Category Archives for Drills

Individual Movement Work

By Sean Reed – 

Objective

These sessions will focus on some individual movement work that can be carried out within the warm-up. They can also be linked in with any specific work you are focusing on within the session. They are there to provide some ideas, but like with every session can be developed and progressed.

Session 1

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Diagram 1

Set Up

  • Focusing on closing the player down, getting up to the ball and jockeying the player in possession (defending movements)
  • The players are working in pairs with a ball between 2 within an area (the area can be altered depending on players). A good size area is recommended to provide space for players to run into
  • Working in pairs, the players will work in between other pairs therefore working on their awareness as well as their movement
  • If you have players that find the above challenging then you can have additional areas with less players in each.
  • The players will move with the ball, Player 1 will look to play a pass when ready into Player 2 (ideally around 10yds)
  • Player 1, once they have played the pass, they will then close Player 2 down and Player 2 will run at them with the ball for a few steps forcing Player 1 back to jockey the player in possession
  • Player 2 will then carry the ball off into space and Player 1 will move off into another area.
  • Player 2 will now play a pass to Player 1 and continue as outlined above)

Variations

  • As above but after Player 1 (In possession of the ball) has been dribbling at Player 2 (Defending) they will then look to play a pass in behind Player 1 (Defending) to encourage them to turn and make a recovery run. Player 2 will then collect the ball and return the ball to Player 1. The roles are then switched as above. An example can be seen with Diagram 2
  • Working over a shorter distance Player 1 plays a pass into Player 2. Player 1 will then close Player 2 down very quickly to force them to take a touch off line, away from the player closing them down (defending).

Coaching Points

  • Acceleration after playing a pass to close the ball down
  • Deceleration on approach – maintain good distance
  • Side on body shape prepared for 2nd movement
  • Balanced and weight on the back foot
  • Movement backwards (side on, feet move together maintaining distance between feet) Avoid knocking ankles
  • First step on transition (short)

Session 2

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Diagram 2

Set Up

  • Focusing on reactions, acceleration, short steps and transitional movements
  • As above players remain in pairs within the area
  • Initially start approx 5yds apart. Passing the ball between each other. After approx 4-5 passes, Player 1 leads and decides when and where to play a pass for Player 2 to react and collect the ball
  • For example in Diagram 2 (Spin to recover the ball), Player 1 might play a pass behind Player 2 either side and Player 2 will quickly turn to recover the ball.
  • The player (leading) playing the pass can also look to play the ball to the side or behind themselves, which will encourage the player working to react and move either to the side or forward
  • The players can either work for a set number or switch roles after each go
  • The next example in Diagram 2 (Accelerate onto the ball). The 2 players are passing the ball between each other and Player 1 leads and when ready with stop the ball dead, then move out of the way. Player 2 then has to react quickly running onto the ball, taking a touch and quickly turnning back.
  • As above players can work for a set number or switch roles after each go
  • The next example in Diagram 2 (Accelerate onto Diff Service). As with the previous example but the player leading can now play the ball in the air, bounce etc to encourage the player working to react and adapt to a different type of ball being received.

Coaching Points

  • As within the previous session
  • Focusing on the next phase
  • Deceleration phase to turn
  • Reducing the time between seeing and doing
  • Turn leading with the correct foot, shortest distance when turning
  • First movement and first step
  • Adjusting step when receiving different types of service
  • Managing 1st touch

 

Session 3

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Diagram 3

 

Set Up

  • Progressions from session 2
  • In Diagram 3 (Player decides + switch) Player 1 and Player 2 are passing the ball between each other. Player 1 is leading and at any given time will start to dribble the ball toward Player 2 who will then starting working backwards (jockeying). After this, at anytime Player 1 can put their foot on the ball. That is a cue for Player 2 to stop jockeying and run forward onto the ball and dribble toward Player 1. Player 1 will the work backwards (jockeying). This continues for a period of time or a set number of times. Players switching roles and reacting quickly to get into the ball and also recover backwards. There is a mindset switch from attacking to defending and vice versa.
  • In the next example in Diagram 3 (Turn and close down). The players will pass the ball between each other, Player 1 is leading, and at anytime will play a pass in behind Player 2 who turns to recover the ball, instead of standing and watching Player 1 will then close Player 2 down trying to prevent them from turning with the ball
  • The next example in Diagram 3 (Go to goal). The players will pass the ball between each other. Player 1 will lead and at anytime Player 1 can start run with the ball at Player 2. They are looking to score in the small goal. If Player 2 wins the ball they have the chance to score in the goal that they are attacking. If no goals are available then you can use a line or an area for the players to run the ball into

Coaching Points

  • As with the previous sessions
  • Switching their focus on the next phase, within the transition period. From attack to defense and vice versa

By Sean Reed

Former First Team Coach of Championship side Fulham FC. Sean is a UEFA A Coach with a Masters in Sport Coaching. He has over 15 years of experience working in professional football from Academy through to First team in the Premiership and Championship.

Linkedin – www.developmentofplayers.com
Twitter – @SeanJReed

Throw, Head, Volley Catch

By Sean Reed – 

Objective

These sessions can used as part of the warm-up and they aimed to engage the players leading into the session. They will focus on their awareness, decision-making, and movement to create an option, along with specific types of football movements.

These types of sessions can be used with any age, any level and developed in anyway in order to challenge your players. Furthermore, you can set them up as multi directional games, directional games, games with a specific playing shape (all discussed within future sessions)

Session 1

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Diagram 1

Set Up

  • For the number displayed in the diagram, split the group into 4 teams (5v5) See diagram 1. Each Team will have one ball and begin passing the ball within their teams using their hands.
  • They can only play to their own team. If there is no immediate option they must stay on the ball but keep moving. Encouraging them to accelerate into space
  • Once they play the pass you can then ask them to focus on a specific types of movement for example, backwards movement, sideways, jump up, onto the ground then get up, change of pace with the movement (all specific to what the game demands). It is an opportunity for the coach to be creative and also encourage the players to be creative and take a lead with the movements required to perform.
  • It is important that the coach encourages the players to work round the other teams and use them to create angles to receive, run past, play 1-2’s round etc

Examples of ways to progress the session in order to challenge the players

  • Encourage players to think of different ways to pass the ball
  • The players cannot play a pass that is overhead height. They have the option to play a bounce pass
  • Player can play a pass with either a header or volley by serving to themselves
  • As above, but allow the ball to bounce before playing the pass
  • When a player receives the ball they can catch it and must make a movement within a different direction (take the ball off line)
  • A player must receive the ball by controlling it before using their hands
    Change the size of area to challenge their movement, spatial awareness and the time they have on the ball

These are just a few examples of how the coach can change it up to stimulate and challenge the players

Coaching Points

  • Awareness before receiving the ball
  • Angles and body shape when receiving the ball
  • Decision-making with where and how to play the pass
  • Focus and awareness on what the next action is
  • Communication
  • Tempo and control with all types of passing
  • Change of pace in and out of possession

Session 2

Once the coach has worked on a range of ways to distribute the ball and move both in and out of possession they can then progress into a competitive game.

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Diagram 2

Set Up

  • They players remain within their teams, but are split onto two different pitches. So on each pitch the coach will have 5v5. The size of area and duration can be down the coach depending on objective. 20x20yds – 25x25yds is a good starting point for the size of area. See diagram 2
  • There a number of different ways in which the coach can set up the games, below are a few examples
  1.  Handball – 8 passes make a goal for the team in possession. If the ball hits the ground or the opposition can intercept, force a mistake for the ball to go out or touch the ball whilst a player is holding the ball. The ball is then turned over. The team in possession can run with the ball
  2. As above but the player in possession can not run with the ball
  3. As above but the ball cannot be passed overhead height. A bounce pass can be used if required
  4. Throw, Head, Catch – Choosing either of the rules from (1+2) the ball is now being passed using the head. The player serves to themselves from their hands
  5. Throw, Volley, Catch – As in (4) but the pass is played with a volley
  6. Head Catch – As with rules from (1+2) this time the sequence is head catch. Player 1 will throw to player 2 who has to head it either back to Player 1 or to another player. If two throws are made in succession then possession is passed over

These are just a few examples. There are many other different ways in which to develop this session in order to challenge the players. It is there for the coach to be creative and have fun with when developing new ideas.

Coaching Points

  • As above
  • Tracking and marking players
  • Closing the player down in possession of the ball
  • Recognizing the pass early

 

Session 3

To challenge the players even more, the coach can now bring all four teams into the same area. Where they will continue playing against another team, but there will be two games going on within the same area.

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Diagram 3

 

Set Up

  • This session continues with the 4 teams (5v5), but this time two games on going on with the same area. See diagram 3
  • The same rules outlined in session 2 can be used within this session

Coaching Points

  • As with the previous sessions

By Sean Reed

Former First Team Coach of Championship side Fulham FC. Sean is a UEFA A Coach with a Masters in Sport Coaching. He has over 15 years of experience working in professional football from Academy through to First team in the Premiership and Championship.

Linkedin – www.developmentofplayers.com
Twitter – @SeanJReed

Finishes with a Recovery Run

By Sean Reed – 

Objective

This is a finish session focuses on players finishing from different angles and crosses from wide areas. In addition it can be used as a physical session combining the finishing with the fitness. It will encourage players to make decisions whilst working under pressure. Acceleration and deceleration through movement from one finish to the next will challenge the players, as well as their ability to refocus on what the next action is.

