RUNNING WITH THE BALL: Attacking practice for youth players.
This practice aims at providing young players with the opportunity to improve their ability at running with the ball. The practice starts in a simple, unopposed way but even here the players are asked to run with their head up and to be aware of what is happening around them. The session progresses to opposed practices that allow opportunities to the run with ball but demand awareness and increasingly sharp decision making. One thing that is crucial is that after running with the ball there must be an end product of either
Running with the ball, head down, simply for the sake of it is a waste of time so awareness and the need for an end product should be emphasized at all times.
Running with the ball in a circle drill:
- Arrange the players in a circle with a few players in the middle with a ball and the rest distributed evenly around the outside.
- The players in the middle dribble towards one of the players on the outside and perform a takeover with them.
- There must be eye contact and communication verbal and non verbal.
- Can the players on the outside take the ball with a positive first touch and run across the circle with their head up.
- Start at moderate pace and gradually increase the pace as players warm up.
- Every few minutes take a break and have the players perform various dynamic stretches.
- Make the circle a little larger and have the players pass on the run to a team mate on the outside.
- Get the ball out of your feet when you are running with it
- Head up and awareness of what is happening.
Unopposed running with the ball:
- Set up the players as per below.
- In each group 2 players run with the ball and attempt to pass accurately on the run to the player at the front of the other line.
- After passing the players join the end of the line they have passed to.
- Stop periodically and allow the players to perform some dynamic stretches.
- Change the practice to use the yellow cones so the players also get to practice passing on the run with their other foot
- Use the outside of the foot to pass while running with the ball.
- Have the players run more quickly now they are more warmed up.
- Eye contact, communication and a quality pass.
- Control with the laces when running with the ball.
Running with the ball in a small sided game:
- 6 vs 6 game split into 3 zones.
- Play 3 plus a goalkeeper vs 2 in the defensive zone
- After 2 passes can one of the defensive team run with the ball into the middle zone.
- From there play 3 vs 3 to goal.
- Run with your head up to assess options.
- Dribble with the laces.
- Positive first touch to get the ball out of your feet to cover ground.
Transition, counter attacking and running with the ball:
The next part of the session is 3 vs 2 to goal with 2 passive players on the side for the defending team who become active if their team wins the ball creating a 4 vs 3. Look for balls to space and a positive first touch as the players run with the ball when counterattacking.
The drill the progresses to 3 vs 1 with 2 trailing defenders who turn the exercise into a 3 vs 3. Can the 3 attackers run quickly with the ball and finish before the trailing defenders catch up and take away the numerical advantage.
- As per the video below
- Positive first touch in the counterattack.
- Run with head up to assess options
- Finish the session with a free game