This three-part practice develops players’ ability to receive the ball ready to shoot. By STEVE OAKES MORE
Why beach games can help player technique
One thing I’ve noticed being on holiday are all the kids on the beach playing games. There are some pretty innovative mums and dads out there with marking out areas to play in for all sorts of games.
The most popular seems to be click clack with courts drawn in the sand when the tide has gone out but there are also cricket games going on and I always take a special interest in how the football ones are set up.
Keepball on the beach – Brazil style!
There are a lot of foot tennis games going on – and small-sided games of 1v1 in little areas drawn in the sand. These games are full of skilful moves and clever angles which is a delight to see – some lucky under 10s manager is going to have a whole load of his players returning with their skills honed for the season from a few weeks playing on the sands.
The young men and women seem to keep more in circles trying to keep the ball in the air however they can – Brazil style! But that too is a great way to get skills working and to make players better for the season ahead.
Toni Duggan to Barcelona
There is always a lot of summer sport on the TV as well during the holiday season and it has been great to watch the England women’s team playing so well in the group stages of the women’s Euros.
Toni Duggan has become the first England player to move to Barcelona since Gary Lineker 31 years ago. She played a big part in beating the Spain team which included 10 of her new team mates.
The innovation I have seen on the beach is something that Duggan has in droves and her on-field persona sees her an often wonderfully improvisational game- changing player. Barcelona have much to look forwards to in her arrival.
England women technique
Since finishing third in the 2015 World Cup in Canada England’s technical improvement has been pronounced. It dictates that manager Mark Sampson is no longer having to consistently swap principles for tactics that suit the players. Maybe he has been taking them all to the beach!
Playing with my own children in the courts drawn out by them I wish I was able to bring every one of my squad down here to take training on the wet sands that provide such a fine surface to practice on – I’d probably have to take out a second mortgage to afford all the ice creams they would want but it would definitely be worth it.
Beach games at training
Any coach on holiday can dream up some small-sided games to get the kids playing on the beach then bring them back to the training ground for pre-season. It’s a very worthwhile exercise.
So it’s back to working on 4G pitches and a hope that the autumnal weather doesn’t mean the pitches look like high tide has come in and washed all those courts that host so much skill away.