Category Archives for Coaching

Penetration Targets with Dummies

By Steven Smith

Area Size: A grid that is 20 X 20 is set up with three dummies (or poles) in the middle as shown. Three groups of three are divided into color groups.

Teams: At least two teams but prefer three or more.

Time: 20 minutes for full progression to completion.

Objective: The objective is to penetrate either midfield flat defenses or flat back four defenses (with modifications).

Narrative: Players execute predetermined runs between or in front of dummies to receive from the passing players. Emphasis and feedback is placed on tactical decision making to penetrate the midfield or back line. Gradually adding pressure will increase the demands of speed of decision making while making great technical touch. Holding runs and staying on side is a key part of the decisions when emphasizing penetrating the back line.

Set up and Execution:
In the first activity, the emphasis is on penetrating the midfield by adjusting runs for the receiver to receive in between the defending dummies. Feedback is given by the passer to receiver to either turn, turn and go, or hold. Then the ball is delivered to the flank and the pattern continues to the next person in line.

In the second variation, the receiver posts in front of one of the dummies to receive and double pass back to the initial passer. Then the player must hold and spin off to receive again in between the dummy defenders. Timing is crucial when using this activity to beat a flat four defensive group and stay on side.

In the third variation, the activity becomes a SSG by playing 3 v 3 in the given space with the dummies still on the field. Points are gained by either passing or dribbling between the dummies while competing to keep the ball.

A final progression (not diagrammed) could be to add full sized goals to the ends of the field and complete the activity by scoring in a 3 v 3 setting. Teams can rotate when they get scored upon or after two minutes of play.

By Steve Smith
Steve Smith has been a men’s college coach that holds an NSCAA Advanced National Diploma and a Doctorate in Physical Education.

Individual Ball Control Session

By Steven Smith

One vs. one skill development is essential to winning games. The teams that can efficiently dismantle other teams in one vs. one challenges all over the field will have better chances at scoring and winning games. This session is designed to develop those skills. The session can be done as a progression or in a camp setting with multiple coaches this can be done in stations and the players can rotate to each station. The order of the activities if done in a progression does not matter and is up to the preference of the coach.

Activity 1: One vs. One Target

Setup:
A grid is set up 25 X 20 with teams set up at each end. One player on each end is the target player for the two players in the center. The play is continuous in nature and players can switch lines randomly.

Execution:
After the first ball is served to opposite end, the attacker with the ball tries to beat the defender and serve the ball with a pass to the opposite end next player (target player). After playing the ball to the target player the passer must then become the defender.

Variations:
Note: This drill designed by Zach Jonker at Petoskey Michigan HS.

Activity 2: One vs. One Four Goals

Setup:
A grid is set up as shown in the diagram approximately 25 long by 20 wide with pugg goals or cone goals. Two lines are formed for attacking and defending.

Execution:
The defending line serves the ball to the attackers who attempt to score on either of the opposing goals on one end. If the defender gains possession they counter attack on the opposite end. Play continues till the ball is out of play or scored and then a new set of players start again. Rotation occurs at coach’s choice with the defending line always coming from the same spot.

Variations:
– Can move to a single goal.
– Coach can label goals by color and identify which color can be scored upon.
– Coach can focus feedback on defending skills or attacking skills and choices.
– Increase space and use full size goals in two locations (one on each end) with goal keepers.

Activity 3: 5 vs. 3 Limited Touch

Setup:
A field is set up 25 wide by 30 long. Two teams are set with 5 on one team and 3 on the other.

Execution:
Teams play against each other inside the grid. The team with 5 players can score on opposite goal but have a two touch limitation. The team with 3 players have unlimited touch. Rotate players within the grid so that all have a turn at limited touches.

Variations:
Goal keepers can restart after a goal but always use make it take it rules to reward scoring.

Activity 4: Four vs. Four Multi-touch

Setup:
A field is set up 25 wide by 30 long. Two teams of 4 vs. 4 play in the middle of the field while a target player is at each end (have two target players at each end with one alternating to make another group of four for rotation later).

