Quick Transitions – Full Session Plan & Key Coaching Points

Transitional moments are an understated, underrated and under-coached part of the modern game. How a team sets up after winning or losing the ball can make or break a team. As a result, today we share this full session plan on ‘Quick Transitions’ with a variety of activities guided towards both attacking and defensive transitions.

warm-up: pass, number, transition

Set-Up/Execution: 4 groups of 3 or 4. Players start by passing to players in their own box. Coach calls a number, which tells players which direction to play the ball to, as one player passes the ball to another box and then follows that pass, joining the new box and getting started with the short passing right away. 1 = vertical pass (as shown). 2 = horizontal. 3 = diagonal. Slowly introduce these. Start with one, then add more. Best for Attacking Transitions.

Coaching Points:
– Don’t just kick it over to another box without looking, make sure you search for an open player, ready to receive.
– Communicate who you are passing to. – Part of foot/weight of pass.
– Transition over quickly by following your pass. Movement is done in a way where you can get started right away after making the pass
(i.e. running over, taking the empty space in the new box, avoiding the player running the other way, etc.)
– After making an action (e.g. a pass.) a new action must follow (e.g. a run).

activity: 4v4 to 3v2

Setup/Execution: Three zones. Players are locked into their zones, except the middle players (4v4) who have a chance to move if they can get the ball into their striker (1v2). At any moment, middle players try to pass the ball to the striker, the passer and 1 other player can join the attack to create 3v2. White tries to defend and win it back over to get it back to the middle. When ball goes out of play, all restarts begin in the middle zone with 4v4. Add goalkeepers if numbers allow it. Best for Attacking Transitions.

Coaching Points:
– After passing into striker, move to the open space. (Scan to see space). 
– When defenders recover the ball, when to pass vs. when to dribble based on options available, pressure, space, etc.
– Striker constant movement to get open away from defenders.
– Verticality & speed in transition. Width is helpful to stretch the field, but going backwards or sideways will only slow the transition.

variation: 4v4 to 3v3

Setup/Execution: Three zones, set up and rules are the same as the above activity, except now a defender can also transition to make it 3v3 when the ball is played into the final third.
In the example above, white would try to win the ball back to the middle and go on the attack right away by playing in their striker. When the ball goes out of play, all restarts begin in the middle zone with 4v4. Add goalkeepers if enough numbers. Best for Defensive Transitions.

Coaching Points:   
– Scan the field to see space to know where to eliminate it.
– Communicate who should pressure, who should cover and where?
– Angle of approach to delay attacking team and force them outside
– Speed to get back in quickly before attacking team gets too much time.
– Compactness, eliminate space by getting close together immediately
– Don’t dive in. Time the tackle. Delay if necessary.

activity: 6v2 to 5v6

Setup/Execution: Both teams have six players. Game starts with white team keeping possession in central grid against two green defenders (6v2). Fast one/two touch play, quick decision making. Two green defenders work to win the ball back. If they do, they pass it over to their teammates on the outside. Everyone, except for one white team player then transitions to play 5v6. White team tries to win it back and play it to the 1 who stayed in the central grid to restart. Five passes = 1 point. Getting it across to your player on the outside or back to centre = 1 point. Best for Defensive Transitions.

Coaching Points:
– Scan the field to see space to know where to eliminate it.
– Communicate who should pressure, who should cover and where?
– Angle of approach to delay attacking team and force them outside
– Speed to get back in quickly before attacking team gets too much time.
– Compactness, eliminate space by getting close together immediately
– Don’t dive in. Time the tackle. Delay if necessary.

game

Setup/Execution: Game based on your numbers. Coaches can act as
goalkeepers if needed.
Coaching Points:
Let the players play. Minimal coaching and stoppages.
– Quick key phrases to encourage quick defensive transitions (e.g. “Scan the field. Where can you go to help? Close the gap!, etc.). After losing the ball or making a mistake, work hard to get ball back and make up for it. Don’t give up. That said, it’s still a team effort to win the ball back through communication and compactness, not just an individual effort.
– Quick key phrases to encourage attacking transitions (e.g. “Where’s the space? See your options. Away from pressure! Get your head up.”. Not telling them what action to take but inspiring them to get there on their own, especially in the question between pass vs. dribble after winning the ball. Encourage body shape to be towards the goal as much as possible. Out of possession, attacking players should be looking to anticipate potential opportunities for counter attacks and be looking to create space away from their markers.

game variation with neutrals

Setup/Execution: Small-sided game with two extra neutrals that play with the team in possession at all times. Best for Attacking Transitions.

Coaching Points:   
– Utilize the neutrals whenever possible. (Neutrals movement and scanning to see space. Other players scan for the neutrals in space.) This will aid in the team’s transition.
– After winning the ball, look to go forwards with a dribble or pass based on the situation if possible. If you absolutely need to go backwards (pressure on you), do so. But verticality will allow for the best chance at going on the attack right away. That said, don’t just kick it, see all options.
– After making an action (e.g.) a pass, scan to see what the next action can be (movement forwards, backwards, etc.).
– Players off the ball don’t just ball watch. See the space and move into it.


So there it is! A session plan all about quick transitions to help coaches cover both attacking and defensive transitions with their teams. Be sure to check out more Session Plans and share your thoughts on Twitter @mastermindsite. Thanks for reading and see you soon!

More on transitions….
-> Defensive Transitions – The Basics
-> Attacking Transitions – The Basics
-> Attacking Transitions (9v9)
-> Defensive Transitions (9v9)
-> Attacking Transitions – Session Plan and Key Coaching Points

You might also enjoy…
-> Playing Out From The Back – Session Plan & Coaching Points (2020 Edition)
-> Pressing From The Front – Session Plan & Key Coaching Points
-> Switching Play – Session Plan and Key Coaching Points



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