Small sided = game-led play

When you hear mentor’s talking about getting your coaching point across to get the best out of your players, one of the ways to ensure all your players are tuning into your coaching is to use small-sided games. In these games you get a much clearer picture of which players are picking up on the coaching points you have been making.

You can set up more than one game if you have a big squad. On our coaching night just before the latest lockdown we split our players into four equal teams and played a mini league instead of doing coaching sessions. The players loved it and were desperate to see where their team had finished. Teams of four or five players is a great bonding experience as well as giving players the maximum amount of touches during the training session.

Ask questions like “How did you feel during the game?”, “What makes it more fun?”, “How is it different from a normal game?”. You’ll get lots of players putting their hands up keen to talk about what they had just experienced. Or you can ask them about the coaching point, “Did you have more time on the ball?”, “Does turning away from danger create openings to pass?”.

There are many ways to find out if your players are understanding the coaching point.

Small sided games can be used to solve a lot of problems that your team has both individual and team – and are very enjoyable to take part in.

If you want to cover scoring goals, pressing, creativity or transitions these are the games for you.

Possession or score
This is one of the best match relevant games with players linking up using overloads and getting plenty of goal scoring action – it encourages fast play in games

Don’t let them score!
I love this session because one team has no goalkeeper so defence is key to them winning the game while their opponents must come up with creative ways of getting the ball in the empty net.

Possession in overloads
Overloads are a big part of match play so being able to take advantage when they are in your team’s favour is vital to their success. On the other hand your defenders get a good work out. This game is perfect for that.

Success in transitions
Speed of reaction when teams win the ball is key to them making the most of teams out of balance. The faster they react the better. Use this game to help your team use the ball when they win it

Four square – press the pack
Pressing is one of the main ways to control a game when you haven’t got the ball. This session is great fun and has excellent coaching points

10 player tips for small sided games
These are my 10 tips for your players to help them individually by getting the most out of small-sided games

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