Saturday, June 23, 2007

A little bit about the attackers...

Wayne recently asked about the attack of my team, as so far I had really only focussed on defence in this blog. When I took the reins of this group of U/16 girls, we only had 7 players. Two defenders, a goalkeeper, one striker and three midfielders. I thought that the girls who had played striker previously was too good a player to have her talents wasted up the park. She seems to be a good reader of the game, and when we eventually grew to 10 players I had an opportunity to move that striker (#A) to deeper in the field.

I couldn't move her immediately behind the new striker (#B) as I had a great attacking midfielder already (#C) who had natural game of playing with her back to goal and laying the ball off. I wanted to keep #B up front as she was far more aggressive and while she could read the game, I thought #A's passes would be more useful in the midfield.

I've ended up playing #A on either wing, usually in the midfield, but she's happy to play anywhere on the field as long as she gets a chance to play. The kind of player I absolutely love to have, and I'm sure most coaches would agree.

I also have a number of players who are completely new to the game. Defence is a difficult spot to put them in, so I tended to play them in the midfield, with #B sitting up front on her own. But now I'm up to 16 players, with too many new ones for the spare couple of spots in the midfield. I 'dumped' one new girl up front - simply to get her out of the way but give her game time. Aside from some confusion with the offside rule she flourished there. Not having to mark someone, and the relative lack of pressure made it easier for her to play. Occasionally she gets in #B's way - but they sort each other out, so I can keep my eye on other new players.

I still need to call most of the players over to sideline when I need to explain something to them, but I want to minimise such instances as it can put the rest of the team in funny situations. They would essentially be playing with 10 players. So I keep a spine to the team - so that there's an experienced player in each section of the field. I have a defender who I play at right back (though she'll find herself on the left when I get back), #A and another midfielder to organise the engine-room of the team, and #B looks after the front. #C knows a lot about the game, so she teaches rules and explains incidents as they happen to players on the far side of the pitch. She's also a bit of a creative force, so I let her do her thing and not give her any other responsibilities.

The best goal of the season (and it occurred last week) began with #C. She won the ball in the middle of the park and ventured at an angle towards the left edge of the penalty box. She then had the presence of mind to look up, stop the ball, push it back a little and slot it through the defence with her right foot. #A, who I initially played in defence but then pushed up into midfield after 15 minutes, connected to it and scored - far post. :) I absolutely loved how #C attacked at an angle, looked up and assessed the situation and put through an awesome pass.

Anyway, I'm off overseas for the next four weeks, so my blog's taking a break. A caretaker coach is coming in to cover, and I need to write him an email about the team set-up. See you later!

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