Coaching Corner: Find the most open man

This is the second in my series of short discussions I’d like to have with players, based on actual events.

One way to help your team keep the ball and create more attacks is to play a short game after getting the ball and before attacking: find the most open man.

Too often, you get caught in battle for the ball in a crowded melee in a small area of the field where players try dribbling through 2-3 defenders or short passing to the teammates covered by the same defenders. That looks a lot like bull riding, complete with the rodeo clowns chasing the bull.

Here’s a better option. Always be scanning the field to see your open players, even when you don’t have the ball. Work with your teammates to get it there.

This changes your objective for a few brief moments from forcing the ball into scoring range, to finding the most open man.

That means that you dribble away from defenders to find a bit of space to make a longer pass, instead of trying to beat them.

That means you look for the mid to long pass, or series of passes, that can get the ball out of the melee and to a teammate that will have a few more seconds to think.

That might mean that you have a one-touch, quick mid-range pass out of the melee.

You can feel success when it happens. There will be a pause in the action and the momentum shifts from chasing bulls to one team having possession and the other defending.

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