Moving triangles

A soccer coaching drill that works on passing and movement off the ball

Moving trianglesThis drill gets players moving and passing more effectively. Practice time is precious and it disturbs me to see long lines of players standing almost still as they pass the ball back and forth practicing their skills. Furthermore, in scrimmages and games they often make decent passes and then stand and watch. (Which is exactly what they have done in practice a thousand times….) The triangles gets them to move without the football, especially just after they have made a pass.

Learning the triangle movement is important in itself but the real fun comes by incorporating this pattern into a multitude of games with shooting, keep away, defence, relay races etc.

Some may recognize the moving triangles as a “weave” pattern, which it is. But unlike the classic “basketball” type weave which works across a line, the moving triangles open the field up into 3 dimensions as the players find “space” without the ball.

I usually start this drill early in the practice session and quickly use it to play one of the many games. (see below) It can end up being pretty tiring, so take frequent breaks and only set them in motion for about 60 to 90 seconds.

The basic game

A passes to B and immediately sprints between the other two players B & C.
soccer ballPlayer B receives the ball with a trailing leg cushion trap and passes to player C with no more than 2 touches.

Player B now sprints between the new space created by players A & C.

The pattern continues as player C receives the ball and passes to A. Now the triangle will begin to move around the field, and the fun begins. Start up several of these triangles and let them cross and bump through each other as they pass the ball.

It’s not that important that they keep the pattern precise. The important things is that they pass to someone, and then move. Also, they may not want to always run between the other 2 players, and instead run behind them, which is OK. It just briefly turns the triangle into a “basketball” weave pattern.

In fact, to keep the triangle moving up the field, and not sideways, they will have to “break” the pattern. Experiment with it.

Simple variations.

1. Vary between 3 touch passing, 2 touch passing and occasional 1 touch movement. GAME-e.g. most successful 2 touch passes wins.

2. Vary the size of the triangles and passing length. See which group can do the longest passes.

3. Try several minutes with only outside of the foot passes. GAME – most successful passes win.

4.Encourage advanced receiving skills with deflections behind the other leg and feints before the “touch”. GAME – add a defender and count the number of successful passes before an interception.

5. Call out a move or feint (e.g. “single scissors” or “Matthews”..) and each player must perform that move just before the pass. GAME – once again add a defender and see which group lasts the longest.

More variations.

1. Triangle races. Have 2 or three “triangles” start behind the goal line and race up the field to the other goal, passing all the time. Some groups will figure out how to make big long passes and that is OK. Other groups will pass quick short ones. Add a penalty if they do more than 2 touches (like 2 somersaults, or 10 “in-betweens etc.)

2. “Wedgie shots”. Start the triangle (“wedgie”) at mid-field and have them work up the field towards the goal to take a shot from just inside the penalty box. A shot on goal gets a point, and if they beat the goalie it’s 3 points. As they get better, add a defender.

3. “Attack of the wedgies”. Start up a couple of triangles at the same time. Confine them to less than half a field. The object of the game is to continue passing in the usual pattern but also to intercept the pass from another group, and kick it out of bounds for 1 point.