Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Developing a Striker

Scoring goals is often a priority for clubs at all levels, and goals win matches. The position of a striker is often sought after and often the position clubs look to buy when coming to a transfer window. Often at most levels from grassroots to professional if a club has a goalscorer then the worries of relegation are often avoided and  clubs can offer safety for clubs, or even better, for example in the Premier League, the current top 3 goal scorers in the league are Van Persie (24), Suarez (23) and Bale (18), whose each respective clubs are in the top half of the table and without their goals would be in a different league position all together. A lower league example would be Tom Pope at Port Vale who has 31 goals this season, helping Port Vale to second place with a goal difference of +35.

To develop a good striker, like most positions, they need to meet certain requirements, and if these requirements are developed at a younger age, the chances of them being good players at a later date are higher. These attributes include:

Physical: Speed                          Mental: Anticipation                    Technical: Finishing
              Agility                                      Vision                                             Touch
              Strength                                   Awareness                                      Hold up and Link up play
              Movement                               Passion                                            Pressure defenders



Note: This post does not encourage coaches to allocate specific positions to youth players, all players should be coached to play a variety of positions for stronger development.

The following are sessions aiming to develop the standard of strikers.

Coaching Points:
  • Movement off the ball, where does the player move in relation to the ball, defenders and space?
  • Use of the body to hold up the ball and keep possession (long and thin shielding)
  • Anticipate crosses, passes and following up on other shots
  • Players must WANT the ball, get to the ball before all over players
  • Finishing from different areas all over the pitch
  • Being able to finish on a different amount of touches
  • Spatial awareness of what is around the player, where the player is in relation to the ball, defenders and space
  • Using speed, agility and strength to benefit the player
  • Good first touch
  • Using a variety of techniques to shoot (Lace it or Place it)
Session 1 (Channel Finishing)



Explanation: This session aims to develop the ability for a striker to receive the ball and finish, creating channels allow the players to work in groups to provide more opportunity. In the channels players are provided with different options that strikers would experience during a game.

1. Receiving the ball on the back foot, beating a defender (Cone or Player) and finishing.
2. Player dribbles out takes on the defender and finishes.
3. Player receives the ball from the defender, defender then applies pressure on the player from behind.

Session 2 ('Y' Receiving and Shooting Facing The Goal)


Explanation: Two 'Y' shapes made up of cones and mannequins are mirrored across the pitch with two goals along one line. The pass is player into the central mannequin before turning and passing to one of the wide mannequins to the player who will approach the goal and finish. Players must follow their pass, once the right hand side has been worked, the next receiving player will then play to the left and keep taking it in turns between each side, this allows the session to flow more and create more opportunities.

Work on the players movements off the mannequin:
1. Running around the blindside of the mannequin
2. Running across the path of the mannequin


Progression 1 ('Y' Receiving and Shooting With Back To Goal)



Explanation: Players set up in a similar design, however this time players are receiving the ball with their back to the goals. Again, movements can differ related to realistic in game movements.

1. Player peels off and makes movement from the blindside of the mannequin with the pass played behind the mannequin.
2. Player pulls away from the mannequin receiving the ball to feet and takes a touch into the space behind the defender.
3. Player drops off into space, receives the ball to allow a dribbling approach towards the defender before taking on the mannequin and taking a shot.

Session 3 (Shooting and Crossing)


Explanation: Players are split into three lines and complete their shot or cross and then move round in an anti clockwise direction. 

1. Player dribbles up to the cone takes a touch around the cone and shoots.
2. Player takes one touch out of their feet and shoots
3. Players 1 and 2 make run around the cone and Player 3 crosses the ball into the box for the two players to attack

There are a variety of progressions that can be included using this set up. Be creative but make it realistic.

Session 4 (Crossing and Finishing From Different Areas)



Explanation: This session works on the delivery of wide players from 3 different areas where players might experience crossing in a game. The session works on the delivery from the wide players into the second 6 yard box marked out, and also works on the runs from players into the second 6 yard box followed by their ability to finish.

