Possession Soccer/Positional Play Thread

Discussion in 'Coach' started by elessar78, Nov 13, 2015.

  1. rca2

    rca2 Member+

    Nov 25, 2005
    I only watched the first half, and due to the tight camera views, I have to guess at what was happening away from the ball by the absence of players near the ball.

    What I think Senegal was doing was defending in a 154 shape, with the lone forward putting pressure on the ball. The 5-man second line put 3 defenders in the center in order to outnumber our players in the center, which I think allowed them to win the midfield battle.

    In the half I watched, I didn't see any coaching adjustments. To my eye, our U17 players appeared to have better fundamentals than our senior players.

    If the coach made no adjustments at halftime, I would be concerned.
     
  2. rca2

    rca2 Member+

    Nov 25, 2005
    IMO "play out of the back" simply means penetrating into the opponents half of the field by combination passing rather than by a keeper punt or 60-yard goal kick. The pattern passing approach is a crock, which is my guess as to what your club was calling "POTB".

    Looking for and finding an open man is playing possession. I don't talk about it or think about it that way. I talk about finding (and creating) the open space. That isn't an instruction for just the player on the ball, but everyone should be doing that.

    Elessar78 talks about 2nd and 3rd passing options, but I am pretty certain he is thinking about space on the field rather than dots on the field. Getting the kids to see the spaces on the field is the most important lesson I taught young kids.

    When someone shoots the ball directly at the keeper, they are not looking for the spaces.

    PS: We all played more or less the same style in the 80's. I was fortunate in the 80's to be playing competitively with Latino players and coach. We usually played a 433 and we still played direct, but we didn't play kick and run like the other teams.
     
    Buckingham Badger and CoachP365 repped this.
  3. elessar78

    elessar78 Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2010
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    At some point someone is going have to explain to me why "xG" is a valuable stat. It seems to be one of those things that a lot of us knew intuitively (chances from certain areas of certain types are more likely to yield goals).

    I like that pass map that showed we went sideways a ton in that game.

    Part of the problem is that USSF has left, now, nearly all the head coaching spots for the youth national teams vacant for a long time. There's probably no continuity of vision for the players.

    BTW, where are you coaches watching these games? What channels?
     
  4. elessar78

    elessar78 Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2010
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Not sure what you are referring to, but it triggered another observation I made lately about "seeing". My players see their teammates, but become blind to the defenders. I'll watch them try to force a pass to a teammate 20 yards away when there's 3 defenders in between them. ???

    Maybe they get guidance on seeing defenders and space as opposed to "looking" for teammates.
     
  5. CoachP365

    CoachP365 Member

    Business Metrics SC
    Apr 26, 2012


    It's really hard to teach people to scan well :)
     
  6. elessar78

    elessar78 Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2010
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    LOL. I counted one more than the correct # and I DID see the __________.

    Maybe that's why I'm awesome at this sport! haha
     
    CoachP365 repped this.
  7. CoachP365

    CoachP365 Member

    Business Metrics SC
    Apr 26, 2012
    Have you considered becoming a referee :)
     
  8. elessar78

    elessar78 Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2010
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    haha. I lived that life in my 20s—I got up to a Grade 7. But I haven't had a recert in a decade. Maybe, my fellow club directors have been trying to recruit me back.
     
  9. rca2

    rca2 Member+

    Nov 25, 2005
    How do you anticipate what will happen if you aren't aware of the space? Where a teammate is, is not what as important as where everyone is going to be.

    Ever think about what the phrases "run for daylight", "find the hole", or even "get open" actually mean? What is a nutmeg about if it isn't about exploiting transient space?

    I used unbalanced keep-away games to force the kids to look for and move into open space. The unbalanced part means there is always an open man, so it teaches to look for the open man too. Then when they play a balanced game, they also learn about creating the open space by movement and deception.

    The defense learns the converse of this. How to protect and take away space.
     
  10. elessar78

    elessar78 Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2010
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    I just meant you referenced something i had written in the past, I couldn't remember the context
     
  11. rca2

    rca2 Member+

    Nov 25, 2005
    That is a relief. I thought I was going crazy.

