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Transition

When you mention Barcelona everyone automatically thinks about the attractive football they play.  But have you thought about how good they are closing down, applying pressure to win the ball & how disciplined they are?  They all work as a unit to win the ball back in 6-7 seconds.  If they fail to do so they retreat into their set playing positions & ask the team to break them down often forcing them into errors.  Like a strategic army fighting a war Barcelona should receive as much credit to the discipline & quality they have without the ball.

Teams are at their most vulnerable in terms of losing the ball in the first few seconds after gaining possession.  It is this transition period that we are looking at, both in terms of winning the ball back quickly & then keeping it.

The key is the first 6 seconds after losing the ball.  This period is when the opposition have not yet switched from defensive to possession mode.

The other key period is those 6 seconds after you have won the ball back & need to maintain possession during that critical period when your team is changing shape & finding space (going wide & deep.)  This is what I focused my academy session on last Sunday & you can see that exactly from my session plans & videos below...especially if you watch the shape some of my players take automatically after winning the ball in the Braga transition game.

Warm up & technical bit...

After some dribbling, juggling & ball mastery the players moved into the following session...

Control

Control

Emphasis

Control & movement session.

Set-Up

Divide players in half.  Set a series of cones down, one down every 5 yards.

One player per cone with a ball.  Place the same amount of cones out facing the players 5 yards away.  The other half of the group line up at one end without a ball.

The other cones should be angled mid-way between the first row.

Bib groups off so it is easier for turnaround.

Objectives

One group serve while the other group control & return the ball.

Players go one by one, they move half way toward server, control & retreat backwards around cone & onto the next player.  Each player in line should be ready to go so that all players go in & out together.

After one circuit is complete players should reverse roles, i.e. first player in line changes with first server.  The server will then move to the starting cone.

Progressions

  1. Passing (one touch.)
  2. Volley (side on, then laces.)
  3. Heading.
  4. Chest / volley.
  5. Thigh / volley.
  6. Chest / thigh / volley.

Coaching

  • Good service.
  • First touch & return pass.
  • Quick movement & proper footwork.
  • Timed movement, so players go in & out together.
  • Communication.

The tactical bit...

This was a nice small sided game to get the boys disciplined to close down the ball well & hunt in packs.  They get used to forcing the opposition to make an error & communicate so if they can't win the ball inside 6 seconds they retreat back into their shape asking the opposition to try & break them down.  Insure someone counts out aloud, '1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6' so they get used to the time & award a point for each success.

6 Second Transition Game

Watch the video highlights

6 Second Transition Game

Emphasis

Teams are at their most vulnerable in terms of losing the ball in the first few seconds after gaining possession.  It is this transition period that we are looking at, both in terms of winning the ball back quickly & then keeping it.

The key is the first 6 seconds after losing the ball.  This period is when the opposition have not yet switched from defensive to possession mode.

The other key period is those 6 seconds after you have won the ball back & need to maintain possession during that critical period when your team is changing shape & finding space (going wide & deep.)

Set-Up

40 x 25 yard pitch with 2 mini soccer goals.  You can play 4 v 4 - 6 v 6 depending on the amount of players you have available.

Have a supply of balls in either goal.  Play starts with the goalkeeper rolling it out.

Objectives

In this game when a team lose possession they have 6 seconds to win the ball back (the coach counts this out loud.)  If they win it back in that time they are awarded a point (a goal.)

The idea is to double team & work frantically to get the ball back in the allotted time frame.  If they fail to achieve this they must then go to the centre & make sure they close all the gaps & limit the space for the opposition.

If they do win the ball back within 6 seconds, if they are high up the pitch they must look for an immediate goal scoring opportunity.  If they are in a more crowded midfield area they must look for an 'outman' who can get hold of the ball & maintain possession through the crucial 6 second period.

Progressions

  1. Adapt amount of players & size of pitch.
  2. Award bonus points for set amount of passes / time opposition keep the ball.

Coaching

Trying to win possession;

  • Concentrate on closing down - 'PRESS'.  When a player goes to win possession players around them close space - tuck in.  Don't dive in!
  • Keep shape, apply pressure while others react & drop off but cover space in behind.
  • Communication.
  • Nearest player pressures the ball.
  • On the call, 'PRESS', all players should look to win the ball off the opposition.

In possession;

  • Quality passing - weight & accuracy.
  • Decision making.
  • Support play.
  • Work rate on / off ball.
  • Receive ball side on.
  • Head up.
  • Play simple pass.
  • Look for space.
  • Use of width & depth.

Develop to...

After the 6 second transition game this worked great.  The players really enjoyed the session & it encouraged good ball retention.  The team that won the ball & used it well were not only rewarded with bonus points but got to continue to attack!  Make poor decisions or lose the ball & you're out the game!  Start off simple & don't allow the team that lost the ball to win it back in their own half.  As the players get used to the concept develop so that teams can win the ball back before the other team leave the half.

Braga's Concentration Of Transition

Watch the video highlights

Braga's Concentration of Transition

Emphasis

To win ball & counter attack at speed.

Set-Up

Play takes place on half a pitch with 2 full size goals & the pitch split in half by cones.

A supply of balls are placed in each goal with a keeper at either end.  Organise 3 teams of 6.  A team of white is in one half with 6 red v 6 yellow in the other half.

Objectives

Red attack yellow.  If yellow gain possession of the ball the red team stop while the yellow team attack the white team in the other half.

Teams continue to attack until they lose the ball.

The session is based around transition.

Progressions

  1. The team that loses possession can try to regain the ball before it leaves their half.

Coaching

Trying to win possession;

  • Concentrate on closing down - 'PRESS'.  When a player goes to win possession players around them close space - tuck in.  Don't dive in!
  • Keep shape, apply pressure while others react & drop off but cover space in behind.
  • Communication.
  • Nearest player pressures the ball.
  • On the call, 'PRESS', all players should look to win the ball off the opposition.
  • Recovery run.

In possession;

  • Break & attack at speed.
  • Quality passing - weight & accuracy.
  • Decision making.
  • Support play.
  • Work rate on / off ball.
  • Receive ball side on.
  • Head up.
  • Play simple pass or run with ball.
  • Look for space.
  • Use of width & depth.

Finish off with some free play & a cool down along with a debrief.

Coaches, always adapt.  My diagrams above will show a certain amount of players but if you don’t have enough – adapt!  Adjust the size of the pitch too.  Insure your players enjoy the training but demand a lot of hard work from them at the same time.

Let me know how you get on if you use with your own team.  Always feel free to re-post & share as long as you link back to my blog.

Want more info?  You can access over 450 of my session plans by clicking here!  Follow me on Facebook, Twitter or You Tube

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