Session 5 (Playing through the back line)


Explanation: 4 players set up as a defensive back line on the edge of the area, inside the area created on the outside of the 18 yard box are the four attacking players, the coach or feeder passes the ball into an attacking player, on their first touch the defense then step into the area to win to ball back, the attacking team are to penetrate the back line and score in the goal, they can do this by dribbling or passing. If the defense win the ball they are to get the ball back to the coach or feeder for a point.

Overall Points: 
  • Give every player an equal chance to play as an attacker, especially at younger ages
  • All coaching points stated at the top are suitable for each of these drills
  • Encourage success


All sessions are designed using the resources from www.AcademySoccerCoach.co.uk







Friday, 29 March 2013

Playing with your head up (Spatial Awareness)

Spatial awareness and vision are vital attributes for a successful footballer, sometimes it can be the difference between a good and a great player. Technique is often prioritized by a coached with these mental attributes overlooked. Very rarely you find a young player who naturally plays with their head up, but it can, and needs to be coached into the players who don't do it. Many things can be coached into players, and spatial awareness and vision are two of them, take learning to drive for example, when you are taught so much into checking your mirrors it becomes a habit, and habits can be taught into football players just the same. If spatial awareness and vision are coached into children early enough, it becomes 'wired' in the brain and becomes natural.

Spatial awareness doesn't just require good eye sight in a forward view, it is being able to capture a 360 degree picture around you using all the different senses. Many call this multi tasking, but in my opinion multi tasking isn't possible due to the different mechanisms in the brain that don't make multi tasking possible, instead I believe it to be able to focus and re-focus on specific stimuli at different stages in a quick duration. 

I believe that the key to coaching spatial awareness is for the players to keep watching. Sometimes give players a minute to observe from your position to see what they notice other players are doing (Visual learning). Players should always be aware of the options before they receive the ball, tell players to ask themselves (What would I do if I got the ball now). Checking the shoulders before receiving the ball is vital. 

"LITTLE AND OFTEN CREATES HABITS."

The following are sessions and games which can be used to develop these attributes in players.

Age: 6+
Technical
Learning Objectives:

  • Play with the head up
  • Raise awareness when focusing and re-focusing on defenders, ball, space, options
  • Technique of the pass (execution and decision)
  • Communication between supporting players and players with the ball
  • Creating the best possible options
  • Creating triangles of attack around an isolated defender to create superiority
  • Playing out of high pressure zones
  • Awareness of the options available using the different senses
Session 1 - Three colour possession


In this example, cones have been set up in a 4-3-3 formation to replicate an opposition's system on a smaller scale, during the session this then allows the players to have an idea of the required options and passes. The cones force the players to subconsciously create angles and move into space to receive the ball, forcing the players into a better position. Make the players aware of which specific pass would relate to the position in a game, for example, a player dropping into the middle to receive a pass from a defender would indicate a central midfielder dropping into the space.


Explanation: 
Three teams split into three different colours start of by passing three footballs around the area to any colour, avoiding the cones whilst keeping it in the area. Starting off with passing to any colour, however session is adaptable and different conditions can be applied. Including:
  • Pass to any colour
  • Pass to own colour
  • Pass to opposite colour
  • Pass in silence (Using body language as a tool for communication)
Coaching Points: 
  • Can players create an angle by moving away from a cone?
  • Can players create more than one option on the ball? (Forwards, Backwards, Sideways)
  • Can players drop into space to receive the ball?
  • Coach players to play with their head up
  • Play away from the other footballs (Indicating playing out of high pressure zones)
  • Verbal and Visual communication
  • Can players quickly progress to the next option? (Checking the shoulder before receiving the ball to give an idea of where the player will take the ball next)
  • Creating triangles around a cone 
 

Progression 2


Explanation: 
Progression 2 allows players to now only keep their own football among their own team. Restricting the amounts of options it allows the players to specifically focus on the one ball (slightly more realistic). Players must look to keep control of their ball and always look to have two options at all times, this placing more pressure on the supporting players to always move and move into a good space, to create and good angle, therefore creating a good option.

