When children are tired, everything becomes a struggle – especially their ball skills. Their concentration level will disappear and you will find they stop playing football. This often becomes obvious during the final minutes of a match at the beginning of the season or during mid-season.
An important part of pre-season training is to organise intensive endurance exercises. You need to tailor these to suit the age of your players so they are not exhausted afterwards.
One I like to use is this Flower Power exercise which not only gets players moving at pace, but is also good fun as they run around making the shape of a flower.
Using this exercise could give your players the advantage they need to win more matches, especially at the beginning of the season when they are not fully fit.
What to look out for
- At each turn, focus on the correct turning technique – small steps and quick feet.
- After every turn, players accelerate correctly.
- Body position (lean from the ankles). Be aware that some players will bend at the waist which is counter productive.
- Use of the arms (powerful and dynamic). Elbows should be at 90 degrees.
- Maintain the quality of movement, even when tired.
How to set it up
Using cones, set up this circuit by placing one cone on each corner of the penalty area, one either side of the halfway line and six cones evenly around the centre circle. If you’re setting up from scratch, the circle should be 10 yards across and each arm of the circle should be 15 yards long.
How to play it
- Three players start the circuit in the circle on the halfway line. They then run around the outer cone opposite where they started.
- They return back to the centre circle cone and continue around the set-up in an anti-clockwise direction until they return to their start cone.
- You can use up to six players starting in the circle on each of the cones. I use three players in case they catch each other up.
- Each player must complete the circuit once.
How to advance the session
To advance the exercise introduce a ball at each of the outer cones for the players to receive and return a pass before turning and continuing.
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