First Shot

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Diagram 1

Set Up

  • Working in around the 18yd box, with 1 goal, 2 mannequins and balls for each server. See diagram 1
  • 1x player is working, with 4x players resting, but serving from different areas around the 18yd box. 2x players will cross from wide areas, whilst 1x player will serve the 2nd ball into the player working and 1x player will be position near a mannequin to play a 1-2 with the player working. Plus the 1 Goalkeeper. See diagram 1
  • 1st Shot – Start 5-10yds from the mannequin, player working runs with the ball at the mannequin either side, takes a touch past the mannequin then gets a shot off on goal. See diagram 1
  • 2nd Shot – Player recovers goal side of the mannequin to receive a pass from a resting player, takes a touch either side of the mannequin to get a shot off on goal. See diagram 2
  • 3rd Shot – Player recovers goal side of the other mannequin to play a 1-2 with a resting player to then get a shot off. See diagram 3
  • 4th Shot – Player recovers to touch the other mannequin to then receive a cross-played in from the wide area (has 2 touches for a finish). See diagram 4
  • 5th Shot – Player recovers to touch the opposite mannequin to then receive a cross from the other side (has 1 touch for the finish). See diagram 5
  • Recovery Run – Once the player working has had the final chance on goal they then make a recovery run in line with the 2 mannequins. See diagram 6
  • The number of times each player goes through depends on the physical objective

Coaching Points

  • 1st touch to set for the strike on goal
  • Looking to shoot across the GK
  • Focusing on what the next action is
  • Movement, changing direction and acceleration for the next action

Progressions

  • To make it competitive keep record of the goals scored and the time to complete the 5 shots with the recovery run. If the scores were equal it would be down to the player who completed it in the quickest time.
  • Change the starting point. For example starting 1st on the right side, to then starting 1st on the left side
  • Reduce the number of shots
  • Change where the starting positions take place, giving the player different angles to finish from
  • Depending on the physical output change the end point for the recovery run

Second Shot

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Diagram 2

Third Shot

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Diagram 3

Fourth Shot

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Diagram 4

Fifth Shot

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Diagram 5

Recovery Runs

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Diagram 6

By Sean Reed

Former First Team Coach of Championship side Fulham FC. Sean is a UEFA A Coach with a Masters in Sport Coaching. He has over 15 years of experience working in professional football from Academy through to First team in the Premiership and Championship.

Linkedin – www.developmentofplayers.com
Twitter – @SeanJReed

Three Team Game Within the Penalty Area

By Sean Reed – 

Objective

The session is carried out within the penalty area and will focus on the both attacking side and defending side of the game.

For the attacking players we are looking for them to create opportunities within a tight area to create goal scoring opportunities, looking for players to get a shot off quickly and attacking crosses from wide areas. For the defending players we are looking for them to prevent, block and deny goal scoring opportunities shots, which includes defending crosses.

The team not directly involved is provided the passes and crosses.

3v3 in 18yd Box

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Diagram 1

Set Up

  • 3 Teams of 3 Players + 1 Goalkeeper working within 18yd box
  • 3v3 in the 18yd box (1 team defending and 1 team attacking), with 3 players outside serving
  • The serving players are number 1 – 3 see diagram 1
  • The game will start from one of the servers (The Coach will call out a number) 1 + 3 put in crosses and 2 can play the ball short to the attacking team
  • The attacking team are looking to score and the defending team are looking to prevent and clear the ball out of the 18 yd box
  • Once a goal is scored or the ball has gone out of the 18yd box a new ball is played in by whichever number the coach calls. Always looking to play into the attacking team
  • Depending on the physical output the time for each game can run for anytime for between 60secs to 2mins. Each team will get the opportunity to defend, attack and serve. The coach can decide how many times they go through and the amount of rest time.
  • Number of goals for each team – keeping the score
  • Within the session the emphasis can be on the defending, the attacking and the serving

Coaching Points

Attacking

  • Look to get a shot off as quickly as possible
  • Tempo of play / quick passes
  • 1st touch to set up a shooting opportunity
  • Positive attacking the ball from wide areas, looking for someone to attack the front post area

 

Defending

  • Nearest player closing the player down on the ball
  • Intensity to the pressing
  • Supporting player pressing the ball
  • Courage when blocking any shots on goal
  • Marking and tracking runners (being accountable)

Serving

  • Quality of crosses into the area

3v3 in 18yd Box (Defending team number of passes)

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Diagram 2

Set Up

  • As above but if the defending team wins the ball and they can make a specific number of passes (i.e. 3 – then they are awarded a goal). These goals are added to the number of goals scored when they are attacking. If the pass is not on then they can clear the ball from the area

Coaching Points

Attacking

  • As within the first part of the session
  • On transition focus on immediate pressure on the ball

Defending

  • As within the first part of the session
  • Decision-making when to pass and when to clear
  • Support the player on the ball

 Serving

  • As within the first part of the session

Session 3 – 1v1 Attacking and Defending Small Goals

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Diagram 3

Set Up

  • As above
  • Introduce 2 goals (option on the size) positioned 20-30yds from the 18yd box
  • If the defending team win possession of the ball they are looking to score in either goal (representing a player or space) which will go toward their overall score
  • The attacking team need to react and apply immediate pressure when possession is turned over

 Coaching Points

 Attacking

  • As within the first part of the session
  • On transition focus on immediate pressure on the ball

Defending

  • As within the first part of the session
  • Moving the ball to create the opportunity to play into either goal

Serving

  • As within the first part of the session

By Sean Reed

Former First Team Coach of Championship side Fulham FC. Sean is a UEFA A Coach with a Masters in Sport Coaching. He has over 15 years of experience working in professional football from Academy through to First team in the Premiership and Championship.

Linkedin – www.developmentofplayers.com
Twitter – @SeanJReed

Defending 1 v 1 – Getting to the Ball

By Sean Reed – 

Objective

This is a defending session that focuses on defending 1v1, getting up to the ball.

Passive Defending – Getting up to the Ball

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Diagram 1

Set Up

  • The minimum number for this session is 3, beyond that you can split the groups or put more players into one group. As the coach it is important that you manage the rest and rotation. For the purposes of this we will explain it using the diagram 1
  • The area is outlined as above, can be 20-25yds long x 10-15yds wide. The coach might find that when it becomes competitive it will be necessary to extend the length
  • Working in 3’s Player (1) starts with the ball, plays a pass into Player (2) who must take a touch before playing a pass across to Player (3). As player (2) plays his pass, Player (1) can start their movement to close Player (2) down. Please note, monitor the distance that Player (1) is starting from as they might need to be moved closer, but the coach can make that decision
  • Player (2) on receiving the ball is looking to travel with the ball across the cones outlined, adjusting their position trying to come inside and force the defending Player (1) to move.
  • For this session the defending Player (1) is passive
  • The next group then goes. Then Player (1) goes where Player (2) was and Player (2) goes where player (3) was.
  • After a number of turns start down the other side

Progressions

  • To make it competitive. The objective of the defending Player (1) is to win the ball, force a mistake and / or prevent the Attacking Player (2) to travel with the ball under control across the End Zone line. See diagram 2
  • Change the order so they compete against other players

Coaching Points

  • Acceleration up the player receiving the ball
  • Approach to the ball, showing them the attacker into area you want them to play in
  • Deceleration on approach
  • Reduce the space available for the attacking to play in and try to get their head down
  • Body shape side on, for adjustment to the side or in behind
  • Weight on the back foot
  • Be prepared for the ball to be pushed into space behind the defender
  • On the balls on the feet prepared for next movement
  • Avoid crouching over too far otherwise will affect ability to turn / change direction effectively
  • Can the defender keep the attacking player going one way, preventing them of coming back inside to open up the size of the pitch

Session 2 – Competitive Defending

 

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Diagram 2

Session 3 – 1v1 Attacking and Defending Small Goals

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Diagram 3

Set Up

  • The pitch dimensions 25-30yds in length and 15yds wide
  • Split teams into two and each team with number there players 1-5 in the case of diagram 3
  • The teams are in a small area 5x5yd, which they must stay in until their number is called
  • The balls start with the coach on the side
  • Ideally if the coach has small samba goals available for this pitch size, with a goalkeeper in each goal
  • One team will start the attacking and one team with start as defenders.
  • The coach will call a number between 1-5 in the case of diagram 3 and the number from each team will run out. Whichever team is attacking, the coach will play to that player. Once that ball is out of play or the keeper has the ball in their hands. The coach will play another ball in, into the attacking team.
  • If the defender can win possession then they can then try and score
  • This can either continue for a set number of balls (i.e. 3 Ball) or a period of time (20 secs).
  • The coach can decide how many times each player with go through before changing the team’s roles (defending and attacking). Please note that the coach will need to change the Goalkeepers so they do not remain with the defending team or attacking team every round.
  • Although the focus is primarily on the defending, players will still be working on the attacking and transition both ways
  • Keep score to make it competitive

 

Coaching Points

  • Get up to the ball as quickly as possible
  • When possible look to force the attacking player away from goal and on their weaker foot
  • As above, continue to get up to the player, closing their space, preventing them from turning when playing with their back to goal
  • Encourage the defender to stay on their feet, avoid committing themselves and going to ground easily
  • Communication from Goalkeepers and other players

By Sean Reed

Former First Team Coach of Championship side Fulham FC. Sean is a UEFA A Coach with a Masters in Sport Coaching. He has over 15 years of experience working in professional football from Academy through to First team in the Premiership and Championship.

Linkedin – www.developmentofplayers.com
Twitter – @SeanJReed

Individual Finishing – Shooting Quickly

By Sean Reed – 

Objective

This is a finishing session for individual players working on quick finishing in around the area.

1st Ball – Receiving ball from Player (1) to finish

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Diagram 1

Set Up

  • Set up please see diagram 1: one player working, receiving three different types of passes. Player (1) and (2) 5 – 10yds outside the area serving the player working to get a finish within two touches. Player (3) delivers a cross from a wide area.
  • Mannequins, poles or cones can be used to challenge the players 1st touch before shooting.
  • 1st Ball: Player working starts in the area, makes a movement to receive the 1st ball from Player (1), must be outside the area to receive the ball. When they receive the ball they are looking for their 1st touch to take them in the area to get a shot off.
  • 2nd Ball: The next movement is to then receive a pass from Player (2), again must receive outside the area. See diagram 2
  • 3rd Ball: Player (2) plays a pass into Player (3), who must go past the mannequin before putting a cross into the area for the player working to finish. See diagram 4
  • 3rd Ball: Is import for the player working to hold their movement and time their run off the wide player (avoid getting in there to early and just standing)
  • The players then switch positions. Depending on time, when the sessions takes place or the physical out come the coach can decide on the number of times the players go through.

