Calcio Coaching: A week in the life of a Serie A coach – Friday
Forza Italian Football is pleased to bring its readers a regular new feature – Il Mister. Our experts will endeavour to show you all the methods and tactical secrets employed by Serie A’s best football coaches.
It is perhaps quite naïve of some fans to think that professional players and coaches spend a couple of hours every day running round a field and smashing footballs randomly at a goalkeeper before entering the stadium at the weekend, in an attempt to fulfil all our sporting dreams and win the match.
The reality in fact, is wildly different. Forza Italian Football aim to dispel this misconception and bring you a series of articles after speaking to a top Serie A coach, to find out exactly what goes into preparing for the weekend’s match.
Having already looked at Thursday, we now move on to Friday which concentrates on attacking and defending set pieces.
No Morning session
On the field – Afternoon Session
Warm up – 20 minutes
Players are free to warm up as they wish, very light jogging and ball work with team mates.
Defending strategy based on opposition formation – 20 minutes
The coach will work with the team in an 11v0 scenario, going through the defensive cover he expects from his team depending on where the opponent has the ball on the pitch.
These are almost pre-rehearsed positioning of the players, covering the most dangerous zones whilst also putting pressure on the opponent to force him to lose the ball. The positioning is always different and dependant on what formation the opponent is expected to deploy (442, 352, 4312 etc.)
The objectives will be:
• Slowing down of opponent attack
• Pressure on man with ball
• Shut down spaces for supporting players
• Winning back the ball
• Defensive balance
• Adjusting positions dependant on ball movement
Defending set pieces – 20 minutes
As per the image 1, the players are asked to defend a mix of zonal and man-to-man. Players 10, 8, 9, 11 and 7 have specific zones to cover whilst the rest of the team marks a man.
If the opponent decides to play a short corner, player 8 goes towards the opponent and player 10 comes off the post to cover the gap left by player 8.
Free Kicks – From high and wide areas
As per the image 2, players 9 and 11 form the wall. Players 8, 7 and 10 have zonal duties and the rest of the team man mark. 10 is the target man should the ball be won back.
If the opponent is particularly dangerous, player 10 can be sacrificed and asked to defend.
Free Kicks – From deep and wide areas
As per the image 3, players 9 and 11 form the wall.
Player 8 covers a short cross whilst player 7 covers the centre but is also asked to attack and win the ball regardless of where it goes.
Player 10 covers the edge of the area and the rest of the team man mark.
Free Kicks – From central areas
As per image 4, players 11, 9, 7 and 8 form the wall.
Player 10 must try and close down the shot and the rest of the team man marks.
Attacking set pieces – 20 minutes
As per image 5, the ball is an in-swinger, struck very hard looking for players 9, 5 and 11.
Players 10 and 8 will move towards the back in case the ball does not reach intended targets.
Free Kick from wide area
As per image 6, the ball is aimed at the penalty spot for the run of player 4, who exploits the gaps left by the movement of 9, 11, 5 and 6.
Free Kick from central area
As per image 7, feints a shot at goal but flights ball to far post for player 4.
Players 9 and 11 attack the goal for an eventual header across goal from player 4.
11 v 11 – 15 minutes
A short practice match is now played to try and sharpen the players movements.