Coaching Points:

  • Can players create an angle by moving away from a cone?
  • Can players create more than one option on the ball? (Forwards, Backwards, Sideways)
  • Can players drop into space to receive the ball?
  • Coach players to play with their head up
  • Play away from the other footballs (Indicating playing out of high pressure zones)
  • Verbal and Visual communication
  • Can players quickly progress to the next option? (Checking the shoulder before receiving the ball to give an idea of where the player will take the ball next)
  • Creating triangles around a cone 
  • Always moving
(Progression could include removing cones and creating a keep ball session)


Session 2 - Inside-Out Keep Ball


Explanation:
Session can be set up in any shape (this example is in a square). Split into two teams wit four players of each colour on the outside (8) and four of each colour on the inside (8). Players in the middle keep possession and look to play to someone on the outside, these two players then swap roles, player on the inside moves to the outside and on the first touch the player on the outside joins the inside before trying to keep the ball and play out to another player.

(Session can be simplified to start with by giving each team 1 ball, and creating a passive environment until players are aware of the session)

Coaching Points:

  • Awareness of options
  • When to play inside and when to play outside
  • Good first touch from the players on the outside (into space, away from defenders)
  • Are players aware of the different options available?
  • Are players always creating space, angles and options?
  • Playing out of high pressure zones
  • Pass and move
  • Don't stand still

Overall Points:
  • Allow VAK learning (Visual, Audio, Kinaesthetic)
  • Allow players to individually spend a minute each watching the game from the side to give a third person view
  • Relate the game to professional players, positions, so that they are aware of the different roles
  • Keep players moving, players must want the ball for the session to be successful
  • Sometimes use these sessions as a warm up, LITTLE and OFTEN creates HABITS.

All sessions are designed using resources from www.AcademySoccerCoach.co.uk



Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Switching play (Playing away from pressure)

Switching play has more to it than playing an aesthetically pleasing 30 yard 'Hollywood' pass across the pitch to a friend. Everyone is guilty of it, sometimes it works well, but sometimes there are better options and switching play can be done in a more subtle manner with smaller, accurate passes. 

Switching play comes with many different reasons:
  • Switching the point of the attack
  • Playing out of high pressure zones
  • Exploiting space on the opposite side of the pitch
  • Keep the opposition moving to create space in behind the opposition
The purpose of this session is to develop the ability and knowledge of switching play to players giving them an awareness of the different reasons of switching play, how to switch play and when to switch play.

Age: 8+
Technical
Learning Objectives:
  • Create an understanding of switching play
  • Raise awareness on why, how and when to switch play
  • Create an awareness of pressure zones
  • Correct passing decision and execution
  • Comfort when in possession of the ball
  • Creating angles to receive the ball
  • Covering all supporting areas (Forwards,Sideways,Backwards) 
5 v 2


Explanation: Two equal teams work against each other to score points by getting the ball through one of the two side gates placed on the halfway line. A 5 vs 2 is always created with the numbers being in favor of the team in possession. Two defenders look to hunt the ball down whilst the spare three players act as targets, one in each goal and one at the far cone known as the 'restart cone'. Possession changes hands in two ways; if the current team in possession scores or if the defending players win the ball. The new team in possession can't score until the ball has been recycled to the 'restart cone', once the player at the restart cone receives the ball play can restart with the new team in possession.

As soon as possession restarts with the new team, roles reverse and the original two defenders drop back in to provide attacking options, and the previously attacking team provide the two defenders and three targets. 

The session places an emphasis on being able to play the ball out of the area of pressure from defenders to a wide option in space. 

Note: 2 defenders means lots of success for the attacking team, to increase difficulty introduce another defender or introduce a minimum pass count before scoring. 

Coaching Points:
  • Can the attacking team play out of the pressure zone?
  • Can players provide options by moving into space?
  • Are players providing options on the ball to help retain possession?
  • Coach the decision on when to go for goal or when to keep the ball.
  • Correct pass decision and execution
  • Keep the ball moving
  • Exploiting the space at speed
Progression 1 (All in)



Explanation: The first progression allows all players to play anywhere, but to score a goal players must still either dribble or pass to a receiving player through the goal. Once scored, the team in possession can keep possession but can't score another goal until the ball is passed to a receiving player at the 'restart point'. Teams can play in either direction but must play to the 'restart point' before attacking the next direction.

