Tag Archives for " Small-Sided Game "

Session Specific Warm Up

By Steven Smith

Setup:
Warming up our players often happens separate from the actual skills of soccer and is viewed by many coaches as unrelated to the theme of training in the main series.

This activity emphasizes a gradual warm up using the skills that will be needed during the main series when working on passing and receiving and possession skills. The activities described should be intermittent with range of motion and active stretching when transitioning from one step to another in the described activities. All stretching should last at least one minute per stretch with any static stretching. Coaches must lead the stretch so that the duration of the stretch is not cut short. Each of the activities described can last around 3-4 minutes for a long gradual warm-up leading toward a main series workout.

All players should have vests at the start of this activity and split into two different color groups. For this activity they will be described as wearing yellow or black.

Execution:
Activity 1: Players are grouped into twos while passing and receiving with their designated partner in the grid space provided (for groups of 18 or more the grid should be quite large to encourage lots of movement covering all portions of the grid). Give instruction to keep the head up and avoid touching any other players.

STRETCH INTERVAL FOLLOWS

Activity 2: Play continues with one ball per two people but instead of a designated partner, the players with the ball must find any person in the grid and pass to the person who actively calls for the ball. Players must not pass the ball to anyone who does not actively show for the ball by communicating their desire for the ball through their voice, their posture or clear eye contact. Coach must emphasize those three methods of communication.

STRETCH INTERVAL FOLLOWS

Activity 3: Players continue play but yellow may only pass and receive with yellow and black may only pass and receive with black. This will force players to think ahead and pick out their “team” in the midst of the chaos of the ball movements and player movements.

STRETCH INTERVAL FOLLOWS

Activity 4: All players remove their vests and tuck them into their waist bands. Reduce the number of balls for passing and receiving and restart the activity with passing and receiving to anyone in the grid (same restriction on passing only after appropriate communication as earlier). As coach determines he/she instructs a player to put on his or her vest and that player then becomes a defender who seeks to intercept passes and knock the ball out of the grid. Balls knocked out of the grid can be retrieved by a player and then resume the passing and receiving. Coach adds the number of defenders based on preference and desire for pressure on the warm-up. Coach may also reduce the number of balls allowed for passing and receiving.

STRETCH INTERVAL FOLLOWS

Activity 5: Coach reduces the number of balls to three for passing and receiving. As the number of players builds up the defending players with vests on no longer attempt to knock the ball out of play but instead try to keep possession inside the grid. The other players attempt to win the ball back for their passing and receiving with non-vest wearing players. It basically becomes a game of keep away.

STRETCH INTERVAL FOLLOWS

Activity 6: Coach controls the numbers leading to even sided play with both teams attempting to maintain possession. The coach closely monitors play and challenges each team to attempt to possess all three balls at the same time. When one team possesses all three of the balls then play is stopped and the losing team makes a sprint to the end line and back. Then play is resumed with the same challenge until the coach calls conclusion of the warm-up.

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.

2v2 Transition to Goal

By Steven Smith

Two versus Two Transition to Goal

Setup:
Two full size goals are set up 36 yards apart facing each other and players are placed evenly at each post with balls at the right posts of both goals ready to enter into play. Goalkeepers occupy each of the goals.

This activity is extremely demanding for physical endurance and is anaerobic in its training focus. Teams who shoot often and remain on field may become very fatigued.

Execution:
Players are paired into twos for the entire duration of the activity and stand behind the goal posts at the same goal. Play is initiated by the yellow partners serving to the black set of partners at the other set of goals. The yellow partners who serve the ball move out to defend the black partners who attempt to score as quickly as possible on the opposing goal.

If the black players score or the ball goes over the end line then the black partners must immediately defend the next two yellow players who dribble off the end line and transition to attack the opposite goal as quickly as possible. The two versus two takes place between the two goals with each team trying to win the ball back and attack the opposite goal. Play continues back and forth until a time set by the coach or until a certain number of goals have been achieved by one team.

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.

Different Types of Crosses

By Sean Pearson

Area: 40 x 30 yards

Time: 20 mins

Players: 6 v 6

Objectives

  • To understand the different types of cross
  • To understand when to use a certain cross

Set Up
Three areas, 2 end zones 10 x 30 yards and a middle zone 20 x 30 yards. 3v3 in the middle with 2 players for each team on the outside. 2 goals with a GK in each one.

