Even Better Decision Making in SSGs

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.

Pitch with End Zones

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


3 thoughts on “Even Better Decision Making in SSGs

  1. Hi Sean
    from your comments the session seemed to go well. I have one comment to make about creating 1v1 situations. When you eliminate the possibility of making a pass the defender knows that the player can only dribble and so it changes the attitude towards going close or trying to win the ball. If you relate practice to what happens in the game it is rare not to have the possibility of a pass in a 1v1 situation. Having said that I think the 2v2 is the best situation for creating 1v1 contests with the potential to have feints to pass before dribbling etc. If the feint to pass is not possible it reduces the effectiveness of the dribbler and makes the defender’s task much easier.
    All the best.


    • Totally agree Ron and with the games being 3 v 3 the players did have the passing option throughout most of the pitch.
      I think even in the corners of the pitch the attacking players still had a passing option just not across the End Zone.
      I could allow the players to pass and run through End Zone next time.
      However the condition I imposed on not running through End Zone was more to force the situation to happen for players to go 1 v 1 at the right time more often (space behind the defender) and to counter players exploiting this and just standing on other side of End Zone for very easy goal I imposed the no pass across End Zone.
      As usual you make a good point it affects the defending if the defender knows the attacker has only one course of action.
      By the way Thank You for so often helping me with my coaching. It is very much appreciated.


  2. Pingback: The PE Playbook – June 15 Edition | drowningintheshallow

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