Progressions

  • When receiving from Player (1) or (2) the player working can use their 1st touch to play the pass back into Player (1) or (2) for them to then play a pass into space for the player working to get a 1st time shot off. See diagram 3
  • Depending of whether you want a physical outcome recovery runs can be introduced after the 3rd finish. See diagram 3 or 4
  • You can introduce a passive defender (i.e. a coach if limited players or additional player if available). See diagram 5

Coaching Points

  • Movement to receive the ball
  • Body Shape to receive the ball
  • Awareness of space behind before receiving the ball
  • 1st touch to set for the shot (out of feet)
  • Chase 2nd touch down to get a finish off
  • On target with finish
  • Next phase, awareness and movement – switching focus after shot
  • Timing of run for the cross, avoid getting in their too early

2nd Ball – Receiving the ball from Player (2)

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Diagram 2

1st or 2nd Ball – Playing a 1-2 for the ball to be played into space

 

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Diagram 3

3rd Ball – Wide player combines to deliver a cross

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Diagram 4

Progression: Introduce a passive defender

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Diagram 5

By Sean Reed

Former First Team Coach of Championship side Fulham FC. Sean is a UEFA A Coach with a Masters in Sport Coaching. He has over 15 years of experience working in professional football from Academy through to First team in the Premiership and Championship.

Linkedin – www.developmentofplayers.com
Twitter – @SeanJReed

Combining to Finish

By Sean Reed – 

Objective

The session is a finishing session with players combining, finishing from angles and attacking a cross.

This session can be done with a small group of players or with players looking to do some extra work after training.

1st Ball – For player 1 to combine and finish on goal

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Diagram 1

Set Up

  • The session is carried out in around the edge of the area. You can work for a period of time or a number of shots one side (right side) then move across to the other side (left side)
  • Working in pairs.
  • A player out wide working on their crossing. Depending on the number of players or coaches available. The wide player can combine for the cross or run with the ball before a cross (if on their own).
  • If there are more players working on their crossing you could set up players both sides and alternate the crossing
  • 2 cones or a mannequin can be used to combine round
  • Player (1) plays a pass into the coach who then plays a pass back for player (1) to receive, drive forward and take a shot off. See diagram 1
  • After player (1) shots, player (1) will take up a position near the cones or mannequin to receive the next pass from player (2) to play a 1-2 for player (2) to get a finish. See diagram 2
  • After both players have had a shot, the next movement is to then attack a cross from wide areas. See diagram 3
  • The wide player combines with the coach or other wide player or runs with the ball beating a mannequin (if working on their own) and delivers a cross. If there are wide players from both side, the opposite wide player can attack the cross from the back post
  • If required you can add a recovery run if a physical element wants to be achieved. These can be included as either part of the work or a pair fails to score at least one goal

Coaching Points

  • First touch to break the line
  • Change of pace to get onto the ball
  • Shoot across the goal keeper – far post
  • Hit the target with the strike
  • 2nd Movement: awareness of where to support and receive the ball
  • Movement and positive being run for the cross
  • Timing of runs – avoid getting into early. Use the wide players head, when they look down to cross as a trigger point Must get one player across the front post

2nd Ball – For player (2) to combine with player (1) to create a shooting opportunity

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Diagram 2

3rd Ball – Wide player combines to deliver a cross

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Diagram 3

By Sean Reed

Former First Team Coach of Championship side Fulham FC. Sean is a UEFA A Coach with a Masters in Sport Coaching. He has over 15 years of experience working in professional football from Academy through to First team in the Premiership and Championship.

Linkedin – www.developmentofplayers.com
Twitter – @SeanJReed

Finishing Combinations in Threes

By Sean Reed – 

Objective

A session to work with players to combine to finish, and making runs in the 2nd phase to finish from a cross.

1st Ball

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Set Up

  • Working in 3’s with 1 player out wide to deliver a cross. Depending on numbers you can have 2 players out wide to combine or 1 player each side to alternate.
  • The players’ work in 3’s to combine to finish. Within the diagrams are options of how to develop this, but there is scope for the coach or the player to change the type combinations and runs they make.
  • As in diagram 1 the mannequins or poles are 5yds outside the area. One player starts in between the two mannequins (poles) and the other two players start deeper (almost like a triangle).
  • 1st Ball: The practice starts with the ball being played from the coach into Player (1) starting deep. 1st ball into the striker (player 3), who sets it back to the 2nd deepest player (2), who then plays a pass into the path, past the mannequin (pole) for player (1) to make his run from deep onto the ball. Player (1) will either look to strike it first time or take a touch to set themselves up for the shot. The sequence of passes 1, 2 + 3 are illustrated within diagram 1
    • The mannequins (poles) can also represent the offside line to encourage the player from deep to time their run.
    • Plus the starting position can be from either side depending on whether players want to work on their left or right side.
  • 2nd Ball: Player (2) now receives the ball from the coach who then plays a pass into the striker (Player 3) to combine. Looking to receiving a pass the other side of either mannequin (pole) for player (2) to run onto to take a touch to break the line or striker first time for a finish on goal. See diagram 2 for the sequence and movement
  • 3rd Ball: The striker (player 3) pulls off on the angle onto one of the mannequins (pole). On the half turn the player receives a pass from the coach to create a shot on goal. See diagram 3
  • 4th Ball: Once the 3rd ball has been finished players will recover back goal side of the mannequins (poles). 2 of the players will then combine and play a pass out to the wide player. See diagram 4
    • The wide player looks to work the ball past the mannequin and deliver a cross into the area.
    • The 3 attacking players make their runs into the area to get a finish on goal. See diagram 4
  • Encourage players to be creative with their movement and link up play

Coaching Points

  • Movement prior to receiving the ball
  • Communication
  • Body shape when receiving the ball
  • Receiving on the back foot
  • Weight of pass
  • Decision to play 1st time or take a touch
  • 1st touch to break then line and create a shooting opportunity
  • Timing of run (staying onside)
  • Link up / combination play
  • Finishing on target and across the keeper
  • Reaction and movement for the 2nd phase
  • Timing of runs for the cross, must get a player across the front post, which will allow for the pull back. Player at the far post avoids getting into too early
  • As head drops for the wide player to cross, players in the area positive with their movements

2nd Ball

ReedyArticle 12-2Diagram 2

3rd Ball
ReedyArticle 12-3Diagram 3

4th Ball
ReedyArticle 12-4Diagram 4

By Sean Reed

Former First Team Coach of Championship side Fulham FC. Sean is a UEFA A Coach with a Masters in Sport Coaching. He has over 15 years of experience working in professional football from Academy through to First team in the Premiership and Championship.

Linkedin – www.developmentofplayers.com
Twitter – @SeanJReed

Rondo’s Part 2

By Sean Reed – 

Within this session I have continued the theme of rondo’s with some additional options, using a different number of players.

Objective: Session 1

Exploiting the overload when in possession and switched on for the transition phase from in possession to out of possession

ReedyArticle 11-1

Set Up

  • 2 Teams of 6 up wards.
  • Set up into 2x boxes 6-8yds with a 5yd gap separating the 2 boxes
  • Balls start with the Coach. Ball is played into one of the boxes, the team without the ball sends in 2 players to defend and to win the ball back
  • The ball is then played from the coach into the other team (yellow), then players return to their box and 2 players from the other team look to win the ball
    • 1) Unlimited of touches + Defenders need to just get a touch on the ball to stop them
    • 2) Restricted touches + Defenders must clear the ball out of the area to stop them
  • Passes are accumulative during the period of time and the highest total at the end of the 2mins wins the game
  • If the defending players get into the opponents area, before the ball has been played (3 passes of their score)
  • If 3 players instead of 2 enter the opposition area (3 passes of their score)
  • Depending on the level if the defenders can win the ball and return to their own team to continue passing, then an extra 3 passes can be awarded.
  • Defending players must stay on their feet

Coaching Points

  • Movement and angles on the outside to support the ball
  • Know the next pass
  • Opening up to change the play
  • Looking to get a bounce player in the middle to provide angles of support
  • Quality of 1st touch and 2nd touch
  • Speed of movement and tempo of passing
  • Attitude and work rate of player in the middle
  • Reaction during the transition phase
  • Acceleration and deceleration applying pressure on the ball
  • Defenders must stay on their feet

Objective: Session 2

3 Team Boxes

ReedyArticle 11-2

Set Up

  • Working with 3 teams
  • A Team in each of the 2 boxes, with 1 team standing next to the cone outside See Diagram 2
  • The team outside will defend for the duration of time (90secs for example). Working in pairs they close the ball down to force a mistake
  • The teams in the box are looking to make as many passes as possible.
  • The ball will be played into 1 of the box, the defending team will send in 2 players to force a mistake. Once that has been a achieved, the coach will play a pass into the 2nd box, and 2 new defenders will look to win the ball
  • Once the time has run out the teams will switch places.
  • You can score either by the total number of mistakes forced or the least amount of passes accumulated by the teams keeping possession.
  • You can change up the rules, similar to the 1st session with unlimited touches and a touch to stop it and restricted touches and the defenders must clear the ball from the grid.

Coaching Points

  • As within the previous session
  • Defending players accelerating into the box and decelerating on approach
  • Defenders must stay on their feet
  • Get up to the ball, working together
  • Players in possession aware of defenders coming in and moving the ball away from them
  • Movement to support and create space for the pass

Objective: Session 3

4x groups of 4v1 or 3v1 rondo’s. With players switching boxes when having to defend being aware of the box with no defender in there duration a transition phase

ReedyArticle 11-3

Set Up

  • 4x boxes 5yds x 5yds with distances of approx 10-15yds between them. See diagram 3
  • Each boxes has a 4v1 or 3v1 depending on the number of players
  • As with the previous boxes in rondo’s part 1 players on the outside are keeping possession whilst the player in the middle is looking to get a touch. If they do then they switch with that player
  • The progression is then; when a player in the middle forces the mistake, they drop the bib, the player who has made the mistake then picks up the bib, but then has to find a new box to defend.
  • They then enter a box with no defender to then try and force a mistake. This continues for the length of the time the coach wishes to work on it for
  • If the player goes out of the box, and finds for a couple of seconds they can then return to the box they just left. This general only happens on a few occasions
  • The coach can change the number of touches and the rules on how the defender can win the ball

Coaching Points

  • As within the previous sessions
  • For the defending player, must be quick to recognize where the spare box is and work hard to get there
  • The players passing need to be aware, communication and ensure that 1st pass when the defender enters the box is played away from them

By Sean Reed

Former First Team Coach of Championship side Fulham FC. Sean is a UEFA A Coach with a Masters in Sport Coaching. He has over 15 years of experience working in professional football from Academy through to First team in the Premiership and Championship.

