Archive for the ‘Soccer Drills’ Category.

Coaching Team Shape in the 4-2-3-1

One of the biggest challenges when coaching young players is getting them to stay in position. Time and again, you see them charging for the ball, before huddling around it in a clumsy effort to get a kick. Even senior players can succumb to over enthusiasm, creating huge gaps for the opposition to exploit and break through on goal.

Coaching Team Shape in the 4-2-3-1 provides a grid based training system that solves this problem. Firstly, it introduces your players to the key principles of keeping team shape before providing a progressive series of drills that improve their Continue reading ‘Coaching Team Shape in the 4-2-3-1’ »

A First Touch with a Purpose

The most important touch is a player’s first touch. If that touch is a positive touch away from pressure and in the direction that they want to play there is a much greater chance of keeping possession. When the first touch is poor, into pressure and away from support, the chances of losing the ball are much greater. If your player’s first touch is putting them into a tackle, it was a poor first touch.

The key to having a good first touch is giving that touch a purpose. Too often players are only concerned with Continue reading ‘A First Touch with a Purpose’ »

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

090914-1

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’ »

Teaching Build Up Play Progressively Part 1

I’ve written before about our club’s philosophy that encourages teams of all ages to play out of the back as often as possible. The key to implementing this with your team is to teach the players what visual cues to look for so that they can see patterns in the options that are available.

These are the exercises we’ve used to teach our young players how to build from the back.

Diamond Passing

DiamondPassing

This is a simple pass-follow-your-pass pattern but it’s an easy exercise that you can use to teach the players to create an angle for the passer, open their body to face both the passer and the player they will pass to, use their ‘back foot’ to control the ball toward their next pass and then pass to the next player.

There are multiple progressions to this basic pattern which also make it a good starting point.

4 v 1

4v1

Starting with a low level of pressure will give the players a chance to see their options clearly and also give them time to make the right pass.

The focus here is on creating the passing angles to support the player on the ball so that they always have a least two choices. If the defender takes away a pass to one side or the other the pass can still be made to the opposite side or through the middle to the far side.

4 v 2

4v2

Once the players can easily keep possession away from one defending it’s a natural progression to add a second defender. This limits the choices of the player on the ball. The defenders may be able to take away two of the passing options but if the support is good then there should always be a third option; a pass to the right, left or split.

4 v 4 + 3 Target to Target

4v4+3SplitGrid
This looks very similar to the players because the grid is divided into two zones. But the goal is to move the ball from the target on one end to the other.

4 v 4 + 3

4v4+3

By removing the separation this turns into a more open game but the players need to understand that to keep possession they must spread the field when they are in possession. At first it is helpful to give the players a certain quadrant to play in. This makes it easy to see where they should open up when their team gains possession and where they should pinch in when defending.

I end this session with a 6 v 6 game to see if the players can apply what they’ve been taught to a game.

In the next post we will build on the ideas taught in this practice and apply them to a formation in a match.

Have a great day!

Tom

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.

1

 

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.

 

2

 

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.

3

 

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.

4

 

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

W Passing Pattern

The use of shapes in passing patterns is very common. Most coaches will be familiar with diamond and square passing patterns. The Dutch are fond of ‘Y’ passing patterns. A pattern that I had not run across before, but transfers beautifully to game situations, is the ‘W’ pattern. I found it in The Complete Soccer Coaching Guide. This book by Chris Apple includes 76 complete training sessions. The one I’ve included below is a great example of the innovative coaching described in this book.

complete-coaching-guide-sidexside-500

 

W1

 W Passing
Groups of eight or more players, each pass is 12-15 yards away. Pass and follow, the last player receives and speed dribbles back to where the pattern started. Each player should be playing two touch, opening up with their first touch and using the same foot to play the pass.

W2

Progression 1
A plays B; B uses 2 touches to open up and play C and then supports C; C Lays off to B; B clips a ball in the air to E; E settles one touch for D who is close in support; D plays a 1-2 to return ball to E who speed dribbles to A.

W3

 Progression 2
A plays B; B used 2 touches to open up and play C; C half turns and plays E; E opens up and plays and 1-2 with D; E receives the 1-2 and speed dribbles Back to line A.

Small-Sided Possession
8 v 4 in a 25×20 yard playing space.
The team with eight plays one touch, the team with four have unlimited touches when they win it.
Play two min games counting passes; each person gets one chance being the 4-player team and two being on the 8-player team.
Coaching Focus is on the 8 players and their movement.

11 v 11 Tactical Work
We work on our 11 man shape playing vs a 3-5-2. Looking to exploit their outside backs and the space in the corners. Defensively making sure our weak side WMF and a FW tuck so that we are not out manned in the Center of Midfield.

Do you have other shapes that you use to in passing combinations?

Have a great day!

Tom

Training 2 v 1 Situations

Playing indoor soccer or Futsal during the winter provides a great opportunity to focus on teaching players how to break down defenses in 2 v 1 situations. This is an important tactical situation for players to understand and be familiar with because so much of the game can be broken down to 1 v 1 and 2 v 1 situations.

A book by David Goldstein, 2 v 1 Attacking Drills and Exercises , provides a tremendous amount of insight into the technical and tactical elements of combination play against one defender. It is very comprehensive; starting with basic principles and patterns before moving on to exercises and small-sided games. Here’s a short excerpt as an example.

