Training idea: Scanning/Overloads Game inspired by practices from Martín Grosman and Moritz Kossman
This training idea is inspired by two brilliant sources: Martín Grosman (@MG_theory2) and Moritz Kossman (@moritzkossmann1). I combined one of the many practice ideas Kossman has posted on twitter with a practice from Grosman’s incredible article on scanning (I have linked both below).
Although complex, the practice worked well once people understood the minutiae of it, providing players a lot of opportunities to attack goal through a variety of combinations and runs. On top of this, the early stage of the practice requires players to scan effectively, in order to choose the best route to goal.
I have outlined both practices below, but the direct links are here:
Moritz Kossmann practice: https://twitter.com/moritzkossmann1/status/1400078569649455105
Martín Grosman Scanning article: https://soccerdetail.com/2021/09/06/coaching-vision-how-to-turn-scanning-research-into-training/
The Kossmann practice:
- Three zones, two with a 3v2 for Green and the other with a 1v2 (one striker and two defenders)
- Green attacks 3v2, trying to dribble or combine across the dotted line into the final area
- Three attackers and one defender then join in the final area to create a 4v3
- This should be two attackers and one defender from the area the ball was just in and one attacker from the other 3v2
- If the Blues win the ball in the 3v2 they score in the diagonal mini-goals and the straight mini-goal if they win the ball in the 4v3
- Once the ball is out, the coach plays a ball in to the other 3v2 area, alternating each time
The Grosman practice
- 3v3+2 in the centre circle, 8 players from each team who can move freely across the four external zones
- Ball always starts in the centre
- As soon as a pass is made out of the circle and into a zone, the players become locked in their zones — whichever Blues and Reds are inside the relevant mini match are the only ones allowed in
- The in possession team tries to score in the mini-goal, while the defending team tries to win the ball and pass back in to the middle to start attacking themselves
- The in possession team cannot pass the ball back from the outside into the centre circle
I’d encourage you to read Grosman’s article, which has a full explanation of this practice.
A combination of both
- 3v2 in the Central zone, 4v4 across Left and Right zones, 1 striker vs 2 centre-backs in the End zone
- Ball always starts with the Blues in the Central zone, looking to play in to the Left or Right zone
- Both Blues and Yellows are free to move between the Left and Right zones, across the grey ‘dead’ zone, but are locked in once a pass is played from the Central zone.
- Blues then look to dribble or combine over the dotted line to the End zone, or they can pass in to the striker and support them.
- Three Blues and one Yellow may move in to the End zone to create a 4v3 for the Blues to attack the goal.
- If the Yellows win the ball they should look to score in the nearest mini-goal to the zone they won it in.
- Goals for Blues in the main goal = 2 points
- Goals for Yellows in the mini-goals = 1 point
The start of the practice, inspired by Grosman’s, requires players to scan frequently and effectively in the Central, Left and Right zone. In the Central zone, the Blues must maintain possession while also scanning to assess which side has an attacking overload and gives them the best chance of progressing into the End zone.
Players in the Left and Right zones must scan regularly to check where they can be most useful, based on the position of their teammates and opponents. If both zones are 2v2, the onus is on the Blues to adjust this by moving across the ‘dead’ zone. The blues also need to be in effective positions to receive the ball relative to their teammates (following standard in possession principles of stretching the pitch etc), so must scan to assess this too and adjust when needed.
If there is an overload on one side, the Yellows need to adjust quickly to correct this. Because of this dynamic, there is unlikely to ever be an overload for long, so the Blues in the Central zone need to scan frequently to avoid missing the opportunity, as shown below.
I kept the ‘dead’ zone that Grosman used, as it adds an important delay to the movement between zones, making the position of players looking to defend or received more pronounced. If players were simply able to step back and forth across a thin line, it would be incredibly difficult for both players and coaches to judge which zone someone is in.
The Blues cannot play back into the Central zone from the Left/Right zone, so they must be patient in possession in their initial 3v2 and wait for the right opportunity to progress the ball.
Once in the Left or Right zone, whether they have an overload or not, the Blues must use quick combinations to progress into the End zone. When they do have an overload, the Blues should find the free player by committing opponents and utilising quick ball speed. They may also pass in to the feet of their striker, necessitating good 3rd player movement in order to support them.
Once the ball is in the End zone, quick support will be needed to create the 4v3 overload. Once achieved, players have a lot of freedom to try different things when attempting to score. Overlaps, cutbacks and crosses to the back post came out a lot when I carried out this practice, with some coaching required to improve the timing and direction of runs in to the box. Attackers should move off the defender’s back shoulder, arriving in dangerous areas of the box as the ball arrives and attempting to score first time.
The shape of the field allows the Blues to open up when trying to combine into the End zone, but directs play towards goal once there, encouraging them to be direct. Diagonal runs towards goal are also implicitly encouraged by the angle of the field.
Here are some possible variations to adjust the practice:
Allow one of the Blues from the Central zone to join the Left/Right zones
This makes the game slightly easier for the Blues, as they are almost guaranteed an overload in the zone they pass in to. Although it adds more opportunities for 3rd player runs, it reduces the need for the Blues to move between the Left and Right zone, considerably reducing the need for players to scan.
Add a Blue to the Left/Right zones
Likewise, this also makes it easier for the Blues by guaranteeing they have an overload somewhere, so they just need to recognise where. Although this reduces the need for the Blues to move between zones, this can be achieved with some encouragement as the Yellows can also move to change the zone that contains an overload and disrupt the Blues. The Blues in the Central zone still need to scan, so this may be a good variation to start the practice with, or to regress to if it is proving too challenging — you can always make it more challenging again if the game then becomes too easy.
Extra point if the Blues pass in to the striker then score
This encourages more 3rd player combinations, as the striker will need quick support in order to maintain possession. When executed well, blindside 3rd player runs are almost impossible to defend against as the defenders are unable to watch the ball, the player receiving it and the player making the run at the same time. This often results in the receiver making the 3rd player run often being free and facing goal, an extremely dangerous position to be in compared to a striker receiving with their back to goal and a defender tight to them.
Allow Blues to play directly from the Central (and score for 3 points)
Encourages 3rd player combinations even further, while also requiring players in the practice to be switched on at all times. The defenders in the End zone must be aware of the movement of the striker and be prepared to step-up to press them or cover behind their teammate. Yellows in the middle zone must not only defend against the Blues trying to create an overload, but must also cut off passing lanes through to the striker by remaining compact.
- Finding the spare player
- 3rd player movement
- Timing/direction of runs into the box
- Commit opponents
Out of Possession
- Defending outnumbered
- Defend the goal
- Awareness of opposition movement
- Cover behind a pressing player