Monday, April 16, 2012

U13 - phase of play then 11v11

Today we had our first full field session.  We shared the field with our club's U14 girls team.  To say the conditions were windy is an understatement.  Balls were rolling down field past the one net all evening.  The field is artificial turf so the wind was a big factor.

We started the session by doing a phase-of-play portion in our half of the field.  We play an attacking 4-3-3 so I set up a team defending the net with a GK, 4 defenders and 3 midfielders.  The attacking team had 3 forwards, 2 midfielders and coach Paul and I supporting from behind.

Our goal for the phase of play was to organize our back 4 with GK.  We worked on their shape when they had the ball and working with the supporting defensive midfielder.  This was also going to be the focus of our team during the 11v11 portion.

The session went OK.  The wind made it difficult to speak and we needed more players to make it more effective.  I could have made it a small area and only use a slice of the field, but it was our first time out and we wanted everybody moving.

The coaching points were few:
  • supporting shape of back 4 in possession
  • back 4 moving up as ball was played out.
  • recognizing when to use the keeper for support
The shape was the biggest thing for me.  once we get that in place other things will fall into place or at least have a better chance of succeeding.

When we got to 11v11, I still focused on the back 4 and the defensive midfielder.  From playing indoor for a long while, that field was BIG.  Coach Eric was also working with his team.  We were gently setting the shape as the play went.

Because it was our first time out and there was another team to consider, we did not stop the play.
The wind affected the session in terms of ball movement but it did force them to put more zip in their passes and keep the ball on the ground.

If I were to run an 11v11 session with just our boys and some guests, I would stop it more, make more adjustments where necessary and continue.  The way it was set up tonight, I was happy with what we walked away with.   The kids are back outside and looking forward to playing.  It was also a bit of a physical shock for them on the big field again, especially against the wind.

The boys did OK and I was not unhappy with them.  I could not expect more since it was their first time back, but I did ask for more.  We tried a few boys in new spots and will hold with that plan giving everybody a chance to succeed before passing judgment.

While playing, there were a few times when our back 4 pinned themselves in too far back trying to work the ball around, but that will be fixed once we correct the shape around the ball when the wide defenders are in possession.  Slowly we will work our way up the field with our shape.  One thing was for sure: we need to continue working on 1v1 play, on both sides of the ball.

The boys have been working very hard to this point and I am excited to see what the finished product will look like when the season opens.

I wasn't happy with the time slot that we had (5:30-7:00) because it was 30 minutes from Welland and caused some stress for some people to get there.  But grass fields open May 15 and we only have 2 outdoor turf fields for our entire region.

This week we train on the courts again then fitness/agility on Thursday.

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