Archive for the ‘Practice’ Category.

Recovering After a Tournament Weekend

The end of the year includes the most important tournaments of the year. We played one over Memorial Day weekend and our State Cup competition begins on the following Friday. I usually plan to train for an hour one each of the days in between the tournament and State Cup.

The first session is purely for recovery. I want the players to get together get warmed up and go through a couple of easy, non contact exercises and fun games to get players loose and rejuvenated after having played four games over the long weekend. The tournament was an Continue reading ‘Recovering After a Tournament Weekend’ »

Gaining Possession

This is a training session that I’ve often used to work receiving. I’ll return to it once a month or so. Sometimes I’ll repeat the session once a week (with variations) for three weeks to focus the players on these skills.

Juggling
I begin with a juggling warm-up. It begins with free juggling and progresses to include some form of limitation depending on the level of the players.

Progressions

  • One juggle and catch – for players having trouble with the technique of juggling
  • Progressive Juggling – One and catch, two and catch, three and catch, etc.
  • Right Foot, Left Foot continuous pattern

 


Throw, Receive and Dribble Away
The players each have a ball in their hands. They jog around the area, throw the ball slightly Continue reading ‘Gaining Possession’ »

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’ »

Dutch Up, Back and Through to Finish

Some  coaches may consider pattern play to be limiting. They say, ‘I don’t want my players to be robots that just pass and move in the patterns that I’ve taught them.’ I can understand this and I agree with it but where are our players supposed to get their creative ideas from?

We want our players to combine and be creative in attack but our challenge in the United States is that most of our players don’t watch the being played at the highest level every week. They don’t see the intricate patterns and movement of Barcelona  or the timing and runs of Manchester United’s Sergio Aguero’s. When it comes time for them to play they don’t have pictures or patterns to emulate. If we want our players to be creative we have to give them a framework to start with.

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Coaching Soccer Champions by Terry Michler, has some great patterns that build off of very simple foundations. You can add layers to them as the player become more comfortable with the basic set up. Here are a few examples:

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Up – back – deep – and go to goal in a half field area or less
This is the first of 12 progressions with the same starting action.
The back plays up to the midfielder and gets the ball back. He then plays a deep ball to the striker who dribbles to goal and shoots.

Coaching Points

  • Good sequence between the back and midfielder with crisp passing.
  • The midfielder should check and come back to the ball and lay it off to the back — in 1 touch.
  • The back then plays deep to the striker who receives ball and advances it to goal for a shot. Strikers should focus on scoring with every shot !

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Now when the striker advances to goal, the player must avoid the obstacle and then finish with goal-scoring attempt.

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Up – back – deep – give and go – and then shoot

The midfielder, after laying the ball off to the back, will turn and play a give and go with the striker.  The striker should shoot first time.  Encourage quick, crisp passes in the give and go sequence and the midfielder should be close to the striker.

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Progression

Place 1 obstacle for the give and go sequence and the other for the striker before shooting.  This will more closely resemble actual game play.  Ball control is essential as the play is now at speed and around fixed obstacles.

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Here’s the last pattern in the progression just to give you an idea of how the complexity can be increased as the players become familiar with the patterns.

Do you agree with me that teach patterns gives the players ideas and enhances creativity or do you feel that we are better off allowing the players to find combinations of their own?

Have a great day!

Tom

 

 

Technical Passing Practices Using Different Shapes

Once we’ve taught players the proper technical components of passing (foot next to the ball, toes out and up, ankle locked, pass through the middle of the ball) then the natural progression is to have the players pass and move in a pattern in order to accommodate team of players and to replicate the shapes found inside of the game.

The most widely used shape is probably the classic ‘Dutch Square’

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Continue reading ‘Technical Passing Practices Using Different Shapes’ »

From Futsal to Soccer

Rather than standing in lines and running around cones, it’s through playing futsal that many elite level players, particularly in Brazil and Spain, developed their silky ball skills, smooth passing and lightning quick decision making. Players love small sided games, and the benefits are obvious. Players get more time on the ball, more touches and the intense nature of futsal puts them under more pressure to be perform. It’s a wonder it’s taken so long for coaches to realize the benefits of harnessing futsal in their training programs.

From-Futsal-to-Soccer-sidexside-500 Continue reading ‘From Futsal to Soccer’ »

Teaching Build Up Play Progressively Part 2

This session builds on the one I described in last week’s post. The focus of this session on taking the shapes and patterns that were taught in the last session and making them more function.

This is a session I did with my U9 team. In our area we play 6 v 6 at this age so that’s how we set up the game related patterns.

2 v 2 + 3

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This is really a 5 v 2 game at it’s heart. The idea is to Continue reading ‘Teaching Build Up Play Progressively Part 2’ »

Tell Them or Ask Them?

I recently came across a blog post that touched on a topic that I wrote about a number of years ago. The difference between ‘telling’ a player what to do and ‘asking’ them what they should do is the difference between the player making the right choice once and the player understanding why it’s the right choice.

Here is a link to the post. I would credit the author but I couldn’t find their information on the site.

