Pre-Season Session 7: Positioning and set pieces

Last Thursday’s session would be the last before a game that we’d have on Sunday, so I focused on positioning and specific situations, such as throw-ins, corners and wide free-kicks.

The positioning activity was a 11v5 (I played for the outnumbered team). The focus was to move the ball and score in two wide goals, while keeping the shape of the team and executing the individual covering tasks. I limited my #9s touches to 1, so he would have to play as a pivot and help the team flow. He’s a strong boy and tends to rely on it, which is a great thing. But I want him to be able to keep the ball circulation. It’s not just good for the team but also for his future as a footballer. Also, I tried to instruct my midfielders to keep the distance amongst themselves as much as possible, so that there would always be a way out and passing options to secure possession. In a 4-3-3 formation , the positioning of the mid-triangle is crucial to keep the shape and connect all parts of the team together.

corner pro

Another important thing that I worked on was the synchronization of the movements of wing-backs, centerbacks and wingers. Whenever the full back has the ball, it will trigger the movements of the other two. If he’s wide, the winger should drift inside and vice-versa. Unless there’s an obvious passing lane. In case the full back moves forward for whatever reason, the centerback should take care of his lane immediately and the opposite full back should sit with the centerbacks, always keeping a line of three in the back. This will guarantee the defensive balance, while giving us numerical superiority in the center of the field.


For the corner kicks I created a bulk with the tallest players to both defend and attack, with the shorter ones around ready for the rebound and 3 men keeping the defensive balance. One of them is not fast enough to keep up with a counter, so I’ll remove him from this position. For wide fouls, the boys would chunk together into the box instinctively. So I taught them to keep a defensive high line so that the kicker has to be really precise to create a scoring opportunity in the space in front of the GK and behind the line.


I won’t spend a lot of time working in tiny particulars of tactics with 14 year old boys, since the focus of the work should be technical. But it’s important to give them a solid organization to perform better as a team in the games. And this work should be finished by the beginning of the season.

Ths first picture shows the corners forward, the second the corners against and the third the wide free-kicks. In corners against it’s important to practice the behaviors against short plays, where two defenders should run to avoid 2v1s. I haven’t practiced set-plays forward yet.

Part 1: Warm-Up
Part 2: Game Training (11v5, 10v6, 7v7)
Part 3: Fun Game (organized by the boys)

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