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Breaking down a low block in youth soccer can be challenging, but with the right tactics and approach, it's definitely possible.


I've worked on breaking down a low block defence a lot with my players – after two or three plays from wide areas on one side of the pitch to wide areas on the other side I ask them what they have found out. They are a pretty astute bunch but just need a bit of fine tuning in these kinds of situations.

What works best from what I have experienced and what I want the players to incorporate in their play are three attacking options that will give them the key to opening up defences.

Tactic 1: My centre-mid has the ball going towards the goal, one of my wingers moves infield and takes the opposition full back with them which leaves space behind the opposition defence for the fullback on their side of the pitch to overlap and mak a forward run into the space and receive a pass from the midfielder.

Tactic 2: This time with the centre-mid in possession the winger goes infield but the opposition full back doesn't follow they hold their position. Now the centre-mid can play to the unmarked winger who is much closer to goal with options to play forward passes into the feet of the attackers making runs into the box.

Tactic 3: Now with the centre-mid on the ball, again the winger moves inside to grab the attention of the opposition full back but now the ball is played wide to the full back who create a 2v1 situation with the winger and they can link up against the opposition full back to get behind the defence.


Top Tips For Beating A Low Block

A low block refers to a defensive strategy where the opposing team sets up with a compact defense, often deep in their own half, to limit space and opportunities for the attacking team. Here are some tactics to help your team break down a low block:

  • Patience and Ball Possession: Encourage your players to remain patient and maintain possession of the ball. A low block aims to frustrate the attacking team by denying space, so it's important not to rush and lose possession easily. Teach your players to circulate the ball and look for gaps in the defense.
  • Quick Ball Movement: While maintaining possession is essential, it's equally crucial to move the ball quickly. Rapid ball circulation can help shift the defense out of position and create openings for attacking players to exploit.
  • Width and Depth: Emphasize the importance of maintaining both width and depth in your attacking play. By spreading the field horizontally and stretching the defense, you can create more space between their players, making it easier to find gaps and exploit weaknesses.
  • Use the Flanks: Utilize the wings to get around the compact central defense. Wingers and full-backs can provide width and deliver crosses into the box, creating scoring opportunities.
  • Overloads and Combination Play: Teach your players to create numerical overloads in specific areas of the field. By having more players in a certain area, you can attract defenders and open up space for others. Encourage combination play, one-two passes, and quick interchanges to bypass the defense.
  • Individual Creativity: Foster creativity in your players and allow them to take on defenders one-on-one. Players with good dribbling skills can help break down the low block by drawing defenders out of position or winning free kicks and penalties.
  • Set Pieces: Set pieces, such as corners and free-kicks, can be effective against a low block. Work on well-rehearsed routines to exploit weaknesses in the defense and create scoring opportunities.
  • Switching the Play: Teach your players to switch the play quickly from one side of the field to the other. This can catch the defense off-guard and create space on the weak side for attacks.
  • Pressing High Up the Pitch: Consider applying high-pressing tactics to win the ball back quickly and closer to the opponent's goal. This can prevent the low block from setting up and give your team more chances to score.
  • Player Movement Off the Ball: Emphasize the importance of off-the-ball movement. Players should make intelligent runs to drag defenders out of position and create space for teammates.

Remember that breaking down a low block requires teamwork, discipline, and adaptability. It's important to practice these tactics regularly in training sessions and encourage your players to be creative and confident in their abilities. Additionally, be patient and understand that it might take time and multiple attempts to break down a well-organized defense.