Academy Coach Course

Penetration in the Game

What does Penetration look like?

Penetration is a vital attacking principle in soccer. It involves the tactical methods used to break through the opposition’s defensive line, whether by passing, dribbling, or off-the-ball movement. The objective of penetration is to progress towards the opponent’s goal, disrupt their defensive structure, and ultimately create scoring opportunities.

Penetration requires speed, precision, creativity, and an understanding between players. Let’s look at some specific scenarios to illustrate what successful execution of the principle of penetration looks like:

Tactical knowledge

To apply Penetration effectively, players must develop a strong understanding of the following tactical concepts:

Timing of runs:
Players should know when to make their runs to exploit gaps in the defense and avoid being caught offside.

Reading the game:
The ability to read the opposition’s defensive structure and identify weaknesses is crucial for successful Penetration.

Players must make quick decisions, such as when to pass, dribble, or shoot, based on the dynamic nature of the game.

The ability to read the game and anticipate teammates’ and opponents’ movements is essential for exploiting the space created by Penetration.


Effective communication and teamwork are essential for successfully implementing Penetration. Players should:

Use verbal cues:
Players must communicate their intentions and positions to teammates to coordinate movements and create goal-scoring opportunities.

Employ non-verbal communication:
Body language, such as pointing or signaling, can help convey information and synchronize movements on the field.

Be aware of teammates’ positions:
Players should have a clear understanding of where their teammates are on the field to make effective decisions and maintain possession.

Develop chemistry:
Building a strong rapport and understanding among teammates will improve the fluidity and effectiveness of Penetration implementation.

Technical skills players will need

To effectively implement Penetration, players must possess the following technical skills:

Passing: Players should be proficient in short and long-range passing, including through balls and chipped passes that exploit gaps in the defense.

Receiving: The ability to control the ball under pressure, turn quickly, and transition into attacking actions is crucial.

Dribbling: Players must be able to beat defenders in 1v1 situations and use dribbling to penetrate the opposition’s defense.

Shooting: Capitalizing on the opportunities created by Penetration requires players to have strong shooting skills to finish goal-scoring chances.

Off-the-ball movement: Intelligent movement is essential for creating space and exploiting gaps in the opposition’s defense.



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