Each weekend I coach five or six games. Because I Continue reading ‘Tell Them or Ask Them?’ »

Build Up Play Through Quick Passing

This weeks posts is from the May edition of WORLD CLASS COACHING magazine that is available exclusively to Member Drills Database subscribers.

The training session was contributed by Kevin Thelwell who is the Head of Football Development and Recruitment for Wolverhampton Wanderers. Reed has been working with professional clubs for more than 13 years. He has earned a UEFA A License and is working toward his UEFA Pro License.

This session is specifically about build up play and providing players with the opportunity to understand specific patterns of play in keeping with the playing style of our club.

We believe it is fundamental that players understand their roles and responsibilities when we are in possession of the ball and are clear on how to progress the ball quickly and securely from one area of the pitch to another.

These activities combine the practice of both core technical skills and tactical understanding to support our players in refining these abilities.

Why is it important to practice this?
In the modern game it is no secret that the most successful teams are those that maintain good possession of the ball and limit the number of turnovers of the ball to the opposition. On this basis it is vital that our teams use the ball well when in possession and are clear about how they wish to play.

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Building from the Back to Score

Set-Up
Two attackers and two defenders are positioned in front of each goal. Two neutral midfielders are between these to groups of players. The remaining players serve as neutral wingers on the outside of the playing area. Two lines of cones running along the width of the 18 yard box through to the half way line.

The neutral contact midfield players build the attack and always play for the team in possession. The two neutral wide players are positioned in each corner of the pitch to support attacking movements.

To begin, a goalkeeper serves a ball to either wide player to start an attack. For each attack both wide players (left and right) are involved and support the progression of the ball by moving with the attack of the team, finishing at the opposite end of the practice.

The forwards for both teams are passive defensively and participate only when their team is attacking. All defenders are ‘live’ at all times.

The attacking team plays until a goal is scored, the ball goes out of bounds or the goalkeeper gains possession. A new attack by the opposition beginning with their keeper serving to a wider player (as previous) attacks the goal at the opposite end of the field.

What do I get the player to do?
The players have the opportunity to practice and work on several patterns of play that are important to our playing philosophy when we are in possession of the ball (see next diagram).

It is important to focus on key technical aspects including quality and tempo of passing, body position to receive and movements to receive the ball. However there is also a strong tactical emphasis to develop understanding between players around specific patterns of play.

GK serves into a wide area, Defenders drop into supporting positions. The ball is switch via a neutral central player and both defenders to the opposite wide player.

  • On this occasion the neutral central on the side of the ball drops deep to receive from the wide player. This player combines with central players to switch play.
  • The forward on the side of the ball drops deeper ‘in between the units’ to create a three in midfield. He combines with central players to switch play.
  • Nearest central player runs forward creating spaces for central player 2 to receive the ball and switch play.

What are the key things to look for?
Timing of movements to receive the ball are very important especially as they must be coordinated with other players.
Passing must also be of a high standard with the ball circulated quickly and securely.

 

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How do I develop the Session?
Allow forward players to become active at all times thus pressurizing all players in possession, creating a 8 v 4 overload.
Add in opposing central midfielders creating 2v2 in central midfield, thus an 8 v 6 overload.
Ensure players handle the ball under pressure by conditioning the practice so that they cannot pass directly back to a ‘neutral’ wide player they received the ball from.

Progression
11 v 6 Overloaded Using Three-Quaters of the Pitch
The goalkeeper serves to any player in the back four who transfer the ball quickly using the patterns focused on in the previous practice.

Overloads can now be created in wide areas via a quick switch of play including wide players coming inside the pitch with full backs overlapping.

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Build towards an 11 v 11 practice by positioning four attackers on the goal line of the attacking team. If possession is lost then these players can now enter play and a counter attack can be launched.

Once the counterattack is complete, these four players leave the pitch and return to their starting positions with the team of 11 players having another opportunity to build up play.

We find that this is an important practice in teaching our young players about maintaining possession of the ball and prioritising how to pass the ball securely.

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Build towards an 11 v 11 practice by positioning four attackers on the goal line of the attacking team. If possession is lost then these players can now enter play and a counter attack can be launched.

Once the counterattack is complete, these four players leave the pitch and return to their starting positions with the team of 11 players having another opportunity to build up play.

We find that this is an important practice in teaching our young players about maintaining possession of the ball and prioritizing how to pass the ball securely.

You can see hundreds of other sessions like this in the Member Drills Database. Right now you can get more than $370 in eBooks and Videos along with access to the Member Drills Database with our Ultimate Soccer Coaching Collection.

Have a great day!

Tom

Keeping Sessions Fresh During the Winter

With our harsh Midwest winters we are forced to do most of our training indoor. This usually means training in school gymnasiums. They vary in size but most are much smaller than the spaces we use outdoor and severely limit what training topics can be covered.

We do a lot of technical dribbling and passing work during this time because the players get a lot of touches, the sessions are easily scaled to the number of players at training and small spaces actually help to increase the pressure on the players. It requires them to keep closer control and be more aware of open space.

While these sessions are great for technical development, they are Continue reading ‘Keeping Sessions Fresh During the Winter’ »