EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Moving to the ball

Getting your players to move to the ball just prior to receiving it will indicate to the ball-carrier that their team-mate wants the ball, create space, and make it less likely an opponent will intercept the pass.

What this session is about

  1. Creating space.
  2. Receiving the ball.
  3. Passing and control.

What to think about

  • Accelerate into space.
  • Communication to receive pass – verbal, eye contact, movement.
  • Timing – don’t move too early or space will be lost.
  • Control – cushion ball on impact to the side to get it out of the feet ready for return pass.
  • Passing technique – accuracy, weight, sidefoot through ball’s horizontal mid-line.

Set-up

  • 6 disc cones in a line with the following approximate distances between each one: 3m, 5m, 5m, 5m, 3m.
  • 4 players.
  • 2 balls.
Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
10 minutes10-15 minutes10-15 minutes10-15 minutes10-15 minutes

What you get your players to do

2 players (“A” and “B”) stand between the middle two cones, with one server at either end between the furthest sets of cones. The servers have a ball each.

Play begins with “A” and “B” showing for passes from the servers, receiving the pass and returning the ball. “A” and “B” then turn to receive a pass from the opposite server, taking care to both turn to their right to avoid a collision.

Ask servers to take a few steps back after passing the ball so they too can come forward to meet the return pass and make sure that all players practice with both feet.

Switch the central players with the servers so all players have a go.

Central players move towards a server and receive a pass before returning the ball.

Central players move towards a server and receive a pass before returning the ball.


Development

“A” is now the attacker and “B” a passive defender. “A” receives a pass from a server and shields the ball from “B” before making a return pass then turning to repeat the drill with the other server.

To progress, get defender to apply some pressure. “A” and “B” switch roles. Central players switch roles with servers.

The defender applies passive pressure to encourage the attacker to meet the ball.

The defender applies passive pressure to encourage the attacker to meet the ball.


Game situation

Play a normal 4v4 game. There will be plenty of opportunities to practice the skill, particularly when the ball goes out of play. When the ball leaves the pitch it can be returned with a throw-in or a pass.

Restart a 4v4 game with passes to practice meeting the ball.

Restart a 4v4 game with passes to practice meeting the ball.


What to call out

  • “Keep on your toes”
  • “Crisp passing please”
  • “Now turn and make yourself available for the next pass”
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