    When you discuss tactics, you usually refer to 1st, 2nd and 3rd attackers, which is pretty common now days. In the Stone Age when I was young, I would call them the 2nd and 3rd "runners" (adding width and depth to the attack). :)
     
    elessar78 repped this.
  12. dehoff03

    dehoff03 New Member

    Apr 22, 2016

    Most of the U17 WC games have been on FS2 and a couple on FS1.
     
  13. Buckingham Badger

    May 28, 2003
    Appreciate the comments here and above to mine. Our club provides 80% of the makeup to our HS who has won 3 state championships and honestly the HC does more with less. He's done a fantastic job of teaching a program through freshman, JV and varsity that his success has hidden our clubs weakness over the past few years.
    We've had a wholesale turnover of our board and we're trying to provide a better experience to our kids and families. Initial results over the last 18 months have been positive in feedback surverys and our results at U9 and U10s are better than when my oldest kid started and we think we are doing it the right way. Part of this was building an identity/game model/guiding light that all coaches could point to. Its still early but we wanted to POTB which meant we didn't teach punting for U11/U12 (no punting allowed at U9/U10). There was more to it. I helped draft it and our U9 and U10s results show improvement over prior years and I can see it. However I didn't realize how shortsighted I (we) were when we decided to simply focus on POTB and not on the entire picture.
    It brutually hit home in our 3rd game when the other team purposefully would load up with 7 players within 5 yards of our 18 after a goal kick. moving their 2 and 3 up into the attack leaving only the 4 back near midfield. My players were trying to find the open man but you could see confusion as our GK would play to our 2/3 and they would try to find someone but everyone was covered and make a turnover deep in our zone. Even trying to play to the 7/11 but physically couldn't get there. By half it was 7-0 with 4 of those goals coming from our goal kicks or unwillingness to punt.
    A few changes at half where I told them its ok to play to the 4 or the 6 (in the middle ! are you crazy!) and we broke it and we outscored them 4-0 and controlled the ball for much of the 2nd half. (Yes I know they took the pedal off but it was refreshing to let the reigns come off. We punted as we had numbers up 3v1 and even after taking time to settle the ball it was a 3v2). Driving home and then in bed I decided I had to abandon the POTB mantra we had been telling the kids. It was about teaching to find advantages. Practices became about unbalanced numbers, SSG's where if a channel was 2v2 you had to move to another channel with restrictions on defenders as well.
    I was concerned it would not work as my team is Rec, most have poor fundamentals (but we work on it every practice- I have 2 kids that still toe bash after 3 years (one is actually quite good at controlling it) but the real breakthrough was taking video. I have a GoPro knockoff and I have a stick that I use to change lightbulbs in our vaulted ceiling. fixed it up with a tripod and put it up before a game 3 weeks ago. Put it behind our goal in the first half and storage was full out 5 minutes into the second half but I was able to find 4 instances where wings were way over, defenders not playing together etc. Put them together and we had our first 5 minute video session. Just showed the clips on my kindle on the sideline and pointed out the vast space that was available. Its not perfect but practice and our last 2 games were our best ever.
    The USSF mantra of wanting people to play in possession and POTB is the start of it is well intentioned but wrong. Its about finding space either by moving yourself or the ball.
    We are still not good but I wish we were training this week. I didn't feel that way in late August/early Sep.
     
    stphnsn and rca2 repped this.
  14. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    I've thought a lot about the various soccer philsophies. And there is constant debate in forums, twitter, etc, about the best way for players to develop and for the best "style" of the pro and national teams. I've gone back and forth, but my latest realization is that the style that is adopted should match the culture and attributes of the country/players. Since there are many ways to score in soccer, you don't have to adhere to one approach. Obviously all players playing at a high level need a baseline of compentency in every aspect of the game, but then, above that, the team style should play off the assets of the team members, which derives from their upbringing.
    So, for example, the USA has a lot of land and a suburban culture. We have less density. How does that affect how our kids develop compared to a poorer or more dense culture (which is just about every other culture outside the US)? Well, with more land you run more freely, longer distances. And you naturally spend more time on that. In a culture where vast land is more scarce, and kids have to play in smaller spaces, the kids will not be able to run as much distances at high speeds, and they will focus on closer quarters playing (kinda like futsal), and naturally that will develop quick decision making, quick passing, high technical ability. But that is not the US. It's not how our kids develop because it doesn't fit their environment. And that's OK. That's what I believe now. It's ok, because one can score by dribbling with long strides at high speed and that can create enough space to get shots off. We don't have to POTB. Kick the 60 yard goal kick and win the 50/50 ball with physicality. Still have to make decent passes, but it doesn't have to be as tight at the "Barcelonas" because with endurance and speed and grit and hussle you can win the ball. So, if I were the head of US Soccer, what I'd do is make the style match our culture and not force it to match the international style. We can still win.
     
