Principles of attack in football.

A principle is a known way of behavior.

It should be DELIBERATELY taught so that an individual knows and understands what, when, where, why and how to behave.

Attacking in football is best understood and efficient when player(s) as an individual or group understand how to apply the principles of attack.

These are; penetration, mobility, width, depth (support) and improvisation.

Penetration is moving the ball forward. The moment a player gets the ball, the first choice should be to determine if penetration can be achieved by passing forward, shooting, dribbling and running with the ball forward.

Mobility is when players move to create space.

A player on the ball can apply mobility by dribbling or running with the ball to commit available space.

Players off the ball should move to destabilize the opposition defense, to avoid being marked and to create space for themselves or team mates.

Width is using the whole pitch from left to right.

Players in the attacking team should ensure to spread out to make it hard for opposition players to mark them out of the game.

Width helps the attacking team to stretch the opposition defense which creates space for the attacking players to penetrate.

Support/Depth: players in the attacking team need to support the player on the ball.

The most important aspect in supporting a player on the ball is angle, speed and distance of support.

Distance has to be appropriate, not too short to be closed down by one player, not too far to make it easy to intercept.

The correct angle of support is making it easier and possible for the ball to get to you within one pass.

Speed of support is taking up supporting positions to the player on the ball in the shortest time possible.

Depth means offering supporting using the length of the pitch.

“Supporting is one of the most misunderstood principles as most players think that it’s coming closer to the player on the ball.”

Improvisation is where a player on the ball needs to come up with a way to mount a successful attack and get out of trouble.

It includes dribbling in 1v1 situations, buying a foul (comes with experience), it’s mainly players being creative and applying ‘tricks’.

It can also be applied by teammates in the attacking team using combinations like 1-2 passing, wall pass or the third man running off the ball.

Football players that have been taught and understand the principles of attack will find it easy to perform the roles of attack during a football match.

It’s important for all players to be taught the attacking skills in football.

These include; Shooting, passing, receiving the ball in all ways, attacking headers and traveling with the ball because without learning those skills it is almost impossible to execute the principles of attack.

It’s important for players to be coached how to understand and be able to interpret when in the game a particular principle of attack can be applied.