Coaching Points: 

  • Can the attacking team play out of the pressure zone?
  • Can players provide options by moving into space?
  • Are players providing options on the ball to help retain possession?
  • Coach the decision on when to go for goal or when to keep the ball.
  • Correct pass decision and execution
  • Providing an option forwards, sideways and backwards.
  • Keep the ball moving
  • Exploiting the space at speed

 Progression 2 (Goals)


Explanation: The last progression introduces goals instead of restart points. Before scoring in the main goals, players must look to play through a gate/side goal before they can score. Placing an emphasis on being able to switch to the gate which is unmarked allows players to understand how to pull into the space and spread out. 

Coaching Points: 
  • Can the attacking team play out of the pressure zone?
  • Can players provide options by moving into space?
  • Are players providing options on the ball to help retain possession?
  • Coach the decision on when to go for goal or when to keep the ball.
  • Correct pass decision and execution
  • Providing an option forwards, sideways and backwards.
  • Keep the ball moving
  • Exploiting the space at speed
Further Notes:

  • Increase or decrease difficulty by adding or removing defenders and giving or removing minimum touches.
  • Can be easily adapted depending on the amount of players available
  • Use goalkeepers as fixed targets at the 'target cones'

All sessions are designed using the resources from www.AcademySoccerCoach.co.uk






Thursday, 28 February 2013

Possession Session

The purpose of this session is to encourage and develop the ability for players to keep possession of the ball. 

Warning: Unlike the majority of possession based topics that claim to, this session will not make you play like Barcelona. It is merely a session that will look to develop comfort with the ball when in possession.

Age: 8 +
Technical
Learning Objectives:

  • Create an understanding of when and how to keep possession of the ball
  • Secondary focus on the technique of passing and receiving
  • Encourage positive decision making and correct decisions 
  • Develop movement off the ball to create options, angles and space for the best mode of transport with the ball (Pass or Dribble)
  • Comfort when in possession of the ball
  • Playing into low pressure zones

Explanation: Players are equally split into three colored teams, in this case, Blue, Red and Yellow, but any colours can be used. Players start by passing to any colour looking to gain comfort with their touch, pass and movement. Look to encourage players to keep moving and play quickly providing many options. 

Coaching Points
  • Technique when passing and receiving
  • Body position when receiving the ball
  • Creating options, space and angles
  • Encourage a good first touch suitable to the circumstance (into space, back foot, front foot)

Progression 1


Explanation: With one ball between each team, players can now only pass to a player of the same colour, restricting options, but encouraging the technique of keeping possession. Looking at the same coaching points from the previous requirement, players are this time required to keep possession of their ball. Players usually start by bunching in their group in a corner, encourage them to avoid this and look to move through the other teams around the area.

Coaching Points:
  • Technique when passing and receiving
  • Body position when receiving the ball
  • Creating options, space and angles
  • Encourage a good first touch suitable to the circumstance (into space, back foot, front foot)
  • Encourage groups to work through the other groups (passive defending), forcing other groups to move into better positions. (See below)

When moving through the area, players are forcing other players to move into better positions to receive the ball. This sub consciously allows players to act as passive defenders. 

Progression 2 (Possession overload)


Explanation: With one ball between all groups, players now move into a possession game. This progression creates an overload with two groups keeping possession away from one group, in this example, Blue,Yellow vs Red. When the defending group wins possession, they become an attacking team. The new defending team is the colour that lost possession. Success SHOULD be popular with an overload as their are more options available. 

