Counter Attacking and Quick Break Transition Game

This is a very fast game that is constantly in action back and forth.

The field is divided into 3 zones. It is set up ultimately in a 4-2-3-1 which we will build up to but can be used for any system or formation.

Players must keep possession with a purpose and attack in numbers up as quickly as possible. Once the ball is into the attacking third the players have 10 seconds to score (or you can say 5 passes to score). Once this attack is over either the defending team has won the ball and passed it into the middle zone to attack the other way using the same ball, or the attacking team has scored or missed the target; the coach then passes another ball into the middle zone to the new attacking team going the other way.

All the attacking players who moved into the attacking third must now recover back as fast as possible to try to prevent the attack going the other way. We insist on 3 or 4 passes to be completed in the middle third before they can pass into the attacking third to give the recovering players a chance to get back.

Various ways to counter attack can be practiced:

  1. Into the strikers feet
  2. Into space down the side of the striker
  3. Attacking through wide areas
  4. Playing directly from the back to the front by-passing midfield
  5. Dribbling the ball into the attacking third from midfield                                
  6. With third man runs from midfield
  7. Building play from the back with a fast break
  8. Directly in behind the opponents back four to turn them                    
  9. Through diagonal balls across the field
  10. Changing the point of attack

Lots of progressions ensure this is a very enjoyable and educational practice for players on BOTH teams.


Counter Attacking and Quick Break Transition Game

Here we have a 4 v 2 overload attack. Important striker (J) moves to receive the ball either to feet or into a space running forward.

We “should“ get success with a 4 v 2 in attack to build the confidence of each attacking team initially. 

Once its established we can then start to make it more difficult to score in various ways. 

Have 2 defenders starting as will be shown, or 2 recovering defenders to go from 4 v 2, to 4 v 3 to 4 v 4.

Counter attacking and quick break transition game

Passing Back to Change the Tempo and Maintain Possession 

Defenders (4) and (5) split to be available for the pass back from (8) who is pressed well by (F) and prevented from passing forward.(11) and (7) break wide to open up the field on both sides using the full width.

Develop: Allow one midfielder to drop into the defending third to support without pressure to encourage players to change the tempo and settle the game down until the right moment occurs to counter fast.

Now (6) is on the ball facing forward ready to start a new counter attack.

Pass Back to Change the Tempo and Maintain Possession


Now Adding a Second Defender at the Back 

Develop: Introduce a second defender versus one striker so a midfielder “may” need to run the ball in rather than pass it in or striker come to feet for example here. 

(I); (G) and (H) can join in on the quick attack to make a 4 v 3 situation with opponents midfield player recovering  back. If you are having trouble making the session work you can increase the overload this way to help gain success. Once success is consistent and to make it a more difficult and a bigger challenge for the players you can go back to only a 3 v 2 overload in the attacking third which leaves a 4 v 3 overload the other way in the middle midfield zone also.

second defender at the back

What this Session Teaches

  1. It’s a Fitness session (particularly the recovery running that should be highly intensive)
  2. Teaching very Fast Counter attacking on winning possession of the ball with a time limit to score
  3. Recovery runs in midfield after losing possession to try to win the ball back (an important theme to teach in this session)
  4. Quick passing and movement focusing on the angle and timing of each
  5. Changes in tempo when needed; it's not always fast attack sometimes we need to build with patience and then attack fast when the time is right.
  6. Playing with few touches when necessary and thus developing peripheral vision and awareness I.Q.
  7. Developing quick play from the back allowing “freedom futbol” for all defenders when able
  8. Midfield players dropping into the defending third to build play to then counter quickly when the time is right
  9. Pressing in the attacking third as a unit of players to try to immediately win the ball back rather than dropping and recovering
  10. Rotational play and interchange of positions: Strikers dropping deep; midfielders breaking forward or dropping; defenders breaking forward etc