EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Don’t dither

One significant way you can increase your team’s speed when in possession is to get your players into the habit of deciding where to pass the ball to before they receive it.

What this session is about

  1. Increasing the speed of play.
  2. Improving vision.

What to think about

Players need to:

  • Know where opponents and their team mates are.
  • Make it easy for team mates to control passes.
  • Demonstrate good passing and receiving technique – e.g. the non-kicking foot has to be next to the ball, the passing foot at a right angle to the ball, follow through the ball’s horizontal mid-line; cushion the ball out of the feet, make an angle for a pass, etc.

Set-up

Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
10 minutes10-15 minutes15-20 minutes15-20 minutes10 minutes

What you get your players to do

Mark out a circle 10 yards in diameter with your players spaced apart equally around the edge.

One ball is in play while each player has a ball behind them.

Players take two touches and pass the ball across the circle to each other, but must call out the name of the person they will pass to before receiving a pass, as shown in the top picture.

Players cannot pass back to the person they received the ball from.

If a player does not call out a name before he receives a pass, or his intended receiver cannot control the pass easily, he has to leave the circle and perform a skill of his choice, e.g. a turn with the ball behind him before rejoining the group.

The activity continues in his absence – this keeps other players fully focused.

Players stand around the edge of a circle and call out who they will pass to before receiving the ball.

Players stand around the edge of a circle and call out who they will pass to before receiving the ball.


Development

Increase the size of the circle to 25 yards in diameter. Repeat the activity but this time players keep moving within the playing area.

To progress, add a second ball to the playing area.

To progress further, one of the players becomes a passive defender, who presses the player in possession but does not tackle him. Then add a second passive defender as another progression if needed.

Now allow players to play one-touch if they want.

Players move around within the circle but still call the next receiver before they have the ball. However, they face a passive defender.

Players move around within the circle but still call the next receiver before they have the ball. However, they face a passive defender.


Game situation

Return to the smaller circle (10-yard diameter) to play a small-sided game. Set up more areas according to your squad size.

Begin with a 4v1, as shown in the bottom picture, but the defender is now active and tries to win the ball and knock it out of the circle. An extra defender is added at 30-second intervals until the teams are 4v4.

If the defenders succeed, the passing team is allowed an unchallenged pass-in to restart.

Play ends after three minutes and the teams switch roles, after a minute’s rest. The winning team is the one that makes the highest number of successful passes during its two sessions as the passing team.

Play a game between four passers and four defenders but each defender joins after 30 seconds of play.

Play a game between four passers and four defenders but each defender joins after 30 seconds of play.


What to call out

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