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Counter Attack. The most effective way to score a goal!

Try to visualize this situation.

Would it be easy to score when the opposing team has almost all their players back in their half field? Of course not!

So, when are the majority of the players for the opposing team not there? Simple. When they attack us! This already makes the fundamental aspect very clear. To be able to counter attack, we need for the other team to be totally out of balance forward because they’re attacking us! So, being a COUNTER attack, it works in response to an opponent’s ATTACK! This situation happens constantly and we have dozens of opportunities, in any game, to actuate a counter attack properly.

In this article, I’ll underline the 2 most common, because the opposing team will leave their half field, almost empty. And these 2 situations happen during a CORNER KICK from the opposing team.

Besides the concept of setting our defense properly, (check this previous article Hints for optimizing corner kicks in defense and in attack. ) let’s analyze what has to happen to set the counter attach.

First situation: our keeper comes out and catches the ball.

Our 2 wings, sprint forward as fast as possible and very wide on the wings. The 2 forwards sprint to reach the opponent’s area. The 2 mid fielders sprint and go as fast as possible to the border of the opponent’s area. The 2 external defenders sprint and follow the 2 previous wings.

As you can see, 8 players invade the opponent’s EMPTY half field in a few seconds. I call this, doing the TSUNAMI.

During this action, our keeper reaches the border of our area and, with his hands, gives a good, deep, powerful ball, on the ground, to one of the wings who are ‘flying’ and almost reach the line of half field. So, NO OFF-SIDE!!!

In 90% of the cases, the opposing team is still ‘sleeping’ in our area! This tsunami can easily create an astonishing numeric superiority, 8v3, sometimes 8v2! I leave it to your imagination the dozens of different solutions from then on, that the 8 players can actuate for scoring. The wings can go by themselves strait on goal, or reach the bottom line and pass back to the forwards on the penalty spot, or pass from there to the 2 center mid fielders at the border of the area. Up to you, just………………………........‘kill’ the 2/3 defenders as quickly as possible! This way we keep the 2/3 defenders constantly running backward, unable to effectively face the massive invasion of their half field.

Second situation: our keeper or some of our defenders, arrive first on the ball that’s coming from the corner kick and send it forward.

Please, do that 45 degrees forward and not in the middle of the field (in front!) where the opponents can immediately catch it and shoot on goal from far away, with 10/15 players that cover our keeper‘s view!

If this happens, ball out half field at 45 degrees, our forwards, immediately try to win the ball while it’s still in the air, by immediately attacking the opponent, very HARD!!!! If the forward is able to win the ball back, immediately send it to the wings that, in the mean time, have actuated the same strategy as number one. So, we have the same situation with 8 players that start the tsunami.

If the opponents win the challenge and keep possession, the forward continues to follow him or her, with hard pressure, until a team mate that was sprinting forward reaches the opponent and, IN TWO, THEY EXTIRPATE/ERADICATE THE BALL from his or her feet, by double teaming the opponent! I don’t even want to consider the possibility that they WOULD NOT WIN THE BALL BACK IN 2 v 1!!!

After……………………………… tsunami.

Did you notice that in this second case, the 8 players that sprinted forward leave a minimum of 5/6 opponents in off-side for 10 or 15 yards? If you noticed this, GOOD, otherwise, you’ll notice it now!

In both cases you’ll leave the opposing team with a lot of players in off side and, even supposing that the ball, sent forward to half field from our defense, is prey of the other team, there is nothing dangerous that they can do:

-Send the ball forward? Surely not, with the team in off side.
-Desperately defend the ball against 2 opponents? Impossible.
-Try a horizontal pass? Our 8 players that have sprinted forward, will catch it.

So, the only way to survive for them, is to pass back to their keeper. Have you ever seen, in this country, a player so smart as to pass the ball back to his keeper from half field? I’ve never seen one.

And they will not do that, not because they're not smart. They will not do it because no one has ever taught them this and, more important, if they do that, their moms and dads, that have never played soccer in their lives, will yell at them, “wrong direction”, for the rest of the game and in the car while going home!

So, they will play for us. They will lose the ball against our 2 players in double team and, surprise, surprise, we will………………………………....SCORE!!!

We will score in COUNTER ATTACK. And again. And again. And again.

They will never get it because……………………………… listen to coach Gianni and they………………………………................don’t!

What I underlined, to be honest, it’s not easy to learn. If you’d like I’m available to come to your practice and teach your team how to do the TSUNAMI. In a couple of practices, and with not to much money, I can teach them how to do it. Please write at

Obviously, this is only HOW TO DO IT. Don’t forget that to do the tsunami, your players have to be able to:

-SPRINT like rockets.
-The keeper has to be able to come out, catch the ball, sprint to the border of the box and send a deep ball on the ground with the hands, very powerfully, 20/30 yards!
-The wings that receive the ball, have to be able to run with the ball in control for minimum 20/30 yards and, after, give a ‘decent assist’ to the forwards.
-The forwards have to be able to PUT THE BALL IN THE NET, in one of the most elementary scoring situations and not shoot out, or worst, pass the ball to the opponent keeper instead of shooting!!!!
-The players that will double team the opponent with the ball at half field (example two) will go there with the REAL INTENT to win the ball back. This means not going there and continue to run around the opponent player, without touching him or her, just looking at him or her, and after 5/6 yards give up by sighing and looking up in the sky, like their job was just that and it’s already finished because, in the meantime, the opponent has run away with the ball! (ring a bell???)

I can continue forever but…………………………….I’m sure that you get the message. To actuate the counter attack, the tsunami, you need soccer players, not just a group of kids or adults that like to play soccer and pretend to be soccer players just because they dress as a soccer player!

As I said other times, at Halloween everyone that dresses as Batman, Spiderman, Superman, Catwoman, Harry Potter or whatever, knows really well that they are wearing a costume and to fly across buildings, doesn’t even cross their minds!

So, why do we continue to make our kids PRETEND to be soccer players, by wearing a costume? To dress as a soccer player, is very fun and I totally agree. But it’s very dangerous to make them believe that they are soccer players just by wearing a costume!!! That would be the equivalent of convincing them that they can fly through buildings!

Coach Gianni
Posted on 18 Apr 2007 by coachgianni
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