6 Keys to Developing Good Wing Play
All the top teams in the world have special players that can get a job done in the wide channels, these players, referred to as your No. 7 and No. 11 players, need to possess certain skills and attributes to play out wide.
Nothing comes easy, and the special players weren't born as natural wingers, they work, and work, and work some more to hone their craft.
Here are 6 keys to developing good wing play.
1. Select Players with Pace
Modern wingers need to be players with pace, speed to burn, plain and simple.
There's no substitute for having a wide-player that can show your opponents a clean pair of heels on the turn, so when you start coaching-up your wings, make sure that you've selected players that are fast enough to get away from their mark.
2. Engineer 1v1 Specialists
Your flank players need to be attackers that relish that opportunity to take their opponents on 1v1 in the final third.
And if your team is switching the point of attack like most coaches want, thereby creating overloads in different areas of the pitch, then you need to develop the kind of wingers that are confident and dynamic on the dribble, prepared and willing to beat players with their trickery and pace.
3. Utilize Inverted Wingers
Playing a right-footed player on the left-wing, as the no. 11, and a left-footed player on the right-wing, as the no. 7, is one of the most important things your team can do to encourage dynamic wing-play.
Inverted wingers create more goal-scoring opportunities for themselves and others, because when they cut inside on their stronger-foot, the angles for shots or crosses dramatically improve.
4. Cultivate Quality Service
Great wing-players not only cut inside on their stronger foot for shots on target to score goals, but also possess the ability to provide quality service to teammates in the penalty area.
Incorporating attacking patterns of play into daily training, that focuses on precise crossing into targets in the box is a must for any team looking to develop good wing play.
5. Mandate Goal Scoring
Inverted wingers are meant to get in on the act, not just provide assists, but contribute somewhere between 8-10 goals per season for your team.
Gone are the days of the winger who would dribble to the touchline, cross, and call it a day. Make sure you embolden and mandate your wingers to start scoring more goals.
6. Empower Creativity
Many of the most creative players at the highest level of the game ply their trade out on the flanks, think of Eden Hazard, Douglas Costa, Gareth Bale, these are players with world-class game intelligence, vision, and athletic ability.
Call on these great players to inspire and educate your wing play, you can learn a lot from watching the greats take the pitch, so study closely, learn the feints and moves and, get creative in the wide channels when you're attacking in the final third.