# Developing Game Intelligence for 11- years- old football players. 1 st Simplified Game. Maintaining Ball Possession 3 on 1

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1 Simplified Games 3 on 3 The simplified game is still an ideal framework for discovering, understanding, and resolving specific game-related problems for 7-a-side football. 1 st Simplified Game Maintaining Ball Possession 3 on 1 Mark off two adjacent squares of 8 to 10 meters. In one, three attackers keep the ball against one defender. In the adjacent or other square, two of the defender s teammates wait for a pass from their colleague if his or her defense in the 1 on 3 succeeds. Once they control the ball, the former defender joins the two teammates to try to keep possession of the ball in another 3-on-1 situation. A switch of play from one to the other playing area also occurs when one of the attackers infringes on the rules or the ball played by the attackers runs out of the limited zone. In both cases the defender kicks the ball from the sideline to one teammate in the adjacent area, with the opponents staying at a distance of at least 3 meter. Immediately after the successful kick-in, the player joins his or her team members in the adjacent area. Here it s their turn to keep possession in the new 3-on-1 situation. If one defender runs out of energy, he or she may switch positions with a teammate of the adjacent square. After a 5-minute practice, organize a competition with one player of the adjacent area counting the seconds of ball possession. Duration of the game: three periods of 3 minutes each. After 9 minutes of play the team that achieves the best time is winner. After every change of area (squares), a rotation takes place in the defending team. \ Variations *After passing to a teammate, the attacker must move at least 5 meters out of his former position. Using this rule helps develop the players orientation and perception. *To stimulate ball control, the attackers must play aerial passes. Passes along the ground are not allowed. *Count (keep track of) the number of successive passes played exclusively with the less-skilled foot. *Count the number of first-time passes during one ball possession. *Have three attackers face one defender in both playing areas. The group that keeps the ball longer wins. 1

2 Training Objectives * Learn to avoid playing the ball into the opponent s range of action. * Learn to pass the ball with precise timing, not too early and not too late. * Learn when to pass and when to dribble. * Learn to pass the ball accurately, fast enough, and without indicating its trajectory. * After passing the ball, be prepared to receive it again; learn to support the ball carrier and consider the support given by the teammates. * As defender, learn to press the ball carrier and anticipate the opponent s play. Possible questions for the players to develop their understanding and game intelligence: Where the two team-mates of the defender should ideally position themselves in the grid aside? Explain why! It would be ideal when the 2 team-mates offer themselves for a pass as far away as possible from the centre line which separates the 2 grids. Doing so they will have sufficient time to receive and control the ball (as the defenders are far away) as well as to decide upon the next move Which are the tasks of the 3 attackers who should maintain the possession of the ball as long as possible? Generally the ball should be passed only when the ball carrier is under pressure. In case both team-mates are supporting the ball carrier, the pass should be executed to the better-positioned player who is further away from the only defender. But in case nobody is available for a pass, the ball carrier may dribble into an open space to gain some time for a pass or look out for better passing options. When dribbling the ball the attacker should shield it with his body, positioning himself between the defender and the ball. Each pass should have sufficient speed and its direction should not be indicated with the eyes or any body movement. After a successful pass the passer should offer him immediately in an unoccupied space. When the attacker should avoid a pass and instead keep the ball close to his feet? In case he doesn t see any passing option he should keep the ball in his possession and dribble it into an unoccupied space where he might get new angles of passing. How a pressed attacker should act in a 1-on-1 situation? The ball carrier should position his body between the defender and the ball, shielding it for so long until he gets support from a teammate. What are the characteristics of a good pass? A good pass always reaches a teammate who is not immediately put under pressure by a defender. A good pass is not executed too early or too late and allows a teammate to play the ball in more favourable conditions. A good pass has sufficient speed and has been disguised for not allowing the defenders to read the intention of the passer. A good pass is generally played along the ground where it can be controlled easier and quicker than an aerial pass. Why aerial passes should be avoided when the objective is to maintain the possession of the ball? Passes played along the ground are quicker and easier to control than aerial passes. Tell me when in this particular game arises the ideal moment to pass the ball? When being put by an opponent under full pressure, the attacker should better pass the ball. That means that the pass is born by a necessity. Explain what is the task of a player who passed the ball with success! Immediately after his successful pass he should move out of his position and offer himself again in an area not controlled by any opponent. 2

