U14 Div 1 Sessions, Resuming

I have been a bit slack with the blog (as I’ve been with every other blog I’ve had), but I’m willing to restart posting every day, as it helps me think and therefore to be a better coach.

At tonight’s session I had only 12 players. I currently have 5 injuries and one player didn’t show up. I arrived 10 minutes after the start of the session. As I said before, currently I running from one place to the other to coach and the times are very tight, so I don’t have time to set up. The manager of my time is doing the great job of starting the session, with the general warm-up and the Rondos.

What I’m trying to do is to keep the sessions simple, repeating the same exercises, so they master them before I move to other ones.

One of the exercises I’m using is a simple directional passing practice. I think those exercises are very important at this age. Passing technique is probably the most important skill for a team that wants to have possession. Our passing wasn’t good in the first few game and it was my fault. I confess I didn’t see the importance of that kind of exercise, even though it’s a highlight in the FFA Curriculum. They deserve a few posts dedicated to them and I’ll do it soon. I’ve been doing it for a while and it’s slowly improving. I was happy with our standards today.


The other one is currently my favourite game, to which I’ll also dedicate a post: The 4v4+bouncers. It’s also a directional possession game where I can coach all the elements of my football philosophy. In possession: how to shape the team, how to relate with your teammates and the oposition, where and how to pass. Defending: Reaction to get the ball back, how and when to press, when to shut lines, how to position the team to regain possession. The quality of this one wasn’t so great tonight. It’s still just the third time I’ve done it and this time I used a narrower area, so they struggled a bit, but there were good moments. The game has a lot of hidden learning and ingraining actions and behaviors that will be essential in the game.


The last part of the session was a game where I used my back 7: GK+Back Line+6+8 against 4 players plus me plus the div 2 coach who’s bringing his son to train with us and hence is helping in the session. A good lad. And it’s good to be able to talk in portuguese. But we got smashed 7-0 against our back 7. It was a very positive session where they could play out almost every single time. We have a very solid platform and I could see it tonight playing against them. They’re not easy to beat at all. I know it’s hard to keep up with players 15yr old and older but up to 14ys old it’s a great idea. Not only it’s a great workout but also we get to see some behaviors of our players and the tactical shape of our team from a more realistic point-of-view. I recommend that to all coaches.

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