End Zone, Target, or Goals

I recently shared a mini series that reflects on the decisions we make, as coaches, that have consequences and often unintended consequences for our practice. Here is an in-depth review on those clips, with a summary on YouTube attached also.


The three following situations are the main three that I see - especially when considering that most coaches train on an open field, or a 1/4 field, without a goal to play with. Each is set up as a 5v5, but could be changed to suit your level of play / number of players. Spacing is always determined by the demands on the game and players. Set it up as you think best, then adjust as you need. Playing time should also fit with your periodization plan, and if you do not periodize then determine the 'drop off' point for intensity and stop them before that.


Attacking an End Zone.

I love attacking an end zone, or playing over a target line. It encourages the team to step and requires a player to break the opponents lines to get into the forward spaces. It also pulls the defending team backwards, giving us more space to possess and probe. If they decide to press, we have players that should be breaking lines and scoring easily.

This style of play suits my game model - does it suit yours?


Attacking Target Goals.

Target goals have a real value, but you need to identify how it works within your model. If we are about to play a dominant opponent, I am likely to use Target Goals as a theme for our practices to encourage our team in transition to attack quickly. As you see in the video, the players are rewarded with a first look further down the field. They are also valuable in these situations for encouraging ball rotation and playing vs a deep opponent whom are difficult to break down. If your model encourages switching this might be a constant in your training environment.


Attacking to a Target Player.

Target players play an important role in practices for several reasons, aside from your game model:

- Intensity. As soon as a goal is scored, they can feed the ball back in right away allowing for quick and realistic transitions which keep the team who just scored focused on the task.

- Balance of Numbers. Sometimes you have 11 show up.

Understand how the target affects the practice - The clip shows two examples in the same game.

1 - It could be similar to the target goals with a reward for hitting the target from deep, or quickly.

2 - As with 1, but the requirement for a combination or a one-touch lay off from the target to another player. Here we're now addressing third man runs, combination play, playing 'off a target player that has dropped deep' scenario. What fits your model? What are the demands from you, on your players, and what helps them achieve this with the Target man?


The video, below is a summary


Let me know what you think of this mini series - I love your feedback @leedunnesoccer

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