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Midfield with wingers

Defense vs attack with wingers

This is a defense vs attack drill with zones and 1 full size goal. The main objective of the exercise is to practice distribution in the middle of the park and moving into attack with wingers without losing shape .

Setup

This drill requires half of an actual football pitch, 1 small goal and  6 cones to mark the zones as shown in the picture above. This exercise is designed to involve both your starting players and subs, you will need more than 11 players. We usually practice the drill with 15 players (7 vs 8) and 1 goalkeeper.

In the picture, blue players are defending and red attacking. Blue players can’t move out of their zones. Red wingers can move freely on the wings. Red strikers can move only in the last two zones of the pitch. Only red strikers can shoot to the big goal. We usually play 3-5-2 (or 3-1-3-1-2),  so the blue players are located in zones in a 3-1-3-1 formation. Aside of the 2 red wingers, blue players are use a 2-1-2 formation.

The small goal in the midfield is provided to motivate the defending team to move from defense into attack in an orderly fashion instead of simply kicking the ball out of danger. Because the defensive team can also score, it forces the attacking team to put pressure on the defensive players in order to recover the ball.

Rules

This is a simple football game. The main objective of the game is to keep shape in the midfield by forcing players to move in a limited zone. Only wingers and striker have more freedom of movement. In addition to the usual football rules, follow these basic rules:

  • 2 teams.  In the example, 8 defending players and 7 attacking players.
  • Defensive players can only move in their zones.
  • Only the two red strikers can move in the last two zones.
  • Wingers can move up and down in the wings.
  • Only the two strikers can shoot to goal. Even if wingers have a chance to goal, they need to find a path to the strikers. They can connect with strikers via a pass on the ground, crossing the ball or combining with a midfield than then passes to a striker.
  • Only 3 touches are allowed (e.g.: 1 touch to control the ball, 1 touch to change direction and 1 touch to pass the ball)

Takeaways

The main objectives of this exercise is to keep team shape both in attack as well as in defense. When in defense, the team has to be well organised in order to score in the small goal. There are many skills that this game covers:

  • Passing. Because of the limitations imposed by the zones and number of touches, the only way to move around the park is by passing the ball. Players are forced to improve their passing technique.
  • Finishing. The game is played with a full size goal. Your main strikers (they must play in the red team) are faced with real scenarios and encouraged to improve their finishing.
  • Team work. Because each player has limited touches and a limited area to move, team work is encouraged over individual efforts.
  • Transitioning from defense into attack. Constantly hoofing the ball away to defend will make it harder for the defending team to score in the small goal. Therefore the team must move from defense into attack in an orderly manner.
  • Players positioning. In order to keep possession of the ball, players must move in a block and stay close to each other.  The zones also ensure that players move in a restricted area instead of all over the field without any organisation.

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