CREATE SPACE 2: Make the best coaching use of the space available to you.
At some point all coaches will be faced with having to coach large groups in small spaces such as in the video below. In this article Jeff focuses on how to create space to in this scenario so as to deliver the best session possible.
CREATE SPACE – USING TARGET / WALL PLAYERS
What are they?
Target/Wall players are specific players to pass to or in some instances used as ‘goals’.
Wall players can be used as additional team members or as neutral players to support team in possession.
Why use Target/Wall Players?
When an end product is required and goals are either not available or necessary
To reduce congestion in a small area whilst keeping all players involved
To keep balls in play and prevent going astray
It can be particularly useful to keep the tempo of the session high
How to Use Target/Wall Players?
Position target/wall players where they will support the specific practice. For example in a shooting practice game, target players can be positioned on the line alongside the goals and used as players who can set up shooting opportunities for the attacking team.
Wall players should be used to keep practices flowing. They can be either neutral and play for both teams in possession of the ball, or as additional players outside of the playing area.
Rotate Target/Wall players regularly. In the case of target players this would normally occur at “time-out” intervals. This could be the same with wall players, but as an alternative the rotation could occur as in a game, whereby after receiving a pass, the wall player comes onto the pitch with the ball, exchanging places with the original passer. In a progressive practice it could, indeed, be exchanging places with any player from that team
Rotations and/ or “time-outs” are essential to both prevent boredom of players when around the outside, and also to allow rest periods when the tempo is particularly high for those on the pitch.
Some example practices with Target/Wall players:
CREATE SPACE – 5V2 PLUS SUPPORT PLAYERS
Area is 30 x 20 with 2 semi circle target areas at each end
Inside each target area is a neutral player
In field there are 5 attackers v 2 defenders. The attackers attempt to pass into the target player at one end and switch to play to the target player at the other end
No player is allowed in the target areas and the offside law applies
All passes must be on the ground and passes cannot be played back to target players
Make a condition of 2 forwards must play one touch
If good enough make all play 1 touch
CREATE SPACE – 3V3 PLUS NEUTRALS
Area is 40 x 30 with 4 target grids in the corners of the area each with a target player
2 other neutral players are along the sides. All neutrals play with team in possession
Inside the field there are 2 teams of 3 who cannot enter any target area
The team in possession attempt to play into a target player at one end and then receive the ball back to play in the opposite direction.
Target players at one end can pass to the other target player at the same end
All passes played on the ground
Rotate all playing positions.
Make a condition that passes into target can only be in the attacking half
Allow lofted passes but only count if ball lands in the grid of intended target
CREATE SPACE – KEEP POSSESSION WITH ROTATION
Area is 25 x 20. in the grid is 3v3 with other players evenly distributed around outside
To start with keep players in those positions and change on a regular basis
Objective is to try to keep possession with a 6v3 numerical advantage
Count consecutive passes made – see which team wins
Wide players have the option of remaining outside, or can come in on FIRST TOUCH ONLY. One of the other players must move outside to keep 3v3 inside.
Make a condition of two touch only
Only count the number of passes made between players in the 3v3, but possession can be kept using wide players
CREATE SPACE – SCORING FROM CROSSES
Two teams play 4v4 plus goalkeepers and each have 2 wide players who play unopposed
Teams are encouraged to spread play out wide and can only score as a result of a cross or set up play immediately from the cross.
CREATE SPACE – WORKING WITH SAFE ZONES
What are they?
Safe zones are designated areas marked on the playing area in which players are deemed ‘safe’ from the opposition.
Only certain players can move into and out of these areas with and without the ball.
Why use Safe Zones?
They provide an area for players to move into where they can receive the ball unopposed.
They are useful for practicing specific techniques and whilst in the safe zone players can slow down and concentrate solely on this technique.
They often allow a practice to flow much more easily.
They can also be used for position specific practices.
When should they be used?
Particularly useful when introducing young players to a new skill in small sided games.
Safe zones also work well when practices involve players of mixed abilities. In these games a coach may offer the safe zone to the weaker players, giving them a bit more freedom to participate in and enjoy the practice.
How to Use Safe Zones?
Make colour co-ordinated where possible as visual aid for players.
To maintain realism, condition time and/or touches within the safe zone
Where to Use Safe Zones?
