If you’re a keen soccer fan and watch games frequently, be they local league, top flight, national or international, you should be able to ascertain which teams exhibit the following key characteristics of a successful soccer squad.
Keep possession of the ball
A quality team will have the ability to hold possession for long periods of time. By keeping possession, it enables the team to:
– Control the pace and the way in which the game is played.
– Force the opposition to work harder and exploit the resulting weaknesses.
– Conserve their energy by allowing the ball to do the work and compelling the opposition to chase the ball in order to regain possession.
A team is unlikely to concede a goal if their opposition do not have possession. Unless of course, a ball across the goal face carelessly is misdirected, resulting in an own goal!
You won’t score if you don’t shoot
This continues from the previous point regarding possession. A successful soccer team will utilize possession of the ball to get as many shots on goal as they possibly can. More shots equal more goals, in general. It may be the case that some teams will have clinical finishers, therefore they won’t require so many opportunities but a successful team will have far more attempts at goal and create more chances.
Possession must involve penetration
A successful soccer team will use possession of the ball to penetrate their opposition. This is one of the main differences between a successful side and an average squad. The successful team will repeatedly attack, exposing their oppositions defence. Focus your team on attacking critical areas and this will result in more goals or at least produce opportunities for set play pieces such as corners, free kicks and throw ins, which your team should be comfortable with.
Use the flanks and the middle to attack
When a successful team has possession in front of goal, they move the ball quickly. This means more shots are attempted and as previously discussed, the more shots, the more likelihood of scoring. However, another feature of a successful team is the ability to attack down through the flanks if the more direct route centrally in front of goal is unavailable. A well weighted and accurate cross connecting with a striker in the box is a tough challenge for the oppositions defence.
Take full advantage of set pieces
In your team, is there an expert in playing the dead ball? A successful team will have players skilled at taking corners, free kicks and penalties. When playing these set pieces, the team will be well organized and each member will have a set role, such as shielding the goalkeeper’s vision, drawing out the defence or creating a dummy run.
All successful teams display the five key characteristics outlined above. If your team is not yet exhibiting these qualities, you can use effective coaching to develop your players and encourage them to think and play this way. Think about which areas to work on in training to encourage this growth and improvement.