Counter Attacks Must Be Fast and Lethal in Soccer

Counter attacks by nature require high speeds! - (Photo: Neontommy.com)

Many goals in soccer come through the counter attack.  Catching an opponent’s defense off-guard and having an advantage in numbers in their third of the field is the easiest way to score.  There are limitless options and a great chance that an opportunity will present itself.  But even when all the eggs are in your basket, the team still has to produce the goal and must be very clinical in their approach.  Here are some tips to help ensure that your soccer team makes the most of its counter attack chances:

Be ready to pounce at all moments and act fast!  When your opponent is pushing forward stay on red alert.  They may be sending fullbacks up into the attack to get more numbers, or they have sent both center backs ahead with a free kick or corner kick opportunity.  Either way, when you realize that numbers are being thrown forward, get ready to make a move.  A simple errant pass or tackle could give your team the ball back, and if several players make a strong push ahead, you could score a goal against the run of play!

Counter attacks are an aspect of soccer that should be trained in practice, both for forwards and defenders.  Because of the numbers advantage, you must know exactly what to do and act quickly.  Realize that several panicked opponents will be sprinting down the field to catch you!  You will have roughly 20 seconds from when you take the ball to when you should be scoring the goal before the other players will catch up with you.  Therefore, acting fast is crucial.

When you get the ball and know that there is a chance to make a break, take a look up and see where your teammates are.  Chances are that a forward will have an excellent opening with a lot of space.  Heave the ball over to him or her and begin to run ahead as well.  While the goal may be scored well before you ever reach them, you never know what may happen.  The attack could break down, and your presence in the midfield could be crucial in winning back possession, your teammates may run the length of the field but the shot bangs off the crossbar, ending up right at your feet for a tap-in, or the attack may slow and your presence will provide an outlet to pass where your team can retain possession.  So many things can happen in an instant that you should always be putting yourself in the right areas of the soccer field to help the team.  Also, if your sprint up the field is too late and someone scores, at least you’ll be in a good position to go and celebrate with them!

But most importantly, remember to keep a calm head.  While all this sprinting will surely work you up, realize that the tide can turn mighty fast in a soccer game and that you might be the team caught in a counter attack moments later.  Always be ready to defend strong and attack strong!


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