  15. rca2

    rca2 Member+

    Nov 25, 2005
    #140 rca2, Nov 8, 2019 at 7:09 PM
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019 at 7:14 PM
    After the fundamental stage during development players should learn to play both direct and possession styles of play, so that they know how later in the senior game.

    My preference is to teach direct play first because that is what every style ends with in the final third. So in essence I start with the final third and work back. I also start with pressing and the counter off the press. I feel that choosing whether to play direct of not is an intermediate topic, rather than a fundamental.

    Long sprints are what you do to recover from a mistake. Smart play is about controlling the play with the first few steps. Playing smart is anticipating where you need to be to make the play. Done well, it looks like the play is coming to you.
     
  16. elessar78

    elessar78 Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2010
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Developmentally, I can teach every 6-12 year old a 5 to ten yard ground push pass. I have to wait maybe until 9 to get kids who can consistently pound a goal kick or punt 30 yards. I have to wait until 12 for them to be allowed to head it. It takes longer for them to learn to bring down high balls.

    why hold off development for that long? This past season it took approximately 20 practices to lay the foundation for possession soccer. These were not advanced soccer kids—You could pick a similar group out of 80% of American clubs.

    Culture doesn't have to be national.
     
  17. elessar78

    elessar78 Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2010
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Today my men's team lost in the final, routed actually, by a team that possessed the ball well. We are more of a "direct team". I try to play to feet and my forwards are always taking off when I pass, because they are used to getting "played in". They have to hold their run to receive the ball.

    I'm only one guy on the team so I can't have a huge influence on how we play. Anyway, we have some of the best forwards in the league, including prob the best.

    The point is if you can't keep the ball, you can't influence the game enough in a meaningful way—usually. It's too individualistic and you'd better have a really really good target player to play to. Has America developed one of those? McBride maybe, but where has been McBride 2.0. Don't say Wondo.
     
  18. rca2

    rca2 Member+

    Nov 25, 2005
    Don't conflate playing direct with long passes and playing possession with short "push" passes. "Direct" and "possession" are tactical choices. Instep drives and "push" passes are techniques useful in any style.

    Playing "direct" does not limit the type of choices. I taught playing direct in small sided games using combination passing. There was an emphasis on "through" passes but that is just a tactic for breaking lines. (I remember you talking about passing options in rondos. When you split the defenders, that is a through pass regardless of how small you make the space.)

    What I loved most about watching Barca "Tiki taka" was when they used short passes to play through the center of the opponent's lines as if the opponents were Kwikgoal mannequins. That is a great example at the senior level of playing direct with short passes. In the final third in front of the goal, long passes are a tool that isn't needed.

    In my view of coaching you teach all the fundamentals. That is the primary objective. Direct play provides the context for teaching the fundamentals.

    "Long" and "short" are actually relative terms. At U10, 20 yards is a long pass. How far a player can accurately pass is a direct measurement of how much influence a player has on the game when on the ball.

    IMO passing 20 yards accurately is a matter of proper technique rather than strength. I never worked with younger than 8, but in my experience every healthy 8 year old can be taught to pass 20 yards accurately.

    As an adult I used instep drives at 10 yards with a partner before matches but that was an extreme exercise for first touch. When I first teach instep drives, the passes are in the 15 to 20 yard range and increasing in range as the technique improves. The increased range is the best feedback for developing good technique.

    IMO you have to teach combination passing to provide a context for using all passing techniques. Creating a playing environment friendly to all techniques, even if you haven't taught them yet, is important to efficient development.
     

Share This Page