3 When the team s objective is to maintain the possession of the ball should you pass the ball into the run of your teammate or directly into his feet? To facilitate the teammate s reception the ball should be passed directly into his feet. When do you have to play the oncoming ball directly (with one touch) and when you decide to control it? In case an opponent presses me in the moment of receiving the ball, I play a first touch pass, and deny controlling it as this involves risks of losing its possession. In case an attacker loses the possession of the ball, what we expect him to do? The attacker (as well as all his team-mates) should switch immediately to defensive functions without creating a pause between attack and defence. What does an intelligent defender who pretends to conquer the ball from 3 attackers (1-on-3 situation)? He approaches the ball carrier diagonally in such a way that he obliges him to do what the defender anticipated: Passing the ball to an opponent, which the defender intentionally left unmarked. Corrective Exercises Most of the Games for Passing, Receiving, and Shooting, as well as all the 2-on-2 simplified games make good material for remedial work. 3

4 2 nd Simplified Game Fast Attack Set up a 7-on-7-football field. Divide the youngsters into three attackers and three defenders, with an additional goalkeeper (not shown in the illustration). The three attackers start with the ball from the centerline of the field and try to beat a defender (the sweeper ) situated in front of the penalty zone. The attackers may only score goals from inside the zone. When the attackers first touch the ball on the centerline, the two defenders situated 8 to 12 meters behind them begin pursuit, trying to help the sweeper, who is doing everything possible to delay the attack. The attack ends * when a goal is scored, * when the attackers commit a rules infringement, * when the ball is played outside of the (mini-football) field, or * when the defenders can touch the ball three consecutive times or pass it once between them. When the defenders commit an infringement of the rules inside the penalty area, a penalty kick from 9 meters against a neutral goalkeeper is awarded. After five fast attacks, both teams switch positions and functions until each team has defended and attacked 10 times. After each attack the sweeper rotates. In the second series of attacks, the players in attack as well as in defense must assume different playing positions. The defenders who support the sweeper now should also start from different positions on both sidelines. After the competition, use probing, open questions to work out with your players what the most effective fast attack would be, considering aspects of the dribble, of passing, of controlling the ball, and of shooting. Possible questions for the players to develop their understanding and game intelligence: Which of the 3 attackers should have the ball at the initiation of the fast attack? This depends on the position of the 3 defenders in front and behind the attackers. Generally the centre forward should have the ball as he has the shortest way to score and the best passing options. 4

6 What a single defender can do when he faces three attackers? He has 2 opportunities: 1. Delaying their attack through retreating in the field and gain some time for his midfielders to support him. Doing so the numerical inferiority 1:3 could be turned into a situation of equal numbers (3:3). 2. He should force the ball carrier in the center to pass the ball as early as possible or as far as possible away from the goal to a winger who, generally, has less passing options than a center forward and therefore could be better channeled. Instilling the three attackers to execute 2 or more passes will allow his midfielders to join him in defense. Whilst delaying the attack and retreating in the field he should change his attitude in case he notices that the ball is out of control of the ball carrier. How the position of the two midfield players behind the 3 attackers influences the attacking move? Before the fast attack is initiated by the ball carrier he should perceive and analyse the game situation (particularly the position of the opponent in front and of the two behind him). Dependant on their position the ball should always be passed (in the moment the central defenders shows intention to tackle) into the run of a teammate who is furthest away from the midfielders tackling back from behind. Should the two defenders behind the three attackers try to tackle the player in possession of the ball or better try to intercept the passes between them? Whilst the central defender tries to delay the individual attack from the centre forward the other two defenders may gain some time to assume positions up the field, which will allow them to intercept the pass to any wing. Anyway, the 3 defenders should work out a plan to stop the three attackers from scoring. How the last defender could influence the attacking play? When he does not tackle the opponents, their attack is slowed down and when he moves slightly out of the centre to one side he encourages the ball carrier to pass the ball into the opposite direction to the attacker furthest away from the defender. Knowing these two facts the defender can oblige the ball carrier to pass in a way he has anticipated. Variations *After a successful tackle or interception, the defenders must pass the ball across the centerline or through one of the two goals, which should be established on the centerline in the wing positions. *The attackers may not pass the ball more than three times (or you can specify twice). *Three attackers play against two defenders, with one tackling from behind. (This variation is for more advanced players.) Training Objectives * Consolidate the execution of the basic skills of dribbling, passing, receiving, and scoring at high speed. * Create correct habits for counterattacking: for instance, initially pass the ball from the depth of the field directly into the path of the teammate, receive the ball on the run, use direct passes instead of receiving, and control the ball before making a pass. 6

