8) Does not close down this player and allows them to receive and turn and attack us. This can happen TOO MUCH 


























 

Now (A) turns and looks forward and can cause us a lot of problems with good forward passes. This is a cue for opponents to break forward and attack us and (A) has too much time and space to play and we are at a distinct disadvantage again. 
 

3. OPPONENTS MIDFIELD PLAYERS COMING SHORT TO RECEIVE AND TURN 


























Here by our midfield player making the effort to close down (A) which could only be a matter of 5 to 10 yards of work, and stop them passing the ball forward, we save all the other players a lot of work. Now (A) can only pass back, or try to turn and possibly lose the ball in a bad position on the field and we are then in the offensive Little situations make big situations happen, both in a good way and a bad way, if you don’t solve the little situation by closing down then it opens the whole game up and then a big situation for the opponents and suddenly our whole back four are working hard dropping back and chasing players, using a LOT of energy; as are the recovering midfield players. All the little situation required was the closing down of (A) and forcing the opponent to play back or delay their pass stops this and this also saves a LOT of energy for teammates.



CONTINUED.........
Sun, May 10, 7:48 AM

PRESSURE IN THE CENTER OF MIDFIELD WHEN THEY HAVE THE BALL FACING FORWARD

























 

Teams still stand off opponents too much and as previously pointed out not pressing immediately gives opponents time and space on the ball and the rest of the team needs to work hard to adjust to this. Teams also tend to be far too wide in midfield when we defend and it seems are more preoccupied with marking players and not space further way from the ball (such as wide players who should tuck in and leave their opponent and rather fill the space and as the ball moves they can adjust). If (6) closes quickly and stops the forward pass then teammates around can get into position quickly too by this delaying action, if (6) does not then we don’t have time as a team to adjust and get compact.




 

PRESSURE IN THE CENTER OF MIDFIELD WHEN THEY HAVE THE BALL FACING FORWARD 




























 

Here (6) positions and stops the forward pass (does not DIVE IN NOR TRY TO STEAL THE BALL which often results in being beaten 1 v 1), and holds up the forward momentum of the opponents. Diving in here would be a bad decision as then we are all as a team on the back foot and do not have time to adjust correctly, individually and collectively.


 

RECOVERY RUNS IN MIDFIELD 



























Here we have broken away and we are attacking and a bad pass causes us to lose possession. Too many times midfield players either do not get back or jog back when they should be sprinting back towards their own goal. Here (A) receives a bad pass from (11) and immediately passes it forward to (B) who dribbles forward with the ball. I always say get your rest at the end of the run once you are back, not during the recovery run by jogging slowly. 


RECOVERY RUNS IN MIDFIELD 




























Here we see midfield players running back to help out their back four and fullback (3) trying to delay the forward motion of (B) to allow them time to get back, with the other three of the back four condensing across towards the ball and offering cover for (3) in behind.



 ADJUSTMENT OF THE BACK FOUR AS THE BALL TRAVELS 


























The ball was given away cheaply by our wide player (11) with a bad forward pass; our back four were too flat at that moment. The player on the opponents who intercepted the pass played a one touch long ball in behind us and we got caught flat at the back. As above their striker got a run on us and got in behind.



























This is what we should do where we drop back before the ball is delivered to give us a chance of being in the right position to counter this long ball. 


CONTINUED...................
May 12, 2020, 8:18 PM

ADJUSTMENT OF THE BACK FOUR AS THE BALL TRAVELS 




























If that situation happens so quickly we do not have time to adjust and drop, then this set up of the back four initially will be much more effective, where the 2nd center back has depth on the cover for any long through balls in behind us and is immediately in a better position to cover this. The back four defensive set up is all about CONSTANT MOVEMENT, up and out and drop and back, always adjusting their position as a unit; based on the balls position and who has possession of it, and if there is pressure on it or not if opponents have it, it is rarely if ever flat. No pressure on an opponent facing forward with the ball is always an immediate VISUAL CUE to drop back quickly if you are defending high (as you should be) and so the space behind the back four has to be protected, especially when many teams play kick ball and just kick it long and chase it. 
 

1 V 1 DEFENDING IN WIDE AREAS OF THE FIELD AND IN OUR DEFENDING THIRD PARTICULARLY 
 

Teams and players can cause us FAR too many problems by us DIVING IN during 1 v 1 situations. Some games can be decided on this, they may get 3 shots or more on goal because of this and luckily if their shooting was very poor we get away with it, otherwise we could lose games just through something as simple as 1 v 1 defending. This can EASILY be PREVENTED, by JOCKEYING THE PLAYER, DELAYING THE PLAYER; by forcing them wide with your body position, which means dropping off slowly and pushing them wide NOT COMMITTING yourself to the tackle and losing the ball and having no chance to get back and stop them. This then pulls another defender out of position and leaves them vulnerable. So based on what we have done many times in training, we press them; then immediately drop a yard to get set, this does not happen enough, we sometimes press then we stand still and we are often are flat footed because of it, by dropping after the press forward this gets you on your toes and ready and in a far better position to defending correctly in a 1 v 1. 
























