Sweeper is Too Far Back

"Discipline (staying within tasks) and continuous communication with each other inevitably lead to team-building."4 Louis van Gaal

In diagram 1 the orange #3 has stayed next to his own goal while his team mates are deep inside the attacking third. From this position he cannot offer them any real support . They are left to play 3v4. If the orange team does pass the ball back to the number 3 the attack will slow down. When the ball has to travel 20 yards back it has to travel 20 yards again just to get to where it started, in essence making a 40 yard pass. Space equals time and time favors the defense. Furthermore, should the blue team regain possession he is too far back to apply any pressure in order to buy time for his team mates recovery. The orange #3 is effectively out of the game and cannot make any contribution to his teams efforts. From this position he cannot accomplish any of his basic tasks.

In diagram 2 the #3 has come forward. He is in a position where he can support the #8 and has an opportunity to find both #6 and #9 if he receives the ball. This is the correct distance. By coming forward he has decreased the time that any pass takes which gives the blue team a bigger problem, the orange team will enjoy a faster speed of play. Finally, if the blue team regains possession the #3 is in a better position to support his teammates defensively. It will be easier for the orange team to become compact and regain their defensive shape. This is a better distance and allows #3 to make a bigger contribution to his teams effort.

"The purpose of pressurizing is to decrease both the time and the space which an attacking player has in which to make his pass or his dribble." 9 Charles Hughes When you consider that lack of pressure on the player with the ball is one of the primary reasons that goals are scored, and that goals are plentiful in small sided games, taking a few minutes to understand pressurizing is time well spent. The following borrows heavily from Tactics and Teamwork. 9 Goal-Side "To be effective the pressurizing player should be on the goalside of the player with the ball at a distance of not more than two yards, diagram on the right. The pressurizing player should always remember that his job, wherever possible, is to keep the opposition playing in front of him and deny the opportunity for the opponent to pass the ball forward... Players who are pressurizing opponents should adopt a position which will allow them to turn quickly. It is important that the defender should turn through 90, not 180 degrees." 9 In order to achieve this the defender will need to position him/herself slightly off of the attackers direct line to goal and stand sideways on. That is, the feet should positioned so that they are not facing the ball directly, but rather the space that the defender wants the attacker to move into. In the diagram on the left the blue defender is showing the attacker to his right side. This makes the play predictable for the defender. If the attacker tries to cut behind the defender, the defender only needs to step back or turn and show the attacker into a channel on the other side. This also allows the defender to poke tackle with the foot closest to the ball, turn and block tackle with the foot farthest from the ball and if the attacker pushes the ball past the defender and tries to run onto it, the defender can easily step in front of the attacker and win the ball. These 1v1 moments are very much a cat and mouse part of the game. The attacker will try to use the ball as bait, some type of move or simply run past the defender. It's up to the defender to exercise control and restraint and wait for the correct moment and only then attempt to win the ball. The Recovery Run

players in central positions should follow a line towards the penalty spot. This is the time that the attacker doesn't have control and the defender can move in for an interception or tackle. 2) Intercept." Challenging For The Ball 1) Start fast."Before a player can challenge for the ball he must recover either level with the man with the ball or preferably on the goal-side of the man with the ball. 2 puts number 9 closer to the blue player with the ball. Once a players reaches a position on the goal-side of the ball the line of recovery and marking or supporting responsibilities should be reassessed. The distance across the field removes them from any responsibility. The defender must make up the distance between himself and the opponent while the ball is in flight. Players on a flank should follow a line towards the near post. especially on the flanks. Number 9 will have to turn and run back again. 1. This results in their staying behind the ball. Remember the words of Coach Kit Carson. arrive slow. (This is a popular moment for coaches and parents to get involved in the game. Young players on the opposite side of the field often fail to recognize that there is a problem. Defenders who are outnumbered should also retreat towards their goal." 9 By taking the path in fig.) Recovery lines resemble a funnel. opponent and their own goal comes into view. the defender should slow down just before getting to the attacker. It is. they don't start running until the ball. Recovery Lines "Should a player be in doubt concerning his best line of recovery he should follow the following guide. close enough for a Kodak moment. however a mistake to recover too far beyond the ball into a position where the ball can still be played forward. Now. "Head 'em off at the pass. so. number 9 will recover to a position where the blue player won't have any trouble passing the ball past him. Often outside defenders follow an attacker who has beaten them rather than recover towards the goal. but not close enough to be of any use. If intercepting the pass is not likely. The team needs to regroup and concentrate in goal-side positions. The path in fig. even if he can't win the ball he has a good chance of keeping the play in front of him." 9 It's also a problem in youth soccer that children don't recover far or soon enough. When a defender is marking a player that is waiting for a pass it's best to .