7 * Learn to read the game: know when to pass or not pass the ball, always considering the actions of the three defenders that condition the attacking play. * Learn to look out for an effective attack. Three offensive actions are better than four. After carrying the ball to the third defender, a diagonal pass into the run of one of the supporting players to either side who then shoots from a safe distance is likely to assure a successful conclusion of the fast attack. * Learn to cooperate in defense and to systematically delay the counterattack when there are too few supporting players. Corrective Exercises The following corrective exercises should be included in the training program as needed. 1. Dribble and Tag Games Review the "Dribble Games" and especially the "Tag Games" in chapter 3, "Games for Basic Abilities. 2. Tackling From Behind This practice is done with two players in part of a mini-football or a playing field. One attacker starts with a ball from the centerline. A defender stands 3 meters behind this attacker and follows him or her, trying to execute a successful tackle before the attacker can control the ball in the penalty area. For attacking with success the forward must * move quickly, * invade the path of the defender who nears him or her (to avoid a collision and an infringement of the rules, the defender must slow down his running speed), or * feint a stop of the ball ("locomotive"); while the defender reacts to this new situation and prepares a tackle, the attacker can suddenly change speed and escape. After three attacks, the defender and attacker switch functions. Make sure that both players have a similar capacity in running speed. 3. Delaying the Opponents Attack Review the rules of a penalty attack in the mini-football competition (chapter 4). This practice uses six players. After the coach s visual signal, an attacker in the center of the mini-football field dribbles the ball toward one of the two opposing goals defended by an opponent who starts from the end line. This defender closes down on the attacker and channels him to one side of the field. Meanwhile, after the initiation of the attack, four other players (two attackers and two defenders) run from the opposite end line onto the field to support the single attacker or to tackle or intercept his pass. A goal can be scored only from inside the shooting zone. The attack of the three (one plus two) finishes, when 7

8 * one of the attackers scores, * the attackers lose the ball to the defenders, * an attacker infringes on the rules, or * when the ball runs out of play. The players rotate positions on the second and third attacks, and the teams switch functions after each full rotation. The team which manages to score the highest number of goals in six attacks wins. In case of a foul by one of the defenders, the attack has to be repeated. As a variation, the two supporting defenders and the two supporting attackers may start from the line of the shooting zone, thus putting more pressure on the attackers. 8

9 3 rd Simplified Game 3 on 1 Plus a Defender Who Covers The game, which involves six players, is played between the centerline and the line of the penalty area of a 7-on-7 football field. Set up cones to establish two 15-meter-wide goal areas on the penalty-area) and center line (see illustration). Three players are in possession of the ball and start their attack from the centerline, aiming to alternately control the ball in the goal area on the penalty-area line. This goal, as well as the one established on the centerline, is defended by a single defender who must always remain on the same line without entering the field. One additional midfield player must always tackle first. After the conclusion of the first attack, with or without success, the three attackers turn around to attack the opposite wide goal, again tackled by the same midfield player and a third defender who covers him. An attack finishes * when a goal is scored with a dribble across one of the two goals, * when the ball runs out of play, or *when one of the two defenders wins the ball and manages to execute a pass to one of his two teammates. Duration of the match: three periods of 2 minutes until every defender has played once in each position. The forwards are also asked to switch their positions every 2 minutes. 9

10 Possible questions for the players to develop their understanding and game intelligence Which tasks a ball carrier has to fulfil before he plays the ball? First he has to analyze the position of the closest defender, the distance in relation to him and the position of his two teammates. But before he comes to a decision about his next move he also has to perceive the position and attitude of the covering opponents behind him. Only after having processed all this valuable information he is able to choose the best possible attacking move. The ideal solution would be to dribble the ball diagonally toward the defender in front of him and oblige him to move slightly out of the center and then pass the ball into the run of his teammate on the opposite side. Which mistakes do the 3 attackers make frequently? -Instead of playing in a triangle, which allows more passing options, they remain all on the same level. -The wings come too close to the ball carrier instead of giving sufficient width to their attack. -The last pass before controlling the ball on the goal line has not been directed into the run of a wing. -The ball carrier doesn t hide his intentions and through his gestures give the covering player an opportunity to anticipate where he is going to play the ball. Variations *When the midfield player wins the ball, the other two defenders may leave their positions on the end lines and move to receive a pass. If they manage to pass the ball twice, they now attack, while the former three attackers have to take over the defending positions and functions. *After dribbling the ball across any goal line, the attackers have to score from a distance of 11 meters into a goal defended by a neutral goalkeeper. Training Objectives See the First Simplified Game, which has the same objectives. Corrective Exercises : Choose from earlier simplified games for keeping possession of the ball (2-on-1 or a 3-on-1) 10

