Effective attack requires penetration – which means getting behind or through the defense. There are three ways of penetrating:

  • dribbling to beat a defender and get behind him
  • combination play around a defender
  • through passes to players running into space

All three are discussed in more detail in other sections. Here, we focus on what you need to do to make penetration happen:

  • be tactically aware – understand when penetration is “on” and when it is not
  • make decisions quickly – opportunities to penetrate come and go quickly
  • make the runs that make penetration possible


Recognize when the opportunity to penetrate with a pass or a dribble exists, recognize where on the field the attack has numbers up or at least even numbers, and act.