Coaching Points:
  • Technique when passing and receiving
  • Body position when receiving the ball
  • Can players create OPTIONS by moving into a good position to receive the ball?
  • Can players create SPACE by dragging defenders out of position allowing other players to receive the ball?
  • Can players create ANGLES by moving into a position with a clear path to receive the ball?
  • Encourage a good first touch suitable to the circumstance (into space, back foot, front foot)
  • Developing superiority by encouraging players to create an overload in different areas of the pitch.
  • Can players pass and move? Once releasing the ball can players move into a better position to receive the ball again?
  • Can players look to get the ball out of the high pressure zone (Area with most defending players)
Progression 3 (Four Corners)


 Explanation: Finish with a conditioned game where players in the central area look to move the ball to players situated in the corner. Two teams compete against each other in the middle, whilst the third team make the target players situated in a corner of a square each. Players score a point by passing to a player in the corner, and then look to keep possession by receiving the ball back. First team to 5 points wins, before changing target men (Time limits can also be used).


Coaching Points:

  • Technique when passing and receiving
  • Body position when receiving the ball
  • Can players create OPTIONS by moving into a good position to receive the ball?
  • Can players create SPACE by dragging defenders out of position allowing other players to receive the ball?
  • Can players create ANGLES by moving into a position with a clear path to receive the ball?
  • Encourage a good first touch suitable to the circumstance (into space, back foot, front foot)
  • Can players pass and move? Once releasing the ball can players move into a better position to receive the ball again?
  • Can players look to get the ball into the corners at the best opportunity?
  • Develop an understanding of the decisions needed to be made



All Sessions designed using the resources from www.AcademySoccerCoach.co.uk




















Friday, 15 February 2013

Playing through the Midfield

This session looks at using the midfield players as a pivotal role in creating an attacking sequence. Central midfield players are often described as being all around players who possess a variety of attributes that are used all around the pitch. Having players comfortable with the ball is a coaches dream and developing this in a player is key. This session can be used for different age groups adjusted suitably for the age, with younger age groups it can be used to develop passing, movement and other attributes in any player, or with older players it can be used as a transitional session to develop central midfield players in a squad.

Note: For younger age groups, let everyone have a go, don't prioritize to your 'best' players, remember, you are developing players not looking for results. Coach the technique, not the position.

Age: 8+ 
Technical
Learning Objectives: 
  • Players to develop an understanding of playing in a central role and working as a pair in the middle
  • Developing technique of passing
  • Developing movement off the ball
  • To give an understanding of the attributes that players need for the central role


Explanation:
Starting off with a simple exercise, working in the middle area, players pass the ball into the central players to play the ball between them and pass to another player before receiving a ball from another player. 

Coaching Points:
  • Technique and Execution of the pass
  • Pass into the furthest central player
  • Can central players set and move?
  • Positioning when receiving the ball (Body shape)
  • How has the player received the ball? Do they have a good first touch?
Progression 1



Explanation:
In a similar set up, the progression allows for the players on the outside to make a third man run after passing the ball to receive it back from the central players before playing to another player and following their pass. Try to encourage players to have a quick tempo, building up the players ability to feel comfortable under pressure. 

Coaching Points: 
  • Technique and Execution of the pass
  • Pass into the furthest central player
  • Can central players set and move?
  • Positioning when receiving the ball (Body shape)
  • How has the player received the ball? Do they have a good first touch?
  • Does the player make a good run? (Timing, Angle, Speed)
  • Does the pass from the central player go into the space for the 3rd man run?
Progression 2


Explanation:
Progression 2 has a similar set up to the previous drill but this time has more direction as it requires players to follow a specific set up. This drill now requires central players to receive the ball and play a pass out wide to an overlapping player aiming to pass the ball through a gate, once receiving the ball the wide player dribbles round to the next red cone before working from the next station. This drill would represent the central players receiving the ball from a center back and then switching the ball out wide for an advancing full back or winger. 

