Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Basic Principles of Individual Attacking

In general, attacking is much harder than defending. Why? Because attacking usually requires more advance (and advanced) thinking. In other words, a defender reacts - while an attacker has to have a plan if he is going to have a good chance of success. In addition, attacking requires better ball control than defending, because it is difficult to keep possession long enough to get within scoring range by just whacking at the ball. As a result, the coach must spend a lot of time in developing the ball control skills of his players, and in training them in the various elements of individual attacking.

Individual attacking has 3 basic phases. The first phase is what is commonly known as the First Touch phase. The quality of the First Touch, and the planning which goes into this First Touch, often will be the key difference between a successful attacker and one who constantly bombs out. The second phase is the  actions required to beat any field defenders, so that you are 1 v 1 with the keeper (called "field attacking"). The final phase is the actions required to beat the keeper and/or last field defender blocking the ability of the ball to "see" the goal so that you can put the ball in the net. This final phase will be called Finishing (although it is important to bear in mind that the other phases may be compressed into this single phase, with a ball received in a way which allows the very first touch to be a shot on goal).

Indeed, any time that an attacker realizes that the ball is going to come to him, his first decision should be "do I have a decent chance at scoring a goal with my first touch?" If the answer is "yes", then he must always make the attempt to score. As noted later, a player misses 100% of the shots which he does not take, and it is critical to educate young players early in the notion of thinking about a shot first.

If no shot is "on" with the first touch, then the player must get the ball under control and take another look to see if a shot is now available (because defenders move around - so a momentary opening may have arisen). If a shot is still not "on", then he must figure out the best route to take to get into a good scoring position, then look once more for the chance for a shot. In other words, he needs to remember that his ultimate objective is to score goals.

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