I set myself a challenge of coming up with a different variation of Line Football after I wrote the blog ‘Decision Making in SSGs’ http://t.co/ZuhvnLXIz2 a few weeks ago. In particular I wanted to come up with a variation that solved some of the problems I mentioned in the previous blog while leaving all the good elements in place.
This is what I came up with. I changed the shape of the End Zone and made it resemble a penalty box at either end of a 30m x 20m pitch. The players scored by running the ball into the End Zone. I made the End Zone 7m x 6m so the players had the same amount of area (20m) to run over as when they had to run over the end line of the pitch (20m).
I have only used this once and it was with a good quality group of players. The topic was 1 v 1s specifically could you get past your immediate opponent. I added some conditions to force what I wanted
1 – The ball could not be passed across the End Zone. I did this to almost force a 1 v 1 when players were in the corners of the pitch.
2 – Nobody could run into the End Zone unless they had the ball. I did this to make it difficult for defenders to provide cover so encourage attackers to go 1 v 1 because often space behind the nearest defender.
I made the teams 3 or 4 –a-side because I felt the pitch may be a bit crowded with more players as the End Zone is taking away quite a bit of space.
My first progression was to introduce offside into the exercise. After that it just seemed to flow with the players getting lots of practice in a variety of 1 v 1 situations.
The session was filmed and the most obvious difference was that there seemed to be 1 v 1s happening more often all over the pitch. I think because the End Zones are only 16m apart in the middle the defenders felt they had to engage the player with the ball quickly.
Not allowing the players to pass the ball across the End Zones provoked lots of 1 v 1s in the corners. I didn’t particularly like the defenders having to go 1 v 1 near their own End Zone as they were easily shut down and so may next time allow defenders but not attackers to pass across the End Zone.
I thought the End Zone being on the pitch changed the type of 1 v 1 situations as well. Defenders had to defend against players cutting inside as well not just contend with stopping them going forwards. This meant there were 1 v 1 situations at a whole variety of angles.
I collected some data from the video. I had two games going side by side. One pitch was 3 v 3 and the other 4 v 3. The 3 v 3 group averaged just under six 1 v 1 situations every minute and the 4 v 3 just over six. The group actively played this exercise for approx. 14 minutes broken down into 3 periods of less than 5 mins.
In summary I would say I was pleased with it and would use it again without any major changes but I would love to hear the thoughts of other Coaches who have used this previously or have given it a go after reading this blog.
Thanks to all the Coaches who contact me and retweet my blog it is really appreciated.
Till next time