Overlaps are runs made by a player starting from behind the ball into space in front of the ball. They are usually made by defenders, but also by wide midfielders as they exchange positions with other players (see wing based attacks, below).

Typically, the passer will try to edge in towards the middle of the field, to leave even more room for the overlap.

Timing is key. The passer must release the pass just as the overlapper is moving beyond the range of D1. The ball should be delivered into space so the overlapper keeps running freely.

A step-over by the passer before releasing the ball can buy time for the overlapper to get forward, and also sends the defender in the wrong direction.

Overlaps can be extremely dangerous because typically the wing defender is already engaged by the player with the ball. A well timed run and pass can leave the defender struggling to catch up.

Also, the overlapping defender is rarely marked as he runs up the field, and so can bring “numbers up” very quickly.

Older teams use overlaps to create crossing opportunities; younger teams can use them with cut-ins to create dangerous situations on the edge of the opponents’ penalty box

Note: you need to set up an overlap. If you try it in heavily defended or crowded areas, it may not work and the overlapper will be caught out of position against a counter-attack by the other team.

So you need to move the ball around the field until your winger or midfielder is isolated against a single defender. Then an overlap becomes very dangerous and is worth the risk of the defender leaving the back and moving forward



Contact: rgaster@north-atlantic.com