When you are working with younger and beginner soccer players, introducing the attacking principle of Width & Depth can be done in a fun and engaging way. Here’s how you can simplify, explain and teach the principle of width & depth to your players:
- The Attacking Principle of Width & Depth is a tactical concept in soccer that encourages players to spread out across the field both horizontally (width) and vertically (depth) to maximize space during the attacking phase.
- Width refers to stretching the play across the field, from one sideline to the other. This could mean wingers staying wide or fullbacks pushing forward along the flanks. Depth, on the other hand, refers to maintaining vertical spacing between players to ensure forward and backward passing options.
- Essentially, this principle is about expanding and contracting the playing area as necessary. When we have the ball, we want to create as much space as possible (expand). But when we lose the ball, we need to contract quickly to deny space to the opposition.
- Width & Depth are important because they help to stretch the opponent’s defense, creating spaces that we can exploit. By forcing the opposition to defend a larger area, we can create gaps for passes and runs.
- Maintaining width can open up passing lanes through the middle and can pull defenders away from the center, while maintaining depth ensures there are always forward and backward passing options, making it harder for the opposition to press us effectively.
- The principle also helps us control the game by dominating space. When we have the ball, we want to take up as much space as possible to limit the opposition’s ability to win it back.
- We need to use Width & Depth whenever we’re in possession of the ball and are looking to attack. Spreading out helps to stretch the defence and create space for our players.
- It’s particularly important when playing against teams that defend in a compact block. In these situations, width and depth can help to create gaps in the opposition’s defensive setup.
- We should also maintain width and depth during transitions from defence to attack. Spreading out quickly can help to exploit the spaces left by the opposition as they reorganize.
- Width & Depth should be utilized all over the field. In the defensive and middle thirds, it can help to create passing options for building play. In the attacking third, it can stretch the opposition’s defence and create spaces for penetrating runs and passes.
- Width is particularly important in wide areas of the field. Wingers and fullbacks play a crucial role in stretching the play horizontally.
- Depth is often provided by central players – defenders, midfielders, and strikers – who can drop deep or push forward to create vertical spacing.
- All players have a role to play in providing Width & Depth. From the defenders who start our attacks, to the midfielders who control the game, to the forwards who provide the finishing touch – everyone must be aware of their spacing.
- Wingers and fullbacks usually play a crucial role in providing width, while central players, including central defenders, midfielders, and strikers, often provide depth.
- It’s a collective responsibility, and good communication between players is essential to maintain proper width and depth.
- We provide Width & Depth by spreading out when we have the ball. This means wingers staying wide, fullbacks pushing up, and central players moving vertically to create space.
- Players off the ball need to constantly adjust their positioning to maintain good spacing. If a teammate moves into your zone, you should look to move into a different space to maintain balance.
- Width & Depth should also be practiced in training through drills that simulate game situations. This can help players understand their roles and develop the necessary spatial awareness.
Moments In The Game To Coach
- In possession, I would encourage players to spread out and create as much space as possible. This might mean one player staying wide, one pushing forward, and one dropping deeper to provide balance.
- During transitions, I would instruct players to quickly expand or contract their shape depending on whether we’ve won or lost the ball. This can help to create space or deny space to the opposition.
- If we’re struggling to break down the defence, I would emphasize the importance of width and depth in stretching the opposition and creating gaps.
Guided Discovery Questions
- Q: How can we create more space when we’re in possession?
A: By spreading out and maintaining good width and depth.
- Q: How can width and depth help us break down a compact defence?
A: By stretching the defence and creating gaps for us to exploit.
- Q: What should you do if a teammate moves into your space?
A: I should look to move into a different space to maintain balance and spacing.
- Q: How can we control the game through Width & Depth?
A: By taking up as much space as possible when we have the ball, and contracting quickly when we lose it.
- Q: How does Width & Depth affect our defensive setup?
A: When we lose the ball, we need to contract quickly to deny space to the opposition.
- Q: How can we practice Width & Depth in training?
A: Through drills that simulate game situations and require us to maintain good spacing.
- “Today, I want us to focus on controlling the game through Width & Depth. When we have the ball, spread out, stretch their defense, and create space for us to play. When we lose it, contract quickly to deny them space. Remember, soccer is a game of space – let’s dominate it and win this game.”
- “Our key focus today is Width & Depth. We need to keep our shape flexible, expanding when we have the ball and contracting when we lose it. Wingers, I need you wide. Midfielders and forwards, provide the depth we need. Defenders, be ready to stretch the play and also to fall back when necessary. Let’s control the space, control the game, and let’s go get that win.”