If the attacker has controlled the ball and is facing his own goal then the defender needs to be close enough to prevent him from turning. 3) Tackle. if the defender has done everything properly but cannot arrive in time to intercept and a clean tackle is not possible. The defender should consider an immediate tackle if. the pass is poor and gives the attacker problems. In these situations it's important that the individual decisions are in agreement with the overall team plan. 6) Stay on your feet. force the error approach. And there are times to force the attackers down the line. 7) Launch a counter attack. These decisions must be made in a matter of seconds in a dynamic situation and the defender must be careful not to commit a foul. An attacker facing his own goal is much less of a threat than one facing yours. the attacker has poor control. control the situation.intercept the ball. The following will help team pressurizing: . The moment of winning the ball can present a golden opportunity for a counter attack.) 4) Force the attacker inside or outside. then he should contain the attacker and show him into the least dangerous space. Team Pressurizing There are two basic philosophies for team pressurizing. he has a free supporting player in a good position. the winger wants the full back to play the ball into the center. The defense maybe in no position to stop a quick strike. If an interception isn't possible than tackling is the next option. There are times to force attackers into the center of the field. The first is found in the playmaking style and is marked by an aggressive. he arrives at the same time that the ball does. (5v2 is a good game to teach defenders how to pick the correct moment when to go into a tackle. The defender will need anticipate the situation and move into the line of flight of the ball before the attacker does. high and low pressure. Also. Going to ground is a last resort. This way the attacker gets no touch. desperate measures for desperate times. the defender can totally dominate the attacker. i.e. The second is more useful in counter attacking play where time favors the defense and mistakes by the attackers are are guided and encouraged. The ball is often put the ball up for grabs. turning with a defender right behind you is a very difficult task. 8) If you can't win the ball. 5) Prevent them from turning. When the opponents regain possession teams need to get compact and establish their defensive shape. Finally. The opponents can be spread out supporting the attack and several may have moved ahead of the ball. This is the same thing as reducing the passing angles. Teams that allow themselves to get stretched from end to end or side to side will have a hard time pressuring their opponents.

It is at this moment. a sure way to disunity and disaster. not too early. 3) By the top players dropping back. Vital moment when the ball changes hands "As soon as the ball is lost all players in a team must think in terms of defending and should work hard immediately to win the ball. like most games. Playing with a sweeper ten yards behind the backs is "so 70's" and obsolete.. This helps to minimize the space between players in each line.. While this can become involved at the minimum teams should have an idea how they will defend as a team. You have to be in the right place at the right moment. The forwards represent the first line of defense as well as the last line of attack. Pressurizing should start the moment the ball is lost. The days when the forwards were all glory and no work are long gone. Teams that play with three forwards can pressurize much deeper than a team that plays with two. is a game of mistakes and a primary cause of mistakes is lack of concentration.1) Staying within the plan. 2) By the back players pushing up. Teams at the higher levels now flood the midfield. How far up field will the team defend? What will everyone's role be when the opponents regain possession? How will the lines react to each other and the individuals in the lines? Without a plan it's every man for himself."2 Johan Cruyff . Back defenders that fail to rapidly push up allow big gaps between themselves and the midfield. not too late. It's normal to find the right back in the center of the field when the ball is on the left flank. that some players lose their concentration. One of the first things that a team needs to do is to before they take the field is to decide generally how they want to play." 9 Midfielder is Too Far Forward "Football is a game you play with your brains. 4) By shifting across the field. This includes the goal keeper. Football. The entire team will need to shift across the field to counter the opponents threats. when the ball changes hands.

"4 Louis van Gaal . He cannot do this from this position. One of #4's basic tasks is to neutralize his immediate opponent. Each player can concentrate on his own job. Now the blue team is faced with the problem of who should pressure the #8. In diagram 2 the blue #4 is in the correct position. He can pressure his immediate opponent or support the #7.In diagram 1 the blue #4 is caught upfield when the orange #3 passes out to the #8. The #4 and #7 are on the wrong side of the ball. If the #2 or #5 move over they will leave their own immediate opponent unmarked. It eliminates calls like "somebody mark up" or "I have two men over here. it is a question of what you do with them. The number #4 is too far from his proper position which keeps him from doing his job which in turn puts the burden on his teammates. This leads to a higher level of confidence and communication." Striker is Too Far Back "Each training session is a form of communication. The drills themselves are not so important.

