Thursday, April 19, 2012

U13 - More possession play

Tonight we had a session at the tennis courts again.  We had 13 players out, with one in final prep for his Ontario Basketball Association play down.

We need to get on the grass because we are cheating our keeper of GK directed activities.  But he needs to work on his ball skills like everybody else, so it's not lost time.  I also feel like it's time to break out into more open space.  The work has been fun and somewhat productive, but it's going to hit the point where the kids want on the grass.

So, we worked more on skills to aid our team in possession.

We started with a warm-up of simple passing and receiving.  13 players, 6 balls in playing and open player and passing.  During this portion we were looking for balls played ahead of moving players.  We progressed to the receiving player taking one touch then turning quickly.  Coaching points were:
  • quick passes
  • aim pass so receiver does not have to break stride
  • after the turn get on the ball right away and play it (don't leave it "out there")
We then progress to a turning and passing that we occasionally do. We spent a little more time focusing on the right turn with the right foot at the right time.  Some players still turn with the wrong foot, leaving the ball exposed to the defender.  They were OK with it and willing to work at doing it properly.  That's all we ask for.

Then we split the group.

Coach Paul took players 3 at a time and worked with them at moving the ball across the field.  He was very happy with their work rate and desire to listen.  His coaching points were:
  • Shape of support players
  • Turn and pass to support player done quickly
  • First touch/look forward when receiving the ball
  • Speed of ball moving across the group
  • Ball played in front of support players
  • First touch of player receiving the ball
On my half, I ran 5v3 keep-away then a 5v5 mini game

The kids did fairly well at it.  Some are still a little slow getting the ball out from their feet and back into play.   The explanation is consistent ... they are forced to rush and fiddle with the incoming ball because they are not creating enough space for themselves to give allow more time when they have the ball.   The story is the same ... get the shape right and everything falls into place.  That's the coach's job to fix.

  • Coaching points for keep-away:
  • Mobility and angle of support
  • Communication
  • Quick-early-accurate passes
  • First touch away from pressure
  • Look up before and after receiving ball
  • Spreading out using the entire area available (shape)
We then went to 5v5 games.  Same coaching points, but we added:
  • Patience when looking for an option forward, but always be looking
  • Work ball around quickly looking for forward options
Coach Paul was running his exercise during all this.  When the boys were all back together we play 8v7 including the coaches.   I played long enough to help the boys set the tone.  Coach Paul stayed in so it was 7v7.  Our main goal during this game was to see what the boys were doing when they had no play forward.  We worked on our overall shape, shape around the ball, how we were receiving the ball and quick movement.

By the end of the night it was resembling some pretty good soccer and decisions were getting better and better.

Having Coach Paul there and practicing working the ball across the field really showed during the game portion.  The players playing wide were quick to turn, move it back and the team worked the ball around to the other side. The technique was improved, but more importantly the "when and why" of the sequence is what they showed a better understanding for.

I had a good feeling after the session as it flowed smoothly and the boys seemed to enjoy themselves.  The only part of my plan I did not get to was 1v1 play during our warm-up portion.  I dropped it because I felt it would change the flow of the practice after we were started.

In hindsight, I wonder how my desire to minimize cost and avoid renting indoor facilities might be hurting our sessions.  The work rate has been good and we've had a lot of touches, but we lack the space that would allow us to work on more game realistic situations.

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