 

Delaying by jockeying means other players have a little more time to recover and help you. Here (7) and (8) get the chance to run back and help out plus delaying means the back four can adjust and cover behind you. 
 

1 V 1 DEFENDING IN WIDE AREAS OF THE FIELD AND IN OUR DEFENDING THIRD PARTICULARLY 
 

If they beat you quickly then the back four, particularly center back (4) does not have time and likely goes too late and it may mean their players Is now free because of this adjustment through the fullback diving in too quickly and the opponent beating them.





























 

Here is what happens when (2) DIVES IN and is beaten, and (A) is now 1 v 1 with the keeper, and in a great position to score; and as this has happened so quickly (4) does not have time to cover across. Also (7) and (8) do not have time to get back and help so are out of the game defensively too. All this can be prevented by defending in a 1 v 1 more thoughtfully and effectively; by DELAYING, by JOCKEYING; by NOT DIVING IN; and by stopping the forward momentum of the opponent on the ball or at least pushing them wide to further delay and make the angle of attack more difficult to be effective. 


1 V 1 DEFENDING IN WIDE AREAS OF THE FIELD AND IN OUR DEFENDING THIRD PARTICULARLY

































Here (2) drops off as (A) attacks forward, (2) shapes up by getting side-on to the touchline to push (A) wider which as you can see allows teammates to recover into better positions. It is difficult to show this in a diagram but hopefully the words are explanatory enough. Whilst (2) does not win the ball, (2)’s action delays everything, which is what we are trying to achieve; until we get cover behind and also gives midfield players a chance to close (A) down from behind. DIVING IN by (2) means none of this happens and no one has time to recover, so (2) should resist making a tackle because this is the last line of defense unless it is an absolute last resort measure. 


OFF THE SHOULDER MOVEMENT AND HOW TO COMBAT IT 



























1. (3) Watches the ball and allows the wide player (B) to get beyond him. A ball in behind always beats him. 


2. Centrally the centre back (4) does the same, he watches the ball and the striker comes off his shoulder and he gets caught with the ball in behind him. 


3. This will cost us in unless we work on it with the team. 



























1. Here striker (A) comes off the shoulder of (4) who stays central and the ball in played into the space beyond and behind him. 

2. Likewise wide player (B) makes the same movement with the same end result.

OFF THE SHOULDER MOVEMENT AND HOW TO COMBAT IT 
























1. This is the end product where we can get caught. 
 

2. To counter this center back (4) or fullback (3) should drop off inside the space the ball is going to be played into.
 

3. Alternatively the whole back four can press up and leave them offside but this is risky if there is no pressure on the ball being delivered.


THE BACK 4: DEFENSIVE POSITIONING

A Reason Why it is the Center Back and not the Full Back as the Last and Deepest Player 
































1. Here the striker realizes he or she can be played onside in a central area due to the fullback being the last and deepest player. 
 

2. (E) here pushes behind defender (4) in an advantageous position but stays onside. 
 

3. The last player (2) is too far away to effect (E) should (E) receive the ball as they are set up. 


CONTINUED.........
May 17, 2020, 8:25 AM

We continue to provide information as an educational supplement for each of you to continue to grow as soccer coaches.  This is really good information for you to learn and understand.  If you participate in the Zoom tactical lessons, you'll notice some overlap here which is really good.  
 

Here's a podcast for your review:

https://wcctrainingcenter.com/234-using-play-practice-play-vs-progressive-training-method/

 

THE BACK 4: DEFENSIVE POSITIONING
(A) Moves across with the ball and the players adjust as (A) enters their zone. Do it slowly to begin until they get the idea. Maintaining the shape through zonal marking ensures a well organized defensive set up instead of big holes being created through man marking.


























 

Players close in around the ball filling the central spaces, good communication is important. They are each responsible for their own zone, this type of defending when done correctly is less physically demanding than a man marking style of play where players have to track their immediate opponents. 






























THE BACK 4: DEFENSIVE POSITIONING 


Zonal Defending with a Back Four 



























1. Introduce four opponents in static positions. They pass the ball between themselves and keep it to allow the defenders to get their shape right and for the coach to adjust them if needed. At this point defenders don’t try to win the ball just shadow it wherever it goes. 



























2. Work the ball across the field. The second center back must try to be the deepest player e.g. (5) above (always a central player if possible).

