The counter-attack is a tactical offensive action, which consists of a team attacking at the precise moment when their opponents have lost possession of the ball. The surprise factor is decisive in this tactic, because if you act quickly, the opposing team’s defence will be disoriented and there will be a greater chance of scoring a goal. The counter-attack can be carried out through long and precise passes or through deep passes using the speed of a player who manages to overcome the defensive line.

One or two forwards are usually positioned close to the midfield so that they are in a position to receive the ball when the counter-attack takes place. The midfielders and defenders can also participate in the counter-attack, thus outnumbering the opponent and moving the ball quickly. The pressure on the opposition must be constant in order to make the midfielders lose the ball and to be able to counter-attack.

Therefore, to achieve a good counter-attack, the defensive work has to be effective. It must catch the opposition off guard, so the team will have to make quick and precise passes looking for depth, so that they don’t have time to react.

Phases of counter-attack

  • The coach must know the internal logic of the counter-attack in order to be able to train it and carry it out afterwards. The counter-attack can be divided into three phases:
  1. Phase 1
    In this first phase is when the ball is stolen. The team must quickly carry out the counter-attack, ensuring the first passes to guarantee the evolution of the counter-attack. These passes must be short and precise in order to pass the defensive line, always visualising the position of the rest of the team mates, finding the right moment to give the ball to a player who is ahead of them.
  2. Phase 2
    To prevent the opponent from reorganising, the counter-attack must be very fast. To do this, you have to make safe and accurate deep passes. If the team makes a mistake, it can lead to the loss of the ball, and therefore to the counter-attack of the opposing team.
  3. Phase 3
    In this phase the counter-attack is completed, and therefore the validity and effectiveness of the counter-attack is known. The objective is achieved if the team has been able to reach the goal in the shortest possible time and score a goal.


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