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High Country Soccer Association

What's up DOC 3

This is our 3rd edition of What's Up DOC where the Director of Coaching answers a question from the membership. If you have a question that you'd like the DOC to answer for the membership you may submit them via email to [email protected]

On kick-offs, why do HCSA teams tend to just launch the ball down field to opponent straight away?

This is a tactic I actually mandate for our travel teams. I ask coaches to have their teams go forwards with the ball on the kickoff. The simplest way to do this is to launch it down the field into one of the opponents corners, though there are other more complex methods of going forward.

The theory behind this tactic is that more momentum is gained in the opening of play from a kickoff through field positioning than possession. If we were to go backward on our own kickoff, we may have a possession advantage in the opening seconds but we immediately invite the opponent to pressure us in our defensive half. We are one miscue away from giving the opponent the first attack of the game which sets our team on the back foot in regards to momentum. 

By going forward, we concede possession but seize on the opportunity to put the opponent under immediate pressure in their defensive half. This gives us the ability to pounce on the first miscue and gain momentum. 

I have coached teams that have opened with a kickoff that goes backward and results in my team not crossing midfield for the opening 5+ minutes of the game. I have coached teams that have opened with a kickoff that goes forward and results in the opponent not crossing midfield for the opening 5+ minutes of the game.  You're much more likely to score in the opening 30 seconds of the game by going forward on a kickoff than by going backward on the kickoff. Therein illustrating why field positioning is preferred to possession. 

Next time you watch a professional game, note what they do on the kickoff.  More and more professional teams are adopting the same method. Next time you watch a youth game, pay attention to the opening 5 minutes of play and see if you can trace who gets the upper hand with regards to momentum based on what the team who kicked off chose to do with the ball. 




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