Young kids understand what separation means. They may not understand the term, but certainly they understand the concept when they play games like tag and capture the flag.
Separation means the amount of distance between one person and another. In those games it the difference between the "tag-er" and the "tag-ee."
So how does this relate to soccer. Simply, it is the distance an offensive player can put between him/her and the closest covering defender.
Many coaches become frustrated at the low rate of speed at which players play in training. The reason for that is......they can get away with it a) because they defense isn't working hard enough and b) you, as their coach, let them get away with that type of effort.
If an offensive player is marked by a defender two yards away, and that offensive player moves at the same pace as the defender, then pressure is always two yards away. When a player is marked tighter, the separation is even smaller.
Offensive players must learn to move quickly away from the defense. First step is important. Checking in to the defender is extremely helpful. Timing is very important.
Teach your offensive players to check back to the defender.....actually back until that player makes contact. That stops the momentum of the defensive player, and a quick first step and burst of speed by the offensive player will leave the defender behind. Thus, separation is gained.
Timing is important because the break to become open must occur when the teammate with the ball is in a position to play the ball to the breaking player.
Checking away is a simple individual tactic of making the player who is defending you think you are going in one direction, when actually you will actually be going in the opposite direction after the check is completed.
A good way to get the process started is allow your players to play tag without the ball. See who has the natural gift of deception and separation!
FUNdamental Reader you can contact Ray Alley at: SSS2@pipeline.com