Linkedin – www.developmentofplayers.com
Twitter – @SeanJReed

Rondo’s Part 1

By Sean Reed – 

With this session there are examples of some Rondo’s, which can be used, either before the sessions starts or as part of the warm in order to engage the players.

Objective: Session 1

A 4v1 Ronda. 1 player in the middle and 4 players on the outside

ReedArticle 10-1

Set Up

  • On players arrival you can put them in specific boxes to get them going and engaged. Or you can make it a specific part of the session, prior to the warm-up or part of the warm-up.
  • Depending on the level or age of player you can adapt the area. Usually the area would be approx 5yd x 5yd
  • If you have 5 players, 4 players are on the outside and 1 player is in the middle.
  • If you only have 4, then 3 players can go on the outside and 1 player on the middle. Any of the outside players can occupy the spare side when required
  • Players on the outside need to work tight to the line. Usually it is good to nominate a player to manage the area, the rules and final decisions. This will encourage players to take more responsibility and challenge them.
  • The player in the middle can either stay in for a set period of time (i.e. 30secs) or when they get a touch or force a mistake the player who made the mistake goes into the middle to defend.
  • Restrictions on touches can vary depending on the desired outcome and the quality of the session. Playing 1, 2 or 3 touch.
  • Rules such as 20 completed passes, the player in the middle stays in. Or a clean nutmeg, then the player remains in the middle. The ball on the outside cannot stop, and the outside players can take either 1 or 3 touches.

Coaching Points

  • • Movement and angles on the outside to support the ball
    • Know the next pass
    • Opening up to change the play
    • Quality of 1st touch and 2nd touch
    • Speed of movement and tempo of passing
    • Attitude and work rate of player in the middle
    • Setting a trap to force the mistake
    • Body shape on approach to the ball, balanced and side on. Avoid being caught square

Objective: Session 2

A 5v2 rondo, with 2 defending players in the middle, and 1 attacking player in the middle and  4 on the outside

ReedArticle 10-2

Set Up

  • As within the previous sessions
  • With addition of 2 players (1x defender and 1 attacking inside) the area will be increased to approx 7yd x 7yd
  • The 2 in the middle will either stay in the middle for a period of time or change when a touch or a mistake occurs. It is the 1st person who was in the middle to 1st go out, regardless if they other person gets a touch on the ball
  • The extra player in the middle can be used as a bounce player and is on either 1 or 2 touch. The middle player can be switched after a period of time or a number of goes
  • The rules remain the same as within session 1, but you can add an additional rule; that if a pass splits the 2 players in the middle then they have to take in there for an extra go (depends on the level of players)

Coaching Points

  • • As within the previous session
    • Attacking player in the middle, movement to create a passing option and space for themselves. Knows next pass
    • Playing the pass safe side into the middle player
    • Defensively, the 2 players need to balance off and reduce the gap between them to avoid being split

Objective: Session 3

This session includes 2 boxes, where the ball can be switched from one side to the other once every player has touched the ball

ReedyArticle 10-3

Set Up

  • 2 boxes 5yds x 5yds next to one another
  • Using the example above 4 players on the outside of one box and 1 defender in the middle
  • The spare player in positioned on the end of the 2nd box
  • It is the same rules as within session 1 & 2. However, within this session every player must touch the ball before it can be transferred across to the 2nd box.
  • Once the ball has transferred across the 2 players on the sides and the player in the middle join the 2nd box to keep possession
  • The defending player then switches from box 1 to box 2 in attempt to win the ball back or force a mistake
  • Progression could be to include an additional defender. 1 Defender in each box, so when the ball is switched the defenders remain in their box

Coaching Points

  • As within the previous sessions
  • Recognizing when to switch the play
  • Supporting the play to keep possession
  • Providing good angles to support the play

Objective: Session 4

ReedyArticle 10-4

By Sean Reed

Former First Team Coach of Championship side Fulham FC. Sean is a UEFA A Coach with a Masters in Sport Coaching. He has over 15 years of experience working in professional football from Academy through to First team in the Premiership and Championship.

Linkedin – www.developmentofplayers.com
Twitter – @SeanJReed

Circle Work – Part 2

By Sean Reed – 

I wanted to continue from my last article looking at combinations within the circle work.

Objective: Session 1

Working on combination play within the circle and playing out the circle

ReedArticle 9-1

 

Set Up

  • The group is split into 2 teams (3 players from each team start in the middle + this will leave 5 players around the outside of the area). Alternate the players from each team
  • Size of area can change (bigger area will increase space and range of passing and the smaller area will limit the space, and challenge the players)
  • 1 ball for each team. The ball start with the players in the middle of the circle
  • Every player in the middle must touch the ball before it is played to the outside players
  •  Player (1) plays a pass into Player (2), who then plays a pass to a player either side of him, for example Player (3).
  • Player (1) will switch to the outside, Player (2) will make a forward run into the circle to receive the pass from Player (3)
  • Player (1) will make his run towards Player (2) to encourage the 1-2 to be played
  • When the ball is played from a player on the outside, that player cannot be the one to play the final pass out in that 1st sequence. (In other words they can’t come into the circle then be the 1st one to go out again)
  • Duration of time will be down to the coach and objective

Coaching Points

  • Distance of 1st pass
  • Acceleration toward the outside player
  • Peripheral awareness and decision making in which outside player to combine with
  • Tempo and type of passing
  • Playing in front for the player to run onto
  • Decision whether to play 1 or 2 touch
  • Distances / balancing off in the middle

Objective: Session 2

Continuing from session 1 introducing a new combination

ReedArticle 9-2

Set Up

  • As within the previous session
  • Player (1) plays a pass into Player (2) on the outside. Player (2) then plays a pass back into Player (1) (then makes a forward run into the circle to encourage the pass) See Diagram 2
  • Player (1) then plays the ball either side of Player (2), in this case Player (3), who plays the pass into the path of Player (2) making a forward run. See Diagram 2
  • Player (1) finishes up on the outside of the circle
  • 3 Players in the middle to all make contact with the ball before it is played out

Coaching Points

  • As within the previous session
  • Forward runs to encourage the pass
  • Tempo of passing to enable combination to be carried out
  • Distances
  • Awareness and communication
  • Use the space, don’t kill the space

Objective: Session 3

3rd Combination within this practice

ReedArticle 9-3

 

Set Up

  • As within the previous session
  • The build of the combination is the same as in the previous session.
  • Player (1) plays a pass into Player (2), on the outside, Player (2) then plays back to Player (1) who then plays into Player (3) or could be either player either side of Player (1)
  • Player (2) then makes a movement (an overlapping run) past Player (3), who plays the ball into the path of Player (2)
  • Player (1) then switches on the outside of the circle
  • 3 Players in the middle to all make contact with the ball before it is played out

Coaching Points

  • As with the previous sessions
  • Overlapping movement to receive the ball
  • Timing of movement and timing and weight of pass
  • Change of pace form outside to in and inside to out (of the circle)

By Sean Reed

Former First Team Coach of Championship side Fulham FC. Sean is a UEFA A Coach with a Masters in Sport Coaching. He has over 15 years of experience working in professional football from Academy through to First team in the Premiership and Championship.

Linkedin – www.developmentofplayers.com
Twitter – @SeanJReed

Circle Work – Part 1

By Sean Reed – 

The focus for these sessions will look at players working within 2 teams, combining and linking play.

Objective: Session 1

Working on individual movements on the ball with an end product of a pass / combination

ReedArticle 8-1

Set Up

  • The group is split into 2 teams (3 players from each team start in the middle + this will leave 5 players around the outside of the area). Alternate the players from each team See Diagram 1
  • If have a small number you can work with just 1 team or if you have a large number you can then either have 2 separate circles or 3 teams within 1 circle
  • Size of area can change (bigger area will increase space and range of passing and the smaller area will limit the space, and challenge the players)
  • 3 balls for each team. The ball start with the players in the middle of the circle
  • Players in the middle 4-5 quick touches on the ball – play a pass the a team mate on the outside and switch places
  • Duration of time will be down to the coach and objective

Progression

  • Looking for the players to put a turn in first before they play their pass to the outside
  • As above but player on the ball plays 1st pass is to a player from the opposite team and gets it back. Then plays out to the outside to their own teammate and switches places. Can encourage
  • When playing to the outside player look to play a combination (1-2’s / takeovers)

Coaching Points

  • Positive in possession
  • Change of direction / change of pace
  • Tempo and quality of passing
  • Awareness before receiving the ball
  • Body shape
  • Players preparation on the outside
  • On the outside – take 1st touch off line and chase down 2nd touch (change of pace)
  • Accelerate once the ball has been played when switching places

Objective: Session 2

Looking to play the spare man to combine or to play the pass. The spare player needs to work hard to provide an option and give a good angle

ReedArticle 8-2

Set Up

  • As within the previous session, but this time each team starts with 2 balls. In the middle. Therefore, there is a spare player in the middle
    Players starting with the ball, looking to play a pass to the spare player or combining before it is played to a player on the outside
  • If the player plays a pass into the spare man and they take the ball, the spare man then plays to the outside and the player who passed the ball becomes the spare man

Coaching Points

  • As within the previous session
  • Spare player identifying areas to receive the ball
  • Body shape to receive the ball (combine or allow it to come across the body)
  • Decision to combine or take the ball
  • Recognizing the switch to become spare man (awareness of 2 balls)
  • Playing in the future
  • Change of pace from 1st to the 2nd

Objective: Session 3

Looking to create and combine as a 3 in the middle

ReedArticle 8-3

Set Up

  • Same set up us the previous session, but this time each team only has 1 ball
  • The play starts in the middle, every player must touch the ball before it can be played on outside. The player who plays the ball outside, then switches with that player
  • When the ball is played from a player on the outside, that player cannot be the one to play the final pass out in that 1st sequence. (In other words they can’t come into the circle then be the 1st one to go out again)
  • Encourage players to be creative (linking the play)
  • Progression, when the ball is played out, players can combine
  • When the ball is played in from the outside the 1st pass must be off a player from the opposite team (either side of the player receiving the ball)

Coaching Points

  • As with the previous sessions
  • Movement to encourage the pass (running forward)
  • Balance off (Low, Medium + High)
  • Decision-making to play 1 or 2 touch
  • Clever link up play
  • Awareness from players on the outside

By Sean Reed

Former First Team Coach of Championship side Fulham FC. Sean is a UEFA A Coach with a Masters in Sport Coaching. He has over 15 years of experience working in professional football from Academy through to First team in the Premiership and Championship.

