By Steven Smith
Area Size: A grid that is 20 X 20 is set up with three dummies (or poles) in the middle as shown. Three groups of three are divided into color groups.
Teams: At least two teams but prefer three or more.
Time: 20 minutes for full progression to completion.
Objective: The objective is to penetrate either midfield flat defenses or flat back four defenses (with modifications).
Narrative: Players execute predetermined runs between or in front of dummies to receive from the passing players. Emphasis and feedback is placed on tactical decision making to penetrate the midfield or back line. Gradually adding pressure will increase the demands of speed of decision making while making great technical touch. Holding runs and staying on side is a key part of the decisions when emphasizing penetrating the back line.
Set up and Execution:
In the first activity, the emphasis is on penetrating the midfield by adjusting runs for the receiver to receive in between the defending dummies. Feedback is given by the passer to receiver to either turn, turn and go, or hold. Then the ball is delivered to the flank and the pattern continues to the next person in line.
In the second variation, the receiver posts in front of one of the dummies to receive and double pass back to the initial passer. Then the player must hold and spin off to receive again in between the dummy defenders. Timing is crucial when using this activity to beat a flat four defensive group and stay on side.
In the third variation, the activity becomes a SSG by playing 3 v 3 in the given space with the dummies still on the field. Points are gained by either passing or dribbling between the dummies while competing to keep the ball.
A final progression (not diagrammed) could be to add full sized goals to the ends of the field and complete the activity by scoring in a 3 v 3 setting. Teams can rotate when they get scored upon or after two minutes of play.
By Steve Smith
Steve Smith has been a men’s college coach that holds an NSCAA Advanced National Diploma and a Doctorate in Physical Education.
By Sean Pearson
Area: 25 x 35 yards
• To understand where to penetrate according to spaces
• To understand how to penetrate depending on where you are on the field
All that is needed is 4 cones to mark out the corners of the rectangle area. The area is wider than it is in length. On each side of the field there are 3 balls. The aim is to get the three balls behind your line across to the opposition’s side of the field. The team that is able to get all six balls on their opponent’s side wins.
Overload the team in possession by adding a neutral to make it 6v5, this makes it easier to penetrate. Depending on the position of the defending team look to find either (Red 1) the neutral in space or (Red 2) a free player. Encourage you players to drive forward with the ball if there is space, this looks to draw a player towards them, allowing another player to be free to receive the ball.
In order to successfully deposit the ball behind the opposition’s line the ball must travel over this line whilst still under control. You can do this in either (Blue 1) dribbling/driving the ball over the line or (Blue 2) receiving the ball from a pass over but close to the line, no more than 2-3 yards from it.
After the ball has been left behind the opposition’s line the team retrieves another ball behind their own line. If the defending team win possession they can look to penetrate straight away.
You can play with or without an offside line. I explain to my players that we are in a game situation where we are in the middle third of the field and there would be defenders behind you so there is no offside. It also allows a little more freedom of movement to play in between the lines. But of course, you can still enforce an offside line if you wish.
• Offside line/no offside line
• Add/decrease Neutrals
• Limit touches
• Change formation to replicate your midfield