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10 Attacking Soccer Drills

Soccer is essentially a simple game – to win or lose you're looking at the goals scored. Score more and you've won the game, but if your opponents score more than your team you've lost. Attacking teams are exciting to watch. 

Managers like Marcelo Bielsa, Pep Guardiola, and Jurgen Klopp love to set up teams that go all out to attack the opposition and score as many goals as possible. Their teams don't sit back even when they have scored a goal, they want to go and score another one.

We've all seen what happens in the crowd when a goal is scored, the noise is incredible, and the feeling for the player that has just scored is one of elation, especially if it wins the game. Youth players all want to be the one scoring the goals and it is that which drives them on to try their very best for your team to score goals.

So you have to help your players by using the correct soccer drills that increase your team's chances of creating goal-scoring opportunities and of course scoring those opportunities. It can often be a case of direction or power depending on how old the players are. In the younger age groups just getting a shot on target often ends up in the net.

Famously Pep Guardiola says that it is his job to get his team into the final third but their job is to take the chances that are created by their very presence in that area of the pitch.

Attacking Soccer Drills

The drills here are the best ones for not only the player on the ball that has to score the goals, but for the movement and support of team-mates and anticipation of through passes, balls-out wide to wingers, and set-piece play. All of which are great ways to create goals and best practices to get your players scoring goals.

One of the principles of attacking play is CREATIVITY, and the drills here are designed to help you bring out the creative side in your players like surging into the penalty area with a dribble that puts pressure on tackling defenders who don't want to give away a penalty or a cross into the heart of the penalty area that has all sorts of problems for the defending team.

Rebounds and miskicks in and around the penalty area are also common in the youth game so you need players positioned in these areas to take advantage.

Try the drills here and you will see a big difference come match day when you will be surprised at how many chances your players create. Hopefully, the majority will end up in the net!

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Attacking Principles of Play

When a team is in possession and is attacking they need to spread out and make the pitch as big as possible so it is hard to defend. We create this by using:

  1. Movement
  2. Dispersal 
  3. Support 
  4. Penetration 
  5. Creativity

As a coach, you must cover these attacking principles in your training.

When the team has possession or has regained possession by winning the ball they must spread out, and make the pitch difficult to defend giving more space to attack the opposition.

If the team has won the ball they need to secure possession by playing to a team mate in space – this can be a pass out wide or back to a defender.

In an attacking move, play should be forward with penetrating passes through the defence or out wide to change the angle of attack. By attacking centrally the wingers should be in space and a ball to them will allow the wingers to dribble or cross the ball.

When a team is in a position to threaten the goal if the angle of the shot or the position of players means that a team-mate is in a better position to score the ball should be passed to that player.

Good support play is needed to keep possession of the ball giving the player on the ball as many options as possible giving the passer clear sight of the pass and with good movement the chance to play a pass of the right weight and direction.

Communication is a big factor in building up to play the ball into attacking situations with player movement and anticipation some of the key moments in a passing move.

The goalkeeper has become a big part of possession-based teams with the option to pass to the back and launch attacks from there.

Attacking the space behind the defence is important in creating goal-scoring chances.

Encourage players to shoot whenever they get the opportunity.

Attacking Play in Soccer Drills

Players should move the ball quickly through the passing lines, using short and long passes to move play forwards.

Encourage players to use one-touch passing whenever possible to keep the speed of play quick.

In attacking drills the speed of the ball should be such that players are always in control of it and can slow it down or speed up. Losing control of the speed of the ball means that it is more likely a mistake is made and the ball lost.

Passes should be along the ground in most drills because players can more easily receive a pass along the ground rather than one which bounces along – however players can pass in the air over longer distances like switching play

Try not to stop play to speak to players – correction should be done without stopping or use the breaks between drills to highlight the important coaching points

The size of the area is key in drills, making the area bigger makes it easier, and smaller makes it harder.

Attacking Drills - How to Use Them

Sometimes you may not be able to use the suggested size for the drill – don't worry they are not written in stone, try and follow the size as best you can but something close in size is good too.

