As most of the girls will be playing 9v9 next season or even in some of the end of season tournaments, we introduced a session tonight with the element of offside. This took some explaining as the girls are still unsure of how to use it to their advantage. We played 4v3 so the attackers had the numerical advantage when creating chances – if the defenders won the ball they had a target goal to try to score through.
With the attackers we looked at the timing of the runs and the weight, angle and timing of the pass. When should they run, where should they run and did they know when they were onside?
With the defenders we worked on keeping the line straight and also tracking the attackers when they ran through the defensive line. We worked with the defenders on keeping a high line to limit the amount of space the attackers had to play in, but how this left a lot of space behind for the attackers to use, a delicate balance for all involved.
At first, the attackers just came in a line and tried to play balls between the defenders in the middle. We talked about the space on the sides and using clever combination play, 1-2s, could they get behind the defence in the corner of the field? Denva and Chloe J did this brilliantly and the whole team then started to use the whole width of the pitch.
We know we will have to revisit this often but it was a good start with some great play from all involved. At the end of the session we talked about how referees at grassroots level would make mistakes and how the players should just get on with it. Over a match or season the number of decisions in favour and against a team for offsides will probably even itself out.
Big thank you to all the girls tonight, we know this is hard and the only way is practise, practise, practise! Special mention to Chloe H who was really getting stressed over it all, but in the end with lots of help from Nikki, she got there and played very well.