Execution:
Four vs. four compete in the grid and try to find the target player at the opposite end to gain a point. Each time a team scores they start again with a ball from the coach. The multi-touch part of this game will increase 1 vs. 1 opportunities. Each player MUST touch the ball three times or more before giving up the ball to another player or before finding the target player.

Variations:
Ball could be played to targets at end that are keepers who must receive the ball with their hands (could restrict it to balls caught in air only).

Activity 5: Two Goal One vs. One

Setup:
Two goals are set up as shown in the diagram at 90 degree angle to each other. Goals should be inside a box approximately 18 X 24.

Execution:
The initial attacker receives the ball from line B formed at the goal being attacked. The defender comes out from the goal after service and defends the attacker. After the attacker scores (or attempts) they defend the new attacker coming at the second goal. If the defender at any point gains possession of the ball the defender can now attempt to score on either goal.

By Steve Smith
Steve Smith has been a men’s college coach that holds an NSCAA Advanced National Diploma and a Doctorate in Physical Education.

How to Warm Up For a Training Session

By Mike Saif

QuestionHow do you warm up for a training session? Does it change depending on what the training session topic is?

One of the most important things for me with training sessions is to get them active right away. Although I would set up different warm-ups sometimes depending on the topic of the session, most of my warm-ups were small-sided possession games. I did these for a number of reasons.

• They were designed so that all players were moving and active
• No matter the topic of the session, playing soccer always includes passing and possession
• It was a great way to make the warm up competitive and fun

My favorite warm-up was to simply divide the players into two teams with 1 or more neutral players. So it could be 7v7+2, 6v6+3, 8v8+2, etc. This made it really easy regardless of how many players were at practice that night.

I would make the space nice and big which would make it easier to be successful stringing passes and so that the players had more space to cover and run in. Depending on the number of players, it could be a half of a field or from the half line to the penalty area, etc. I would also stipulate that once you had made a pass, you had to run into a different area of the field to make sure players didn’t stay in the same spot all the time.

Making the warm-up competitive ensured a good effort and also made it fun. I would set targets like, 10 consecutive passes or 6 consecutive one-touch passes to get a point. I would sometimes limit players to two-touch or even one-touch with three neutral players. The losing team would have to give the winning team a piggy back ride or have to pick up the cones and balls at the end of practice, etc.

Another active possession warm-up is to play 5v5v5 in the same area with the same rules as above. This time the players would be split into three teams, each with a different color bib. Two teams would combine to keep the ball away from the other team. When the defending team won possession of the ball, the team that was responsible for losing possession, would now become the defending team. In the diagram below, the dark team and white team are combining to keep the ball away from the red team.

Give these a try and experiment with others, but making sure your players are active and having fun, is always a good start to a training session.

By Mike Saif
Founder and President of WORLD CLASS COACHING, Mike has coached 12 State Championship teams and coached the 87G Dynamos to a USYS National Championship.

Endless 4v4

By Steven Smith

Setup:
One grid is set up in the front third of the field using a full half field. The grid is set with the width of the 18 yard box making the width of the grid 44 yards.

Execution:
Four players come from the midfield stripe or a bit closer as shown in the diagram and attack a group of four defenders who are positioned deep in the field in a zonal defense shape.

If the attacking team is successful in getting a shot off either on goal, over the end line or to the keeper’s hands, the attacking group becomes the defending group and a new group of four come from the midfield stripe to attack the newly appointed defenders.

However, if the defending group is successful in cutting out the attacking group and gaining possession, the defensive group attempts to score on any of the three small goals at the opposite end. If they are successful in scoring on the small goals then the defensive group gets to stay on the field and defend again. If they are not successful in scoring they come off the field and the initial attackers become the defenders.

Variations:
Coach should have all waiting players with pinnies in their hands as the new attacking group entering should contrast in color with the defending group.

Coach can have the defending group stay on for 3-4 runs of attack prior to making any switches changing the game from an endless game to a predetermined number of attack before the switch.

By Steve Smith
Steve Smith has been a men’s college coach that holds an NSCAA Advanced National Diploma and a Doctorate in Physical Education.

Crossing Free Zones

By Steven Smith

Setup:
Two free zones are set up outside a 36 by 30-yard field. Zones are free from defenders. Grid size can be up to half field depending on age of players and functional desire of coach. The free zone sizes can also be adjusted.

