Here is the key to the diagrams:
We started with kickoffs:
- In this example, the forward starts with the ball, though he and the central midfielder are really interchangeable at this stage of the game.
- The forward passes to the center midfielder and then moves forward, either straight or diagonally, while the
- outside midfielders move forward, and the
- defenders move forward, closer to the midfield line.
- The central midfielder can pass back to either the center back, who will then distribute the ball wide (in this diagram the yellow lines represent potential passes);
- or pass back to the outside backs, who can start moving the ball up the field. Alternately,
- the central midfielder can pass the ball diagonally to the outside midfielders who are moving forward,
- or up to the forward who is either straight ahead or has moved diagonally.
- The idea here is not to do what we did in our scrimmage against Houstonians, and many other times in the past: we don’t want the person receiving the kick-off to try to dribble out of the circle with it. When we did that against Houstonians they quickly learned that was the only way we were going to kick off and they swarmed the player with the ball the instant the kick-off occurred. Not surprisingly, that person tended to not be able to beat the 3-4 opponents surrounding him. See the diagram below for what that looks like.
- Instead, the idea is to keep the ball. The safest way is to pass to one of your three back-line players, for them to start the attack furthest away from the opposing players’ challenges. You can also try the more daring way of passing ahead to your forward or your outside midfielders.
- The important part is, now you have choices. If you use them all at various times in the game, the other team won’t “know” what you’re going to do, and will not be able to defend as aggressively, meaning more success for you.