Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Champions League Style Passing


Objective: Passing - Champions League Style
I ran this session on the day of the Champions League Final between Manchester United and Barcelona. Even at 6 and 7 years old, kids get excited about big finals and start taking sides. So for we used drills and games that both clubs have used

Warm Up:
Ball Work - El Rondo
Players play 3v1 in a space appropriate to their age and skill. The player in the middle has the job of getting the ball off of the other players by intercepting it as they attempt to pass it to each other. When the central player intercepts the ball, the player who made the pass must become the central player. This is a fast paced game, so ensure one person doesnt spend too much time in the middle chasing the ball. This can also be progressed to 4v2 in a larger area. For the younger players I coach I used an area 20x30 and started the drill off with no tackling.

Here is a video of Barcelona using the Rondo for a warm up


Work in small groups:
Passing to End Zones - One of the challenges with the El Rondo is that players remain fairly static, so to progress this into a directional exercise I added to small end zones to the area. The objective now for the players in possession is to make a run into the end zone to receive a pass. As before if the defender recovers the ball he swaps places with the player who made the pass. We played this game both unopposed and opposed.



Work in small areas:
Four Goal Game - This game was used as part of a study into small sided games at
Manchester United. With groups split into two teams, this is played as a normal game but with two goals on each end line to target. However given that the session was about passing I decided to varying the games scoring method. To score a goal a team had to knock over a cone on the end line they are attacking. First to knock all four down wins. Then pick them all up and start again.


Group Work:
Champions League Final –  What better way to end the season and the session on Champions League Final day than to recreate the game. One team Manchester United, the other being Barcelona and the players being their favourite player. For the record our game ended 5-5 and Barca won the penalty shoot out 3-2

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Using the ball to prevent bunching


Objective: To encourage players to use the ball to prevent bunching

I was likely to be coaching up to 16 young kids on my own, so wanted a session that needed little explaining and as little setting up during the session as possible.

So with some forward planning and inspiration from a fellow coach this is what I put together. Once set up, I only needed to take cones away for the progressions to the next stage.



Warm Up: Ball Work - In a grid appropriate to the age of the players set up a number of gates using three different coloured cones. All the players have a ball and the coach calls out one of the three colours, the players then have to dribble their ball through those coloured gates, when the coach shouts out a different colour the players change and dribble through those. The coach should change the colour frequently (20 to 30 seconds). Or why not try getting the players to perform a skill or turn as they go through the gate.

After 2-3 minutes stop the players and run through some dynamic stretches.

Follow the stretching with some light jogging. As at the beginning the coach calls out a colour while the players are jogging in the grid but the players must now sprint through a gate of the colour the coach called and then return to a light jog.

Passing in Pairs - Every pair takes a ball and stands opposite each other at a gate with one ball for each pair. The coach gets the players to start passing the ball between the gate 1 and 2 touch (make it a competition by asking them to count the passes). The coach should then progress the passing to using the weaker foot and then getting the pairs to take it in turns to take a touch and pass the ball back to their partner around the outside of the cones. As before practice with the weaker foot.

Work in small groups: The Parma Game - Split the group into 4 teams and play two of these games parallel to each other. To score a goal, a player from one team has to pass the ball through the goal, where a player from his team controls the ball on the other side without any of the opposition touching it first. (You can score in either side of the goal.) You then have to score through a different goal before you can return to the one you have just scored in, unless the opposition get the ball. Players need to get their heads up to see the full picture and pass accurately.

Work in small areas: Through the Gates - This small sided game like the Parma Game above I can accredit to Paul Cooper. Again run with two games running in parallel. The game is run like a normal game without keepers, but with a condition that for a goal to count the ball has to be passed or dribbled through one of two gates placed on the halfway line during the approach play from a teams defensive half.



Group Work: Normal Match – Focus on the skills learnt in the session, giving particular praise to players passing well and moving into space when their team is in possession

Friday, 13 May 2011

Keeping the Ball


Objective: To improve players ability to keep possession

Warm Up:
Ball Work - In a grid appropriate to the age of the players set up a number of gates using three different coloured cones. All the players have a ball and the coach calls out one of the three colours, the players then have to dribble their ball through those coloured gates, when the coach shouts out a different colour the players change and dribble through those. The coach should change the colour frequently (20 to 30 seconds).



Work in small groups: Numbers Up Possession - In a grid appropriate for the players 3 teams play keep-away with 2 teams (attacking) working together to stop the defending team from gaining possession. This games works for anything from 2v2v2 to 5v5v5. When the defending gets the ball the still have to keep the ball for as long as possible. This game can be quite tiring so rotate the defending team regularly.

Work in small areas: Line Soccer - Play this dribbling/possession game demonstrated here as a 3v3 or 4v4 game. The emphasis should be on maintaining possession until a scoring opportunity opens. 

Group Work: Normal Match Focus on the skills learnt in the session, giving particular praise to players passing well and moving into space when their team is in possession