11 4 th Simplified Game 3 on 3 With Four Intersecting Goals Teams of three players simultaneously defend two opposite goal areas (which should be 10 meters wide) and attack the other two. The illustration shows the setup and field dimensions. The game is started by a ball toss into the center of the square. When the ball runs across any sideline, there is a kick-in from where the ball left the playing area. During a free kick or kick-in, the opponents must be at least 5 meters away from the ball. To score, a player has to dribble the ball through one of two opposing goals. Duration of the game: four periods of 3 minutes. Possible questions for the players to develop their understanding and game intelligence: Which of the two cone goals should be attacked? When in possession of the ball the 3 attackers have to watch out which of the two cone goals is less defended. This depends particularly on the position of the central defender and his distance to either of the two goals. How the attackers can systematically create an over numbered situation (2:1) in front of one of the opponent s goal? When the ball carrier directs the attack toward one goal, he obliges the central defender to support his team-mate in the attacked goal. In case he changes by sudden his direction and speed and carries the ball toward the opposite goal he creates with support from his other team-mate a 2 on1- situation. 11

12 Variations *Use the same variations as for the game 2 on 2 With Four Intersecting Goals. Training Objectives * Practice and consolidate the technical and tactical objectives of the game 2 on 2 With Four Intersecting Goals and of the previous simplified games. * Learn to delay the tackle to gain time for receiving the support of a teammate. * Learn to always attack the goal that is less well defended. * Learn to channel the opponent's play into the desired direction (for instance, into a teammate s tackling area or away from the goal). * Ensure width and depth coverage. * In defense, learn to pressure the ball carrier to force him to commit mistakes. * Defending in 1 on 2, learn to delay the tackle to avoid getting outplayed before the support of a teammate arrives. * Learn to always attack in a triangular formation, while the defense must assure width and depth (cover), and be able to pressure the ball carrier to force him to commit mistakes. * In attack, learn to watch for a 2-on-1 situation and to avoid the 1 on 1. * Be able to suddenly change the direction and rhythm of the attack without dribbling the ball too close to a defender. Corrective Exercises See the simplified game 2 on 2 With Four Goals. 12

13 5 th Simplified Game 3 on 2 With Counterattack Use a 7-on-7 football field with two 20-meter-wide goals established on the centerline and the penalty-area line. One team of three players alternately attacks the two goals. Two of the three opponents always defend the goal that is being attacked to prevent the attackers from dribbling the ball across their goal line. Meanwhile their third opponent remains in the opposite goal, ready to receive a pass from one of his team s two other defenders, should they manage to win the ball from the attackers. After receiving the ball, the third defender scores with a dribble across his own goal line without any tackle back from the attackers (they may tackle only in the upper part of the field). An attacks ends * when the attackers score a goal, * when the ball runs out of the playing area (across one of the end lines), or * when the defense, after having recovered the ball and passed it across the imaginary centerline to the third defender, scores. After the conclusion of each attack, one of the two defenders must quickly run toward the opposite goal to reestablish (with the third defender) the "3 attackers on two defenders." In case of an infringement of the rules by an attacker, a free kick is awarded to the defenders still with the attackers being allowed to defend only in the upper part of the field and never beyond the centerline. During a free kick for the attackers (taken no closer than 3 meters from the goal line), the defenders, too, must remain at least 3 meters away from the ball. Duration of the game: 10 attacks for each team or, for more advanced players, four periods of 3 minutes each. 13

14 Possible questions for the players to develop their understanding and game intelligence In a 3-on-2 situation, which one of the 3 attackers should become the ball carrier? The centre forward has ideal possibilities to distribute the ball to either side. Dependent on the support he receives by his two wings and the behaviour of the two defenders he applies a 2-on-1-situation on the right or left side. Should the ball-carrying player in the centre pass or better dribble the ball? This depends on the distance and attitude of the defenders. In case none of the defenders presses the attacker with the ball he penetrates or he dribbles the ball directly towards one defender to instil him to tackle. When this happens, he creates a 2-on-1-situation with his wing from the same side. Tell me when you should pass and when you should dribble the ball in a 3-on-2 - situation? In case the ball carrier perceives on open space in front of him he should penetrate and maintain the possession of the ball, but in case there is an opponent in front of him, instead of taking him on, he should pass the ball in the correct moment into the run of one of his supporting team-mates. On which criteria it depends that you pass the ball toward the left or toward the right side? The direction of the pass not only depends on the position and distance of the defender in relation to the supporting attackers but also depends on the way both defenders have decided to stop the attack in numerical superiority (they may defend on the same level, may retreat or one defender positions himself slightly in front of the other one who than covers). In which direction the ball should be passed in a 2-on-1-situation? The ball should be passed diagonally into the run of the team-mate after having committed a defender to a tackle. The receiving player should receive the ball always being level or slightly in front of the defender (possibilities to be in an off-side position) but always far outside of his range of action.. What is the most efficient way to resolve a 3-on 2-situation? While approaching the two defenders the ball carrier should suddenly run straight to one of them what encourages this defender to tackle.in the same moment the team-mate from the same side has to move further away from the defender to establish a 2-on-1-situation. What the 2 defenders can do to avoid the success of the 3 attackers? First they should do everything to encourage the attackers to pass the ball to one wing. When this happens the wing is pressed and channelled to the sideline with the second defender covering. In case the centre forward has the ball both defenders should delay their attack and retreat in the field in order to gain some time. Whilst retreating body fakes should be executed to induce the attackers to commit mistakes or to play more than 2 passes what would slow down their attack. Which are the most frequent mistakes committed by the defenders in a 2-on-3- situation? Besides rushing to the attacker who controls the ball close to his feet another important mistake is when both defenders are playing in line, on the same level, because then nobody is able to cover the tackling player. During the retreat patience is needed to wait for the most suitable moment to tackle. Variations *The three defenders don t have to switch positions. Therefore, the attackers practice the 3-on-1 attack at one goal line, and the 3-on-2 attack at the other goal. *Instead of using two 20-meter-wide goals, the game is played using four 6-meter-wide goals (as a type of mini-football). 14

