I’m currently really happy with end zone training games as a way to improve possession, speed of thought and spacial awareness while at the same time having face one side of the field and a goal. I can coach many aspects of the game and can also tweak it to target a particular team task. I find this activities more effective than non-directional games as it’s more closely related to football.
I’m often getting myself involved in the activities, to try to show the tempo of play I want them to have and, most of the times working as a bouncer, I can experiment how difficult it can be to execute all the individual tasks recquired to be a great footballer, in terms of spatial awareness: always finding a passing lane, scanning the field all the time when off ball, quick decision making under pressure, etc. It’s much more difficult to the midfielders, as they often receive the ball with their backs to the opposite goal and they’re never limited by the sidelines. They always have options in a range of 360o, completely different than any other position.
However in this age group I won’t always use the midfielders as bouncers. I want all players to experiment this, as it’s probably the most difficult and important skill to master in the game, along with 1v1. Plus I want players than can play in several positions.
Another “problem” that I’ve been confronted to is that some players just have a lower drive than the others and it severely impairs their development as footballers. At the same time I want to focus my attention on the players that are hard workers, but I’m challenged and motivated to find ways to get into the “lazy” ones brains and increase their workrate. As a coach I have to find strategies to achieve it. I wouldn’t select that player again in a trial, but since I have them with me for the entire season, I can never give up on any of them.
After my endzone game I did my first 11v0 drill, where I moved the ball around with the entire team in shape thinking of the distances between one another and in relation to the position of the ball. I want the shape of the team to be constant, but it will vary depending on where the ball is and who has it. It was an interesting experiment (first time I’ve done it) and I’ll try to develop further strategies to make it more realistic and effective. The first one will be to use cones and manequins to force them to find passing lanes and the second is to actually use opposition. Since I only have 15 players in my squad it would have to be a 11v5 (counting with me). The ideal would be a 11v7 to make it a bit harder but with the “help” of the manequins it can be a hard enough of a task to make them grasp the positional principles I want.
After this drill the conditioning coach arrived. He’ll be working 15 min a week with every team. His first focus was in running technique, breaking down some of the movements necessary to make the running more efficient. And then a 5 minute 3v3 and 4v4 pure possession conditioning game.
As we can see from this arcticle, tactical, physical, technical and mental skills are vast continents in the planet that is a football player.
Part 1: Warm Up
Dynamic Stretching, Coordination Exercises, Headers
Part 2: Game Training
Team can only scare if all players are in the attacking half
Part 3: Positional Exercise 11v 0
Part 4: Conditioning
Part 5: Training Game
5v5+1 with no constraints