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How to coach 1v1s six ways

I came back from a game on Saturday feeling a bit low – my Under 10s, who were unbeaten this season, lost a game 5-1. We played well, but as the game wore on the opposition began to win the important challenges – especially the 1v1s.

It was a heavy pitch from the rain we have had recently and all the work we had done on the 3G astro pitches at our home ground wasn’t much use here. The players were a bit frustrated at 1-0 up because they had hit the post three times. I felt their agony! This meant that they began to try and run with the ball instead of passing it because it was difficult to pass on the muddy pitch. And so they kept being caught in possession and they lost the 1v1s.

I will get them to work on this at our training session tonight but I know that on the astro turf they will be much better and their skills, which they found hard to use when ankle deep in mud, will be much easier to do!

I like to start a session with a warm-up that uses the skill I want to work on in an effective way – 1v1 around the clock is perfect for this.

To get younger players warmed up for defending I recommend the practice plan Defending 1v1, which has instruction about body position and how to delay the attack.

You could also try the game 1v1 defending techniqueIt’s a great way to develop the technique of pressing and introduces the idea of ‘jockeying’ an opponent.

Once the players are warmed up and understand the basics of a 1v1, you need to play a game that covers both the defending and attacking elements – 1v1 breakout is the ideal small-sided game for testing players’ 1v1 skills.

Finally, you can use the Easicoach curriculum to give your players a good technical workout. Beat a player 1v1 (U9 activity) and Beat a player 1v1 (U9 game) are brilliant to use in short bursts played at high tempo.

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