I cannot stress enough what a difference it makes if you get players to practice ball skills every week at training. I spend the first 10 minutes of every session letting the players have a ball each and practice ball skills like turning, step overs, feints, left and right dribbles – it is a fantastic way to start the session and encourage players to be more effective with the ball at their feet. MORE
Speed with the ball
Improving a player’s first touch and working at speed are important to the development of youth players. The session helps to advance the development of players by making them work at speed where first touch is vital to success in the session.
Set up an area 25 x25 yards with three cones at one end with a ball on top. Mark out a 5 yard shooting line in front of the cones. At the other end you need two cones a yard in at either end. We used 14 players in the session.
How to play it
Split your players into two equal teams of 8 players. One team stands by the gate ready to try to knock balls off the cones, and one team is made up of chasers. They do battle in a series of 1v1s. The chaser dribbles to the gate and stops the ball with the sole of his foot – this is the trigger for an attacker to pick up the ball and run with it to knock a cone off. The chaser, who carries on his run around the turning cone, then tries to get back to defend. Attackers can only shoot in the shooting zone. Adjust the position of the 2nd cone by moving it closer so the chaser reaches the attacker quicker.
Players need to get the ball out from under their feet with a bold first touch then use the outside of the foot to keep control at speed.
- 1. Play starts with a dribble to the gate by the chasing defender who stops the ball and runs around the cone to chase the attacker
- 2. The white attacker takes over the ball from the defender and dribbles at speed, knocking a ball off a cone before the defender can catch him
- 3. Adjust the position of the turning cone to make it difficult/easy for the defender to get around and give chase
- 4. The attacker must be in the 5 yard shooting zone before they can knock the ball off the cone
- 5. When the cone is close the last ball is hard to knock off as it is near to the turning cone and the chaser has a shorter distance to run