Isolating the wing-back

Isolating the wing-back

This training session is to give players some ideas on how to handle a situation where a midfielder is looking to play a penetrating pass to a winger.  This pass is executed while the opposing center back and outside back are not as connected as they ought to be. Before getting into the practice exercises, the three ways to approach this situation are below. 

The first is a run from the winger outside the defender and the pass is played through the gap between center back and outside back. The second is an inside run from the winger and the pass is played through the same gap. The final is when the winger slides out wide to receive the pass in front of the defence but with enough time to then settle the ball and go at the defender 1 v 1.  

Ultimately, players should be encouraged to develop their own ideas in addition to these suggestions. These ideas are simply a starting point. 

Warm Up

Players in black start in positions designated out by cones or markers. The ball is swung from the first midfielder to the second. The second midfielder and his winger decide which of the three options to attempt as described above. 

The winger makes either style of run in behind the defence, in which case the ball should be played through the inner cones (these represent the space between center back and outside back) or the winger stays out wide with the intention of then dribbling through the outer cones. 

Regardless of which decision is made, the remaining three outfield players look to receive a pass from the winger afterward and finish on goal. 

The red dot in this instance represents a mannequin. 


- The coach takes the place of the mannequin and deliberately overplays or underplays the winger and the winger then looks to identify which of the three options is the best decision before receiving the pass. 

- Include a GK or do not include a GK

Second Activity

Players will be involved in a 5 v 5 + 2 exercise. One team is in red, one team is in black, and the two neutrals are in green. Before having an opportunity to score, the ball must be played wide in one of the three ways already discussed. The wide players from each team must stay outside the yellow boundaries until;

- They make one of the two previous discussed run in behind the defense. The inside cones show channel the ball must be played through just like in the warm up.

- They receive a pass out wide and then must dribble through the outside cones angled toward the goal just like in the warm up.

Each goal is worth one point.  


If the team without the ball chooses not to defend through the centre part of the field, you can introduce a rule where connecting a certain amount of passes is also worth a point so that the defence must apply pressure. 

- Create restriction on how teams can defend the wide parts of the field

- Decide on role of GKs

Third Activity

With 6 v 6 or 7 v7 and the same field, teams are no longer required to utilize wingers in any of the three previous ways discussed before going to goal. However, any goal scored by using those three approaches will be worth five points where as a goal through the centre part of field will only be worth one.

Fourth Activity

Allow teams freedom to play and require no restrictions. 


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