Execution
The aim for each team is to get the ball out wide to either wide player and for the wide player to cross the ball into the end zone and have runners meet the ball and attempt to score. The first cross we will look at is a low cross behind the defense.

The cross is played early and on the ground because there is space to play the ball on the ground to the striker and the opposite winger who is allowed to come off their line and attack the cross. The cross is played with the inside of the foot with pace into the space ahead of the runners so they can attempt to score with a one-time shot.

If the team scores, then the next ball starts with their GK. If they miss or the GK catches the ball, then an immediate attack on the other goal can start. First do not allow defenders into the end zone to allow success at crossing but after some success allow 1 or 2 defenders in. No-one is allowed in the end zone before the winger receives the ball.

The next cross is a cut back. Encourage the wingers if they do not see the space available for an early cross to drive to the touch line. The striker should make a run to the near post dragging a defender with them (if not the winger can play the striker) thereby allowing the deeper player at the top of the end zone to be free. The winger then cuts the ball back on the ground for the attempted shot.

The last cross is a deep cross. This should happen when there is no space to play in behind the defense and the winger does not drive to the touch line. Because of the positions of all the players, a high deep cross to the back post and the opposite winger is what is needed.

If no cross is an option due to pressure, then players can pass backwards to a team mate but then all players must reset to their original areas.

Throughout this game, you are looking for understanding from your players to recognize the different scenarios and to execute the cross that best fits the scenario. If they recognize the scenario but fail in their technique, encourage their decision and help with their specific technical miscues to help them in the same scenario next time. Try not to discourage them from not trying when they understood the type of cross they were supposed to put in but they could not execute.

Variations

  • Add a neutral to overload the players able to receive the cross
  • Apply more pressure to the wingers from the beginning
  • Take the end zones out to see if the information was taken on board in a normal game situation

By Sean Pearson. Sean is also the author Coaching Team Shape in the 3-3-1, Coaching Team Shape in the 4-2-3-1 and Coaching Team Shape in the 4-3-3

Making Play Predictable

By Sean Pearson

Area Size: Quarter or Half field (depending on age of players)

Teams: 15 – 20 mins

Players: 7 v 7

Objectives

  • To stop forward penetration
  • To force sideways and backwards passes

Set-Up

2 teams set up in a 2-3-1 formation in a scrimmage like scenario.

Execution

The aim for this session is for your team to work together defensively by stifling forward progression of the opposition and frustrating the other team into backwards and sideways passes until they become frustrated. Your team must stay close together to stop penetrating passing lines into the feet of players further up the field. They cut off angles so the only available pass is one of backwards or sideways.

The defending team does not have to sit right in front of their own goal for this tactic to work. It is more effective to perform it in the middle of the field. As the opposition pass wide, the defending wide midfielder gets across to pressure the player on the ball so they can’t move forwards, the rest of the team slides across, compacting that side of the field, leaving the opposite wing open. The striker drops down to stop any balls into the center of midfield.

As the ball travels back to the CB the striker of the defending team presses the CB to force them to make a quick decision, again not allowing forward penetration. The obvious pass is sideways to the free CB. The team again slide into the middle to compact the area directly in front of or around the ball.

Now we have a little change of shape, because we don’t want to be so compact that passes out wide can break the defensive lines. Again the focus is to stop forward penetration by cutting off forwards passing options. As the ball travels to the opposite CB, the striker drops down to stop passes into the CM. The wide midfielder stays narrow to stop passes into the striker’s feet. The FB comes across to pressure the WM when they receive the ball and the CB and opposite WM slide across to cover and keep defensive shape.

As the ball arrives to the WM the FB is close to Pressure them, the WM has dropped down to block the pass into the striker’s feet again and striker drops to stop passes into the CM again, this leaves a pass backwards to the CB as the only pass available.

Players need to understand that they are working as a team to stop forward progression and not become individual and start to run all over the field. If players can win the ball when pressing then absolutely go for it, but the aim is to frustrate the other team going forward and giving the ball away by trying passes that are not on.

When the other team wins possession the defending team aims to frustrate and stop forward progression just like they experienced.

Variations

  • Add neutrals to challenge the defending team and increase the difficulty
  • Allow only 1 or 2 players to communicate to teammates to help build leaders in defense

By Sean Pearson. Sean is also the author Coaching Team Shape in the 3-3-1, Coaching Team Shape in the 4-2-3-1 and Coaching Team Shape in the 4-3-3