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Aug, 2020

The Rush Coaching Manual: U14+ Build Up Through Central Channels

 OBJECTIVE: This activity presents a framework for your team to practice their build-up through defensive and mid thirds by training the mobility and positioning of the midfielders, both individually and as a unit, as well as their recognition of numerical situations.
PSYCHO-SOCIAL & RUSH CORE VALUES: Competitiveness, Concentration. Demand Intensity. The Rush Style of Play is intense and aggressive, though always loyal. Our core values of Passion and Leadership should be reflected in the way we play these activities, leadership on the field is also to ask for the ball, to show up. Freedom without fear, but with responsibility.
RUSH WAY: The activity respects the four Rush training principles for all ages: it is competitive, game based, simple, and specific. Coach it in 4:1 ratio of positive to instructional comments. Acknowledgement from the players is expected, remember that communication is both ways.
ORGANIZATION: Set up a grid box to top of the center circle with full size goals, penalty box width (70/75 x 44 aprox). Divide vertically and initially in three thirds/zones. Zones 1 & 3 in 30/35 yards, and middle zone of about 5-7.5 yards.
DESCRIPTION: In 3 zones with a very narrow middle zone, we play 8v8 + GKs in equal numbers per zone (2v2, 3v3, 2v2). Adjust these numbers based on your game model (if you normally play with 4 midfielders, for example). One team (the target team) starts in possession and is always playing in their defensive and midfield thirds and has to progress the ball from one goalkeeper to the other and back (to targets) keeping it on the deck at all times to score a point. The other team defends with forwards and midfielders and their objective is to recover the ball and score as soon as possible.
All players are restricted to their zones except for the three midfielders of the target team that can move back and forth across zones. The midfield players of the opposition, in the narrow middle zone, try to intercept and when they do they incorporate the attack towards the zone where the ball came from, the team having 5 seconds to score. You can alternate team roles as the activity progresses and behaviors consolidate.
POSSIBLE COACHING POINTS: The target players of the activity are the three midfielders, so the coaching points relate to their space and numbers recognition, receiving body stance, and unit shape. You can present multiple coaching points in this activity depending on the level of your players and your game model. In ours, we try to create a +1 situation to play out of the back and to find open spaces to receive behind the rival's pressing lines and progress on the field. Examples below:
Body Position To Receive - Adopt proper body position and angle to receive and turn in one move (facing field, scanning before the reception, on the back foot, on a diagonal angle). Apply to deceive moves to get rid of the marker.
Space & Numbers Recognition - Recognize numerical situations and open space to support the man or in-depth (checking in/out). Sustain a +1 (+GK in defensive third).
Unit Shape - Adjust unit shape (midfielders) collectively: height and length. Avoid verticalities and squares.
a. What numerical situation situation do you think would suffice us to play out of the back?
A +1 situation + the GK in the defensive third should be enough to play out of the back safely.
b. What happens in the opposite zone when we overload one area with too many players?
If all of our midfielders check in to the third where the ball is, the opposite third stays in equal numbers, what represents a more difficult situation to sustain possession once we pass the ball to such zone.
VARIATIONS & ALTERNATIVES: You can add a level of complexity in this game by allowing one of the opposite midfielders to cross to the defensive zones (they can alternate but always one at a time). That will create incentives for a second of the target midfielders to check in and sustain the +1 numbers, check out to open space and drag the marker, etc.
Another way of creating a more challenging version of this exercise is by increasing the size of the mid zone, as is explained in the second part of the session that frames this activity
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