Reaching the final moments of a match can be a team’s relief… or its worst nightmare. Whether winning or losing by a goal, there are aspects of the game that are essential to face the last minutes and succeed.
As you know, it is part of the Rush curriculum to coach our players on adopting different behaviors when the game is coming to its end and the team is up a goal or down a goal.
The Rush Way considers it a virtue of its players to recognize and use the ‘moods of the game’ in their team’s favor. Adapting our game to the current score to either maximize our team chances to come back (when losing) or preventing the opponent from getting in rhythm (when winning) is a skill that can be learned.
Find the ‘Up A Goal, Down A Goal’ Guide with Coaching Points on The Rush Coaching Manual, where you can also check the following activity, with specific tactics and strategies that your team can apply when either up or down a goal and reaching the final 10 minutes of the game:
ORGANIZATION & DESCRIPTION
First segment is open 11v11 game, at 10 min. Team A is down a goal to Team B. The next 10 min. constitute the end of a game. After 10 min. teams reverse roles. These 10 min. also constitute the end of a game. Coach over play and stop if necessary. After those initial 20 minutes, make a water break and discuss.
The following two 10 minute halves mimic the same of the first stage, with Team A starting down a goal, and then in the second half up a goal, but now the coach is on sidelines and there’s limited coaching. Add referee if possible. After this 20 minutes, we make another short water break and we discuss with the teams.
The last 20 minutes of the session are played normal, with a referee. Coaching is purely on the flow and limited. As the teams score and time passes by, encourage players to readjust as a team depending on their situation.
DOS WHEN WINNING
Tip #1: Always sustain a +1 situation in the back. This does not necessarily mean defending next to the goalkeeper but making sure we are outnumbering the opponent in dangerous spaces.
Tip #2: It’s an obvious statement, but we want to keep possession, preferably in the opponent’s half.
Tip #3: If you lose the ball far from your goal, try to kill the counter right away. If the counterpress works, that’s great. If it doesn’t, consider a tactical foul.
DON’TS WHEN WINNING
Tip #1: Rushing set pieces, such as throw ins, corners, goal kicks, free kicks, etc, will allow the rival getting in a direct, fast rhythm that may decide the match. When killing the game, you need an organized defense, that prevents quick kicks, and protects dangerous spaces. Safety first.
DOS WHEN LOSING
Tip #1: Mentality is key, it is imperative that you stay focused. The opponent will do everything in its power to disrupt your rhythm. Stay in tune with the game. All you can do is control the controllable – yourself.
Tip #2: Adjust system but carefully: You don’t want to be down in numbers for the rival’s counter. Consider the risk of modifying the +1 in the back to equal numbers.
Tip #3: Play the Offside Trap. DO NOT underestimate this item, strikers aren’t always as aware as you think. This can be the solution. The GK becomes almost a sweeper.
DON’TS WHEN LOSING
Tip #1: First, desperation will not take you anywhere good. Remember to stay focus on the mission: scoring, that’s all that matters.
Tip #2: Your team will take some extra risks like we mentioned above, but careful, you don’t want the search of a goal into securing your team’s defeat.