The orange teams shape is essentially a triangle. With this position if the #3 passes to either of the midfielders the #9's position eliminates the other midfielder as an option for a pass. One of #9's basic tasks is to stretch the opponents. there is space behind the blue midfield for the #9 to receive a pass. they have far less space to use. the blue midfielders can only wonder what he is up to."4 Louis van Gaal . not a good shape for 4 players. The distance and angle of the #9 is better. The orange team has more options while the blue team has greater problems. with this position he fails to do this and makes life for his team more difficult and easier for his opponents. It also places greater technical demands on the orange team. From this position. They can even see #9 so his movements will not present them with much of a problem. Midfielder is Too Close and at the Wrong Angle "I often stop the practice games and challenge the players to think about the soccer problems they are facing. The numbers 4 and 5 are able to mark their opponents tighter because their covering defender.In this diagram the #9 has come too far back. He has killed the space between himself and the #3. This has made the field much smaller for the orange team. In diagram 2 the #9 has pushed deeper into the opponents half. an objective for the blues. the blue team has more space to defend and they cannot support one another as easily. a pass from the #3 to one of his midfielders leaves the other midfielder as a target. #2 is closer.

" 3 Barry Hulshoff . These positions. while a triangle. 3v3 Bad Shape Improper Tasks "It's simple mathematics. they have much more space to cover and cannot support each other as easily. In diagram 2 both of the orange midfielders have taken wider positions. The orange team is faced with a significant soccer problem in trying to work the ball out of the back. are incorrect.In diagram 1 both of the orange midfielders have come into the center of the field. in effect putting a human wall between them. This helps the blue team. The blue #7 is free to press the orange #3 closely because the #6 has buried himself. These positions are in keeping with the players tasks in this moment and help to simplify the situation facing the #3. It also opens the channel between the #3 and the #9... pure mathematics. The orange midfield has also closed the channel between the numbers 3 and 9. they can support each other and they have a smaller area to defend. The angle and distance in this case makes it harder for the defenders.

the number 8 has made the passing angle between the number 2 and 7 much more difficult. by positioning slightly to the side. If they react to number 2's dribble. Also. If the blue number 2 carries the attack directly to the orange number 8. and the initiative. Furthermore. This means that the blue number 2 is unmarked and can either directly attack the orange number 8 by carrying the ball between the 3 & 9 or combine with either the blue number 4 or 7. The difference in these two situations highlights not only how bad shape can make effective team play more difficult.One situation in 3v3 commonly occurs and illustrates how poor shape effects other players. the blue team has an advantage. In the diagram at right the blue team is in possession and bringing the ball out from their own goal. "Do I leave my opponent and deal with number 2. This puts an added burden onto his teammates. because the orange number 8 has elected to defend from a deep position. This frees up the orange 3 who can move closer to the center of the field covering the space behind the number 8. When the opponents . Or the blue number 2 can elect to move towards one of his teammates creating a 2v1. This gives the number 2 an immediate problem as he tries to bring the ball out. they let their player go who can then find open space to receive a pass. however. Young players might hear "3 players need to be in a triangle. in effect becoming a sweeper behind number's 3 & 9. If they stay. If he takes on the number 8 and loses then it's likely to cost the blue team a goal so it's much harder for the him to carry the ball. In this diagram the orange team is still in a triangle but the number 8 has moved up to directly confront the blue number 2. but also how important effective communication is. this creates a 1v1 directly in front of their own goal. since he now has an immediate opponent this makes it much more difficult for the blue team to create a 2v1. creating a 2v1 against the orange defender. The orange team has adopted the shape of a triangle. then the numbers 3 and 9 must make a decision. or stay and let him go past me?" This problem is compounded because both players are thinking the same thing. making their own tasks much more difficult. Either way. the number 8 has dropped back deep to protect his goal.

Correct coaching can help by pointing out the differences in both situations. Passing Game 5v2 . simply passing the blame for mistakes by addressing the problem from the narrow and vague instructions. They can play like this for quite a while.have the ball you have to protect your goal" and then conclude that the situation in the first diagram is reasonable.

