Archive for the ‘Drills/Exercises’ Category.

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.

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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’ »

1 v 1 Continuous Game

I recently did a podcast episode on 1 v 1 Training For Every Situation on CoachingSoccerWeekly.com. One of the games I use a lot is a continuous game. The players love it because it is fast paced and fun.

I like it because the players have to transition quickly between attack and defense. There is also an emphasis on quick attacking that I’ve seen transfer well into match situations.

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The attacker must get the ball into the Continue reading ‘1 v 1 Continuous Game’ »

Continuous Goal Scoring Progression

As the year progresses I like to add more functional activities to replace purely technical exercises. Not only do the players enjoy activities that are game related more I’ve also seen a greater transfer of training when I use them.

I prefer drills, exercises and games that are progressive; moving from low pressure to full pressure. They allow the player to have initial success but then be challenged by the ever increase pressure of Continue reading ‘Continuous Goal Scoring Progression’ »

Competitive Shooting Activity

When WORLD CLASS COACHING conducted a tour of Dutch club a few years ago I was fortunate enough to attend. While visiting the Ajax Academy I watched a session presented by Robin Pronk, coach of the U17 Boys Academy team. The focus of his session was on passing combinations but after going through a number of progressions that lead to a small-sided game the team then moved to a series of shooting competitions.

Shooting Game
The teams from the 7 v 7 scrimmage are used for this Continue reading ‘Competitive Shooting Activity’ »

Teaching Individual 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.

This point was driven home to me last weekend as my teams played their first games of the new season. We had worked on all of the attacking skills but spent no time learning how to defend correctly. There are so many topics to cover that you just can’t do it all in two weeks of training sessions before the first game. So this week Continue reading ‘Teaching Individual Defending’ »

Relating Diamond Drills to the Game

I use diamond passing drills as often as possible in my sessions because of how closely they resemble the shape of the game. They relate to every age and and every level of the game.

They are the most powerful when you’re able to connect the passing movements in the drill with the movements on the field in a game situation.

This progression of exercises increase in complexity and finishes by putting the patterns on a field using the formation the team will be using in the game.

Diamond Drill – Passing & Turning
In the following diagrams, five players are lined up in a diamond formation 20 yards apart. Each drill begins with X1 starting with the ball.
• X1 begins by passing to X2 and follows the pass
• X2 moves away, first to create space in front, and then checks back
• X2 turns with the ball around the OUTSIDE of the cone
• X2 then passes to X3, and follows the pass
• X3 moves away and then checks in
• Repeat sequence

Diamond Drill Passing &Turning – Variation
Players must now Continue reading ‘Relating Diamond Drills to the Game’ »

Five Goal Warm-Up Game

Lately I’ve begun many of my training sessions with a game. Not necessarily as a Whole – Part – Whole practice progression but just as a way to engage the players from the start and get them energized and excited to at training.

This is a game that I’ve used as a warm-up and in the main part of the session. I like it because of how many different things you can coach depending on your focus. As with most small-sided games, the kids really enjoy playing it so they get a lot out of it.

Here is how the field is set up:

The size of the field and goals can vary based on the Continue reading ‘Five Goal Warm-Up Game’ »