Prepare for a return to play

It’s a mixture of excitement and a tinge of nervousness as I look forward to a return to play this time next week. The rules that have been brought in with 5 players and a social distancing gap of 2m between players is getting my brain in gear for ideas of what to do… but will it work!

It will work if you plan out your time with the players and work out some sessions that will adhere to the rules you are placed under. Over the next few weeks I hope to make it easy for you to plan your route back to full training with sessions that you can use within the constraints of the numbers you can use at training.

Please check with your local area on the social distancing rules and numbers at training, as these vary from country to country.

For ease coaches should only use balls, cones and goals, with minimal use of bibs or other equipment that is harder to disinfect after each session.

In England the FA has advised 5 or fewer players plus a coach, no contact and 2m distance between players.

Try the sessions below that I will use with my players under the new guidelines:

Return to play: quick passing is all about first touch and anticipating the pass. Good for fitness and getting players ready for a return to normal training once the rules from the pandemic have been lifted.

In the second session, one player works and the other four, with three balls between them, are playing the ball and receiving it. Return to play: pass to the open player helps to create a passing team capable of playing up the pitch at speed. It is easy to set up and excellent for fast feet, with players not only having to think but look to see where the spare man is.

My latest lesson plan released into the Coaching Classroom is Pressing. Give your players a lesson in how to press your opponents all over the pitch and win the ball back when you have lost it.

Also read my latest podcast to help with your coaching – Getting kids on your side with Bill Stara. He says: “Once kids understand you’re primarily there for them to be successful they’ll give you the world.”

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