By Matt Settles
Coach Settles recently completely his 11th season as a high school coach in Indiana. The former collegiate player at the University of Southern Indiana is also a regular contributor to the Soccer Toolbox
A common problem in most soccer teams is the lack of consistency and success attacking in numbers in the offensive third of the field. It’s great if you have a single player that can attack on his or her own, but your team will be much more dangerous with more players attacking together. If you are setting up a 2 v 1 drill to goal, focus on four ways for your players to attack together.
One offensive players receives the ball and dribbles towards their teammate. The second offensive player “takes” the ball and attacks the open space. It’s important that the first offensive player dribbles the ball on their outside foot to make an easier transition. The take-over creates a change of direction and if done properly, will create confusion as the defender determines who has the ball or who should they defend. A second option with the take-over is for the offensive player with the ball to keep it and attack towards to goal.
2. Overlap Run
The offensive player receives the ball and starts dribbling at the defender. As this is happening, the second offensive player makes a hard run around their teammate. This forces the defender to make a decision, which will ultimately determine what the offensive player should do. The
overlapping run needs to be fast and there needs to be communication from this player that they are open. It’s up to the offensive player with the ball to make the decision if they pass or not, but a hard run will make it more realistic compared to a slow or lazy run that defenders don’t have to worry much about.
3. Give & Go
The offensive player receiving the ball passes to his or her teammate, then makes a run to receive a pass back. Make sure you are watching and calling offsides as a coach. A common mistake for players to make is to be offsides during a give and go pass. Encourage the second offensive player to be a step or two behind even with the defender so they are not taking a chance with being offsides. If you have the advantage in a 2 v 1 situation, don’t risk the goal scoring opportunity by being greedy.
4. Go to Goal
This is the easiest form of attacking and players seem to always lose track of this option. If the defender is not closing the ball down and more worried about defending the 2nd offensive player, the first offensive player should go to goal! The first offensive player can either dribble closer to get a shot or if they are already in range, take the shot immediately. Stress to your players that they don’t have to be inside the 6 yard box to shoot. The offensive players should worry about taking a good first touch and getting the ball under control, then determine quickly if they can get a shot off based on the defenders distance and how quickly they are closing down the ball.