Counter Attacking (9+)

Phase 3: Finishing the Attack

Age Group 11+

Duration 90 minutes

Players 16+

This 3 Part Session develops counter attacking with a focus on close control through dribbling and running with the ball, before progressing into a trigger based possession practice. This progression from Technical to Skill together with detailed constraints and challenges, will aid player learning and skill acquisition.



Counter Attacking | Skill (02-P2)

Set Up
This Dribbling practice requires 6-12 players in a 252 area, each dribbling a ball. Players encouraged to be creative and try as many tricks and dribbles as they can.


Duration | 20 minutes
Age Group | 5+
Players | 2+
Player Focus
Individual Skills: Creativity | Technique | Lose Players | Possibly Pace


Progression 1 | Target Zones
Add 2 areas, where players must perform a different trick and with increased traffic closer control is encouraged.


Progression 2 | Defending Player
Add a defender to add pressure to dribblers, so they must avoid each other as well as perform a dribble in area.


Progression 3 | Passing Floater
With increased difficulty with added defender, a floater could act as a wall pass for dribblers under pressure
Touchtight Coaching Tips
To develop dribbling as a skill, we must ensure players are comfortable without pressure, before adding these progressions. Coaches may wish to focus on a specific dribble before or after allowing players to be expressive in trying new skills.
S - Depending on numbers the area can be reduced or increased in size, to alter difficulty based on player's ability. 
T - Dribblers could be encouraged to get a certain number of dribbles in each area or within a certain time. i.e. 5 different dribbles or tricks in 30 seconds in each area.
E - Extra floaters can be added or number of balls reduced so players must lay ball off after dribble and become a passer.
P - With added defenders, dribblers challenge is increased and lessened with added floaters, as the coach you must decide what course of action to take.
Advanced - More able young players may have the area split into 4 quarters, and encouraged to perform a different dribble in each area, again opposed. They could also be encouraged during the practice to only use their weaker foot, or alternate feet in each dribble.


Counter Attacking | Skill (02-P3) 


Duration | 25 minutes
Age Group | 11+
Players | 16+
Player Focus
Passing Weight/Direction | Timing of Movement | Support Play | Rotation 


Coaching Point 1: 2 v 2 with a floater in 15 x 15, when possession won play ball into striker and player to support creating 2 v 1 to a finish; work both directions.


Progression: 2 Players to support striker, defender active on first touch. 1 recovering defender creates 3  v 2 situation - players rotate attackers and defenders.
Key Coaching Questions
  • How quickly can you escape possession press?
  • How can you hold ball up effetcively for support?
  • What movement is best to create and exploit space in 2 v 1 overload?
  • Magic Pass and Clinical Finishing in the box? 
Technical Detail
  • Speed and angle of support.
  • Initial touch out of square and pass with intent to attack quickly.
  • Decision to lay off or turn for striker, depending on defenders skills and decision making.
  • Non-verbal and verbal cues to break space and create clear opportunities.
  • Finishing technique, being clinical in and around the box.


Counter Attacking | Skill (02-P1)

Set Up
This Skill practice contains 16 players with a 7 v 7, including GKs, and 2 additional floating players. A 4 v 4 exists in a central area of 25 x 30 yards, with 2 floating players to support, in addition to an attacker and defender for both teams outside of the area. Objective is to break quickly in gaining possession to create an initial 2 v 1 overload in final third to finish.
Initial objective is for one team to keep possession whilst other team aims to win possession to counter quickly off their supporting striker in a 2 v 1 in attacking zone.


Duration | 25 minutes
Age Group | 11+
Players | 16+
Key Coaching Points | Timing of Movement and Pass 

Assess movement of A and position of D to select best passing option. Execution and nature of forward passing, with emphasis on accuracy, weight and whether aerial or along ground. Remaining on-side. Finishing skills and composure in front of goal between striker and supporting runner. Precise control to enable MF’s to play with head up and assess opportunity to play into striker with quality and accuracy.   

Progression 1 | 3 v 2 on Counter

On winning possession, teams can now provide 2 supporting runners to link up with the hold up striker with one defender tracking runners, resulting in a 3 v 2 in attacking zone.



Progression 2 | Rotational Movement in Advanced Area

Our final progression now requires our striker dropping in to combine in the possession area on team regaining possession and teammate inside area making an off the ball run into the attacking zone. Player can finish in a 1 v 1, or striker can support to create a 2 v 1 to finish.




Watch this great clip on Klopp's Liverpool Counter Attacking | The future of the game.