Wing Play Practice

Purpose

This is an introductory practice intended to introduce and improve

  • the team's ability to play the wing mid in to the attacking third
  • the quality of passes to the wing mid including the decision making, timing, and quality of the pass
  • decision making about where and when to play the cross
  • team's ability to finish crossed balls.

Do not linger in any of the pattern exercises or line drills, move on to the games.

Technical Warm-up

  • Wall Passing - with partner, 2vspace or 2vcone.
  • Wall Passing - groups of three, 2v1.
  • Baric Wing Passing - Groups of four or five.  Mid and wing mid play defender 2v1 along touch-line, work wall passes and double passes until free to pass to target player.  Can use one goalie to support two groups on half-field.  After goalie gets ball, keeper distributes back to attackers, who turn and again go 2v1 to half-way line.

Attacking Patterns for the Wing Mid (full sided shadow play)

  • Alpha - Wing mid or defender passes to striker, who plays drop to midfielder.  Midfielder plays wing mid or defender in along touch-line with diagonal ball on ground.  Striker has already spun in and has hips toward touch-line in box ready to receive cross or trade spaces with wing if wing cuts in for shot instead.  Finish to goal.
  • Wall pass - Defender passes to wing mid, wing mid does wall pass with center mid, wing mid crosses to strikers who have spun away and turned hips to ball.  Can use one striker checking to ball to play second wall pass with wing mid.
  • Texas turn - center mid gets ball to feet from defender, turns, plays lofted diagonal ball into wing for wing mid, wing mid crosses for all attackers.  Point - Make pass into the run of the wing mid so that wing mid does not wait or come back for ball.

Finishing the Cross (line drills)

  • Takeover Cross - emphasizing the need to play a long pass after a takeover - center mid dribbles into wing, wing mid takes over and plays lofted diagonal ball to opposite wing who dribbles forward and crosses
  • Brett's Drill - Line of wing mids at each touch-line, 40 yards from goal.  Two midfielders interpass near center circle.  One mid drops ball and takes off on bending run to goal, mid with ball plays diagonal pass into opposite wing and then follows first mid.  Wing mid receiving ball runs forward with ball and crosses to the two mids who have bent their runs into the box and who have hips facing ball.  Second mid can see it all and decides which mid will head ball in and communicates to other mid.  Alternate diagonal ball sides.  Points - quality of pass to wing, bending runs, communication by second striker, play cross at right time.  Ensure that players turn hips to ball when coming for header across penalty area, do not accept runs straight to the goal-line.
  • Short Crossing Attack - Line of wing mids at each touch-line, at the 18, with balls.  Pairs of strikers at the D.  Wing mid overlaps deeper wing mid with ball, overlapped wing mid plays runner in along touch-line, player getting ball crosses for strikers.  Strikers from D overlap runs to near and far post, turn hips in to face ball.  Points - make sure strikers in middle bend their runs, make sure cross is to good location.

Games

  • Crossing Attack Game - play small sided (5v5 to 7v7) to two goals on short field (40 yards) with outside channels.  Each team has a player in each outside channel.  Team must win possession, get ball into wing, score by heading or volleying crossed ball.  No opposition allowed in wing channels.  Points - make sure players bend runs away from ball that come back to ball with hips to ball.  Look to see that players are bending runs away and back to the ball to be crossed so as to be able to show hips to ball, which better enables last second adjustments to the flight of the ball.
  • Game - play to two goals.   Coach during the game, watch for players circling away from the side of the cross so as to be able to come through the penalty area with hips to ball.  Look for and encourage supporting play that plays the wing through to the cross or shot - this is the topic.

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