2v1_Attacking_Drills-cover-500

False Double Pass Dribbling Option from Diagonal Pass

What is illustrated is a possible solution for an attacker when the defender, labeled C, makes a recovery run by tracking attacker B which in turn blocks the passing lane. The attacker B receives the ball in Square A from attacker A. The pass is numbered 1. In Square A1 attacker B passes off the ball diagonally, numbered 1and attacker A steps forward to receive the pass with a run numbered 1.

In Square A2 attacker B spins around the defender C in an attempt to get the ball back behind the defense. This run is numbered with a 1. Defender C however, starts making an effective recovery run which disrupts the ability of attacker A to return the pass to attacker B. In Square A3 where the pass should be sent forward defender C’s good recovery run and closing of the passing lane prevents the pass from occurring. The attacker A, now in possession of the ball, does not have a workable Double Pass Pattern anymore.

One of the best options for the attacker with the ball is to dribble into and across the area where attacker B’s run pulled defender C out of the space with the run. This solution is shown in Square A3 and attacker A’s dribble is numbered 1. There are a myriad of possible solutions but this is an effective one because it exploits the space that the defender had to surrender to achieve the blocking of the passing lane.

Diagonal Wall Passing

This use of wall passing is not often pointed out, taught or practiced with players. The left half of the above soccer field is Diagram 14 A and the right half is Diagram 14 B.  I hope that I made this clear enough that if you just walk through it slowly all the lines should come clear.

The reader can see in Diagram 14 A, page 54, the attacker, labeled A, use attackers B and C to create wall passes diagonally across the field. Attacker A uses a Low Wall Pass Pattern with attacker B and a Curved Run with attacker C to get into a scoring position behind the defense.

Attacker A sends a pass numbered 1 to attacker B. Attacker A then makes a run past the defender.  The run is numbered with a 2 which allows the pass back from attacker B. The return pass is also numbered 2 because the pass and the run are essentially simultaneous. Attacker A then passes the ball to attacker C with a pass numbered 3. While attacker C holds the ball in a shielded position attacker A makes a Curved Run around attacker C. The run by attacker A is numbered with a 4. Attacker C then plays off the ball with a pass numbered 5 for attacker A to shoot at goal which is numbered 6. This attack is done across the field in an East to West motion and not in the more traditional North to South manner of penetrating a defense and attacking the goal.

In the right half of field the reader can see Diagram 14 B, page 54. Another East to West attack is demonstrated using 2 versus 1patterns to penetrate the defense. Attacker A uses attackers B and C to cut diagonally across the field. The first pattern that A and B use is a High Wall Pass followed by a more traditional Wall Pass that combines attacker A and C which leaves attacker A with the ball in a position to pass the ball behind the defense to attacker D who shoots the ball at goal.

Attacker A starts the sequence by dribbling at the first defender; the dribble is numbered with a 1, and then passes the ball to player B to combine for a High Wall Pass. The pass to attacker B is numbered with a 2. The return pass by attacker B is numbered 3 as is the run by attacker A past the defender. Attacker A then passes the ball to attacker C to start a wall pass. This pass is numbered with a 4 and the run by attacker A to get behind the next defender is also numbered with a 4. Attacker C sends a penetrating pass back to attacker A, who receives it behind the defense. This pass is numbered with a 5. The attacker A is now in a position to cross the ball to attacker D who is making a run towards attacker A in front of the goal mouth. Both the cross by attacker A and the run by attacker D are numbered 6. The shot on goal is numbered with a 7.

Three Grid Game: Set-Up

This shows the organization for the start of the Three Grid exercise. Each group has a goal keeper, two defenders in the grid next to their goal keeper, one midfielder in the middle grid and one attacker in the grid where they can score. The exercise requires four field players for each team and a goal keeper for each team. The black team defenders are lettered B and A. The black midfielder is lettered with a C. And the attacker for the black team is lettered with a D. The white defenders are lettered E and F. The midfielder for the white team is lettered with a G and the attacker for the white team is labeled H.  Goal Keepers are stationed on both ends.

Teaching players to recognize and deal effectively with 2 v 1 situations during the indoor season will transfer very easily to the outdoor game in the spring. If they can see the ‘pictures’ in a 5 v 5 game they can look for the same cues when the game is 11 v 11.

Have a great day,

Tom

Training Sessions for the 4-3-3

One of our latest books has generated a lot of interesting. Both the hard copy and the eBook version of ‘Training Sessions for the 4-3-3‘ have been a very popular choice of coaches visiting CoachingSoccerTactics.com. The book is a guide that provides exercises, drills and small-sided games that teach players how to perform the roles and responsibilities of each position in a 4-3-3 formation.

Continue reading ‘Training Sessions for the 4-3-3’ »

Teaching Three Runs to Create Options

This is one of those sessions that I read or saw another coach present but I can’t recall where. I wish I could give the coach credit because I’ve found it to be a very useful session 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 ‘Teaching Three Runs to Create Options’ »

Three Line Shooting

I usually end each session with a shooting exercise that incorporates aspects of the practice theme. One of the formats I often us is a simple three line set-up. I like this because you can do a wide variety of things from these basic starting position. The players are comfortable because we use this set-up often but I can make adjustments to place the emphasis where I want it.

I started using this as a regular part of my practices after Continue reading ‘Three Line Shooting’ »