Execution:
Flat back four defend groups of attackers who come from end line with the ball. They can attack in combination play up the center of the field or they can send the ball to the flank zone that is free of defenders. Ball is crossed quickly and attackers attempt to score. When ball is cleared a new group of attackers come at the same defenders. Attack in groups of 6 plus free zone attackers.

Variations:
Coach can limit the attacking group to four players plus the flank free zone players.

Coach can require all attack to come from flank with all attackers selling out to the crossed ball without any balance.

Coach can blow whistle and the ball must get to the flank within two touches.

Coach can allow counter attack opportunity for the defending group on opposite full size goal.

Coach can limit the number of attackers that can come into the box for the crossed ball.

By Steve Smith
Steve Smith has been a men’s college coach that holds an NSCAA Advanced National Diploma and a Doctorate in Physical Education.

Brazilian Triangle Series

By Steven Smith

Setup:
Three to four sets of the triangles are set up as shown in the first diagram. Three players are in each triangle and set up on the cone in each location. Distance between cones should be about five yards within the triangle and 15 yards between triangle sets.

Execution:
Players execute a series of predetermined passing sequences as shown in each diagram. Players should eventually become so adept at this warm up that it can be led by the players with the switching of the patterns being done by the leaders of your group. Spend approximately three minutes on each passing sequence before switching sides.

Variations:
1. Coach can set up competitions between the groups to see how many passes in a pattern can be accomplished in a set amount of time.

2. Coach can change up the size of the triangles in increasingly bigger distances and switch groups to each of the increasingly bigger spaces. The precision of passing touches can be translated to the larger spaces that may occur in the game.

By Steve Smith
Steve Smith has been a men’s college coach that holds an NSCAA Advanced National Diploma and a Doctorate in Physical Education.

Speed Dribble

By Steven Smith

Setup:
This activity is designed to encourage dribble penetration through the field when space is given. Teams who recognize space for speed dribbling will force defenses to make decisions based on the attacking team. It will be more likely that advances into more dangerous spaces on the field will occur.

Execution:
Two grids are set up in 25 yard squares approximately 20 yards apart. Two color groups are set up so that each grid has 5 vs. 3 occurring in each grid. Each grid plays keep away with the group of 5 retaining the ball. When the defense group of three gets the ball they attempt to retain as long as possible. On the coach’s whistle an attacking player from grid A speed dribbles to grid B and continues to play keep away in the new grid. A player from the sideline joins grid A and the same activity continues. On the same coach’s whistle that initiated the grid switch a player from grid B speed dribbles out of that grid and takes a shot on the goal and then joins the line for grid A.

Variations:
Keep both color groups the same for two separate timed games where score is kept for each successful goal scored after exiting the grid.

By Steve Smith
Steve Smith has been a men’s college coach that holds an NSCAA Advanced National Diploma and a Doctorate in Physical Education.

Double Goal

By Steven Smith

Setup:
This activity is designed to convert possession to shooting in a quick sequence. The teams must focus on proper and skillful possession of the ball in a tight space and then quickly convert that to a shooting opportunity and apply good finishing skills.

Execution:
Two grids are set up in 18 yard squares approximately 20 yards apart. Two color groups are set up so that each grid has 4 vs. 4 plus 1 in each grid. Each grid plays keep away with the extra color player in red always on the attacking team side (team in possession of ball at any given time). The coach predetermines the number of passes that must be completed consecutively and uninterrupted by anyone on the opposing team before the final player leaves the grid and takes a shot on goal. A player from the sideline joins each grid after a player leaves to shoot. The shooting player rejoins the sideline of the next grid over and the same activity continues.

Variations:
1. All players who take shots return to their same grid they left and score is kept between the two teams in that grid. Winners advance to play winners of the other grid.

2. Both teams shoot at the same time on opposite goals by the coach blowing a whistle during the possession. The team that scores first on each whistle gets the goal and the second shooter does not get a point even if he or she successfully scores their shot.

By Steve Smith
Steve Smith has been a men’s college coach that holds an NSCAA Advanced National Diploma and a Doctorate in Physical Education.