Archive for the ‘Drills/Exercises’ Category.

Improving Possession Play

Getting our players to make runs off the ball is difficult if they don’t know where or how to run. Giving the players options to choose from will take some of the decision making out of the process.

I’ve started to teach my young players three different runs that create the foundation of our player movement. They are also somewhat progressive so that if one doesn’t create an option then they can move to the next one or the one after that before coming back to the first one again.

This concept is from David Goldstein’s Improving Your Team’s Possession Play.

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The three runs that this session focuses on are checking, drifting and Continue reading ‘Improving Possession Play’ »

Training Indoors for Outdoor Games

As the winter indoor season comes to an end coaches start to look at transitioning to the outdoor game while we’re still forced to do most of our training indoor. This is a challenge as they prepare for outdoor leagues and tournaments just around the corner.

I’m fortunate to train my teams on two basketball courts that are side by side. This allows us to start to spread things out a bit and get the players looking for longer passes in open space.

Here are a couple of games that I used last week to start the transition.

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After warming up and playing some 4 v 2 possession games we moved to Continue reading ‘Training Indoors for Outdoor Games’ »

Different Scoring Methods

Small-Sided games are a great training tool used by most coaches. Most of the small-sided games I see used require each team to score in the same way.

Games like the ones below from Coaching Soccer Through Small-Sided Games are used by coaches at every level, all around the world.

The standard small-sided game has two teams playing on a small field between two goals.

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This type of game will give each player more Continue reading ‘Different Scoring Methods’ »

Coaching Team Shape in the 4-3-3

We’ve recently released the third edition of our books on Coaching Team Shape. The first one covered the 3-3-1 for playing small-sided games. The second in the series looks at  the 4-2-3-1. This edition focuses on the 4-3-3 formation.

Coaching Team Shape in the 4-3-3 shows you how to give players the positional discipline they may be lacking with grid based training. Not only do grids force players to maintain team shape, but it also helps to improve their decision making, passing angles and gives them a deeper understanding of how to move the ball quickly up the pitch.

This excerpt of the book covers the movements of the central midfielders and striker.

Central Midfielders & Central Striker

The reason we will look at the central striker and the central midfield together is that the striker takes their position from the movement of the midfield. They should work by moving in a rotation to create angles for each other and cause headaches for the opposition. We will look at their movement depending on which area of the field the ball is in.

When the Defensive Midfielder has Possession Deep:
The most important factor for the 3 midfielders and CST is to work together and be a successful unit by rotating to constantly make diamonds with their movement and positioning. This gives passing options at different angles and depths to penetrate the opposition’s lines. The CST takes their position off the CM’s.

4.0 Continue reading ‘Coaching Team Shape in the 4-3-3’ »

Using a Tag Progression as a Warm-Up

This week I want to share a warm-up that I’ve used with every age group I coach. It’s a fun and dynamic game that can be used to prepare for many different types of sessions.

It’s based on a simple game of Tag. The first thing I do is have all of the players give me their ball and move into the penalty area. I give one player a scrimmage vest to hold with instructions to just play ‘Tag’. This is a game that every kid is familiar with and requires little or no explanation. THey know that the person holding the vest is it and they need to stay away from them while staying in the area. There will be players that start to ask questions and I usually just say, ‘Play Tag’.

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I have the ‘It’ player hold the vest so that they can hand it to the person they tag but I’ll show the ‘It’ player as a different color in the diagrams for clarity.

I ask all of the players to at least be jogging even if the ‘It’ player is not  chasing them. If there is not enough pressure on the players I will either make another player ‘It’ or limit the space to only half of the penalty area.

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Next, I’ll have the players each get a ball, including the ‘It’ player. They play the same game with the same rules but now they are each have to focus on controlling a ball. This makes it much harder for the players who are ‘It’. I emphasize that the best way to avoid being tagged is to change direction away from the pressure because you’ll be able to move faster than the ‘It’ player since you know where you’re going and they don’t.

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I increase the pressure on the dribblers by taking the ball away from the ‘It’ player. Now they try to touch the ball with their foot rather than tagging a player with their hand. This means that they dribblers are avoiding the pressure just as they would in the game. I encourage them to face pressure and beat the ‘It’ player if they can or turn and protect the ball by shielding it if the ‘It’ player is too close.

With less experienced players I will give them a move that they can do to make them immune from being tagged if they try it. This is great to use with moves or fakes that the players may have learned recently. They know they will be safe if they try it so there’s no fear of making a mistake. As they improve I’ll say that the ‘It’ player can catch them in the middle of the move but if they complete it they can’t be chased. That means that they have to perform the move early and explode away from pressure.

Another option is to require the ‘It’ player to ‘take’ the ball, not just touch it. This encourages the players to fight to keep the ball even if the defender touches it. It also forces the ‘It’ player to win the ball and not just poke it away.

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As a final progression I’ll designate two ‘It’ players to work together and try to win the ball and pass it to me. If they do this the ball is out of the game but the player who lost it stays in the area to help their teammates by showing for a pass if they are under pressure. I emphasize that they need to help players who are under pressure and not just pass the ball with a player when their is no defender around.