Communication. screening and short dribbles."There is no ideal technique: how a player kicks the ball with his instep will always depend on the options available to him. Perhaps they are two goals up with five minutes left or composed possession is a part of their build up. Children maysee that as creating the most space. It is a realistic picture for a team that wants to hold onto the ball. The object for the blues is to win the ball and dribble it outside of the area. but they don't see how it reduces the angle that you can play the ball through. . By changing the numbers and dimensions of the field the game can be made harder or easier for the attackers. All passing skills. both can win or lose. It poses real soccer problems and requires TIC solutions. Does the team in possession slow the game down when necessary? Is the correct pass selected? Are the distance and angles of the supporting players correct? Do the defenders read the correct moment to go on for a tackle? Note. 6v2 or 6v3." 1 Coaching Soccer Variations of this game play an important part in the KNVB's methods to develop composed. First team to three points wins. Do the attackers let the ball do the work? Do they read when they are not the target? Do they create decoys? Do the defenders work together? Without proper goals this game lacks direction so it isn't soccer. Both teams have an objective. and the position of his teammates and opponents. This game involves enough elements to be soccer like. The object for the orange team is to complete 5 to 10 passes without the blue team touching the ball. Insight. the attackers should NOT get themselves stuck in the corners. building up play. his position on the field. receiving. The numbers might be 5v2. Technique.

Click on the image to see some scenes about 5v2 from the "Street Soccer" DVD in a Real Time video. .

You need a goal and two goalkeepers. going through their legs into the goal. You want to give goalkeepers a reliable alternative to saving difficult shots that are driven straight at the legs. in particular. or even worse. Train your goalie to minimise mistakes and rebound opportunities for opposition strikers. One goalkeeper works and the other serves. or end up with the ball hitting. 2. Goalkeeping tips 1. Set up the soccer drill Set up a 15-yard square. Young goalkeepers.Hands on soccer drill for young goalkeepers Soccer coaching tips and drills to get your goalie saving a goal using their hands. have problems with these and often opt for kicking the ball away. Goalkeepers need to be on their toes for the whole of this soccer training drill. not their feet. . Any shot that is travelling towards a goalkeeper’s legs at pace is difficult to deal with.

Encourage your goalkeeper to step "into line /down the line" of the shot. Bend knees to form a "k" shape with legs. develop the soccer drill so that the server begins to shoot at the goalkeeper’s legs with force. As the goalkeeper warms up. leaning into the direction of ball.    . Scoop ball with both hands into chest. The server must initially just pass the ball straight to the goalkeeper`s feet.

the goalkeeper becomes the server for the goalkeeper at the opposite end. After each save in the soccer coaching drill.  Drop on top of ball to cover the ball and prevent it spilling from the hands and creating rebounds. .

wins it in the air and immediately turns and throws it downfield in the opposite direction from which the cross came. Defending the High Cross and Clearing    In this soccer drill. Two players with multiple balls stand on the wings to cross high balls into the box.Drill B. This switches the field and catches the attackers still charging at the goal. have your goalkeeper in the goal against two attackers. The goalkeeper attacks the high ball. . Two other players are 25m down field in a marked off target area (cones will do).


Even the head. If junior penalty takers often drop their heads low and have a big pull-back of the leg — expect a cross-body shot.Soccer coaching tips to help goalies read penalties Seventy per cent of the penalty kicks at the last World Cup went to the opposite side of the foot the kicker took the penalty with. a goalie must also watch the player’s approach. Key soccer coaching tip: right-footed kickers shoot to their left. Before young players shoot they often look at the corner they are going to hit the ball.    . And then the hips. If the head stays up he’s going for the opposite corner. A ―push pass‖ shot will require the hips to open up in the direction the ball is going. Get your goalkeeper to read the shot   Tell your players to watch the penalty-taker’s eyes and body shape. A very wide approach often indicates the shooter is going towards the opposite corner. The ball often goes where the plant foot points. As well as watching the body language. then how much more likely are young players to do so? Use the following soccer coaching tips to get goalies prepared for penalties. If professionals make that choice. the keeper’s right. Get your players to watch the plant foot. The ball goes where the hips point. 1. and vice versa. A straight-on approach gives fewer clues.

Use the clues to predict where the ball might go but wait a split second to be sure it really is going there. 2.Key soccer coaching tip: don’t react too soon. either weakly hit or right down the middle. especially at the youth level. . are poorly taken. Junior penalties are often poorly hit Many penalties. Often the goalkeeper can easily make the save if they just wait and simply react to the shot. Click here for a fun game to develop the skills of your talented penalty-takers.

