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’ »
Posts tagged ‘defending’
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’ »
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’ »
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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!
I think that much of our time as coaches is spent teaching all of the players the same thing. There is obviously a place for this at the younger ages when they just need to learn the basics. But in my opinion, as the player get to be 12 and 13 there is a place for position specific training.
Learning the roles and responsibilities of a particular position will allow the players to apply the technical skills that they’ve learned to the place on the field they will be playing. The options are different for a wide midfielder than they are for a center midfielder and the more comfortable we, as coaches, can Continue reading ‘Position Specific Training’ »
When many coaches create 1 v 1 environments for their team it’s limited to an attacker facing a defender who then tries to beat him to score. This certainly occurs during games but there are so many more scenarios that players need to learn how to deal with. This week I want to present ways to make the same old 1 v 1 exercise realistic to more scenerios that occur in a match.
A simple way to adjust the traditional 1 v 1 exercise is to change the position of the players and angle of the passes.
The angle gives the defender the opportunity to Continue reading ‘Game Realistic 1 v 1’s’ »
These 1 v 1 exercises are from our latest book by Tony Englund, ‘The Art of the Duel‘. Here’s what Anson Dorrance has to say about Englunds book:
‘I am thrilled to endorse Tony Englund’s new book on 1 v 1 play. The game in the United States continues to evolve at an astounding pace. American coaches now have easy access to coaching methodology and training curriculum that is world class in every sense, and our players are increasingly Continue reading ‘The Art of the Duel’ »
When we launched the WCC Video Library our first task was to get most of our DVD collection uploaded and included. Once that was complete (it’s almost done), all of our new stuff will be high quality Hi Def videos.
So I’m pleased to announce that we have now started uploading more Hi Def videos…AND we have tons more to upload regularly over the coming weeks and months.
For those of you that subscribe to the Video Library, you can see the new videos when you log in and just search for “Team Defending in Four Stages” by John Walker.
GOOD NEWS…If you don’t subscribe to the Video Library, you can see the the first video right here for free.
Check out our latest Hi Def video here…for FREE!
We recently asked coaches to submit their favorite defending drills and small-sided game. We picked one from all the entries as the winner and the coach received a $200 gift certificate to our site. The winner was Gabriel Celante for his Transitional Defending Game. Here’s a look at the game.
Transitional Defending Game
This Transitional Defending Game focuses on developing and practicing defending cooperation, defensive pressure, and specific decision making while defending. This small sided game also focuses on developing transition to Continue reading ‘Defending Small-Sided Games and Drills Competition’ »
One of the factors that always kept me from moving away from the 4-4-2 was a concern for how to cover the wide areas using a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1. Once I understood how to teach my players to recognize cues and cover for each other I saw how the systems could be used to teach players more about the game. Requiring them to make decisions is the best way for them to learn rather than just putting them in a formation that has strictly defined roles where they just, ‘do their job’.
Stevie Grieve’s latest book, Coaching the 4-2-3-1 Advanced Tactics, does a great job Continue reading ‘Defending on the Sides in the 4-2-3-1’ »