Depending on the nature of the session:
At the end of the practice area.
On each side of the practice area
In the corners of the practice area
For specific areas of the pitch.
CREATE SPACE – CONDITIONED GAME WITH END & SAFE ZONES
Area is 30 x 30 with 5yard zones at either end. Game is directional
2 teams play to get a player in possession of the ball in their attacking end zone
A defender may drop into their defensive end zone to receive a pass and relieve pressure and keep possession of the ball
When in the safety zone players cannot be challenged but can only stay in for 5 seconds
A neutral player plays for team in possession of the ball, but cannot score
CREATE SPACE – DRIBBLING GAME WITH SAFE ZONES ON THE SIDES
Area is 30 x 30 with 5yard zones at either end on the sides
There are 3 small goals at either end
2 teams play and try to score in any goal at the end. A neutral player plays for team in possession, but cannot score
Attacking players can move into wide zones to receive unopposed, but can only stay in for 5 seconds.
Attacking players are encouraged to be creative in 1v1 or combination plays initiated in forward wide areas.
CREATE SPACE – POSITION SPECIFIC GAME FOR STRIKERS WITH SAFETY ZONES
Area is 60 x 40 with goals and goalkeepers at each end
Two teams play 6v6 in a 2-1-2 formation to score on goal in the normal way
Two 4×4 yard safety zones are positioned approximately 15 yards from each goal
Attacking players may receive or dribble into the zones unopposed, but are restricted to 2 touches
Defenders may block from outside but cannot enter the safety zone
CREATE SPACE – PASSING & RECEIVING USING SAFE ZONES
Area is approx 30×20 with three 4×4 safe zones randomly placed inside field
Two teams play 5v5 to keep possession
There are 3 neutral players who play with team in possession
To score a goal ball must be passed to a neutral player in a safe zone
Neutral players are encouraged to move around and not stay in just one zone
Neutral players cannot be challenged in the safe zone
Rotate neutral players
A goal is only counted if passed by one player and a one-touch pass is played to a supporting player on the same team
Use of Space
CREATE SPACE – PLANNING THE SPACE FOR A WHOLE SESSION
To move effectively from one practice to the next during a session.
Minimise time spent setting up various practices.
Maximise use of time & space available.
Example of how planning can minimise movement and reorganisation through a whole session .
The area available is approximately 30x30yards. There are 12 players
a). THE WARM UP – IMPROVE FIRST TOUCH
Markers for the second practice can already be in place
Players in groups of 3 or 4 face each other approximately 10 yards away
The practice starts with players passing and receiving with the INSIDE of both feet
After each pass players follow the pass to the other end
Players then respond to coaches commands
All control and passes should be 2 touch
Players should use both feet where applicable
Receive with INSIDE of one foot and pass back with the INSIDE of the other foot
Receive with INSIDE of foot pass with OUTSIDE of foot
Receive OUTSIDE pass with INSIDE
Receive OUTSIDE pass with OUTSIDE
Players make their own decisions
b). THE UNOPPOSED TECHNICAL PRACTICE – THE DRIVEN PASS
Players are in groups of 4 with 2 at either end approximately 30 yards apart
The first pass from an end player (A1) is short into (A2), who plays a long driven pass into A3.
A3 now passes for A4 to play a driven pass back to A2
Repeat with roles reversing
Try using both feet
c). THE TACTICAL OPPOSED PRACTICE
By moving only a few cones, the practice develops into two 3v3 possession games with end zones. The area is now approximately 30 x14 yards, and is separated by a smaller “buffer” zone.
Area is 30 x 14 with a 5yard end zone at each end
2 teams play in one direction and try to get a player in possession of the ball in the end zone
Once in the end zone they turn to play in the opposite direction
If player is in the end zone before the ball, he is offside
Play 2 touch
d). CONDITIONED END GAME – THE BOUNCE GAME
Now moving the cones, the practice ends with a 6v6 small sided game including goalkeepers.
Area is 30 x 30 with goals and goalkeepers at each end
2 teams play 4v4 on the field and put 2 target players either side of the goal being attacked
To score a goal the ball must be played and set back from the target player for a one-touch finish
Outfield players on maximum 2 touch, target players 1 touch
End with free play
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