Player Reflection Tool

Reacting to winning the ball

As soon as your team win the ball, it is important that you react. You need to decide how to join in the attack. This webpage has been especially designed to help you improve your decision and action when your team win possession of the ball. To help us learn, we will use examples from Cesc Fabregas, Arsene Wenger, David Pizarro and the Iran Women's Futsal team.

Your mission is to complete all the homework tasks below and identify two key specific things that you want to work on and try to improve in your practice sessions, team training or on your own. 

To make a good decision, it is very important that you "scan" the pitch so you are aware of the spaces and movements of your team and your opponents. Great players scan the pitch regularly, all the time. This means they have a constant picture of what is happening around them. They can then make good decisions and react effectively when their team win the ball.

Recognising when your team win the ball

When you are defending (or when the other team have the ball), you are probably thinking about marking, tackling, running back etc. But as soon as your team win the ball, your job changes. Suddenly, you need to think about passing, supporting the player with the ball, dribbling and attacking.

Here are two things that might happen in order for your team to win the ball:

  • The opponent shoots at your goal and your goalie saves it with a catch
  • You or one of your team-mates tackles an opponent and wins the ball from them

Can you think of at least two more?

When our team wins the ball, we need to be able to respond quickly. We will look at Scanning as this will help us keep an eye on what is going on around us on the pitch, and then we will look at how to defend so you can attack quickly with a Counter-Attack... 


The video on the right shows Cesc Fabregas scanning the pitch. Watch the video and see how this helps them to make good decisions and be better at attacking.


Counter-attacking is the term we use for a quick attack which happens when you win the ball from the other team when they are attacking.

The video below - called 'Legendary Counter Attacks' - shows some great counter-attacking goals. Have a watch and count how many passes there to make each of the goals.


Watch the first part of the video and hear what Wenger says are the key elements of a good counter-attack.

Now watch the 'Legendary Counter Attacks' video above again and answer the following questions:

  • How would you describe the first pass in a counter-attacking move?
  • What runs do the players off-the-ball make? How would you describe these runs?
  • How many players are usually involved in a counter-attack? What do you think the rest of the team are doing?

(If you want to know more about Counter-Attacking, the two videos here and here give more detail).

Importantly, often a quick counter-attack is not the best option. Perhaps the opponents have defended well, and the quick forward pass or run is not available. In these cases, the most important thing is:  KEEP THE BALL or STAY ON THE BALL

If you have the ball then you may need to dribble, you may need to shield the ball, or you may need to pass the ball back to a team-mate. If you don't have the ball you may need to react quickly to provide a passing option for your team-mate who has the ball.


The video below shows some good examples of keeping the ball from Roma's David Pizarro. Watch the video and answer the questions below.

  • When Pizarro can't see a good forward pass, what does he do?
  • How do his team-mates help Pizarro to keep the ball?

Your final task is to watch some futsal and review our learning in this topic. Below is a video of Iran v Japan in the women's Asian Cup. You need to watch any 10 minutes of the game and see if you can identify the following:

  1. At least four different ways that possession changes from one team to another (e.g. a tackle)
  2. An attempt to counter-attack quickly when winning the ball back
  3. Movement to support someone who has just won the ball
  4. Someone winning the ball and playing it backwards because there is no good forward option

Player Reflection Tool - Home

Dear Learner,

Welcome to your HOMEWORK page! Here you will learn about your chosen topic. It is a good idea to save the URL for this page to your favourites so you can easily return to it when you need to.

You need to work through the tasks on the page, one at a time. This might mean watching videos, it might mean doing other tasks and activities. It may be a good idea to take notes also. Remember that the more work and effort you put into the tasks, the more you will learn and the better you will become.

For most topics, there will be a PRINT OUT at the bottom of the page. You need to print this, complete the questions, and take to your coach. You need to do this so the coaches know what you are working on and are able to help you.

If any of the links on this page are broken, or you have other ideas or suggestions, please get in touch at:


Mark Carter

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Once you have completed all the homework, click on the 'Print the form' link. This will open a form which you need to print out and complete. Take this completed form to your coach.

Then click here to move onto the last part of the Tool.

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Mark Carter

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