Tip: Can you situate the cones in different areas to replicate different pass decisions that a central midfielder would make? (Through the middle, Into the strikers feet, In behind the full back)

Coaching Points:

  • Technique and Execution of the pass from all players
  • How are the central players moving in the area? Can they situate themselves in the easiest way to receive the ball?
  • Positioning when receiving the ball
  • Does the player make a good run? (Timing, Angle, Speed)
  • Decision on when to pass and the type of pass from central players
  • Quick tempo, once the pass has been made can the central players quickly react to the next ball?
Progression 3


Explanation:
The final progression introduces shooting to finish off the session. Central players receive the ball from a forward player before making a pass through the gates to a wide advancing player who will then cross the ball requiring a finish from the forward player who originally set the ball. This drill is match realistic in terms of movement and requirements from players, and could be progressed with the introduction of defensive players. 

Tip: Can you situate the cones in different areas to replicate different pass decisions that a central midfielder would make? (Through the middle, Into the strikers feet, In behind the full back)

Coaching Points:

  • Technique, Execution and Decision of the pass by all players
  • Does the wide player make a good run? (Timed, Angle, Speed and Approach)
  • Does the forward player make a good run? (Timed, Angle, Speed and Approach)
  • Can the forward player spin and make a curved run so that they are attacking the cross from a positive angle?
  • Does the session have a good tempo?
  • Are the central players moving well and working well together?
  • Technique, Execution and Shot decision
Overall Points

  • Introducing defenders will make the session more realistic
  • Change central players to make sure everyone is having a go (You might be surprised to find a future Jack Wilshere in your Left Full Back)
  • Keep a quick tempo to ensure plenty of touches and movement
  • Adjust the size of the areas to the appropriate age
  • Further sessions could involve players passing through central areas or passing between the full back and central defenders.

All sessions are designed using the resources from www.AcademySoccerCoach.co.uk




Thursday, 14 February 2013

Creative 1 v 1's. (Let Them Play)

Encouraging creativity in youth football players is essential when developing future players. Sometimes sessions need to have a high element of fun and skill essentially focused around the players. The question I ask you is, do you let your players teach you? You will be surprised what you can learn from players when you give them the lead role.

The session looks to develop the ability of how players can gain comfort with the ball at their feet and in a 1 v 1 situation.  The session is a more relaxed session in terms of instructions, but intensity comes with the players gaining touches of the ball. All of this work is done in pairs as it still keeps a competitive edge as well as allowing players to teach and learn from each other. As a coach this session allows you to step back and really see what your players can do, but that doesn't mean get out your deck chair and relax, you still need to coach when you see the opportunity, but I ask you to be a learner, observe what your players are doing and ask questions, i.e; is that the correct technique? Is that the best decision? Can you teach me that skill? 

Age: 8 +
Technical
Focus: Creativity, touch, dribbling, skill, feints and moves.


Explanation: 
In an appropriate sized area players take it in turns with their partner to move the ball inside their own square. Encourage the players to try tricks, skills, feints and encourage creativity. Players work in the area for short periods before changing over to keep players active and allow a high intensity, let players choose when to change, preferably 20 seconds work at a time. Ask the players waiting to watch their partner, keep them involved, teach their partner tricks, learn from their partner. Can players keep the ball moving even when changing over. 

Coaching Points: 
Try allow free play as much as you can, if you see the opportunity to jump in an coach a technique, do so. Sometimes, jump in and ask the players to coach your their skill. Main coaching points should be based around the players body position (head up, low center of gravity)

Progression 1


Explanation:
Now ask both players to come into the area and work together to keep the ball moving and take turns whilst placing each other under passive pressure. Can players force their partner to perform a move or feint? When necessary make it competitive, give the players the chance to win the ball from their partner.

Coaching Points:
Again, allow as much free play as you can, encourage high intensity and allow lots of breaks. Can the player 'nutmeg' their partner? Only coach when you think it is necessary. 

Progression 2 (1v1's non directional)


Explanation: 
Open up the area and place different sized boxes around the whole area. This drill now lets players open out and work in a larger area, avoiding other pairs, trying to keep the ball away from their partner. Players score points by dribbling their ball into the small squares placed in different parts of the area, defending players can't tackle their partner in the square but dribbling players only get 5 seconds in the area and must then move to a different area. 

