Pre-Season: Day 1

I had two players missing today in my first day of pre-season. One is still not back from vacation and the other just didn’t come. I’ll have to establish some sort of punishment for the players that don’t show up in the sessions without any warning. Probably less playing time in the weekend.

However I was able to keep the numbers because I also had two players trialing. It’s amazing how you can tell a lot about someone’s drive just by the body language. One of them had completely laid-back, non-attentive energy, while the other, totally upright, confident steps, strong staring eyes. Obviously it’s no guarantee he’s a good player, but you can see he has some sort of drive. He ended up being invited for the team, even more because he plays all across the backline, including center-back, a position I wanted to have another player capable of doing.

I did the Cooper Test again and the attitude of some players was really bad. I think it’s something that will happen during my entire coaching career. Some players will just not be so fond of training as others. I don’t know how much I can change that in the mind of a player. How much I can remove the laid back attitude. I certainly can talk more than I’ve been doing. It’s a good group of kids and they like me. The attitude will always be there with teenagers but if I improve my communication skills I think I can get into the mind of even the most “rebel” players.

After the Cooper, I ran a Rondo with all the players and 2 in the center. And then 3. Again the level was not good. Some of the players still don’t understand the importance of a high quality pass.

Then I started and end line game with 1 bouncer and a free number of touches. It wasn’t bad but I still didn’t have the attitude I wanted from some players. Usually I’m dividing the teams in Attackers v Defenders and the level of the defenders is so much better than the attackers are just being smashed in those small games.

After I introduced a second bouncer (me) and max 2 touches allowed the activity improved a lot, the combos started to appear in the blue teams as well. One thing that is still missing in most players is the habit to scan before receiving the ball. I’ll have to design activities focusing specifically on that.

The last part of the session was once again playing out from the back. It was a 8v6 and then I joined to help the attackers. It’s getting better and better, but the shape of the mids in relation to the rest of the team is still not good. Sometimes they’ll go too deep, or form a flat line, or even drift to the same side at the same time and it has terrible consequences to the flow of the game.

I’m still not paying a lot of attention to the workload of the activities. I’ve been reading a lot about how you stimulate different energy pathways depending on time and intervals of every game. This is something easy to control in activities that don’t involve games, where the player will just run in pre-established sets. But in a game it’s quite complex and the coach should be aware of it to plan the conditioning practices specific too football.

The session:
1 – Warm Up
2 – Cooper Test
3 – Rondo (with progressions)
4 – End Line Game (Medium to High Intensity)
5 – Positioning Practice (High Intensity)
6 – Cool Down: Plank + Stretching

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