15 *Behind each end line a football goal is established at a distance of 11 meters. Immediately after a control on this end line, the same attacker practices shooting with a neutral goalkeeper. Training Objectives * Practice and consolidate the technical and tactical objectives of the "2 on 2 With Wide Goals Plus Counterattack" and the previous simplified games. * Learn to systematically create the 2-on-1 situation in attack and to achieve a high percentage of success. * Learn to tackle back immediately after losing possession of the ball. * As defenders, acquire the patience to wait for the best moment for tackling or intercepting the ball. * As defenders, learn to force the attacker to play the ball into the desired direction. * As defenders, learn to counterattack quickly. * As defenders, think continuously about what to do next, not forgetting to switch positions after an attack is concluded. Corrective Exercises Use the first four of the 2-on-2 simplified games. 15

16 6 th Simplified Game Three Teams on Two Wide Goals Use a football field between the two offside lines. One team of three players is in the center of the field and alternately attacks one of the two wide goals established on the offside lines. This goal and the opposite one are each defended by (a) two opponents (from the two other teams) who play midfield, well in front of the offside line, and (b) a third one who covers them without being allowed to tackle, being away from the line. The attackers have 10 attacks (5 toward each goal) in which to try to dribble the ball as often as possible across this line (to get 1 point) and score in a goal area (6 meters by 2 meters) without (or later with) a goalkeeper (to get 2 points). After every three attacks, the cover defender changes with one of the other defenders on his team who is in front of him. An attack finishes * When a goal is scored, * When the ball runs across one offside line or a goal line, * When a defender gets possession of the ball and passes it to a teammate, or * When the attackers commit an infringement of the rules. The winning team is the one that gets most points in 10 attacks. Possible questions for the players to develop their understanding and game intelligence: Please consult the questions and answers from the previous simplified games.. Variations *Each 3-on-3 team has 2 minutes to score a maximum number of goals. The faster they develop their attacks; the more chances exist to score. 16

17 *The teams change, depending on the outcome of the attack. When the defenders manage to win the ball and also execute at least two passes on their team, they become attackers of the opposite goal. While launching their attack, the former attackers defend the goal where their attack failed. If the attackers score with a dribble, they continue to attack. *The attackers can only play a maximum of 4 passes, and work to find the most effective attack. *To simplify the attack and practice goal scoring, three players form the defense. They either have one defender in front of the offside line, one defender who covers playing on the offside line, and a goalkeeper; two defenders playing on the offside line only and a goalkeeper; or two defenders in front of the offside line and a goalkeeper. Training Objectives * For attackers, learn that before passing the ball, they should consider not only the positions and actions of the defenders but also the movement of the covering defender on the offside line. * Understand how essential it is that the attacker in the center is the one who should be in possession of the ball either when the defenders are close or when one defender is going to execute a tackle. * Consolidate the skills learned in the previous simplified games, and especially the principles of assuring width and depth in attack. Corrective Exercises Use the first five of the simplified games for playing 2 on 2. 17

