Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Looking for the scoring touch

If finishing was easy, we would all be millionaires.

Our guys have been frustrated that our competitiveness and chances haven't converted into goals.  This week was more about being a therapist and less about being a trainer.  After our initial warm-up, we spent the entire session withing 30yds of the goal.

Last night Luciano ran them through a lot of repetitions towards goal.  Tonight I looked to tap into the same spirit.

We started our session with two passing exercises to get some positive touches on the ball.  Some struggled with what we were doing but once the patterns were working it all got better.

We then took the guys, U9 style, and just went through a lot of repetitions redirecting the ball with the foot and head toward goal.  Instep, laces and head.  Then combinations from far post back to the target in the middle.  No goal keeper.

We had our GK do all the player drills including the redirecting towards goal. 

We then broke the guys into 3 teams and made the keeper active.  We played 6v6 in the penalty area and the third team were support players for the team with the ball, around the outside of the area.  Those players could combine with the team in possession via passing or a cross.

We were looking for the guys to compete for the crosses and to take the quick shot when they head a view of the net.

We had some success as we were getting the guys looking to attack the near and far post on crosses and trying to create space for a shot.  Making contact with the ball with the intent to score was on everybody's mind.

We then moved the playing area out 12 yds.  We now had a marked off area the size of the penalty area (18x44) with the baseline 12 yards away from the goal.

We had great attendance again and the competitive juices were flowing.  That always makes the session more enjoyable.  We had players looking to shoot more once we moved the area out, but were getting a lot of crosses in both set-ups.

A portable net at training would have given us the flexibility to run more competitive finishing games, but we work with what we have and it went OK.

My plan was to do a 30 minute phase-of-play practice and work on forwards and midfielders combining to penetrate, but the guys were enjoying what we were doing and in a groove, so why mess with success.

Tomorrow is our last session before our next game.  We need to keep the momentum moving forward towards Saturday's kickoff.  After that we select the 18 players who will dress.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Painfully winless, but not detered.

I am fully aware that every game that passes without 3 points brings out more doubt and questions about methods and philosophies.  That's OK, but it's not OK to panic and implement knee-jerk reactions.

I am as far away from panicking as you can get.

We film and review every game.  We keep our stats from a variety of areas and every game has been as evenly matched as can be.  And the way the league has been playing out, everybody is beating everybody and we seem to be the lonely dudes not getting the results.

Our formation is working for us and generating chances.  The formation also makes it easier for the team to be consistent when making changes and also dressing different players every game.

Every session we fix little things from the previous game and we show improvement the next time we take the field.  The guys have been great learners in-between matches and that makes our work a little easier.

The above process is my favourite part of coaching.   I take what the coaches see in the game, listen to players' feedback, watch the video with my stats page and decide where to go from there.  The coaches know their stuff and their information is invaluable.  The players feedback is very important because they are living the reality of our plans.  The video is cold, blunt and not phased by the tension or emotion of the game.

This week we will be working on our organization in the final third, and play in the penalty area.  Our goal output has been low so we'll put as many balls as possible in the net during the week.

The main thing is that we do not do anything drastic or panic.  We're not so out of touch with the league that we have to overhaul anything.

Our goal of a consistent philosophy and system is coming together and the guys coming back should be able to step in and carry it forward.  Everybody seems to understand how it works and what everybody's job is.

We'll what the last 3 season games brings us.