Positional tips: As easy as 1-2-3 If the ball is in the attacking third of the pitch. even when it's at the other end of the pitch You must also think about the team you are playing and talk about his positions at half time. the keeper should be in the front third of their penalty area If the ball’s in the middle third. Click here for more soccer coaching tips to help your goalkeeper learn about positioning. your goalkeeper must watch out for high shots over his head. The space between the keeper and defenders should be small enough to make it tricky for opponents to play a ball into it without either the keeper or defenders getting there first. the keeper should stand in the middle third of their penalty area If the ball’s in the defending third. the keeper should position themselves a little distance from their goal-line. If the team has a big kicker.Soccer coaching tips to get your goalie in position Getting a goalkeeper for your team is bad enough. and remind him of constantly during the game. Sweep it up Why are these soccer coaching tips important? Because as well as making saves. . a goalkeeper’s job is to provide support for the defence. These soccer coaching tips will help get him thinking about positioning and how to help the defenders. but getting one who can change positions in relation to the game is very difficult. Young attackers will often try to get the ball as close to goal as possible so your goalkeeper needs to be off his line more. A good position also means the goalkeeper is available to receive a backpass from a team mate under pressure. is to focus on the position of the ball in relation to the goal. Coaching reminders The thing you must get across to your goalkeeper.

‖ ―Get tighter and close the gap. supporting and covering as a team unit. Observe the opponents' positions and your team mates.‖ ―Don’t dive in. Pressing.‖ ―Win it!‖ What to look for in this soccer drill:      Slow reactions and movement. Remember and apply the work on individual pressing. Rash challenges. Seize the opportunity to challenge correctly for the ball. What you tell your players to do:       Demonstrate a positive.Soccer drill to coach players to defend as a unit In this soccer coaching drill we look at developing a team's ability to defend as a unit. Cover spaces as well as players.‖ ―Stay on your feet. What you tell your players the drill is about:   Working hard together to win possession. What to shout in the soccer (football) drill:       ―Press quickly. . Gaps between players. aggressive but controlled attitude.‖ ―Keep together and work as a unit. fouls. Lack of positive mental attitude. Failure to intercept or challenge when there is a chance. Keep compact as a unit. going to ground.

 Lack of communication and specific information. Three players stand outside the area at both ends. Think about letting them defend deep as a team and counter attack.  . as done well this is a hard soccer drill. Applaud all goals and good attempts deriving from good defending skills. When they do they get a point and their team-mates in the middle can now pressurise the opponents who are receiving the ball. What you get your players to do:     Stage 1: Use an area approx 30m x 20m. The coach plays a ball into one end and the players at that end step into the grid to receive. Now they must make 3/4/5 passes before they can pass into the other team at the far end. Relax the eight pass rule in the game after a while and it will be less frantic. Rotate the players in the middle. Drinks and rest pauses are advisable. Three other players from each team stand in the middle third. What to think about: Are your players working ―smart‖ or just hard? Are they applying the lessons learned in marking and covering? Think about rotating tired players. Each successful long pass gets a point.

This encourages the defenders to hunt as a pack and try to win the ball back early. They must work as a team.Develop the soccer drill When the ball is played in by the soccer coach. Click here to order a copy. A team making eight passes gets a goal. His team-mates must now make 4/5/6 passes in the other two thirds before passing to him to get a point. A normal goal also counts. if not. . it is their turn in possession. one white player can move into the attacking third. If they do. How would I put these soccer drill skills into a game situation? Play 5 v 5 on a 30m by 45m area with goals. Click here for a competitive team game to make defending fun. All the grey players now work as a team to intercept before the final pass can be made. The goalkeeper in possession must distribute in his defending third. whites retain the ball and start again. Divide the pitch into thirds. 64 Small-Sided Soccer Games is a valuable tool for any soccer (football) coaches who would like to vary their training sessions and keep their players keen.

  Your players will work extremely hard at defending in order to beat the other player and win points for their team.Competitive team games to make defending fun In every soccer training session. A good soccer coaching tip is to not tell your players that they are working on a defending drill – some young players will not respond well to that scenario.The best way to do this is by introducing the theme of defense with competitive. fun team games and soccer training drills. Giving defenders a proper structure and the correct tactical approach will make their role as a defender much more rewarding and will save your team lots of goals. incorporate some competitive team games to make the principles of defending fun and motivate your young team. encourage them by telling them that they can win the games by using good defending skills. . Instead. Remind them of the proper skills and don’t let them commit fouls – it should be fun but not too rough.


Setting up the games Mark out two 10 x 10 yard areas. Number the players 1 to 5. The defender must knock the four balls off the cone quicker than the other defender. Game 3 – knock all four balls off the cones: the attackers must each defend a ball balanced on a cone by using good ballshielding skills. The first team to complete 20 passes is the winner. . The defender must continuously try to stop them completing passes. Number 1 from each team must go into the other team’s area. Game 2 – tackle all four attackers: Each of the attackers dribbles around the area with a ball. Pick two teams of five players. Game 1 – stop the other team making 20 passes: The team of four pass one ball around the area. The defender must tackle or dispossess them quicker than the defender in the other area. The team is awarded one point for each game they win.

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