18 7 th Simplified Game Maintaining Ball Possession 3 on 2 See the rules in chapter 4 s ninth simplified game for teams formed by two players. The main differences are that the number of players per team has increased here from two to three, and the dimensions of the field are increased (to a square measuring 12 to 15 meters). The attacking three players have six possessions of the ball and aim to keep the ball for as long as possible. When the ball runs out or is pushed out of the playing area by the defenders, one of the two attackers should be replaced by the third one, up to now waiting outside the area. Keep track of the seconds the three attackers keep possession of the ball. If you have more than three teams, you can organize a tournament to establish the best team. Possible questions for the players to develop their understanding and game intelligence What are the main tasks of the player in possession of the ball? He has to play in an upright position which allows him to perceive and read the game situation in every second, telling him when and where to pass the ball or when and where todribble it in an unoccupied zone of the grid. When he decides to pass the ball he should not indicate neither its moment nor its direction through any movement the oppnent may anticipate.. After a successful pass he should move immediately into an unoccupied zone,comunicating constantly with his two team-mates. What the 2 attackers without the ball should do? First they should make the playing field as big as possible. They achieve it through running away from the ball carrier and occupy positions in which they are not marked by any defender. In case they receive a ball when being under pressure, they should look out for a first time pass. They should always be on the move and communicate with their team-mate in possession of the ball.. What the two defenders should do to gain possession of the ball? They have to press (double) the ball carrier, especially when he is in a corner of the grid. Whilst one is tackling him and covering the space on his left side, the second defender is anticipating a pass to the right side. Dedication and aggressiveness is necessary to make the playing field for the attackers as small as possible. Last not least executing dummies whilst tackling is another way to force the 3 attackers to make mistakes. 18

19 Training Objectives * Learn to consider and then make use of the space available in the depth of the field. * As an attacker, avoid positioning yourself in a straight line with team-mates; as a ball carrier, learn to always position yourself in a triangular formation to ensure there being two options for passing. * Be able to disguise the direction of your pass. * Develop sufficient speed of the ball when passing. * Know when to pass and when not to pass. * Learn to look out systematically for the 2-on-1 situation. * Remember to lift the head while dribbling the ball. * Learn to run in an uncontrolled space immediately after a successful pass. * If there is a pressing defence, learn to use direct or wall passes. * As defenders, learn to constantly diminish the space and time available to the three attackers and to anticipate their play, especially in the depth of the field. Corrective Exercises Use the ninth simplified game for 2 on 2 (in chapter 4), the first six simplified games in this chapter for 3 on 3, and the "Games for Passing, Receiving, and Shooting" (see chapter 3). Variation *This variation applies to more advanced players. Mark off a playing area 15 meters wide and 18 meters deep, separated into three zones of 6 meters each. The players are three attackers, two defenders, and one substitute for a defender. The more experienced the players are, the less wide and deep the area of play. One zone is assigned to each of the three attackers. Without being allowed to leave their assigned area, they try to keep possession against the two defenders, who may play in any of the three areas. Initially, none of the defenders is situated in the first attacker s zone. But immediately after the attacker touches the ball, both defenders may press him. When one of the defenders tackles successfully and manages to touch the ball three consecutive times, or when the ball runs out of play, the substitute (who should track the time with a stopwatch) moves into the playing area and replaces one of the defenders. With every attempt, the three attackers should try to keep the ball for 10 (or, later, for 15) seconds. The winning team is the one that keeps the ball the most times for 10 (15) seconds within 10 19

20 attempts. If only five players are available, the successful defender changes position and function with the attacker who failed. Training Objectives * Learn to consider and then make use of the space available in the depth of the field. * As an attacker, avoid positioning yourself in a straight line with your teammates. Always position yourself in a triangular formation to ensure the ball carrier s having two options for passing. * Be able to disguise the direction of your pass. * Gain sufficient speed of the ball when passing. * Know when to pass and when not to pass. * Learn to look out systematically for the 2-on-1 situation. * Develop the habit of lifting the head while dribbling the ball. * Learn to run into an uncontrolled space immediately after a successful pass. * If there is a pressing defense, learn to use direct or wall passes. * As defenders, learn to constantly lessen the space and the time available to the three attackers and to anticipate their play, especially in the depth of the field. 20

21 8 th Simplified Game Through passes with three teams The game is played by 3 teams of 3 players in one half of the 7-a-side Football field between the centreline and one end line. A central zone with a depth of 10 meters and a width of 35 meters is flanked by two zones, which are only 8 meters deep (limited by the end line or centre line) and again a width of the 7-a-side Football field (35 meters). In each of these two lateral zones a team of 3 players face one defender. In the initial field 3 players maintain the possession of the ball against one defender with the objective to pass the ball as often as possible to the opposite zone where one of his 3 team-mates should manage to receive and control the pass through the midfield. Three defenders, one in the first zone, a second in the midfield and a third in the zone of reception do their very best to force the 6 attackers to commit mistakes. None of the 9 players is allowed to leave the zone assigned to him in order to fulfil his offensive or defensive functions. Only the defender in the field of reception is allowed to do so in order to anticipate the pass played to one of his 3 opponents. After5 ball possessions of one attacking team a rotation takes place between the 3 teams until each team played once (for 10 attacks) in defence. The winner is the team, which managed to play more through, passes to a front-runner. Please modify the illustration on the CD. Instead of playing on the whole field only half of the field should be used. Modify also the distances! Possible questions for the players to develop their understanding and game intelligence Which requisites are necessary to play a successful through pass? Before a through pass is delivered the ball carrier has to perceive and analyse the game situation in order to identify the availability of a zone in which the ball can be delivered. Then the passer should agree visually with the potential receiver (eye contact) to find out whether he is ready to communicate with him. Finally with a cue (heador hand movement), which the opponent is not aware of, the potential receiver should indicate to the passer where he wants him to serve the ball with a correct direction and sufficient speed. The ball carrier has the choice between 3 different attacking moves. Which one he chooses in which situation? His 1 st option is a though pass to an n unmarked front-runner and in case this is not possible, he looks for a 2 nd option which is a pass to a better positioned team-mate in the same zone and as 3 rd.option he carries the ball out of the range of action of the defender, shielding it with his body to gain some time or receive different passing angles. 21

