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Youth Session on Attacking From Wide Areas

Updated: Dec 17, 2023

Utilizing width in the attack is a common goal for many possession based teams. Whether it's overlapping full-backs in a 4-3-3 or attack minded wing-backs in a 3-4-3, having a wide threat in the attack can be hugely beneficial in a number of ways. For this session we are looking to combine the technical quality alongside decision making and movement so that players are aware and confident of the pictures that we are looking to create. Yes, there is unopposed work in here but you will also see that the movement around this exercise replicates the situations that we will progress to throughout the session. If you enjoy this session and would like to support the work, please check out our eBooks and webinars here.

1 - Technical Warm-Up Exercise

This exercise is a combination of passing, crossing, finishing, and high intensity work. Players work in groups of four inside a diamond with the cones approximately 15-yards apart. Every player has two actions in the activity, with the initial player sprinting across to support as soon as they start the set. As you as asking players to work at their maximum in terms of speed, you are also challenging the technical side of the game. Play 4x4 minute sets with 90 seconds recovery after each set.

Coaching Points:

- Quality of combination play before the cross

- Technique of cross

- Timing of attacking runs

- Quality of finish

2 - Tactical Rondo to Cross/Finish

The exercise on one half of the pitch with a 15x30 yard area centrally and two wide zones. Players are split into five defenders plus one goalkeeper, against eight attackers. Two of the attackers stay wide in the zones. The game starts as a 6v5 rondo centrally with players organized into back four with holding mid, against three midfielders and three forwards. The objective of the game is to complete 3 successful passes centrally and then play the ball out to the wide attackers. As the wide attacker sprints down the line with the ball to cross, two defenders can drop in and three attackers can go to finish on goal. If defensive team wins possession, they get one point for finding the server with a pass. Play for 4 minutes and complete 3 sets in total and rest for 90 seconds after each one.

Coaching Points:

- Quality of combination play before the cross

- Type and technique of cross

- Timing of attacking runs

- Quality of finish

3 - 8v8 Conditioned Game

Players are organized into two teams of eight, including a goalkeeper. The game takes place inside a 40x50 yard area with two wide 10-yard channels. Only the possession team can move into the wide channels and only one defender can move in when the ball arrives in the channel. This opens up the possibility of wide overloads for the possession team (see video below) and they can create a number of solutions in the attack. Every goal scored from a wide channel counts for two points. Play 3x5 minute games and recover for 60 seconds after each one.

Coaching Points:

- Ability to circulate possession into the wide channels

- Decision making in the wide channels

- Timing of supporting runs

- Quality of cross/finish

If you would like to follow up with Gary Curneen about personal consultation, please email him at:

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