Linkedin – www.developmentofplayers.com
Twitter – @SeanJReed

Combining and Playing on Angles

By Sean Reed – 

The following sessions will focus on combining through the middle and playing on angles

Objective: Session 1

Looking at combining through the middle, timing of runs and playing on angles

ReedArticle 7-1

Set Up

  • The dimensions of the area can be changed, depending on outcome. For example 20yds w x 40yds (Encourage space to play into) or 15yds w x 30yds (Combining within tight areas)
  • This session can work a number of different players. Ideally you would want 3 or 4 in the middle (no more). The same for the outside. Depending on the numbers you could also get the GK involved as works well for them. If required a coach can go on the outside to make up the extra number
  • If you have more than 1 group working, as they progress you could have two groups working within the same area, traveling across one another. See Diagram 5
  • 3 Players in the middle with 4 players on the outside.
  • Ball on the outside is always played across on an angle; outside players must adjust to receive the ball. Once the ball has been played across then the ball can be played inside for the 3 to combine
  • Ideally when the ball is played to the 1st player on the outside they take 2 touch with playing the ball across, allowing movement from the players inside
  • All 3 players in the middle must touch the ball before it is played out. The players work in the middle for up to 1 minute and then change

Coaching Points

  • Tempo of passing
  • Timing of movement and distances when receiving the ball
  • Body shape when receiving the ball
  • Balance off (Low, Medium and High)
  • Must pass and receive on angles
  • Decision-Making with no. of touches + encourage creative thinking
  • Forward runs

Objective: Session 2

Looking at players combining and making runs from deep (3rd man running)

ReedArticle 7-2

Set Up

  • As with the previous session
  • Within this session the only condition is; the 1st pass that is played into the area must be played to the player furthest away

Coaching Points

  • As within the previous session
  • Focus must be on the movement and balancing off
  • Movement: short to go long and long to go short
  • Rotational Movements
  • Low, Medium and High
  • 1st touch to set, timing of movements

Objective: Session 3

This session will look at supporting deep and making forward runs from deep to combine

ReedArticle 7-3

Set Up

  • Same set up us the previous session
  • The 1st ball from the outside is now played immediately inside to the deepest player (1) who then plays back out to the other outside player
  • The outside player will then play into (2) who sets back to (3) to then play forward into (1) who is making a run from deep
  • If the players need more time for their movement the outside players can play the first ball across
  • Is important the players work on their movements (starting position and timing of movements).

Coaching Points

  • As with the previous sessions
  • Emphasis on the movements 1st and 2nd movements
  • Distances (Low, Medium & High)

Diagrams 4 and 5

The diagrams below illustrate additional ideas for how this session could be delivered.

In the first diagram a line is placed across the central part of the grid to divide it in half. The coach can stipulate that no more than 2 players can be in 1 half of the pitch. This will then emphasize maintaining the distances and balancing off.

Another line could be introduced down the central part create 4 areas and again the coach can stipulate that there can be no more then 1 player in each area. Or even create 3 zones to emphasize the low, medium and high. These are just a few ideas for the coaches to help encourage specific outcomes.

ReedArticle 7-4

The last diagram illustrates the use of two groups working within the same grid. One group is working up and down. The second group is working across left to right, right to left. The two groups therefore work between one another, which will challenge the players with their awareness, movement, and decision-making.

The next progression would be to carry this into a possession game.

ReedArticle 7-5

By Sean Reed

Former First Team Coach of Championship side Fulham FC. Sean is a UEFA A Coach with a Masters in Sport Coaching. He has over 15 years of experience working in professional football from Academy through to First team in the Premiership and Championship.

Linkedin – www.developmentofplayers.com
Twitter – @SeanJReed

Play the Spare Player

By Sean Reed – 

Next few sessions will focus using the spare player to maintain possession in order to build the play.

Objective: Session 1

Looking to link the play using the spare player. Working on the spare player creating passing options to maintain possession.
ReedArticle 6-1

ReedArticle 6-4

Set Up

  • Depending on the number of players – if you have an odd number. Create 2x Teams and have 1 player as the spare players see Diagram 1. If you have an even number of players then you can have 2 spare players see Diagram 2.
  • Area is 30yd x 30yd but can be changed depending on the group and on challenging the players. Once the players get used to the area, it is important to change it and even change the shape.
  • The 2x teams are on restricted touches (3 touches)
  • The spare player is on 1 touch
  • To score, a player must play to the spare player and they play (with 1 touch) to another player on that team see Diagram 1 and 2.
  • If the spare player plays the ball back (1 touch) to the same player that is no goal, but that team keeps possession
  • If the ball goes out of play, or a player takes more than 3 touches or the spare player takes 2 touches then possession is given to the other team

Coaching Points

  • Awareness of areas to receive the ball
  • Tempo
  • Patience (Decision-Making)
  • Body shape
  • Playing the pass safe side
  • Movement of spare player to receive the pass
  • Spare player awareness of space to avoid using only touch
  • Awareness of next pass
  • Playing on angles
  • Increase the size of area when in possession of the ball
  • Mindset to switch from attacking to defending when a transition occurs

Objective: Session 2

Developing from the previous session we are looking for the spare players to link up

ReedArticle 6-2

Set Up

  • The set is as within session 1
  • If you have a odd number then you can use 3 spare players see Diagram 3
  • If you have an even number then you can use 2 spare players see Diagram 2
  • To score the team in possession has to play into a spare player who then plays to another spare player (1 touch) before playing either back to the original player or a new player to keep possession. 2 spare players must play the ball within a sequence to score

Coaching Points

  • As above within the previous session
    The spare players
  • Need to work together
  • Maintain good distances
  • Timing of movements to create and use space for each other
  • Good supporting angles
  • Awareness of next pass

Objective: Session 3

The next progression is make the game directional using the spare players

ReedArticle 6-3

Set Up

  • Continuing from the previous session. The coach may wish to reduce the size of the area
  • 2 of spare players are placed on the outside with 1 spare player in the middle
  • The same restrictions are placed on the players with regards to their touches
  • In order for a team to score they need to work the ball from one end to the other, but the spare player in the middle must play a pass in the build up
  • Depending on the level of players and number of players the outside player can be placed on 2 touches, but can not allow the ball to stop

Coaching Points

  • As with the previous sessions
  • Spare players on the outside providing angles to support

By Sean Reed

Former First Team Coach of Championship side Fulham FC. Sean is a UEFA A Coach with a Masters in Sport Coaching. He has over 15 years of experience working in professional football from Academy through to First team in the Premiership and Championship.

Linkedin – www.developmentofplayers.com
Twitter – @SeanJReed

Playing 1-2’s

By Sean Reed – 

Next few sessions will focus on players combining, playing 1-2’s to create and maintain possession.

Objective: Session 1

Working on angles of support, body shape, timing of movement and playing the ball in front of the player combining.

ReedArticle 5-1

Set Up

  • Using the example above with 12 players. Split to group into 2 teams. 2 balls per team
  • Area is 35yd x 35yd but can be changed depending on the group and on challenging the players.
  • 5 gates set up using poles. 3-5 yds apart these can be changed as and when
  • Stage 1: The two teams passing and moving with own team. Must pass through a gate, when unoccupied
  • Note: Can progress to play a pass anywhere with the opposition to get it back and only through the gates to your own team – works on the players awareness
  • Stage 2: Playing 1-2’s with their own team anywhere within the area and then laying a pass off through a gate to another teammate.
  • Note: Can progress it where players play a ½ with the opposite team and then play a pass to their own teammate. Again, encourages their awareness and keeps them attentive to all 4 footballs.
  • Stage 3: Playing 1-2’s using the poles. Players must play a ½ around them then play to another teammate anywhere within the area

Coaching Points

  • Awareness of areas to receive the ball
  • Angle of support
  • Body shape
  • Playing and receiving on the back foot
  • 1st touch
  • Playing on angles
  • Ball position – in front of the player coming on to it
  • Speed of play – Acceleration or Pass the ball to get away quickly
  • Next movement

Objective: Session 2

This session focuses on combining round people, where, when and how.

ReedArticle 5-2

Set Up

  • The set ups is the same, but this time we are looking for the players to play a 1-2 around the opposition
  • Then playing a pass through a gate to a teammate to take with them
  • There is constant traffic with players moving. Therefore, players will need to identify the opportunities of where, when and how to carry this out. Players need to recognize the opportunities.

Coaching Points

  • As above within the previous session
  • Awareness / timing of opportunities to combine
  • Type and speed of movement
  • Quality and pace on the 1st pass
  • 2nd pass played in front
  • Acceleration or next pass to get away from the player you have played round

Objective: Session 3

The next progression to is now take this into a competitive possession based game.

ReedArticle 5-3

Set Up

  • Possession based game with a number of options in which the teams can score
  • Score by either playing a pass through the gate or playing a ½ round an opposition player
  • The gates can be removed and within the area play a team can score with 10 passes and/or playing a 1-2 round an opposition player
  • To encourage them to look for ½’s the teams can be rewarded with 2 goals for a 1-2

Coaching Points

  • Tempo of play – keeping the ball moving
  • Reducing the time between touches
  • Patience and decision making in possession (choice of pass)
  • Movement and angle of support
  • Quick play when combining
  • Playing and receiving on the back foot
  • Next movement

By Sean Reed

Former First Team Coach of Championship side Fulham FC. Sean is a UEFA A Coach with a Masters in Sport Coaching. He has over 15 years of experience working in professional football from Academy through to First team in the Premiership and Championship.

