My team will be training three times a week. There will be sessions Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and matches on Sundays. Unfortunately Div 1’s (city league) pre-season is pretty big compared to NPL (state league). I’m beginning the preparation in early January but the championship only starts in the end of March.
I didn’t put a lot of effort in designing exercises for the first session of the year because the kids are on school break, so many of they are on vacation, which means we’ll have low numbers for at least another two weeks.
Also, due to lack of communication in the club, I thought we would have only a half an hour session, because of a meeting with the parents. I was also told that we would have some players on trial, since I still have two spots to fill in my squad, but that didn’t happen. That’s why a coach always need to have something in mind for different scenarios.
So all I did was put together a small session with activities I’ve used before, thinking of developing basic play skills, having in mind the players I was likely to have. As much as we should be careful designing exercises, it’s no rocket science. A simple session can be really productive depending on how the coach conducts it. I’ll approach the “conducting” thing in detail at some point in this blog, but basically I mean that the same session can have totally different outcomes depending on the quality of the coach. The philosophy, the communication and the knowledge will all dictate it.
> First Part: Warm Up
10′ – Jogging with the ball + dynamic football stretches
> Second Part: Conditioning
7 – I designed a very brief acceleration session with 5 jumps + 1 sprint. First set 5x with 5m sprints, second set 3x with 10 m sprints . My idea is to slowly build on the players specific strength and speed since as we all know sprints can easily lead to injuries of not well conducted.
> Third Part: Rondos 6v1 and 5v2
10′ – Rondos will be a part of every one of my sessions. It’s a very complete exercise where you can work on so many skills: striking the ball, quality and speed of decision-making, body-position, spatial awareness, communication and so on. It’s also fun and most players love it. Plus, there are infinite variations so that your players won’t ever get bored.
Fourth Part: Game Training 1v1 and Dribbling
10′ – 1v1, 2v1, 1v2
Fifth Part: Training Game
12′ – It was just a 3v3 with goal keepers. It was different from the FFA’s concept of Training Game since I’ve stopped the session to coach when I saw important positional or decision-making mistakes, but I tried to add a bit of fun to the exercise by playing.
At the end of the session I felt disappointed with myself. Not only because I hadn’t prepared it as well as I like but also because I’m still struggling with my communication, when trying to explain movements in detail. As I said here before, proper communication is probably the biggest strength of successful coaches. There’s no use for knowledge if you can’t get it across in a precise and also motivating way. My english is just ok. It needs to be brilliant if I want to reach the top. I’ll only seduce professional top-notch , experienced players into my playing style if I’m really good at it.
As for the players, I was happy with their work-rate and attention levels. They are clever and want to learn. But technically there’s so much work to do! The drive and the raw football talent is there but the basic tatical concepts are yet to start being developed.