A Coach Asks
I have to show a practical exercise next weekend, and I picked 2v1
Overlap as my topic. What kind of exercises can I use to best show
this? I have a tactics book but I'm not sure which part applies, and
I would like to build a practice I can use with my team.
Some Suggestions for 2v1 Overlap Training
First, two things you might want to narrow in on to make sure you are
- 2v1 overlap is generally part of combination play and taught as a
tactical topic, and instead of going from fundamental to game related
to match conditions, you would take it from simple to complex, that
is, no goals, one goal, two goals, full game. Perhaps you would want
to double check your notes, ask around, or even contact the instructor
to make sure that you have the same understanding. It is possible to
teach this as a technical subject and to focus on the technical
aspects, so the answer is very important.
- In the area of 2v1, there are about 6 well-recognized combinations
that are trained, of which overlap is just one. Some of the others
- give and go,
- wall pass,
- double pass,
- drop and chip or drop and through,
- heel pass or scissors run
Coaching Points for 2v1 Overlap Training
- For players attacking in the same direction, one with the ball:
there is a visual cue that the overlap runner can use to decide when
to start the overlap. When the player with the ball dribbles or runs
with the ball into the overlap player's space, it's time for the
overlap player to make a bending run behind the ball into space left
behind by the player with the ball.
- Overlaps take plenty of space - the space involved has to be broad
enough to prevent one defender from covering the first attacker and
the overlap runner. (During your practical session, you may notice
players making overlap runs so close to the ball that they players
could hold hands - not good. Stop the session and make a correction
when you see it.)
- Every pass deserves an overlap - in many parts of your exercise and
in your final game, you can add a requirement that each player must
make a bending or overlap run after every pass.
- The overlap runner, after going in behind the ball and out to the
wing, perhaps level with the ball, must absolutely get hips turned to
face the ball so that the overlap runner can receive and play the ball
on the front foot in one touch. To do this, the overlap runner must
make the initial overlap run normally but then start backing out with
an open body shape, open to the ball, after getting perhaps 10-12
yards away from the ball.
- The overlap runner should look for the ball. Small point, but a lot
of overlap runners will show their tail lights to the ball, making it
hard for the passer to find a front foot to pass to, and making eye
- Player with ball can create natural situations for overlap by
dribbling at the second attacker's defender. If two of us are
attacking and I have the ball, I will sometimes dribble at your
defender. This takes my defender and your defender into the same
space, creating space behind me that you can run to. My pass to you
has to reach your FRONT FOOT.
2v1 Overlap Technical Progression
There are many ways to present this topic as a technical progression,
here's just one simple example.
- Groups of two players and one ball each. Stationary players face
each other 7 yards apart. Player with ball makes a pass to other
player's feet, receives ball back on first touch, starts dribbling
slowly into other player's space. Other player receives and returns
pass, then makes overlap run behind passer, out to wing. After space
is opened up, passer plays diagonal ball onto runner's front foot.
- Groups of two players, each group with one ball. Players jog forward
toward goal-line, 10 yards apart. Player with ball starts dribbling
toward space in front of runner, where an opponent marking the runner
would be backing up. As the dribbler turns in to dribble runner's
imaginary defender, runner makes overlap run, accelerating from
previous jog. Passer cuts ball slightly, makes strong diagonal pass to
runner's front foot.
- Play 3 teams of two, one ball, in a 15 x 15 (square)
space. Make a cone goal on each edge of the grid. Each team tries to
score by accomplishing an overlap run and pass before shooting. The
two teams (four players) who don't have the ball are defenders. A team
that loses the ball goes to defense. Adjust your exercise: If no
overlap passing is happening, take off one team and play 2v2 with the
third team coming on with the next ball after a goal is scored
(scoring team comes off to rest).
- Play 4v4 to two goals and require an overlap pass before
the team with the ball can shoot.
2v1 Overlap Tactical Progression
Just for fun, here's your topic as a tactical progression.
For more ideas, visit Bruce Brownlee.com Soccer Coaching Notes
- Two players with one ball in space pass and overlap.
- Two players as center mids v one defender in midfield going to a
large cone goal.
- Add a central defender for the attacking side, give that player a
supply of balls to start the exercise. Let the defender join the
attack against the single defender.
- Add wing midfielders for the attacking side and a second defender
for the opponents, all still going to one goal with keeper. Have the
central defender play balls into the wing. Ask the wing to dribble
into the center midfielder's space. The center mid should read this
cue and overlap the wing mid, overlapping into space on the wing for a
diagonal pass after the overlap run.
- Add a third defender, and put down two cone goals at the half-way
line to allow the defenders to counterattack and score. At this point
you have 2 center mids + 2 wing mids + central defender v 3 defenders
+ 1 keeper.
- Add two more players to the original defending side, add a keeper to
the original attacking side. Play 5 v 5 to goals with keepers,
encourage overlaps where you see them.