React and Rid

On this page we will look at a frequently encountered mistakes in the game and how the individual player can analyze and correct these mistakes in real time, in the immediate moments after the mistake or delayed after the game which we will refer to as RID. We’ll call the feature itself, Recognition And Corrective Training or REACT for short. The hope is to instill accountability for your play and provide you a means to accept responsibility for mistakes you make. In the end, it's still up to you.

REACT moment: Attacking ball carrier uses the defenders momentum to defeat him.

Real Time:
Did I channel first?
Did I approach to take away an option?
Did I utilize a bounce step?

Remind yourself to channel first, close down second.
Remind yourself to approach R shoulder to R shoulder or L to L to make attacker predictable.
During the next dead ball quickly practice a bounce step or two .

Practicing with a partner in a 10 yd x 20 yd grid.  Serve to your partner on a diagonal then channel first, close down at an angle (the ? approach) second, bounce step and churn your feet to eaiser maintain containment.  If you do not have a partner, use a kick back wall or a bench - play the ball against the surface and then channel, close down, bounce step and contain in front of the returning ball.

This one is for the goalkeepers.

REACT moment:  Attacking ball carrier breaks free behind defense for a score.

Real Time:
Did I come out to cut down angles and transfer pressure to make the play to the attacker?
Did I approach the attacker at the same pace he was coming at me?
Did a stay BIG for as long as possible to force the attacker to make the play?
Did I read the cues to know when the attacker was going to take the shot?
Was I set?
Did I execute a proper collapse dive?

Remind yourself to take control of the situation.
Remind yourself to relax, stay calm and transfer the pressure to make the play to the attacker.
Remind yourself when you can make the play - when the ball is outside the attackers feet (being layed off to set up a shot) or when the attacker plays the ball more than a step ahead.
At halftime or at the first opportunity practice a couple of collapse dives.

Practice collapse dives alone.
Practice collapse dives with a partner - both of you going to the same stationary ball to get used to congestion about you when performing this technique.
Place 2 benches on their sides approximately 25 yards out from goal with flat surfaces facing goal and seperated about 10 yards. Have a partner stand another 5 yards in back of the benches. Serve the ball against a bench. When the ball touches the bench, the partner moves forward to play the ball creating a 1 v 1 situation.  Working on breakaways in this manner allows the GK to control the pace of the activity.

As we continue with the REACT and RID series, if you have suggestions on topics to cover please feel free to use the comment section to contact us.

REACT moment:   Headers lack power and accuracy

Real Time:
Did I have my weight back and explode through the ball?
Were my eyes openso I could "see through" the strike?
Did I strike at the hairline or with the forehead?
Did I row the boat?

At the next deadball practice rowing the boat. Place the weight on the back foot and extend your arms forward. Pull the arms back as you shift your weight and thrust your head forward.
Remind yourself to be the hammer, not the nail.

Practice proper "row the boat" heading technique
Toss the ball in the air and practice heading the ball against a kickback board or "up and out"
With a partner, take turns serving and heading the ball. Make it competitive by marking out small goals and keeping score as one serves and the other heads the ball down and to the goaline with the server playing keeper. Alternate turns. First to score 5 wins the game!

This one will look at returning the oars in the row the boat motion.

REACT moment: Have trouble controlling chest traps

Real Time:
Did I have my arms pulled back before contact with the ball?
Did I return the oars (extend the arms) as the ball made impact?
Were my arms extended too soon?

At the next dead ball practice returning the oars.  Row the boat and then return the oars.  Feel the extended chest concave as the arms are extended.

Toss the ball in the air and receive it off your chest usingthe  proper motion of returning the oars.  Practice this with a partner serving a thrown ball.  Progress to fielding a punted ball from a short distance.

REACT moment: Wing loses the ball off the dribble to the second defender.

Real Time:
Did I know the second defender was present?
Did I have a plan for defeating the second defender before I took on the first defender?

Be a game watcher, not a ball watcher.
Scan the field consantly.
Remember we want to be in numbers up positions and not be caught playing numbers down as has happened here.
Remember, if beating the first defender to the outside, move inside to eliminate his pursuit and engage the second defender on your terms. This opens the outside for an overlap and can set up a wall pass combination on the inside.
Remember that when defeating the first defender inside you have created space outside for an overlapping run.
Work with a partner on combination passes. 
If a partner is not available, a kickback board or bench laid on its side can be used for some combinations.
Execute a move to defeat / isolate a defender going into the combination pass sequence.

REACT moment: Have trouble gaining separation from defender and with receiving under pressure.

Real Time:
Did I remember to keep myself between the defender and the ball.
Did I "check away" or drag the defender away from where I wanted to receive?
Did I "check to" or go to meet the ball?
Did I receive sideways on so I could execute a self-pass?

When next receiving the ball under pressure make sure you know where the defender is by making light physical contact with him.
Get the defenders momentum started away from where you wish to receive.
Know before you ever touch the ball how you will solve the pressure you feel. Self-pass, change the path of the ball away from pressure

Play the ball against a kick-back wall or bench and practice receiving with a self-pass.
Play the ball against a kick-back wall or bench and practice using your first touch to change the path of the ball away from pressure.
Add a partner to the above exercises to add "live" pressure.  Pressure should be light to begin with and gradually increase as confidence is gained in receiving under pressure.
The above activities work great with 3 people - a passer, a receiver and a defender.

REACT moment: Your Push pass is played lacking pace and accuracy.

Real Time:

Was my plant foot pointed where I wanted the ball to go?

Were my toes raised and ankle locked?

Did I strike at the midpoint of the ball and on the ankle bone?

Did I follow through?


At the next dead ball opportunity take a practice kick (or two) on an imaginary ball using the proper techniques to reinforce correct muscle memory required to execute an effective push pass.


Practice against a kickback board or with a partner emphasizing proper execution of proper technique and reinforcing proper muscle memory.

REACT moment: You can make a point or you can make a difference.
Team chemistry is often acknowledged as the greatest difference making intangible there is.

Real Time:
Always keep the team foremost in your thoughts.
Ask not what your team can do for you, but what you can do for your team.

Share the work load with teammates
Share the ball with teammates
Share the result with teammates.

Be an inclusive presence on your team
Be committed to the TEAM
Hold dear that when united and working Together Everyone Achieves More.

REACT moment: Ball bounces too far away when attempting to receive the ball

Real Time:
Did I have a plan beyond being first to the ball?
Was I properly prepared to play the ball?
Did I extended the receiving foot to greet the ball and then draw it back to welcome the ball to me?

Remind yourself to take and release a breath as the ball approaches.
Remind yourself to welcome the ball and not confront it.
Extend your foot and draw it back a couple of times during the next dead ball situation. Do this on the half turn as well.

Practice receiving passes with pace against a kick back board or with a partner. Incorporate changing the path of the ball and your direction.  Focus on preparing to play before receiving. Know what you want to do with the ball before you receive it. I particularly like to place a player inside a small grid with benches laid on their sides along each side of the grid.  Pass the ball against, turn the ball on the reception and play it immediately against another bench.  Even better, of course, is to work this in a group of five players!

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