Sunday, April 29, 2012

U17 - Trash the plan and adjust - denying shots

We had a U17 session tonight.  We were expecting more players but only had 9, including our GK.

My theme for the night was working on the pressure and support aspects of team defending.  It was a great plan.  :-)  But we only had 9 players and the mood was that of frustration so I trashed the plan. 

I changed gears.  We started with a dribbling warm-up followed by a competitive 1v1 and 2v2 drill.

During the 1v1, 2v2 we stressed deceiving a defender into committing one way, changing direction then shooting.  It wasn't a 1v1 attack exercise, but that was a nice byproduct.  Simple, the winner stayed on and we tried to keep the pace fast.

When a player scored, another player from behind that net came in to be the next opponent.  We were encouraging that player to try and shoot if the shot was there after their first touch.  This was to force the defender to move quickly and deny/block the shot if possible.

The competitive juices were flowing and they were ready for the last game.

We set them up with the GK in goal, and a grid approx 30x20.  4v4, all players shooting on the same net.  The game was simple.  1 point for a shot on goal, 3 for a goal.  So denying shots was crucial to prevent points against.  So we had the defending team looking to block shots and the attacking team feeding off the previous coaching points of trying to get the defender to commit and changing direction.

In coaching the attacking team, we were trying to set the stage for the defending team to work hard and improve their shot blocking.

Coaching points for attacking team, to set the stage:
  • Keep the ball moving
  • Decide if you have a shot or not.  Yes: shoot, now.  No: pass to somebody who can shoot, now.
  • Proper shape to get open and challenge defenders mobility
Defending team:
  • Goal side, deny shots
  • Do not turn back when blocking shot
  • Keep balance in case you move one way and attacker changes direction
The intensity was good and the boys were very competitive.  That's never a problem with this group.

I was happy with their work rate and I would say there was improvement.  We flew without a plan but it worked out better than OK.  It's a session I have run quite a few times before.

When sessions are done with these boys I have trouble picking things a apart.  They always work hard, compete and are good boys.  Some of them fight me in terms of working through bad habits, but that's our job to keep persisting.  Credibility is a challenge when dealing with teenage players but I feel they trust us in giving them the right information.

The number of players was disappointing.  I am hoping once we get outside and start having games, things will start to pep up.  Right now they are playing a lot of soccer at school so we know they are staying active.  Everybody is also itching to get outside.  School soccer is outdoors right now but the boards have not released permits for the public to use the fields.

Last week the boys complained that the balls were soft after being in the trunk during a cold night.  Today they take the balls out, I hear somebody say "Why are the balls so hard ... ".

Personally, I should have realized that we need to arrive with 2 plans in case numbers are low.

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