Linkedin – www.developmentofplayers.com
Twitter – @SeanJReed

Small Numbers Part 2

By Sean Reed – 

The next few sessions are some ideas for when you might have a small number of players. The focus is working in pairs, movement to receive the ball, angle of support, distances, body shape and combination play.

Objective: Session 1

Working on angles of support and distances to link the play.

ReedArticle 4-1

Set Up

  • Using the example above. Set up with an area of approx 25yd x 25yd, 4 players on the outside, with 2 players on the inside the area. 2 balls
  • The 2 players in the middle remain in the middle for a period of 20-30secs. Then rotate with the outside.
  • Balls start on the outside, the players in the middle working looking to receive the ball. The ball is played inside to Player 1 who then plays to Player 2 (inside) who then plays the ball out to a player without a ball.
  • As soon as the ball is played out, either player can receive the 1st pass, but must play to the 2nd player before the ball goes out again.
  • You can work for a period of time when the same player receives the 1st pass then alternate the next time. Or just let the players manage that
  • Players need to support the ball knowing where the next pass is going, therefore being aware of the spare player on the outside to avoid slowing the passing down
  • Encourage the 1st ball played into to go long as well as short.
  • Progressing – encourage the 1st player to come short for the 1st ball, they are missed out, the ball is played long and they spin to receive the 2nd pass to then play out.

Coaching Points

  • Awareness of where to receive the 1st and 2nd pass
  • Movement to receive the ball
  • Angles of support of the 2nd player
  • Body shape when receiving the ball
  • Quality of end product
  • Communication

Objective: Session 2

The 2 players in the middle combining to play out

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Set Up

  • The same set up as the previous session with the players on the inside and the outside.
  • This time the 2 players in the middle will look to combine before the ball is played to an outside players
  • Looking for players to play 1-2’s
  • Play round the corner to receive the ball (coming short and play on the angle)
  • Play into the furthest player to then link up combine with the 2nd player
  • Overlaps, where and when possible
  • Encourage the players to play with freedom and create
  • Encourage the players to take a lead with the tempo, movement, creativity

Coaching Points

  • As above within the previous session
  • Use the space don’t kill the space (create space through movement for the player to then come into)
  • Encourage rotation before receiving the ball between the 2 players
  • Quick play when combining

Objective: Session 3

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Set Up

  • As within the previous session. As you can see in diagram 3, mannequins have been included to give the players something to be aware of and work round. If you have additional numbers then you can have 2 pairs in the middle to encourage the players to work round each other.
  • In diagram 3 Player 1 receives from the outside, to then play back to the outside player who then plays into Player 2. Player 1 then supports the combination to receive the ball back from Player 2 and then plays the pass to a player who is spare on the outside.
  • Then both players make a movement to receive the next ball. As stated previously, encourage the players to switch / rotate and ensure they are giving themselves enough distance and space to work in.
  • To challenge the players the coach can reduce the size of area.
  • Encourage the players to be creative with movement, type of passing and combination play

Coaching Points

  • As with previous sessions
  • Working off each other 1 player coming short and the other player going long
  • Providing good distances. Leaving the space available for the player to move into
  • Speed and timing of movement to support the ball once it has been played to the furthest player

Objective: Session 4

Encourage creating triangles, supporting the ball and movement to receive the ball

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Set Up

  • As with the previous sessions
  • Player 1 receives from the outside, combines with a 2nd Player on the outside, before combining with Player 2 to then play out to an outside
  • Player 1 and Player 2 then move to receive the next ball
  • Encourage players to be creative and come up with there own movements and combinations

Coaching Points

  • As in the previous sessions
  • Encourage the movement to support on the outside and inside of the area

Progressions / Options

• Please note that the above sessions are just a few initial ideas.
• They are there for you as the coach to develop and create new ideas with.
• Regardless of the number of players, the space available there is an opportunity to challenge players using these sessions
• Give the players freedom to create their own movements and combinations. As coaches we will often pick up ideas from what players show us in training and within games.

By Sean Reed
Former First Team Coach of Championship side Fulham FC. Sean is a UEFA A Coach with a Masters in Sport Coaching. He has over 15 years of experience working in professional football from Academy through to First team in the Premiership and Championship.

Linkedin – www.developmentofplayers.com
Twitter – @SeanJReed

Working with Smaller Numbers

By Sean Reed – 

The next few sessions are some ideas for when you might have a small number of players. The focus is on their awareness, movement, angles to support, decision-making and the quality on the ball.

Objective: Session 1

Working on receive the ball and looking to play out to the spare man

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Set Up

  • Using the example above. Set up with an area of approx 25yd x 25yd, 4 players on the outside, with 2 players on the inside the area. 3 balls
  • The 2 players in the middle remain in the middle for a period of 20-30secs
  • Balls start on the outside, the players in the middle working looking to receive the ball, then play out to a spare player on the outside
  • The player must make a movement before they receive the next ball (could put a box or line across the pitch to encourage them to receive in another area)
  • If you have more numbers or less then you can change the number inside and outside and also the number of balls being used.

Coaching Points

  • Movement to receive the ball
  • Body shape when receiving and 1st touch
  • Awareness of spare player which will influence 1st touch
  • Change of pace
  • Quality of end product
  • Communication

Objective: Session 2

Supporting and providing a good angle to the player on the ball

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Set Up

  • The same set up as the previous session with the players on the inside and the outside.
  • When the player makes their 1st pass out to a spare player, they then make a 2nd movement to receive the ball from the player they have played out to.
  • They will then pass that ball out, then look for a new ball
  • As they play the 1st pass out, the player can tell the outside player to hold the ball whilst they make a new angle. They will then look to receive the ball, allowing it to come across their body without touching it
  • You could introduce 2 pairs to work in the middle depending on numbers, otherwise put in some mannequins or poles to encourage players to work through the traffic

Coaching Points

  • As above within the previous session
  • Movement to create a new angle receive the ball
  • Scan prior to receiving the ball
  • Open body shape to allow the ball to come across, knowing there is space to open out into

Objective: Session 3

Encourage the awareness of not only the players inside the area but the players on the outside. Working on them to support and provide good angles.

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Set Up

  • As within the previous session.
  • Depending on how the players are working, you can always remove a ball to avoid any problems or if you only started with 2 balls, introduce an additional ball to challenge them.
  • When the ball is played to a player on the outside and that player in the inside has gone to look for a new ball. The player on the outside can play make one pass to another player on the outside. This will then encourage the spare man to change and the players in the middle will need to recognize that. Plus, it encourages the players on the outside to always be aware not only central but peripherally.
  • Players on the outside are supporting the ball working up and down the line

Coaching Points

  • As with previous sessions
  • Awareness with be challenged and therefore players will need to concentrate. Awareness before and whilst they receive the ball
  • Might need to encourage the player in the middle to stay on the ball a little longer as the outside options change

Objective: Session 4

Encourage creating triangles, supporting the ball and movement to receive the ball

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Set Up

  • As with the previous sessions
  • Use only 2 balls
  • When the player on the ball in the area plays to the outside player, the outside player receiving the ball will look to immediately pass to someone else on the outside. They will then play a pass back into the player in the middle.
  • The player in the middle will then stay on the ball until the next opportunity is available to play to the outside and the process is repeated.

Coaching Points

  • As in the previous sessions
  • Creating that triangle of support
  • Tempo of play
  • Angle of support
  • Decision to play 1st time or take touches
  • Movement to receive the 2nd ball

Progressions / Options

Please note the diagram below illustrates the option to use Mannequins / poles or even areas for players to work around, within or through. This will encourage the movement and awareness especially if you have limited players. Ideally you want players working around and within each other as oppose to static and immoveable objectives. You need the environment to challenge and replicate the demands of the game. Other options could include reducing the size of the area and the number of balls used.

 

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By Sean Reed
Former First Team Coach of Championship side Fulham FC. Sean is a UEFA A Coach with a Masters in Sport Coaching. He has over 15 years of experience working in professional football from Academy through to First team in the Premiership and Championship.

Linkedin – www.developmentofplayers.com
Twitter – @SeanJReed

Identifying and Using Space with the Ball

By Sean Reed – 

The focus of this session is to encourage players to identify and use space when in possession of the ball.

Objective: Session 1

Ball work with the players before a possession and can be used within a warm-up. Looking for the player in possession to recognize and exploit the free space (gates). When, where and how.

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Set Up

  • The shape and dimension of the area is for the coach to decide, which will be dependent on the number of players and challenging the players. Include 4 – 5 gates using small cones; again the distance between cones is dependent on the coach
  • 4 ball (2 with each group) passing and moving the ball playing to your own team. Player in possession needs to run the ball through an open gate then play the ball off
  • A player cannot go through the same gate as someone else, they must turn away then look to find another opening
  • You can make it competitive by working for a period of time and counting the number of gates each team goes through
  • The game can also be used as a warm-up using hands, change of pace traveling through the gate traveling with the ball

Progressions

  • Players can travel through the gates in different ways.
  • A player from the one team can play a pass to the opposite team and get the ball back immediately
  • Have a number of red gates and a number of white gates. Players need to travel through two gates, but can’t be of the same colour

Coaching Points

  • Playing with your head up
  • Awareness in possession of the ball
  • Distance of ball from feet when moving (keeping the ball under control)
  • Good 1st touch and chase the 2nd touch (change of pace)
  • Be positive
  • Supporting the ball

Objective: Session 2

The session is the same as session 1, but the player must receive the ball outside the square, for their first touch to take them into the square. Then the player will then pass from in the square. Using the space to take their first touch into.

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Set Up

  • The set up is the same as above, depending on how the players are being challenged, change the size of area, distance between the cones or the number of gates.
  • When the players are looking to travel through the gate, can they perform a turn back through the same gate they have just traveled through?

