With more and more turf soccer fields being installed around the country an increasing number of coaches are training their teams outdoor during the winter months. This provides a great opportunity to continue to focus on playing ‘Real Soccer’ when we used to be limited to practicing and playing small indoor versions of the game.
The challenge is that while the surface allows us to train outside we are often still dealing with cold temperatures. This makes it difficult for the players to focus if we use these sessions to try to teach too much. I’ve found that they get the most out of the session if we have a very active warm-up, like the one I described in last week’s post, followed by a series of small-sided games focused on a particular topic. This allows me to reinforce the key points of the chosen technical or tactical subject while keeping all of the players active and engaged.
This is also an extremely easy session to motivate the players for because it’s fun. I also add to the competitive atmosphere by having consequences attached to the results. It may be as simple as having the losing team put the equipment away or fitness based where the winning team has to complete one repetition of a fitness activity but the losing team has to complete four reps.
The small-sided games that you can use for this type of session are limitless but I like to put the players into some new training environments so I look for games that we didn’t play in the last outdoor season. My favorite resource for innovative small-sided games is is Brazilian Training Games.
The book contains more than 100 small-sided games. There are some very unique and interesting games that will be different from any games you’ve used before. Here are a couple of examples.
Organization: 4v4 to 9v9
Description: A regular game is played without vests. All players wear a swimming cap. Female players can wear head bends instead of swimming cap.
– Heads up/better vision
Equipment: Ball, discs, cones, swimming caps.
Vests with Numbers
Organization: 6v6 to 10v10
Description: Game is played will all players wearing vests with numbers on. All rules will be determined by the numbers.
Examples: #1 to # 4 play 2 touches , the rest are free (unrestricted)
– Just # 5 to # 8 can score, the rest must assist
– Even numbers play weak foot rule and odd numbers are free
– Speed of thought
– Cognitive development
Equipment: Ball, discs, vests with numbers
Organization: 2 teams of 4v4 to 8v8 + goalies
Description: Game played with 3 different colors ball. Each color means the number of touches on the ball.
Ex: white = 1 touch, black = 2 touches and gray= free touches
– Speed of thought
Equipment: discs and balls with different colors
Your options for small-sided games are limited by your experience so I would suggest searching out new ideas like those in Brazilian Training Games.
If you have an interesting format for a small-sided game please share it with other coaches by describing it in the comments section below.
Have a great day!