We will discuss the exploration of the wide areas, to create imbalances in our opponent’s strategy. It is extremely important for a team to be able to use the maximum width of the field to explore those areas, and also to create space in the central lane, so the midfielders can create and play from there.
When the ball gets into wide areas, usually there’s a 1v1 or 2v2 situation, and sometimes 2v1. Therefore, we need to be able to make the best out of it. Having fast and skillful players on those areas, will allow your team to be more unpredictable and explore the opponent’s weaknesses.
It is also extremely important that teams are able to shift side to side, in and out of possession, keeping the shape and avoiding quick counters when losing the ball in those areas.
Usually, the opposite side of the ball location will be immediately explored by the opposite team after they recover the ball. Therefore, a good shape will allow a quicker and better reaction to that loss.
Things to look for in wide areas
Below we identify some situations that happen often at the flanks, which can be determinant in a soccer match. One of the most important is switching the point of attack, with speed and tempo. That way, you will be able to catch the opponent team unbalanced, trying to reorganize, while your team is seeking to create damage on those areas.
Here are some drills to work with your team during the season.
Drill 1 – 2×2+1+2
- 2×2+1 possession exercise with 2 players in both wide areas, diagonally to one another
- On the sides, outside players have 10 yards to move side to side and give options to the players inside
- 2 or 3 touches maximum for inside players
- 1 touch for outside players
- Every time the ball goes to the outside player and back in with success, 1 point. After 20 points, switch players
- Get the ball into the wide men’s on the outside, as fast as possible
- Switch the ball side to side with quick tempo
- Knowing where to pass before getting the ball
- 20×20 yards
- Outside players have 10y each
- After all players had played both roles, the outside players will now have two options: 1 touch to give the ball back in, or 2 touches to switch with the player that made the pass, and get inside the square
Drill 2 – 2×2+1 with crossing and finishing
- 2×2+1 in the middle possession, with release to wide areas with 1v1 situation, cross and finish
- After 5 successful passes, pass the ball to one of the wide players
- That player will do 1v1 in that square and the winner of the duel crosses. Can’t be chased after passing the line
- Players in the middle attack front post and edge of the box. Player from the opposite side attacks back post
- Keep players rotation by positions
- Find the wide areas to get the ball in the box
- Work on timing for attacking the ball
- Possession box: 15×15 yards
- Half field length, 18 yard box width
- 1v1 box: 20×15 yards
- After 12’, 1 of the players in the possession box can drop and defend
- In the 1v1, opposition goes all the way to the end
Drill 3 – 9v9
- 9v9 game in full width and box to box
- To attack the goal, ball has to go through the 3 different lanes first
- 2 to 3 touches in the B sector and free play in A and C
- Goal from crosses, worths 2, from central corridor worths 1
- Try to use flat cones, to avoid interference with the play
- Avoid a predictable game by changing the point of attack multiple times to gain space and attack with criteria
- Privilege 1v1 and 2v1 situations in wide areas, involving overlaps and players creativity
- Full width and goals separated by the edges of both boxes
- Divide the corridors in 3 equal areas
- After 15’, play free all along the field, without the need of going to all 3 lanes
- Keeping goals from crosses with 2 points worth