Pre-season Session 8: A shambles

Tuesday’s session was important for me to realize how crucial it is to frame the sessions and constantly talk to the players about the objectives, philosophy, style of play and training standards.
I haven’t done it in a while. And now the kids know each other well and established friendships, which provides a fun environment. But If the coach lets it run too loose, the whole thing becomes a mess. And after a 5-1 win on Sunday, everyone came to training really relaxed and just wouldn’t take it seriously. I had to talk to them seriously about why they were there and what they wanted to achieve.
It’s really good to players smiling and having fun, but if you’re learning something new or trying to perform, there has to be focus. And you can see if they’re focused or not by their body language. I didn’t bash them as there was no reason to, but I had to regain control of the group before it was too late.
I’m a bit concerned about our passing standards and I’ll go back to the basics in the next few weeks to fix that. It’s clear to me now why every session should contain pure passing practices. If I had to pick one thing to elect the as the most important in football, it has to be passing. There’s no shooting if the passing is not good. Positioning is useless if we make passing mistakes. Being super fit is also useless. So let’s pass pass and pass.
So in this session, after a quick general warm up I did a simple passing session that involved some decision making, but not too complicated so that they could actually focus on the decision making, as shown in the diagram. First unlimited touches and then two touches.
Passing Practice
Then I moved to an end-zone game with three bouncers. The bouncers were my three light midfielders, and all I wanted was that they kept the distances amongst themselves. I stopped the session everytime an unnecessary long ball was played or the 3 bouncers lost shape. The session was poor for the reasons explained above. The players were not focused enough, which is ultimately my fault. I could also have limited the number of touches. If I want more passing, this is a good thing to do. It forces teammates to find passing lanes.
In the end I starting my shooting programme. It was a simple activity where the players would just run past me and shoot straight away. The first coaching point after sometime was to try and give the ball some direction instead of brainless shooting. The second one was to use the inside of the foot when close to goal. When shooting from a long distance, hit the ball with the laces, extending the ankle as much as possible.
Session (14 players)
Part I: General Warm Up
Part II: Passing Practice
Part III: Endzone Game
Part IV: Game Training (Focus on defending against counters)
Part V: Finishing

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