Second attacker support

This is a possession, speed of play soccer drill that builds vision, decision making and communication by all players.

The person in control of the ball is, as we know, designated the first attacker. She obviously has a lot of responsibility when it comes to ball possession and establishing an effective passing game. But the second attackers, those in direct support of the first attacker, probably have equal, or perhaps even greater, responsibility for maintaining possession.

Why? Because the second attacker must make herself available to the passer. She does this through movement to space or by a check back towards the ball. Communication is key, whether verbal, or non-verbal. Even when they are not good passing options, second attackers can affect the possession and passing game by clearing the area and perhaps opening it up for a teammate to make a supporting run into the vacated space.

Second Attacker Support Set Up

Set up a 20 x 20 area with three (3) teams. Each team has either 3 or 4 players and each team MUST wear a different colour bib. One team is on defence and the other 2 teams possess the ball. When the defensive team gains possession of the ball, they switch to offence and the team that lost possession switches to defence. Therefore you always have 6 v 3 or 8 v 4.

Second Attacker Support Play

Restrict players to two (2) touches on the ball. Restrict players to pass to players wearing the opposite colour jersey. That is if you have red and green playing offence, the red players may pass only to green and the green players only to red.

The coach should be stressing the need for the second attacker to be communicating via voice and movement to the first attacker. Ideally this should be done prior to the first attacker receiving the ball.

What you should see with this exercise is the players tending to talk more, sometimes it’s to argue who is on defence. Reinforce the importance of communication as much as possible and the role of the second attacker.

Absolutely avoid the tendency to jump in and correct play at the beginning. Every coach that I have shown this to sees CHAOS at the beginning and says, “They are not getting it.”

Wrong! Give them time and the chaos will work itself out. Remember we are trying to teach communication. We don’t want robots who listen only to our voice. We want creative thinkers.

This exercise makes the ball carrier look up and find his second attackers.

This exercise makes the players in the same colour jersey as the first attacker move to open positions to get not the next pass, but the pass after that.

Progression of the Second Attacker Support — Match Related

A simple progression of the second attacker support is to add a few 3 yard goals randomly within the playing area. The attacking team scores a point every time they complete a pass, between the cones, to a teammate wearing the opposite colour jersey. Each of the two attacking teams gets a point.