23 9 th Simplified Game 3 on 3 With Two Wide Goals Players use one half of a field, playing between one end line and the centerline. Set up goals on both lines (see illustration for the dimensions and placement). To score, an attacker must dribble the ball under control across the opponent's goal line, which is the width of the field. Duration of the game: four periods of 3 minutes each. Possible questions for the players to develop their understanding and game intelligence What the 3 attackers have to do to control the ball on the opposing goal line defended by 3 opponents? The 3 attackers have to form a triangle, assuring always sufficient width and depth to their attack. This way they are creating sufficient space in between the defenders which could be used to their advantage. The attackers should always look out for creating 2-on-1-situations and avoid 1-on-1-situations which may give the opponents the opportunity to counterattack. Which pass is for the ball carrier the most efficient one? To encourage the ball carrier to look out for through passes, one of his team-mates should offer himself behind the defense where he receives the ball and score. In this simplified game there is no off-side as is the case in the 7-a-side football game where off-side only starts from a 13-meter line. How a front-runner should receive the ball? He should assume preferably a side-on position which allows him a quick continuation of the attack and besides gives him a much better vision, especially at the very end of the playing field where goals are scored. 23

24 What a player has to consider when executing a free kick? He should execute it as quickly as possible (especially when one team-mate is unmarked) to surprise the opponent s defence or he does it very slowly to study carefully all possible passing options. When we have to accelerate and when we have to slow down our attack? A change of pace is always indicated when playing in a numerical superiority (for instance 3-on-2) or when a gap appears in front of the ball carrier. Slowing down the attack is a necessity when one team-mate is in an offside position, when none of the team-mates had offered him in an optimal position or when most of the attackers are exhausted. Where, generally, on the field there is some space to be explored? Generally there is some space available on the opposite side where the ball is played. This space should be used systematically with long, flat and speedy passes into the run of a team-mate. What are the key points for executing successfully a throw-in? No risks should be taken with a throw-in. It s execution should happen quickly and before the opponent has time to mark all of our players. When playing a 7-a-side game the attackers and defenders should no that the offside rule is out of force what could be considered as an advantage for the attacking team. In which way a defender should mark his personal opponent without the ball? He should always position himself between the opponent and the goal but slightly more inside and closer to the goal than his opponent. From this position he should perceive the ball and (!) his opponent at the same time. How a defender should position him in relation to a ball-carrying attacker? He should never face him in a frontal position as this gives the attacker the opportunity to beat him on either side. He better meets him in a side-on position, which allows him to accompany the attacker as well as to channel him into the desired direction (for instance toward a side line or toward a team-mate who covers him). Are there any other considerations for the defender to take into account when he faces 1-on-1- situations? He should always initiate his tackle from a tiptoe position (on the balls of the feet), keep the weight of his body equally distributed between both legs, to maintain balance he should not separate both legs more than shoulderwide and put one foot in front of the other. He should bend the knees slightly to be ready to tackle at every second when the ball may be too far away from the feet of the attacker. When executing the tackle it must be a very quick and surprising one without putting all the weight of the body to the front leg as this prevents him from executing in case of a miss a second tackle. Whilst observing carefully the ball (not the legs of the opponent), he should have in his vision the other opponents and also his team-mates close to the ball. In case his tackle was successful he should switch as quickly as possible from a defensive pattern to offence. Which tasks have a defender who is close to a 1-on-1-situation? Without losing attention to his personal opponent, he should anticipate a possible failure of his team-mate and cover the space at his shoulders to be explored by the attacker. When a defender should mark the opponent and when he should mark the space? The way of marking depends on the distance between the defender and the attacker. When the ball is close, let s say less then 15 meters, the defender should mark his opponent very closely, being more inside and closer to the goal than the attacker. In case the ball is further away the marking is less tight. This allows the defender to intercept passes in the space as well as passes directed into the feet of the opponent. 24

