This week’s attack versus defense session comes from Neil Adair at @NeilTriplets who regularly shares fantastic session ideas and information. This is a multi-functional exercise that also includes a transition, possession, and huge physical component. As with all realistic attack versus defense exercises, the challenge for the defending team is to get organized as quickly as possible. The attacking team may have a numerical advantage, but without speed and penetration, they will not be able to use it. Therefore, tempo is so important on both sides of the ball and the importance of physical work in this exercise cannot be understated.
The exercise takes place on a full field, with a 10×10 yard square, which can change in relation to the ability of the players. Five red players are involved against four blue players, not including a goalkeeper. Four blue players and one red player start inside the square, four red players start on a red cone on the other side of the halfway line, and one goalkeeper who will play for the blue team.
The exercise starts with blues playing 4v1 against the red defender in the 10×10 grid. If the red defender inside the grid wins the ball, he must turn and play to one of the oncoming red players at the other end of the halfway line, thus triggering the transition. The four blue players must sprint around a yellow cone at their own goal line, before being allowed to defend. The red players now go straight on the attack and a 5v4 attack versus defense scenario is created. (See below)
The quicker the blue players get to the yellow cone and back, the higher their line of confrontation will be and therefore the further they can keep the red team from attacking their goal. For the red team, they must use the extra player to their advantage and give options to the player on the ball. From a coaching point of view, encourage the red players to penetrate with an attacking mentality, as oppose to turning it into a possession exercise. You could add a time limit to help with this. Below you can see the overload to the right of the player in possession and one of the players making a run beyond the blue defensive line, who will receive the pass in the box and have an opportunity to finish on goal.
After the attack on goal, the exercise begins again with a 4v1 in the grid, changing the red defender. After 5 sets, the red and blue team will change roles.