Progression

  • As above using different coloured gates, the first gate they dribble through the second gate they dribble and turn through that gate
  • Dribble through a gate, then play a ½ with a player from the opposite team when receiving the ball allow the ball to run across the body and return through the same gate

Coaching Points

  • As with the previous session
  • Awareness of space infront and behind when traveling through the gate
  • Body shape when changing direction within the gate
  • Decision-making where to travel and when to turn
  • Body shape when receiving the ball
  • Support the player on the ball

Objective: Session 3

The next progression is to take this into possession game. Within the game the objective is for a player to score by traveling through a gate. With the player in possession recognizing and using the free space (the gate) to travel through

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Set Up

  • Going into a possession game. For example, to use the numbers displayed in the diagram 6v6 with 5 squares.
  • Unlimited touches
  • For a team to score they must travel through a gate that is unoccupied. They must complete a pass for the goal to count. To encourage the opposition to apply pressure on the ball the team in possession can also score by making 8 passes
  • The number of passes continues even if a goal has been scored through the gate
  • Can used as a hand-ball game – especially as a warm-up game

Progressions

  • To score the player must dribble and turn back through the same gate

Coaching Points

  • Refer to the ball work part of the session
  • Tempo of passing
  • Patient in possession – identifying when to exploit the space
  • Be positive with a change of pace when traveling into space with the ball
  • Supporting the player in possession

By Sean Reed
Former First Team Coach of Championship side Fulham FC. Sean is a UEFA A Coach with a Masters in Sport Coaching. He has over 15 years of experience working in professional football from Academy through to First team in the Premiership and Championship.

Linkedin – www.developmentofplayers.com
Twitter – @SeanJReed

Finding and Using Space

By Sean Reed – 

The focus of this session is to encourage players to find and use space. Identifying where the space is, the timing of movement to get into the space, the using the ball when receiving in the space.

Objective: Session 1

Working on identifying and using the space when looking to receive the ball. Timing of movement and awareness of next movement once the player has received the ball

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Set Up

  • The group is split into two teams. Depending on the level of player you can introduce either 1 or 2 balls per team. Within the area there are 5 squares 5x5yds for each square. The size of the squares can changing depending on the objective or level of players you are working with. Obviously reducing the size of area will challenge the players. The number of squares within the grid can be dependant on what the coach wants.
  • In the two teams passing between the passing, almost working as a 3, player 1 will pass to player 2 (who must receive in any of the spare grids) their 1st touch must take them out of the grid they will play the pass into player 3 who will be anywhere within the area. Player 3 will then travel with the ball, looking to play player 1 who will receive the ball in any spare grid, to then play into player 2.
  • A player can not stand and wait within a square, after a couple of seconds they must come out the square, If another player is already in the square, then that square is no longer free.
  • When receiving the ball within a square the player must take their first touch outside the square, but not from the side the ball was received.
  • When the pass is played into a small square, the next pass is then played to a player outside the square.
  • The number of touches allowed will be down to coach and changing the touches can challenge the players – depending on objective.

Coaching Points

  • Awareness of free space (Square)
  • Timing of movement into the squares
  • Awareness and body shape when receiving the ball in the square
  • 1st Touch out side the square and end product
  • Communication

Objective: Session 2

The session is the same as session 1, but the player must receive the ball outside the square, for their first touch to take them into the square. Then the player will then pass from in the square. Using the space to take their first touch into.

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Set Up

The same set up as the previous sessions, however the players are now receiving the ball outside the square, taking their first touch into the square. As mention within session 1. The coach can start the session off as a handball exercise to get the players understanding the movements.

Coaching Points

  • Playing with head up (awareness of other players / space / where & who to play the ball to
  • Awareness of free space (Square)
    Encourage players to be aware of the space (square) to allow the ball to come across their body without a touch
  • Awareness and body shape when receiving the ball in the square
  • 1st Touch out side the square and end product
  • Communication

Objective: Session 3

The next progression is to take this into possession game. Within the game the objectives of using the squares as space to for players to move into and take their first touch into are continued. Obviously with it being competitive it challenges the players awareness, movement and timing. Although we are looking at finding and using space players defending need to track and deny space.

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Diagram 3
Set Up

  • Going into a possession game. For example, to use the numbers displayed in the diagram 6v6 with 5 squares.
  • Unlimited touches
  • For a team to score they must make 8 Passes or score with a pass when a player receives in the square, taking their first touch outside the square and then completing another pass into a team mate.
  • The number of passes continues even if a goal has been scored with a player receiving in a square.
  • Players can only go into a square when their team is in possession and a player cannot be in the square for longer than 3secs.
  • Can used as a hand-ball game – especially as a warm-up game
  • Please note that by allowing the team in possession to score with a number of passes will encourage the opposition to press the ball, which will then free up the squares

Progressions

  • Limit the number of touches
  • Change the conditions on the number of passes required to score
  • The amount of time depending on the physical objective
  • Allow the defending players to occupy a square, but only for 3 seconds

Coaching Points
• Refer to the passing exercises
• Tempo of passing
• Patient in possession – identifying when to play into a player in the square
• Supporting the player in possession

Objective: Session 4

The next stage is to implement within a possession game. Focusing on the link between 3 players, looking at creating that triangle that exists all over the pitch.

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Set Up

  • The game is set as within session 3. The only difference is the way in which the team can score. The player must receive the ball outside of one of the squares, then take their first touch into a square followed by a completed pass.
  • Initially the opposition is not allowed to occupy any of the squares. However, as a coach you can change that ruling depending on whether the players need to be changed.

Progressions

  • Limit the number of touches
  • Change the conditions on the number of passes required to score
  • The amount of time depending on the physical objective
  • Allow the defending players to occupy a square, but only for 3 seconds

Coaching Points

  • Refer to the passing exercises
  • Tempo of passing
  • Patient in possession – identifying when to play into a player in the square
  • Supporting the player in possession

By Sean Reed
Former First Team Coach of Championship side Fulham FC. Sean is a UEFA A Coach with a Masters in Sport Coaching. He has over 15 years of experience working in professional football from Academy through to First team in the Premiership and Championship.

Linkedin – www.developmentofplayers.com
Twitter – @SeanJReed

Into the Middle Third

By Eric Clermont – 

In an earlier article, I highlighted a number of ways where coaches could run a number of practices which could be used to teach players to effectively build out of the back. Many coaches though, do not get past this aspect and wonder why their teams cannot possess the ball higher up the field. The next step is to teach defenders how to possess the ball and find team-mates in the midfield third and to show midfielders some ways to get free and into supporting angles for their team-mates. The following session wil give coaches ideas on this aspect.

Warm-Up

Organization
Start with a 4 v 2 rondo. Develop to 5 v 3 with one attacker playing inside the box. The objective of the attackers is to move the ball quickly enough to knock the ball in the middle off the cone for a point. Defenders are not allowed inside the triangle area. High intensity for 2 mins and then switch 2/3 defenders in the middle. Active Recovery- dynamic stretches.

Coaching Points

  • Angles of support
  • First touch which is positive and away from pressure
  • Movement from the central midfielder- try to move away and then check towards. Attempt to find space behind the defenders (blind side)
  • Speed of play

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Small-Sided Game

Organization
3 v 1- 2 v 1 with poles. Play starts with a 3 v 1 rondo, with these players attempting to open up a lane to play to one of the two players in the next grid (2 v 1). The 2 players in the other grid attempt to combine and must stop the ball behind the end line to score a point. The ball restarts from the 3 v 1. Switch defenders after 3 minutes of activity.

Coaching Points

  • Technical and tactical decisions of ball movement (based on pressure, support and space)
  • Movement and interchange between CM’s- one CM checking forward, the other spins in behind
  • Passing lanes and supporting angles
  • Possession V penetration

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Extended Activity
Organization- 9 v 6 phase play game (4-3-2 vs 2-3-1). Possession game to end zone. Numbers can be changed to fit the team’s formation or based on the numbers available to practice. The game starts at the top area with a 4 v 1 (3 outside and 1 inside) and this group must play into the next grid (3 v 3). One forward player from the first grid can move into the next grid through the dribble/pass. In the 3 v 3, they must attempt to hit the one striker in the bottom grid (1 v 2) and this attacker can join this player to go 2 v 2. They must play in behind this zone into an end zone or a target player at the bottom.

Coaching Points

  • Complimentary movement from midfielders. Attempt to create space for team-mates and each other when possible
  • Decision to penetrate or possess the ball from defensive line (4 v 1)
  • Supporting angle when entering another zone- try to enter at an angle to give instant support for a give-and-go for the player receiving the ball (who will likely be under pressure)

By Eric Clermont – NSCAA Premier Diploma, USSF A License Candidate

Effective Flank Play in the Attacking Half

By Eric Clermont – 

The following session is a technically/ tactical progressive session based on teaching a team playing in a 4-3-3 formation how to effectively attack on the flanks. The session can effectively be adapted to teach a team playing in a 4-4-2 formation too.

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Warm Up

Organization:

The #2, #3, #7, #8, #9, #10 and #11 are set up in a half of the field. Manakins set up in a 3-3 shape. Play always starts with #8 from halfway line. Coach teaches 3 patterns which players continue for the interval (first on the right side, then on the left side).

Patterns:

1. #8 plays to #7 (creates space by moving away and then back towards the ball), who drives inside towards the manakin (RCB). #2 overlaps and #7 can play the overlapping run or play to #9 who then plays outside to #2. Cross and finish (one set on the right, then on the left).

2. #8 plays to #2 who drives forward and plays to #9’s feet, #7 runs in behind manakin (LB) and #9 finds him with a ball in between LCB and LB. Cross and finish (one set on the right, then on the left).

3. #8 plays to #2 who drives forward into space, #7 engages defender by moving away and then checks towards the ball, while #10 runs into space left by #7 (in behind LB). #2 slides ball into channel for #10. Cross and finish (one set on the right, then on the left).

Coaching Points

  • Mobility of wide players to create space on the wings
  • Combination play between attacking players when dealing with low/medium pressure
  • Understanding of where and when to create overloads on the wings when attacking

Small Sided Activity

Organization

A goal is set up at each half of the field. Three defenders (in yellow) defend one goal for an interval and players attack that goal in waves on three at a time. One neutral player in 2 five yard zone (on each side) play with the attacking team when they are in possession. Attacking players can either pass to the neutrals from the playing area or can go in to the wide zone to combine with them. The team in black must play into a wide area before scoring. If the yellow steal the ball, they attack the opposite goal and then must react for the next wave of three attackers. When the ball goes out of bounds, a new group of 3 attackers bring their ball in to attack.

