Archive for the ‘Drills/Exercises’ Category.

Fitness Training Indoors

The indoor season provides a change of pace and focus that I think is good for player development but you don’t want to completely lose the base of fitness that was built during the outdoor season. The challenge is that you have a limited amount of space to work with when you’re training indoor. We use a school gym, and a small one at that. I look for exercises that mimic the movement patterns of the game while using space as economically as possible.


The warm-up below is from Dave Tenney Continue reading ‘Fitness Training Indoors’ »

Dribbling and Passing Indoors

During the winter I like to focus on ball possession and combination play. The game of Futsal puts a high value on these skills and working on them often will not only make the team more successful indoor but also carry over to the outdoor game in the spring.


One of my favorite exercises to work on protecting the ball is a game where each team is in their own half of an area. One player from each team acts as a defender and enters the other team’s area and tries to kick player’s ball out of bounds. The team that keeps at least one ball in their area the longest wins that round. We play until each player has had a chance to defend.

The most basic way to play this game is as an individual possession game where each player tries to shield their ball and avoid the defender for as long as possible. As a progression, you can allow the players who lose the ball to stay in the area and support the other players who still have a ball. This way the game moves from individual possession to a game of keep away.

Passing and moving to create options is important in soccer in general but especially in a game with only four players on each team. We spend a number of sessions each winter on learning how and when to execute give-and-goes.


This simple exercise provides a great teaching environment for all of the key factors that contribute to a successful combination play.

Player A passes to Player B who then dribbles toward Player A. When Player A approaches, Player B passes to Player C and runs to the other side to receive the ball back with one touch. Player B then passes to Player D. The players all rotate positions so that Player A takes Player B’s starting position, Player B moves to the Wall Passer’s position (Player C) and Player C moves behind Player D.

Coaching Points

  • Player B must dribble at Player A to commit him
  • Player C moves along a line to create a passing angle for Player B
  • Player A acts as a passive defender; staying in front of Player B but not trying to win the ball

As the players improve and show their understanding I ask them to increase the speed of play and allow the ‘defender’ to try and win the ball from the dribbler to make the exercise more realistic.

There are many other games and exercises that we use throughout the season but shielding and the ability to understand and perform a well-timed give-and-go are so vital to Futsal that we return to these two often.

Are there exercises that you return to often during the indoor season to focus on certain skills that you feel are important?

Have a great day!


How to Start Your Shooting Sessions

One of the perks of being apart of WORLD CLASS COACHING is that I have access to a large library of training sessions from some of the top professional, collegiate, and youth coaches. We have published books and videos on every aspect and topic of coaching.

I often refer to our videos especially for new ways to approach topics to keep my coaching fresh and interesting to the players I work with. I think we’re all probably guilty of using the same few drills or exercises for a specific technique over and over. This can be a good thing because it allows us to focus on teaching the game rather than having to spend a lot of time teaching the drill. But changing things up on occasion can breath new life into a stale session and Continue reading ‘How to Start Your Shooting Sessions’ »

The Foundation of Solid Team Defending

I think coaches spend a lot more time teaching offensive skills and techniques than they do teaching young players how do defend individually and in small groups. The attacking techniques of dribbling, passing and shooting are easy to create training sessions around and they are definitely the sexier skills of the game. But teaching a young player to defend a 1 v 1 effectively is vital to their development as a player.

John Walker presented an excellent session on Continue reading ‘The Foundation of Solid Team Defending’ »

Moving to Create Options

If players don’t move without the ball they won’t create options for the player with the ball. I’ve found this training session to be an excellent one to teach players how to make runs for their teammate with the ball.

The three runs that this session focuses on are checking, drifting and Continue reading ‘Moving to Create Options’ »

The Most Efficient Form of Conditioning

We all have such limited time to impact the technical, tactical and physical abilities of our players that finding ways to integrate each of these into our training sessions is very important. If we were training four or five times a week we could afford to practice them in isolation but most of the coaches reading this won’t have that luxury. Continue reading ‘The Most Efficient Form of Conditioning’ »

1 v 1 to 3 v 3 Continuous Game

I like using continuous games because they are high energy, engage the players and create a very competitive environment. If you keep score then the game can replicate the pressure of the actual game.


This game is best played with at least six players on each team. To start the coach passes a ball into the middle and Continue reading ‘1 v 1 to 3 v 3 Continuous Game’ »

3 v 2 Defending

This week’s post is from Don Herlan, author of Smedley’s Drills Volumes 1-4 and Smedley’s Defending 20.

This is a drill that I stole from the men’s basketball coach at St. Francis University back when I coached there. He was working with his players on defending the fast break, and I thought that I could use this same drill to work on tandem defense. And it worked great. To me, this is a classic example of what makes for a good drill—there is enthusiasm, there is learning, and there is a total involvement on the part of the players. And like all effective drills, the longer it runs, the better it gets.

‘Numbers down’ drills like this one will get the defenders a ton of repetitions with 3 v 2, 2 v 1, and 1 v 1 situations. And it is essential that they learn how to deal with the dilemma of being a man down until help arrives. Also, they will get to see all kinds of looks and combinations from the attackers—overlaps, takeovers, switches, thru runs—while having to go 1 v 1 with the dribbler at the same time. When this drill is run at top speed, it becomes incredibly game-like and valuable for the defenders.

*Note for the coaches: It takes a little while to get this drill set up and organized, and a few of the players may be a little confused at first about switching in and out of the Continue reading ‘3 v 2 Defending’ »

Different Diamond Passing Drill

Teaching players the technical skills of the game is the most important job of a coach who is working with young players. Finding new and creative ways to help the players groove passing technique is one of the more challenging things to do. The players need hundreds of repetitions of the correct technique before their muscles can repeat the motion accurately. There’s only so long that two players can stand across from each other and pass the ball back and forth before they’ll grow bored and loose focus. But if you move too quickly into competitive passing and possession games, which are fun and engaging, then the players won’t use the correct technique and they’ll end up repeating poor passes. Remember, practice doesn’t make perfect; practice makes permanent.

So new ways to present the same technical challenge becomes the objective. One of the variations I’ve used is from a session that I found in our, ‘Training Sessions of Europe’s Top Teams‘. It’s a session that Jan Prujin of Ajax F.C. Continue reading ‘Different Diamond Passing Drill’ »

Changing Your 4v4 Games

Small-sided games are an excellent way to give your players a lot of touches while retaining the core elements of the game. In my opinion the 4 v 4 format is the best of all. It has everything the full sided game has but it allows for a lot more touches and opportunities for each player to contribute to the game. There’s no where to hide in a 4 v 4 game.

Obviously, different methods of scoring drastically change way your players approach game. I like to challenge the players with different environments that challenge them to come up with solutions to the problems the game presents.

We have three different books that I look to for new ideas when it comes to small-sided games. One of them is ‘Coaching Soccer Champions‘. The author, Terry Michler, is the winningest high school coach in the country. He’s been the Head Coach Continue reading ‘Changing Your 4v4 Games’ »