This naturally progresses from individual possession to a game of keepaway where you can talk about passing the ball to the player with the most space  and always moving it away from pressure.

Can you suggest any additions or changes that you would make to teach other techniques or tactics? Please share them in the comments section below.

Have a great day!

Tom

 

The Top Clubs in Europe Do this in Training ….Do You?

This week’s post comes to us from Bob Warming, the Head Men’s Coach of Penn State University. Warming ranks third among active NCAA Division I coaches with 441 wins. He has been voted Big 10 Coach of the Year for two out of the last three years.

Coach Warming has traveled the world examining the training methods of the top teams and coaches. The innovative training system he describes below is something that most of us don’t use and will certainly help take your team to the next level. 

First of all, don’t feel bad if you haven’t been doing this type training. And…if you are not doing this…don’t feel alone! In my experience, very little of this type training is being performed in American soccer training sessions. It’s not being taught in our coaching schools and yet it is prevalent throughout top teams in the world. If the academies and first teams at major clubs are doing this type training…shouldn’t we be doing this type training in the USA?

I believe that we can add an important component to our youth training in America. I have seen this training develop quicker feet, quicker minds, and a transformation on my own players about thinking, combining and playing in Triangles. I only wish my players had started doing these type exercises when they were younger! And that is the main reason for this article.

Since we began using this methodology as part of our training, we have Continue reading ‘The Top Clubs in Europe Do this in Training ….Do You?’ »

Combination Play Exercise

A large part of teaching combination plays is teaching timing. The challenge is that timing is developed through an understanding of the basic principles and then getting the number of repetitions necessary to get a feel for the timing.

It’s best to first teach the patterns of movement and basic principles of each combination play separately. The ones I focus on with young players are the give-and-go, overlap and layoff.

Once these have been learned and understood then I like to combine them into a pattern that allows for a lot of repetitions on both the left and the right side.

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This setup is one that can be used for many passing activities from Continue reading ‘Combination Play Exercise’ »

Running with the Ball

Everyone does dribbling exercises but you don’t see many coaches teaching their players to run with the ball. It might seem like this doesn’t have to be ‘taught’, players will just do it on their own. But their is a when, where and how to running with the ball.

This is an example of a session on running with the ball that was presented by John Shiels who was a coach with the  Manchester United Soccer Soccer. The session is part of our two book set, ‘Technical and Tactical Practices of the Pros

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Running with the Ball

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Play 5 v 2 with the objective of keeping possession.

Pass the ball around and look for good movement off the ball and good communication.

Can you split the defenders and pass through the middle, so taking out two players with one pass?

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Can you run the ball through the defenders?

Coaching Points
• Decision making
• Be positive
• Good first touch
• Accelerate through the middle

Emphasize points of either passing through defenders, or by your movement, encouraging defenders to come close to create space.

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Play two 5 v 2 games of keep-away. Organize the players to make X amount of passes. Once achieved, one player can run the ball across the middle area into zone B and start again.

Work as a team to get players to escape zone A.

Try to make a quick break. “A” zone players support escaping player by pushing up. “B” zone players support escape player by spreading and using space.

Escape players need to ensure they carry the ball at speed and be composed to make the right decision when entering zone B.

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Now introduce phase of play game. Play open game waiting for the ball to be fed into GK from wide player A. As the ball is caught by GK, midfield players move to clear area in front of the defense

Defenders spread the width of the field, with wide players prepared to receive, central players also ready to receive. As the ball comes from the GK’s left, they should bring the right back into action utilizing the entire width of the pitch.

The worst case scenario would be 4 v 3, but normally be 4 v 2. Fullbacks look to run the ball into space provided by midfield pushing on. Run with speed and keep head up as practiced in technique and skill sessions.

Coaching Points
• Work on running with the ball; teammates creating space for their own players
• Let players play and get the right attitude to run the ball into space
• Utilizing good technique – ball out of feet, balanced body, at speed, head up, awareness of options
• Let players gain confidence then talk about decision making when, where, how, why
• Keep asking open questions to assist the players’ understanding of the situation and develop their skill

Have a great day!

Tom

 

Training Movement in Futsal

In any sport, movement is the key to creating options. When players don’t move or move in easily predictable ways they become easy to defend. The fewer players that are involved in the game, the more important movement becomes. With only four field players, Futsal places a high demand on player movement to pull the defense out of position and create openings to attack.

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I attending the recent US Youth Futsal National Level 3 course in Gardner, KS. It was conducted by US Youth Futsal Technical Director Keith Tozer. The 20-hour course covered the basic techniques and Continue reading ‘Training Movement in Futsal’ »

Breaking Down the Technique of Shooting

A player’s shooting technique is a bit like a golfer’s swing; there is a generally accepted way to shoot a soccer ball but there are also individual differences that can exist without a negative effect on the final product.

Even though there we can accept individual difference, I think it’s important to give young players a template to work from. This session is designed to give a player the key points so that they check for breakdowns in these areas if they are not hitting the ball with the kind of power or accuracy they are looking for.

Volleys in Pairs

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I start with volleys and focus on Continue reading ‘Breaking Down the Technique of Shooting’ »