decoy runs / creating space

Discussion in 'Coach' started by blech, Oct 5, 2003.

  1. blech

    blech Member+

    Jun 24, 2002
    anyone have any suggestions for drills to introduce and work on the concept of making runs to create space for teammates?

    as i've thought about it, some of the critical aspects are:
    - awareness of where other teammates are,
    - understanding that "space" usually opens up behind you (the area you leave is now an open area),
    - identifying when a teammate is unmarked, and
    - creating space for that open teammate by making a decoy run somewhere else

    as examples of how this might play out in a game (say yesterday's game, for example), if a forward out on the wing would make a run to the inside or come back for the ball (and bring his defender with him), he could draw his defender with him and open up the space to the corner for the overlapping outside midfielder or defender, or if the central striker would make a run to the corner and take his defender with him, he could open the middle for run by the center midfielder, etc.

    my players are to the point where they're moving off the ball (some) to try to get themselves open, but it is usually only in what they perceive to be their "lane" of the field, and it is still always for the purpose of getting the ball themselves. i've begun to introduce these concepts, but i really need some drills if there's any hope of getting this into their heads.
  2. JohnW

    JohnW Member

    Apr 27, 2001
    St. Paul
    Although we play a zonal defense, to work on movement off the ball and creating space, I will sometimes have the defense man mark during scrimmage. Sometimes I will even give the offense an extra player so that there is always an extra attacker, who should theoretically move into space.

    Then I might restrict that only he can score, or his goals count for two. This will provide more incentive to create openings for the player. (Then, if need be, you can restrict the open player to two touch-settle, then shoot.)

    You can go with 5 v 4 (or with 6 offense if you want sustained possession but I would make the 6th player support only). You can specify the types of runs or probably better yet, let the runs develop and then stop to note success or when the play is too congested.

    If I were going to focus on this in practice, I would suggest working on checking back to the ball/overlapping runs/diagonal runs, then 2 v 1 where defender must be beaten with a pass, then perhaps 3 v 2 with same restriction.

    I might then go with a 5 v 5 short-side scrimmage with one or two offense-only players and then look for and reward movement off the ball.

    I'm fairly certain it was Johann Cruyff who said that he judges players by what they do the 99% of the time they don't have the ball.

    So I think the other thing I would try to reinforce is that some of the best things a player will do is when he or she doesn't have the ball--moving into a position of support, making a diagonal run that opens space for another player, looking for open space to shut down as a defender.

    Thus, you might always be on the lookout for instances in practice where a player makes a good run without the ball. A short whistle, players freeze, "Hey, look at what Mike just did. See the space behind him? Great job." Then restart them.

    The positive here is that they get immediate feedback. Of course, the negative is that it breaks the flow of the scrimmage. So maybe only do that 2-3 times in a scrimmage.

    These are a few of the things I've tried to do, and they generally have helped.

  3. Richie

    Richie Red Card

    May 6, 1999
    Brooklyn, NY, United
    Play 4 attackers v 2 defenders in a small space. start 15 yard sq then shrink the space later.

    Put two small goals one in the center of each side of one square. Where ever the dribbler is facing is the goal you want to attack.

    You don't really need the goals, but it is good to do because the idea is to open up space in the most direct line to the goal. In the center of the field.

    Since you don't want defenders standing in front of goal/goals. They have to man mark someone, Any two of the four attackers. They don't have to mark the same two players during the excercise. They can switch to any players but must mark two players.

    That will always leave 2 players open hopefully it is a dribbler, and a receiver who will wind up in the middle of the field. Any two players can be a dribbler or a receiver.

    Receiver option open in the middle of the field is marked he moves outside to either side to drag one defender from the middle. As that happens a marked or unmarked player can move to the middle. Can be marked if the receiver can beat his defender into that middle space. If he can score he scores of not he pulls marker to other side of the field as he passes the ball to a back team mate for example who is open. You don't want that player to be marked. if he is he pulls the defender from that space and an open player fills that space.

    It is a fast moving game. Dribbler is pressured he passes to someone open, and pulls his defender away from the middle at the same time someone should be moving to the middle before he gets there the pass should be on the way to him.

    So your marked move away from the middle because the middle space is the best place for a team mate to be. No marked player should just be standing around the middle. He moves out to open space in the middle for a team mate. The marked team mate by his off ball movement is helping team mates move in the most direct path to the goal.


    That is what you want to do in games. You want to do it all over the full field . Create space for a free 10 to 15 yard passes where before that movement the space was congested. That takes a lot of movement off the ball to make that space look open most of the time.

    This works against a zone but the defender won't be dragged as far in a game.

    For the drill to work, the two defenders much mark someone man to man, and it can be no two particular players. It just should be any 2 players

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