The same with the numbers of players – you can adapt the numbers to fit the game or run two drills the same if you have a lot of players. Making some players magic men or having players on the outside of the area that are one or two touch helps with numbers.

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10 Best Attacking Soccer Drills

1. Creative in Attack

Creative in Attack Drill

Play with different numbers in attack introducing overloads and using passing with good support, movement and anticipation to create goal-scoring opportunities.

2. Attacking in and Around the Area

Attacking in and around the Area drill

Players combine in and around the area with good build up play to give players an advantage that helps with their decision making and creativity to attack and score goals

3. Switch and Score

Switch and score drill

When teams are attacking they should be aware of space out wide and if they hit a block on one side of the pitch they can switch play to change the angle of attack and exploit the space

4. Build up Possession – Video Drill

Build up Possession – Video Drill

Keeping the ball high up the pitch in attacking situations is a great way to build up to goal. Once play is in and around the final third the team should find a way to penetrate the defence.

5. Killer through Balls

Killer Through Balls

Breaking through defensive lines using through balls that are killer passes sets up strikers with chances on goal when they get behind the defence. Great way to score more goals.

6. Transition to Attack – Video Drill

Transition To Attack

Using pace and good passing creates clever counter attacks in this drill. Players use quick movement in the 3v2 for winning the ball and hitting opponents on the counter.

7. Press to Counter

Press To Counter

Coaching players to press together and individually can create overloads and set up counter attacks by forcing play and blocking passing routes so opponents make mistakes and lose the ball

8. Overlapping Wingbacks

Overlapping Wingbacks

Using fullbacks to create goalscoring opportunities is a great way to use space on the wings – improve their crosses into the penalty area with this session and give your team more fire power

9. Break Through the Thirds

Break Through the Thirds

Playing out from the back into midfield then into attack is a great way to keep possession and use different speeds of play to dribble, pass, one-twos and get the ball into goal scoring positions

10. Beat the Offside Trap – Video Drill

Break The Offside Trap

This drill is all about recycling the ball to keep possession and look for defences losing concentration and leaving space for attackers to exploit.

Attacking Soccer Drills FAQ's

What are the best attacking soccer drills for improving passing accuracy?

Passing accuracy is crucial for effective attacking play. Some of the best drills to improve passing accuracy include the "Square Passing Drill," "Triangle Passing Drill," and "Progressive Passing Drill." These drills focus on proper technique, timing, and decision-making when passing the ball. They also provide opportunities for players to practice both short and long-range passing in various game-like scenarios. By consistently practicing these drills, players can enhance their passing accuracy and improve the fluidity of their attacking movements.

How can I improve my players' decision-making skills in the attacking third?

Decision-making is critical for attackers to choose the right option when creating scoring opportunities. Small-sided games like "Small-Sided Scrimmages," "Overload Game Drill," and "Conditional Game Drill" are excellent for enhancing decision-making skills. These games simulate real match situations, forcing players to make quick decisions based on the movement of teammates and opponents. Encourage players to scan the field, assess available options, and choose the most effective pass or shot. Regularly incorporating these drills into training will improve your players' decision-making abilities in the attacking third.

How can I incorporate attacking principles into possession-based drills?

Possession-based drills provide a foundation for attacking play by focusing on maintaining control of the ball and creating passing opportunities. To incorporate attacking principles into possession-based drills, consider the following:- Encourage forward passes: Emphasize the importance of looking for vertical passes to break lines and penetrate the defense.- Develop quick combinations: Encourage players to play one or two-touch passes, promoting fast-paced attacking movements.- Create game-like scenarios: Set up small-sided games or modified match situations where players need to maintain possession while progressing towards the opposition's goal.- Utilize specific zones: Designate certain areas on the field as target zones, where players are encouraged to penetrate and create scoring opportunities.

How can I teach my players to make effective overlapping runs?

Overlapping runs by fullbacks can create numerical advantages and open up space for attacking play. To teach effective overlapping runs

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