THE BACK 4: DEFENSIVE POSITIONING 
 

Adjustment of the Defending Four as the Ball Travels

























The ball is passed to (B) and the defenders adjust accordingly marking players, marking zones or a combination of both (closer to the ball mark the player further away mark the zone) depending where the ball is. 


























Marking in advance of the ball e.g. (2) is marking space but can close (A) as the ball travels. The player’s body stances must be open so they can see the ball and the player they are marking. 

CONTINUED...................May 26, 2020, 8:06 AM
 

THE BACK 4: DEFENSIVE POSITIONING 

Anticipation in Defending 
























Back four are too flat so one ball played in behind from (E) to (A) beats everyone even if opponents only play one striker as shown here. 

Defending Far Too Flat 


























 

Here we show the result of being too flat. (A) Is through one v one on the keeper. Even if (4) and (5) react to this movement it is likely they will be second best because (A) has a run on them. We currently react, we do not anticipate; but this is a learning process we can easily fix.

 

THE BACK 4: DEFENSIVE POSITIONING 

Defending with Depth to Cover the Space in Behind 


























This is defending in anticipation. We are anticipating where they could play the ball so (4) drops off and defends with depth to give herself time and space to cover (A)’s run. This may even put off (E) making the pass in behind because clearly defender (4) is in the best position to win the ball.






















 





Here we show even if (A) does get to the ball defender (4) is in an excellent covering position to HOLD UP; NOT DIVE IN AND NOT TRY TO TACKLE (A) to allow fellow defenders to recover back. Alternatively defender (4) will most likely win the ball first due to good positioning and having several yards in advance on striker (A) to get to the ball; even if striker (A) is faster than her. 


CONTINUED.........Sun, May 31, 9:34 AM

THE BACK 4: DEFENSIVE POSITIONING 


Defending with Depth to Cover the Space in Behind 


This is defending in anticipation. We are anticipating where they could play the ball so (4) drops off and defends with depth to give herself time and space to cover (A)’s run. This may even put off (E) making the pass in behind because clearly defender (4) is in the best position to win the ball. 

























Here we show even if (A) does get to the ball defender (4) is in an excellent covering position to HOLD UP; NOT DIVE IN AND NOT TRY TO TACKLE (A) to allow fellow defenders to recover back. Alternatively defender (4) will most likely win the ball first due to good positioning and having several yards in advance on striker (A) to get to the ball; even if striker (A) is faster than her.



























THE BACK 4: DEFENSIVE POSITIONING

Striker Pushing Onto the Last Defender 

When defender (4) drops off striker (A) may push onto (4) being the deepest player so that counters (4) dropping off to give herself time and space. This is what a clever striker should do and a good coach should identify. BUT; the solution for (4) to this is VERY EASY.

























Defender (4) just STEPS UP and leaves striker (A) clearly offside. After doing this a few times the striker will potentially stop making the move because it is not working for her.




























CONTINUED...................Jun 3, 2020, 1:47 PM


 

THE BACK 4: DEFENSIVE POSITIONING 

Anticipation in Defense in Midfield and the Back Four Collectively 




























 

Now we are looking at anticipation in defense and in midfield. The body language of (C) is such that it is clear she is passing to either (D) or (E). We do not anticipate this we arrive too late all over the team hence opponents in 1 v 1 situations have lots of time to play. Here above we show the anticipation movement of the teams players as it should be, it may only be 4 yards when; for example; the closest player to (E) which is (3) is initially 8 yards away but already before (D) has passed to (E) defender (3) is 4 yards closer to either INTERCEPT the pass or get really tight to pressure (E). 



THE BACK 4: DEFENSIVE POSITIONING 

Anticipation in Defense in Midfield and the Back Four Collectively
























Here the anticipation has worked and (3) arrives as the ball arrives and does not give (E) time or space to play and is more likely to win the tackle or force (E) into an error. 

























By DEFENDING IN ANTICIPATION the defender (3) is in a good position to INTERCEPT THE PASS as shown. 


THE BACK 4: DEFENSIVE POSITIONING 


A Lack of Anticipation in Closing Down 
























This is how we can be where (E) receives the ball in lots of space and has time to make a good choice of what to do with the ball. If tighter as previously shown then (3) may force (E) into an error with much less time and space to work in. 



Over Anticipating 

























(3) Has tried to anticipate the pass to (E) from (D) before she makes it and has covered the whole distance between herself and (E) thinking she is doing her job anticipating and getting tight to (E), but the ball hasn’t even left the foot of (D) yet. This is over anticipation and she has left herself vulnerable to the pass in behind. The moral is anticipating the potential pass but still covering space as well as covering the player; as in the previous diagrams. 
 

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