Space- in soccer, it’s sometimes THE FINAL FRONTIER . . . . Learning the power of available spaces on the field can be powerful for any player or team. It can be a difficult concept for some players to learn, mostly because they are accustomed to playing sports where the idea is to pass a ball directly to a person, not behind them or well in front of them. But in soccer, it’s often the key to a dynamic and successful attack.
The first trick in understanding space is knowing when and when not to play a ball there. Often times, our best option is to play a ball directly to a player- feet, head, etc. To make things even more difficult, players have to make these decisions in seconds. They need to be able to read attacking patterns on the field and often under pressure from a defender, especially during indoor where space is limited and pressure is tight.
Liverpool FC (The greatest club in the world! . . . I'm required to say that), are perhaps one of the best teams to demonstrate the ways in which playing to space or feet can be productive in attack, and usually through combination play that results in scoring opportunities. Take a few minutes to watch this highlight compilation from LFC's 2018 campaign to see what great attacking runs and combinations look like:
Playing the ball into space requires three very important things to take place:
Similarly, players can create space on the field by simply moving on the field. Similar to a check run, this is intended to drag a defender away from a space, thereby making the space available for another teammate to run onto the space and exploit it.
Types of Runs:
The bottom line- players spend MOST of their time on the field WITHOUT THE BALL. Understanding their usefulness and the advantages they can create are extremely important for every player.