CHANGING THE POINT OF ATTACK: SWITCHING PLAY 2
Some of the earliest advice given to young children is to move away from the swarm to space. Shortly after will follow the instruction to play the ball away from the pack to the player in space. Sounds simple. But when you look at most teams play it’s obviously easier said than done. Rather than changing the point of attack if no central penetration is possible the ball tends to get stuck on one side of the field. From there it’s a pretty safe bet that possession will be lost within a few seconds.
By contrast top teams understand the importance of changing the point of attack. Guardiola has made it an important part of his philosophy with the concept of “pass to attract” – the team pushes a number of players into a relatively small area meaning the opponents must do likewise to avoid being outnumbered. After a few passes when sufficient players have been attracted, the ball is quickly switched with a long pass to a player on the weak side in a lot of space. It’s a very simple strategy but can be devastatingly effective when executed correctly.
This is the first of three sessions and works on switching play. The session is good for players aged 12+ although younger teams of a high quality could certainly use the session. The next 2 sessions gradually increase in difficulty.
The warm up has 3 phases:
- Dynamic warm up – 10 minutes
- Ball familiarity – 5 minutes
- Longer passing – 5 minutes
- Have the players move around in the middle of the area you are going to play in.
- Use 3-4 balls depending on the number of players
- The players make eye contact with another player and play a longer 25 – 30 yard pass.
- Make the focus technique and accuracy – we are not looking for maximum distance at this point.
The first part of the session is a technical passing dill that involves opening out, receiving across the body and switching play. At times switching play involves some longer passes so if the players are physically able then the distances in this drill can be increased.
- Receive with an open body position
- Receive across the body and keep the ball going in the same direction
- Make sure to check your shoulders and look behind before receiving.
3 Goal Game:
- Each team attacks 3 goals.
- If necessary, as in the diagram, use a neutral in midfield to create an overload to ensure the players are able to maintain decent possession.
- There will be a tendency for the weak side defending players to hang out wide in front of the goal to prevent goals being scored. This can be prevented a number of ways. One solution would just be to encourage the players to shift and be compact as they would be in a real game. Another solution would be to make the central goal full sized with a goalkeeper. This would tend to force the defending players to tuck in to prevent shots. Players enjoy this version of the game. Another solution could be to zone the area and require that the defending players are only in a certain number of contiguous zones at any point.
- Awareness of space and options on the weak side
- Can the longer pass when changing the point of attack be in front of the receiving player to allow for easier penetration.
- Open body positions.
- Constant scanning of the field to evaluate opportunities to change the point of attack.
- Finish with a free ensuring the field is wide enough to allow the players to create opportunities by switching play.
You might also enjoy the second of these 3 sessions: