The Science of The Soccer Counter Attack – “Drills From My New Book”

Corner Target Counter

Grid: 60×45 yards
Instructions & Key Points:
This exercise starts with 7v7+2 in possession. The 2 neutral players in the opposite grid must stay in the corner target zones (10×10 yards). Once the team in possession completes four or more passes they attempt to play the ball into one of the target players (who are located in the 10×10 corner squares) in the opposite grid. Once the pass is made to the opposite grid, the team must immediately run to collect the ball and support play. Running at pace into the opposite grid to collect the ball from the target player simulates the movement and idea of a counter attack. Players are not allowed to run into the next grid early – the run must be timed to follow the pass – same concept of breaking the defensive line with a well timed run and through pass. When the ball is transferred to the opposite grid and possession retained, the corner players become part of the 5v5 to make it into 7v5 – the neutrals at this time can come out of the corner boxes to help keep possession. If a team hits a ball to the opposite grid and it does not travel inside a corner box, possession is given to the other team.
Corner Target Counter#1

Corner Target Counter #2
This game is the played the exact same way as the previous exercise but after transferring the ball to a corner target player the team will look to finish on goal immediately to finish the counter attack. The drill now becomes a game realistic counter attacking exercise. It is very important to emphasize coordinated runs with penetrating passes. Blind side runs should be used to unbalance the defense in the counter.
Variations & Progressions: Adjust the number of passes needed before hitting the penetrating ball to the other grid, penetrating balls must be hit 1-touch only, 1-touch finishing only, can only score from crossed ball.

Exercise Four & Five

Pressing & Counter Attacking

Grid: 70×45 yards
Instructions & Key Points:
This is a fast-paced counter attacking drill that also emphasizes pressing for the defending team. The game is 8v8 with keepers. The red team is trying to break the blue teams press and launch a counter attack on the far goal. The red team is not allowed to break the half line before the pass crosses the half line. This condition simulates beating the offsides trap. Decide on the number of red players & blue players you will allow to release into the opposite grid when the penetrating pass is made. Start with releasing 2 Red players and 1 Blue player for a 2v1 on the far goal – then mix it up ( 3v2 – 4v2). If the blue team gains possession of the ball they will try and score immediately on the near goal. Progressions & Variations: 1-touch penetrating ball to start the counter, ball must be played on the ground to counter, ball must be played in the air to counter.
Pressing & Counter Attacking #1