Some coaches may consider pattern play to be limiting. They say, ‘I don’t want my players to be robots that just pass and move in the patterns that I’ve taught them.’ I can understand this and I agree with it but where are our players supposed to get their creative ideas from?
We want our players to combine and be creative in attack but our challenge in the United States is that most of our players don’t watch the being played at the highest level every week. They don’t see the intricate patterns and movement of Barcelona or the timing and runs of Manchester United’s Sergio Aguero’s. When it comes time for them to play they don’t have pictures or patterns to emulate. If we want our players to be creative we have to give them a framework to start with.
Coaching Soccer Champions by Terry Michler, has some great patterns that build off of very simple foundations. You can add layers to them as the player become more comfortable with the basic set up. Here are a few examples:
Up – back – deep – and go to goal in a half field area or less
This is the first of 12 progressions with the same starting action.
The back plays up to the midfielder and gets the ball back. He then plays a deep ball to the striker who dribbles to goal and shoots.
- Good sequence between the back and midfielder with crisp passing.
- The midfielder should check and come back to the ball and lay it off to the back — in 1 touch.
- The back then plays deep to the striker who receives ball and advances it to goal for a shot. Strikers should focus on scoring with every shot !
Now when the striker advances to goal, the player must avoid the obstacle and then finish with goal-scoring attempt.
Up – back – deep – give and go – and then shoot
The midfielder, after laying the ball off to the back, will turn and play a give and go with the striker. The striker should shoot first time. Encourage quick, crisp passes in the give and go sequence and the midfielder should be close to the striker.
Place 1 obstacle for the give and go sequence and the other for the striker before shooting. This will more closely resemble actual game play. Ball control is essential as the play is now at speed and around fixed obstacles.
Here’s the last pattern in the progression just to give you an idea of how the complexity can be increased as the players become familiar with the patterns.
Do you agree with me that teach patterns gives the players ideas and enhances creativity or do you feel that we are better off allowing the players to find combinations of their own?
Have a great day!