Coaching Points

  • When to dribble/ when to combine
  • Improvisation and creativity in 1 v 1 situations
  • Different methods of combination for players

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Expanded Activity

Organization

6 v 6 +GK set up in 50 x 60 yd field with a 10 yard channel on each wing. Blue team set up in a 2-1-3 formation and attack the big goal, while red team are set up in a 1-4-2 formation and play to the mini goals. Play starts from the server on each new possession(at the center of the halfway line). When attacking, the blue team can attack (through the pass/dribble) into the wide area with 2 players while the red team can defend with 1 (creating a 2 v 1). Progression: After gaining initial success, take the wide areas out so that there is open play with same number of players.

Coaching Points

  • Mobility of wide players to create space on the wings.
  • Combination play between attacking players when dealing with low/medium pressure
  • Understanding of where and when to create overloads on the wings when attacking

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Expanded Activity 2

Organization

50 x 75 yard field. 9 v 8 (team with 9 play with 8 + GK). Black team set up in a 2-3-3 formation and attack the big goal, while red team are set up in a 1-4-1-3 formation and play to the mini goals. A server starts play by playing from the back center to a blue player on the field of play.

Coaching Points

Combination play between attacking players when dealing with medium/high pressure (increased pressure due to presence of wide midfielder on wings).

Interchange of positions between players in midfield to draw defenders out of position (#7 or #11 cutting inside to leave space for an attacking mid or outside back to penetrate into space). Exploiting space that has been created by team-mates.

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By Eric Clermont – NSCAA Premier Diploma, USSF A License Candidate

Possession to Penetrate

By Eric Clermont – 

Over the last few years, with the continued success on tiki taka and the possession style game, many youth coaches have taken it upon themselves to develop a syndrome I like to call a possession-itis. While many coaches teach the possession style along with it’s many coaching points, they have given their players the ability to receive off the back foot, the understanding of how to create supporting angles around the ball with speed and the quality to ‘start’ again and switch the field when necessary. That being said, many coaches forget to teach the most important part of the game (in my eyes). This important area, is the ability to penetrate in possession. These simple exercises below will give coaches some ideas on how to ‘bring this out’ in their own sessions.

Warm Up

Organization- Rondo activity with a 4 v 2 + 1 set up in a 10 x 10 grid and a 3 x 3 triangle set up with flags in the middle. Depending on numbers and quality of players, this can be changed to a larger grid or maybe a 4 v 1 + 1 or even a 5 v 3 + 1 for high quality teams. The principles stay the same. The four on the outside of the grid must circulate the ball and attempt to find their player in the middle of the triangle inside the grid. Play for 2 mins and then switch the defenders.

Coaching Points

  • Speed of play and technical quality to circulate ball quickly from side to side (create space to penetrate).
  • First touch move if possible (try not to stop the ball dead)
  • Angles of support from players out of possession

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Small Sided Activity

Organization- A 3 v 3 +4 is set up in the playing area (20 x 20 grid). There is a 3 v 3 on the inside of the grid with 4 neutral players playing on the outside. The 4 neutral players are limited to two touches and support the players in possession in an attempt to play from North to South or from South to North to the neutral players. They win one point every time they are able to do this.

Progression- Neutral players cannot play to each other.

Neutral players must now play one touch.

Coaching Points

  • Mobility (checking towards and moving away from the ball)
  • Speed and angle of support. Players on the outside MUST move!
  • Decision whether to keep the ball or to penetrate must be correct (based on windows open and risk v. reward)

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Extended Activity

Organization- Field split into quarters (4 zones) with the entire zone being a 30 x 50 yard. Two end zones are 30 x 10 yards each (with three mini goals set up at the end of them) and the middle zones are 30 x 15 yards each. 4 v 4 + 2 target players. The team in possession look to circulate the ball in an attempt to penetrate the defensive line of the opposition to find their target player. The target player then has two touches to score into the mini goals.

Progression- Players inside main grid play two touches, target players play one touch.

Coaching Points

  • Speed of play and ability to circulate.
  • Disguise of pass to find the target player.
  • Mobility of target player to find windows (maybe moving in the opposite direction to the ball).
  • Ability to play one touch into the player in the grid.

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By Eric Clermont – NSCAA Premier Diploma, USSF A License Candidate

Switching the Point of Attack

By Eric Clermont – 

When developing a possession based style at the youth level (as I have done over the last few years), I believe that the focus on always needing to play short becomes predominant for many teams. While there are clear pros to this, players are often given only the technical tools to play this way and no tactical context in order for them to be successful. We are not talking here about the wins and losses column, but specifically about their ability to keep possession when ‘trapped’ on one side of the field and the understanding of when to ‘open up’ the play and switch the point of attack. In the modern professional game, the ability to play out of tight pockets into areas of space is a must. Teaching players early with the simple but effective practices below will put them on the right path.

Warm Up

Organization

Players pass around with one ball in group of 4. 2 play in the middle with 2 on the outside. Keep switching roles. Work through combining through the 2 central midfielders in the middle to switch to the other side. 2 sets of players work in one box (one team going horizontally and the other going vertically), but are unopposed to add some difficulty. Coach can teach certain patterns for players to practice.

Progression

Players can switch positions with outside players after playing the ball outside. Active Recovery- Coaching points while players do dynamic stretches.

Coaching Points

  • Technical decisions of passing/dribbling and combining
  • Speed of play and body shape when switching point of attack
  • Angles and distances of support for the player with the ball
  • Ensure players are never in a straight line (always at an angle to the player with the ball)

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Small Sided Game

Organization

Opposed exercise on switching the point of attack. Players split up into fours (3 teams if possible, but defensive team can have less). Field split into two 15 x 15 yard grids at each end and a 5 x 15 yard narrow channel in the middle for the defensive team. A team must play five passes and then switch to the other side for a point. Team in the middle must send 2 defenders for a 4 v 2. When they win the ball, they win a point. Continue for 3 minutes and then switch the team in the middle.

Coaching Points

  • Technical aspects of short and long passing
  • Combinations to create space
  • Movement and creating angles/distances for player to switch the ball to other side
  • Decision making of whether to play short/long
  • Team on opposite side get into attacking shape early in order to keep possession when ball is switched

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Extended Activity

Organization

Three central midfielders work to work together to change the point of attack by using the outside backs/ wingers on the side and the centre back and striker on either side. Server plays a ball into the box where the 3 midfielders and CB and ST work to establish a rhythm and tempo in a 7 vs. 3. Players on outside play 2 touch and must play inside, forcing 3 midfielders to create passing lanes. Switch the point at least once, play a two player combination and play in to opposite target to score. If red team win possession, they reload through one of the targets and attack towards the other side.

Coaching Points

  • Change the rhythm and tempo of the play with short and long passes
  • Decision whether to penetrate 1 v 1 or to combine with neutral player
  • Outplaying your direct opponent. Body shape to receive (open)
  • Vision and awareness to see both short and long options
  • Rotation and shape of the midfield triangle in support of the wide and deep players to create space and passing lines
  • Speed of play when attacking- less touches and more penetrating passes

Article5B

By Eric Clermont – NSCAA Premier Diploma, USSF A License Candidate

Functional Defending Session with Front Three

By Eric Clermont – 

In the modern game today, the demand of players technically, tactically and physically have increased considerably over the past ten years. Defenders are expected to build out from the back, midfielders are held accountable for defending deep runs into the box and forwards are also told that they must defend from the front. Depending on the area of the field, formation of a team and the style which that team plays, there are a number of different ways that a team are asked to play. It is important today, from a young age that players from an early age are taught how to defend the correct way and how their decision affect the players around them. The following practice gives ideas of how to do this, specifically working with a team playing with three forwards.

Part 1- Teaching the Habit

Organization

Players are set up in grid around 40 x 30 yards and the area is split into thirds (as shown below). One team plays in each grid, with the middle team working as the forward three in this exercise. The yellow team at the bottom possess the ball and when possible, try to split the team in black by playing to the yellow team on the other side. The black team defend for three minutes and then switch with another team.

Coaching Points

  • Pressure, cover, balance and the rotation of these roles as the ball moves side to side
  • Compactness- try to ensure that the three defenders don’t get split and that they don’t get too flat when defending
  • Making play predictable- first forward needs to cut off one option to allow his team-mates to react of their pressure

Article4A

Part 2- Wave Game

Organization

A small sided field is set up (around 40 x 30) with three mini goals at each end. Two teams of 3 play at a time, with 2/3 teams waiting at each end behind the goals. Games are limited to two minutes of high intensity. When a team scores (yellow team in the diagram), the team behind that goal come in against this team (red team) and the yellow team must react to put pressure on the ball in the right way. If teams do not score, the Coach can decide who will come off and which side will enter (but the moment of transition between games must be quick).

Coaching Points

  • Make play predictable. Verbal and visual communication- “I’ve got pressure”
  • Reacting off visual cues- high pressure when opposition takes a bad touch
  • Quick transition to defensive shape when a team scores

Article4B

Part 3- Small sided Phase of Play

Organization

Half of a field is used in the practice, with a 6 v 3 playing on the field (GK, back four and defensive midfielder for yellow and three forwards for black). The field is set up with a line of cones (the Coach will decide on this) as a line of confrontation for the forwards to react to. If the black team steal the ball, they go to goal. If yellow can possess the ball, they attempt to go to the two mini goals at the halfway line.

Coaching Points

Team shape is key. Stay compact and channel ball inside (make play predictable). Communication from behind (cut your line/show inside).
When to press and when to drop as a unit (reacting to visual cues).

Article4C

Part 4- Expanded Phase of Play

Organization

Same set up as above, but now the teams now play 8 v 6, with the yellow team adding two more CM’s and the black team adding an attacking midfielder and a center midfielder. Field is extended 10-15 yards beyond the halfway line.

Coaching Points

  • High intensity from defending team- win ball back high if possible
  • Starting positions from forwards is key (line of confrontation)
  • Visual triggers (e.g. when ball played back or sideways, press)
  • Channeling the ball into the center of the field (not wide)
  • Tracking and regaining position behind the ball if the opposition plays behind them
  • Transition from defense to attack

Article4D

By Eric Clermont – NSCAA Premier Diploma, USSF A License Candidate

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