Sunday, April 15, 2012

U17 - decisions in possession

Tonight with the U17 boys we worked on decisions in possession, dealing with the main question "Can I go forward?  Yes/No?

We only had 10 players tonight.  There was a time switch in our allotted field time and that may have affected attendance.

We started with a warm-up from the last session.  After a run and stretch led by a player, the boys played 2 small 3v2 keep-away and a larger 5v5 keep-away.  I didn't coach this too much.  I had more to say later and didn't want to wear out my welcome too early.  There were points mentioned while they were playing, but no stopping and explanations.

Moving towards our session.  We started with a turning and passing drill.  The organization worked out well and the coaching points were:
  • Quick turns and head up after the turn
  • Pass on the first touch out of the turn
  • Quick pass, played in front of receiver so he can move toward it and get forward to do his turn.
Surprisingly enough, learning different turns are new to a lot of players.  You can't ever practice turns enough and it always has to be done quickly and combined with a pass to keep it real.

We then moved to an exercise where we had 2 teams of 5 and made a playing area approx 40x30, with a half-way line.  Each team had 3 players in their defensive half and 2 in the attacking half.  The goal was to play a forward ball into the attacking half and the passer joins the attack.  So the targets were outnumbered then a successful ball is followed by the passer made it even strength.

The goal of this was to decide whether there was a forward play or not.  The uneven numbers in the attacking half forced the decision more often.  If there was an option, make the play.  If there wasn't, then what?  That's where the decision comes in and that's what separates a lot of players from the rest of the pack.  The individual's ability to turn and keep the ball when there is no forward option and the team's ability to support is the key to your team keeping possession when there is no forward option.

Most of the time was spent working on the team's shape to make success possible.  Some players were getting into position then drifting towards the ball out of impatience.  They were starting to achieve success one at a time and we will keep working on it.  Pass quality (especially speed of the ball) is an issue and at U17 a poor pass could get somebody hurt.

Coaching point's were
  • Ask the question ... do I have a forward option?  Next action?
  • Patience,  if it takes 5 passes before a ball can go forward, that's OK.  It's better than giving it away.
  • Speed/Accuracy/Timing of pass, forward and backward
  • Support position of players ahead and behind the ball.
  • Mobility of support players
  • Active defending to make scenario realistic
The session went well and the players got a lot of quality soccer in.  The overall lack of players eliminated our ability to have a full game at the end, but we improvised with a small field and smaller nets and we had a good level of intensity.  Some players were not overly energetic during the turn and pass exercise and I need to think about whether they were feeling they weren't successful at it. 

I did a little too much commanding tonight with my coaching.  Next time we do this it will not be new, so I can let the players answer questions, leading them to the solution. The session moved easily and we were able to organize the floor quickly from exercise to exercise, so I was happy with that.

One thing that came to mind was that the session was from 5:00-6:30 and some boys haven't eaten since lunch time.  We need to remind them to eat something small before coming.  Tomorrow my U13s are 5:30-7:00 in St Catharines and I sent a reminder email to eat something small before coming.

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