4 Ideas for Improving Creativity Around the Box
In order to break down your opponents defense, and cut through the lines to create and score more goals, you need to develop creative flair in and around the 18-yard box, so start focusing on playing in the attacking-third of the pitch and create a culture of visionary creativity.
Here are four ideas to help foster imagination in and around the penalty area.
1. Find the Third Player
If your team can triangulate and find the third player, on the third pass, you will likely break the lines of your opponents and find space to play with time and freedom. A third player running, who in some cases starts a passing movement, is the player that receives the ball on the third connection of a passing sequence.
The third player is a player that is in motion and moving off the ball after they pass. Third players are hard to track and will find themselves in 1v1 situations that can put defenders on their heels.
Coaching to the rhythm and pattern of third player runs around the box is an essential practice that will help architect tap-ins or quality looks at goal.
2. Dribble to Cause Disruption
If player's have space in front of them they should be encouraged to dribble forward, be positive and direct, thereby exploiting the free space and in the process creating penetrative angles to take shots on goal from, or find supporting attackers.
Good, explosive, technical dribblers will be players that can unsettle opponents the most, as they are capable of freezing defenders and creating overloads.
Encouraging direct dribbling when there is free space in front of a player can help brainstorm great moves and passing exchanges that lead to memorable goals, and it's therefore imperative to encourage all players to express themselves in these situations, particularly in wide channels.
3. Attack the Center Backs
Dribbling is a major factor in causing disruption to an opponents back-four, and when players can target the center-backs of the other team with crafty 1v1 technique, the overall confusion that can be caused will help create time and space for flair players to shine.
Breaking down the shape and connectivity of your opponent's central defenders is key to unlocking the door to attacking soccer and great goals.
4. Commit Players
When you commit players, and draw them to the ball, out on the flanks or through the middle, the angles for providing service grow exponentially, and the quality chances the you can create are sure to improve.
There are different methods for creating 1v1 situations, where the attacker is encouraged to attack the space in front of them with the ball at their feet: dribbling with a finish on frame, 1v1 + the keeper, 3v2 + the keeper; it's only a matter of dedicating time and attention to the concept of committing players, and encouraging flair, that is needed.
Repetition and muscle memory can be used to discover the missing link in creativity around the box, it's all just a matter of plotting out what pieces of the game-intelligence puzzle you address first.