Focusing on a 3 versus 3
From time to time we get an email or a question asking for tips when playing a small side game, but what holds true in the big, eleven versus eleven game also holds true in a small side game. Check back to the ball, angled runs, shielding, not diving in on defense, dragging the player away from where you want the ball, and so on.
During a real match there are small sided games going on all the time: the three or four players in the back trying to mark the attacking players, or when there’s a counter attack and players must try to defend three when only two are back. Then there’s the duel of a winger trying to beat a defender and get the cross in while a midfielder comes up to support, and a fullback shuffles over to cover the player stepping to the pressure the ball. Throughout the game, there are moments when you could focus in on a patch of field and see a small side game going on. Small sided games and indivudual duels are what soccer is all about.
With small sided games everything’s accentuated. In a big game, a there’s time to make up for some mistakes in certain parts of the field. If you play a square ball and it’s cut out, it might lead to a counter attack, but a poor pass into the middle of the field in a small sided game of 3 versus 3 can lead directly to a shooting opportunity. One misstep by a defender can lead to a goal, whereas in a big game there’s a bit more room for players to recover and get back on defense.
Small sided games are much like indoor soccer or futsal, except of course there are no walls as with indoor soccer. But the strategies are very similar, from making sure to make subs when your team has procession of the ball or when there’s a dead ball situation, to the speed of play, to the need to play quick one and two touch soccer.
In a smaller space there’s just less time and room, you’re under pressure much faster than in a regular sized pitch, and need to release to ball and know what you’re going to do with it before you get it.
Keys of the Small Sided Game
Rules & Dimensions
Not quite but you get the idea.