Football: Roles in attack.

When a team is in possession of the ball, it’s the attacking team. All players involved in the attack have roles to play.

The roles in attack are; Player on the ball (first attacker), supporting player (second attacker) and unbalancing player (third attacker).

Its important for football players to be taught the roles in attack after understanding principles in attack.

The player on the ball (first attacker): this the player in possession of the ball also known as the first attacker.

The role of the first attacker is to maintain possession of the ball then determine if penetration is possible by playing the ball forward.

This might be throwing, passing the ball forward, shooting or traveling with the ball to commit space.

In some cases, its possible for the first attacker to improvise by using creativity to beat a defender if faced with a 1 vs 1 situation.

Supporting player (second attacker): these are the players within one pass from the player on the ball.

They offer support by making sure they create the appropriate distance and angle to receive the ball.

The basic way of offering support to the player on the ball is being positioned forward, sideways and backward depending on the position of the player on the ball.

The more support offered to the player on the ball, the more threatening the attack will be.

Unbalancing player (third attacker): this’ the player that is usually more than one pass away from the player on the ball. The unbalancing player has to keep getting in positions that unsettle the opposition defense by moving off the ball to occupy dangerous space or moving the defenders with you to create space for other attackers.

Roles in attack are performed in relation to the principles of attack.

The player on the ball will use penetration or improvisation, the supporting players offer support while the unbalancing player offers width and mobility.

It’s important for all players to learn football attacking skills like shooting, traveling with the ball, attacking headers, passing and having excellent ball trapping skills because at any point they could be the first attacker, second attacker or third attacker.

“In Ugandan football, we have a challenge of players in the attacking team all getting attracted to the ball, all of them verbally asking for the ball and all of them wanting to be on the ball at the same time.”

Ben Mwesigwa

Its important for coaches to teach players how to understand that during an attack, all players have a role to play either on the ball or off the ball.

The players off the ball greatly help the player on the ball when they make the right actions in relation to the roles in attack.

Example: Belgium Vs Japan at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Please observe the following; What does the Belgian goalkeeper do when he gains possession of the ball?

How does Kevin De Bruyne react to get the ball?

What does De Bruyne do when he is on the ball?

What did Hazard, Meunier, Chadli and Lukaku do as De Bruyne travels with the ball?

What did Lukaku do for Chadli to score?

Football players that have been coached to understand the roles in attack will construct attacks with efficiency.

They will mostly take advantage of situations in which they you have more attackers against defenders.

The four moments of football.

Football has four moments that keep occurring throughout a match.

These are; In possession, losing possession, out of possession and gaining possession.

These moments are separate and can only happen one at a time for a given team.

The best players that make it to the top level, know and understand how to behave in all these four moments.

In possession is attacking, out of possession is defending while gaining possession and losing possession are known as transitioning.

In possession: The team in possession of the ball is the attacking team. Players in the attacking team are expected to behave by applying the principles of attack and roles in attack.

The efficiency of an attack is determined by how well individual players in a team are comfortable at executing attacking football skills.

Out of possession: The team out of possession is the defending team. Successfully defending an attack in football requires individuals in the team applying the principles of defending and the roles of defending.

This requires the individuals being able to execute all football defending skills comfortably.

Transitioning: Losing or gaining possession happens at the same time.

As one team gains possession, the other team is losing possession.

The faster the transition, the better the outcome.

If a team gaining possession transitions faster than the team losing possession, then attacking will have the desired effect.

If a team losing possession transitions faster than the attacking team, then defending will have the desired effect.

Players with excellent football speed transition better.

The higher the level of football, the higher the demand to have better football speed to perform with quality during transitions.

Top teams in modern football are capable of transitioning under five seconds if the ball is won or lost at the halfway line.

It’s important for football coaches to ensure that players are taught how to comfortably execute all football skills irrespective of playing position because modern football dictates that every player gets involved in all the moments of football.