A common issue in amateur football is keeping team shape during games. The drill presented in this post will help your players understand where to position themselves in real game scenarios.
When you start a team to play in an amateur competition (Sunday league in some countries), you enrol players with all sorts of backgrounds and football experience to make numbers. However, it is common to have a few players with good individual skills but that never played organised 11 aside football. Therefore, during a game, players move all over the park overcrowding zones, leaving dangerous gaps or missing opportunities provided by empty spaces.
You only need one or two players that don’t know how to position themselves in the field to unbalance your team. While many factors influence the outcome of a game, teams with quality players but poor shape are often beaten by well-organised teams with average players.
The drill in this post addresses this issue by helping players understand the field as a grid. The primary purpose of this exercise is to avoid multiple players of the team rushing to where the ball is, regardless if you are defending or attacking.
This drill closely resembles real game situations. Therefore, you are required to practice it in one half of an actual 11 aside football field. You will need 8 cones and 3 small goals (or 6 cones). Position the 3 goals in the middle line, one in each wing and one right in the centre of the field. The picture below illustrates the setup.
Ideally, you want to practice with 10 players and a goalkeeper. Divide the players in defence and attack. If your squad is over 20 players strong and have access to a full field, you can split the players into two groups practising the same drill in each half of the pitch. It doesn’t matter if you have an odd number of players. You can play more attackers than defenders, or vice versa.
This is an attack vs defence game. The main objective of the drill is for both teams to keep their shape. The exercise also encourages possession football. The basic rules of the game are:
You can add variations to the rules, but keep in mind that the objective is for players to learn how to position in the field and maintain shape. So, for example, you could allow long crosses but only in the last row of the grid.
This football attacking drill focuses on working as a team. It is a great drill that involves every player in your team and keeps everyone moving. These are some concepts that this exercise helps to develop:
You can take the grid concept further as your team gets more comfortable with the idea and with the style of football you want to play. The video below showcases how Pep Guardiola uses a grid system to play the game in comparison to other coaches.
I hope you find this drill useful. If you like this post, please share it with your friends. If you know other exercises or have any questions, leave a comment below.
5 attributes every centre forward must have
Simple corner kick drill to practice attack and defence
Football attacking drill – Attack vs Defense
Striker movement tips – Attack one on one
Striker tips – How to lose your marker and score