25 Variations *After controlling the ball across the opposing goal line, the attackers have to conclude their attack with an immediate shot on a football goal 11 meters behind it and defended by a neutral goalkeeper. *The same game can be played with four goals (each 5 meters wide), two of them placed on each goal line separated by a distance of 10 meters. To score, the attackers have to either dribble or shoot the ball into one of the opposing goals. Training Objectives In attacking, players work toward these goals: * To know what to do when you are not in possession of the ball: that is, make yourself available for a pass in an area that is not controlled by the defending side. This way, the player in possession of the ball has the choice to either penetrate in the space that the attacker has created or pass. * To attack in a triangular formation, ensuring width and depth. * While dribbling the ball, to observe the behavior of both opponents and teammates so be able to make good decisions. * To avoid revealing the next move. * To take responsibility for each attacking move; any mistake may result in a goal for the opponents. 25

26 In defending, players work toward these goals: * No player rests on the defence; on the contrary, they all participate fully in attack as well as in defence so that three defenders are always active. * To ensure width in the defence, covering the whole width of the goal. * To make sure that cover is always provided the player who is tackling a ball carrier by defending in a triangular formation. * To channel the attack into the direction you want and then keep the ball in this area, crowding it also with your team s other defenders. * To delay tackling as necessary, until being sure of receiving support from a team-mate. * After each conclusion of the opposing attack, remembering to complete the defence at the opposite side (concentrate on your task). * To be able to take free kicks quickly and before the opponent defenders can build a wall" in front of one end line. * To initiate a counterattack quickly, with or without the help of the other defenders, by executing an accurate and fast pass to the third player in the opposite goal. * To disguise the direction of this long pass as well as of any pass in the attacking 3-on-2 situation. Corrective Exercises Choose from any of the earlier simplified games. 26

27 10 th Simplified Game 3 on 3 With Passes Through Any of Four Goals Use half of the football field, placing four goals (each 2 meters wide) 5 meters inside the field (see illustration). After a ball toss into the centre of the field, the players of both teams try to pass the ball to another team-mate through one of the four goals. Any reception of the ball behind a goal but still inside of the playing area is considered good for a point. Scoring twice in a row in the same goal is not allowed. All free kicks must be taken from a distance at least 5 meters away from the nearest goal. After every two goals scored, all players rest for 2 minutes; during the rest they discuss their positive and negative actions of play. Possible questions for the players to develop their understanding and game intelligence Which capacities you expect from the players of a winning team? - To be successful we have to cultivate our play without the ball. The first aim is always to maintain the ball in our possession and the second one is to pass the ball through any of the 4 cone goals to a team-mate. -To get away from the opponent our players should change often the speed but also the direction of their run. -There is a need for an optimal communication in one s team, in attack as well as in defence. -Besides a high level of physical capacities (speed, endurance and dexterity) also visual, cognitive and motor capacities (perception, decision making and execution of the actions) should be well developed to win this simplified game. 27

28 Variations *A neutral player plays with whatever team is in possession of the ball. *Player the same game with teams formed by four players each. *Instead of passing, dribble the ball through any of the four goals. The game can also be played on a mini-football field with the objective to pass to a team-mate from any area in the centre of the field through any of the four goals. Training Objectives * Improve in the play without the ball; cooperate with team-mates, adjusting to their behaviours. * Be able to frequently change the speed and direction of your run (with the ball as well as without it) to gain some time and space for the next move. * Run into the space behind the defenders and look out for the less-defended goal (it's imperative to move out of position after a successful pass). * Reduce the dribble to a minimum, and move the ball quickly at your side with hard passes. * Play direct or wall passes as required. Corrective Exercises See the corrective exercises given under the Third Simplified Game for teams formed by 2 players (2 on 2 with 4 Intersecting Goals, chapter 4). 28

29 11 th Simplified Game Centering the Ball Using cones, divide a football field into three corridors, the two lateral ones 5 or 10 meters wide and the central one about 25 meters wide. Each team attacks one goal; one of the team s players should be in the right wing and another in the left-wing position, while the third player enters the central corridor. Both center forwards pass the ball to one of their wings, which must receive it within his or her zone. After having controlled the ball, the wing advances without any opposition until he or she arrives more or less level with the penalty area, where he centers the ball to the center forward, who followed in the central corridor. The opposite wing also should follow in his or her corridor. This wing, once level with the area, may run out of his corridor and position himself for executing a head kick from in front of the second goalpost. The center forward, however, occupies the zone in front of the first goal post. Both teams practice in the same attacking formation for at least three minutes. Then the places are switched until everybody has played in all three positions. As a next step, hold a competition, in which the team scoring more goals with a header out of 10 attacks wins. The competition is over when all players have performed 10 times in the center forward position. 29

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