Involves a series
of thought processes that players on a team must execute in order to kick goals.
All steps in the process must be executed in their defined order sequentially.
I outline these
thought processes and series of steps for“attacking on the ball” and “attacking
off the ball”.
The player "in
possession of" the ball and all the players "moving off the ball" must work
together, in a group effort, executing each step simultaneously and
I try to "de-mystify" and "simplify" the process of Attacking
"On" and "Off" the ball. The aim is to promote a level of collaborative
understanding in a team so that the "attack" occurs in an automated way, much
like an adult’s ability to give way at a round-about and understand instantly
what needs to be done to keep the traffic flowing.
duplicate roles, and they must act quickly and in a timely manner. Sometimes the
decisions made by players will be instantaneous upon receiving the ball, other
times players may have a few seconds to act.
Either way, players do not have time to ponder on the park; they need to be well
versed with the thought processes involved in attacking on and off the ball.
Team awareness and understanding each other’s role is crucial here; in addition,
the team players must learn to “speak one language”.
Players will learn and understand:-
- When to
dribble and when not to dribble?
- How to “Read”
the attacking play while also keeping possession of the ball?
- What the team
“Game Plan” is in terms of attacking?
- What the coach means when they say “Concentrate”?
- Long Vision (The ability to see all options available) versus
Short Vision (Not being able to see the greater options)
The steps outlined walk you through the “Thinking Process –
Attacking on the Ball”
Every step in the flowchart, except the final 6th
step, commences with a question. If the answer is “yes” the player executes the
decision taken and then must reset "his/her" mind to think about what needs to
be done next.
The Thinking Process flowchart is
presented diagrammatically in the figure and a written description of each step
in this process follows.
The Logical Decision Making Process - Football (Soccer) -
Attacking "On" and "Off" the ball can also be used as an analysis tool to
either praise appropriate efforts or work through phases of the game by focusing
on an individual’s or the groups’ efforts.
Video replay is a great way to review a match. Sitting down with the players and
pausing the video to provide instruction is an excellent way to consolidate the
thinking (theory) behind this attacking game plan.
Learning to attack on and off the ball involves learning that each of the
steps described above need to be understood and automatically executed during
It is important that players know their strengths and weaknesses and
work at their
weaknesses at training until they get them right. If a player
has had no luck
executing a step in the “thinking process” and confidence is
low, then they should
move to another step and practice that one.
It is important that players
always play the next best option.
An example, if a player attempted
to loft the keeper using a chip pass and the ball cannot get height or misses
the target constantly, then common sense is to play the ball to another person
who can score.
Sometimes players stray away from the “thinking process” due to intimidation,
pressure or the yearning to be accepted by their peers. This commonly
happens to new
players coming into the team.
Players hesitating, taking too long to make a decision or trying to play it
safe to hold a position in the team may actually be contributing to the lack of
success. It is important that all players feel part of the team and feel
confident that decisions made that accord with the “Logical Thinking Making
Process” will be accepted and rewarded by all other team members and the
If a player shoots for goal, rather than penetrating, because there was a
genuine belief that he/she can do so, then that action needs to be accepted by
other team mates and encouraged.
No player on the team should feel that he/she is the
goal scorer or the main defender etc. All players should learn to play with one
another and to support one another with a common goal – to play at their best
ability and win the match.
All players need to speak the same language and anticipate the play and
circumstances in the same way.
Players should never feel intimidated by their
fellow team members; on the contrary, they should feel united and feel that are
all contributing equally to achieve a common goal (literarily!).