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Skipping Passes in Build-Up

One area of the game where the coaching bar has been raised in my opinion, is in the initial phase of attacking organization and we could well be approaching a time where build-up play is no longer a luxury afforded to the best teams in the world. Patient builds have now become commonplace in youth, amateur and professional levels and we are starting to see defenders and goalkeepers develop into more comfortable technical players and better decision makers in possession, as they look to start and contribute to attacks. As this aspect of the game continues to evolve and develop, perhaps we should start to look more at how the opponents are preparing to stop it. Are defensive systems becoming more and more predictable in how they combat patient builds in terms of stepping and applying pressure? If so, can that information help teams in their build-up? I believe that it definitely can. As defensive teams rely on 'reading' the build, this is made considerably easier against basic patterns and the more passes across the pitch, the slower a build will become and the more time a defensive system will have to adapt.

Why are defensive systems becoming more predictable? Again, it comes down to coaching. More coaching and time to prepare against possession based teams has seen coaches use a common way of teaching it. I think it's worth taking a look back at how we learned to coach defending as a collective, and a lot of that can be traced back to the legendary AC Milan and Italy coach, Arrigo Sacchi. In his 4-4-2 coaching DVD which was made almost twenty years ago, Sacchi shares exercises like the ones below on defensive shape and cover of a back four and midfield four. The principles are still used today, often as pre-game warm-up exercises for teams at the professional level.

Below I put together a short video of perhaps why skipping passes in the build can open up a range of opportunities for a team in the build-up and attacking third. This video was part of a special series of videos to launch my new book, Modern Soccer Coach: Detail. If you enjoy the video, please subscribe to my YouTube page for more bonus content by clicking here.

This article was written by Gary Curneen as part of a promotion for the new book 'Detail'. If you would like to support the free content at Modern Soccer Coach, 'Detail' is a collection of takeaways from the interviews we have done on podcasts and webinars throughout the past four years. It is also a personal perspective of how Gary views the game, experiences on why he has changed, as well as an insight into what lies ahead for the coaching community. CLICK HERE TO ORDER YOUR COPY.

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