Coaching Points:
  • Encourage players to take on their partner, keep close control, and show feints, skills, and creative moves
  • Allow many short rest periods
  • Make sure players have equal amounts of time to play both roles


Progression 3 (1v1's directional)



Explanation:
In same pairs players now compete in 1v1's with a direction placed in. This means players have a specific goal to score in, in this circumstance, a line placed between two cones. Area is representative of a square as it keeps play quite close and encourages quicker, more intensive touches. If the pitch is too thin and long, it just becomes a race of who is the fastest and discourages technique. Players score by dribbling their ball towards their opponents line.

Coaching Points:

  • Encourage creativity, feints, skills and moves. 
  • Let the players play, and only coach when you see the correct time to step in.
  • Possible progression could be: "Who can score the most points in a minute, the winner moves to the next square"


Overall Points:
  • Change the size of the playing areas to suit ability and age.
  • Let the players play
  • Can you learn from the players?
  • Encourage creativity and don't discourage failure
  • HAVE FUN!


All Sessions designed using resources from www.AcademySoccerCoach.co.uk

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Penetrating the Back Line/Offside Trap

This session is designed to work on the penetration of the defensive line, encouraging players to attempt to beat the offside trap or in general pass through the defensive line. Focusing on the pass itself (type, technique, pace, etc) and the run made from the player breaking the line (type, timing, decision). 
Age: 10+
Technical
Focus: Passing, movement, penetration


Explanation: 
Players split into two teams pass the ball around in the area (size depending on age, ability, numbers). Players from both teams work together to gain comfort with the exercise and to build up the knowledge of the task and techniques. Players attempt to pass the ball to the outside of the pitch to a receiving player who has timed their run to penetrate the line after the ball has been played. Once receiving the ball players can pass or dribble the ball back onto the pitch and look for somewhere else to play a penetrating pass. (Cones act as defenders, placed in fours on a line to replicate a defensive back four).

Coaching Points:
  • Pass Selection (Ground, lofted) and Execution (Technique, Pace, Accuracy)
  • Receiving the ball (First touch, Back foot across the body, Front foot into space)
  • Penetrating run (Timing, Angle, Decision)
  • Communication between passing and receiving players
  • Third player option (Can a player provide an option for the penetrating player to play back into the square?)

Progression 1 (Opposed)


Explanation:
The two teams play head to head in a game of possession in the same area with an aim to score points by passing to a player who receives the ball on the outside of the square. Runs must be timed so that they cross the line after the ball has been played to score the point (Offside realistic). Once the point has been scored teams can play on with a pass back in and attempt to penetrate a different line.

Coaching Points:
  • Pass Selection (Ground, lofted) and Execution (Technique, Pace, Accuracy)
  • Receiving the ball (First touch, Back foot across the body, Front foot into space)
  • Penetrating run (Timing, Angle, Decision)
  • Communication between passing and receiving players
  • Third player option (Can a player provide an option for the penetrating player to play back into the square?)
  • Decoy runs to allow space for a pass

Progression 2 (Small Sided Game)


Explanation:
A conditioned game to finish with directional play and goals. Play takes place in the central area. To score a goal players must time their run to receive the ball behind the oppositions line (Representing a defensive line) and then to score a goal. When penetrating the line only one defending player can drop into the scoring zone with the attacker to attempt to block the shot, creating a 1 on 1 situation. 

Coaching Points:

  • Pass Selection (Ground, lofted) and Execution (Technique, Pace, Accuracy)
  • Receiving the ball (First touch, Back foot across the body, Front foot into space)
  • Penetrating run (Timing, Angle, Decision)
  • Communication between passing and receiving players
  • Third player option (Can a player provide an option for the penetrating player to play back into the square?)
  • Decoy runs to allow space for a pass
  • Shot selection and execution
  • Movement around the area, creating, maintaining and exploiting space

Overall Points

  • Describe the cones on the outside of the area as a back four. Can your players make their run and pass between players, play of the shoulder, or time their run from deep?
  • Adjust the size of the area to suit your players

All sessions are designed using the resources from www.AcademySoccerCoach.co.uk