Wednesday, February 8, 2012

U13 Tryouts - large passing drill for entire group

Tonight I was going to review 2v1 situations again but all the signals told me not to.  It was a 5pm session, so the arrival of players is tight and kids straggle onto the field for the first 10 minutes of the session.  We only have an hour with 30 players, so organization might be tight and I find the boys are a bit more hyped up so close to after school.

We set up our whole field passing drill similar to last Tuesday but this time I turned it sideways and made more, but shorter, lanes.  The frequency of ball touches was higher and the time to day-dream was down to zero.  From beginning to end of one sequence the boys have 28 meaningful touches on the ball.  While moving the players make penetrating type passes, laying the ball off and involved in wall passes.

I am going to try and explain this without video.  :-)

The figure shows the starting position of the exercise.  There are 6 lanes going across, each roughly 5x30.  There are 12 players positioned in the lanes and the rest of the players are at the start with a ball on their foot.  You should have as many players waiting in line as there are in the lanes.  If not, it will fall behind and your players will tire quickly.  With less players, reduce the lanes.

For the purpose of explanation we will only go through the first 2 lanes.  All passes are ONE TOUCH.
  • The entry player passes to players 1.  
  • He will then follow his pass, player 1 will lay the ball off and the entry player will put a pass through to player 2. 
  • Player 1 now follows that pass, player 2 will lay the ball off for player 1 who lays it back, in the next lane for players 2 (wall pass).  
  • The entry player takes player 1's spot in the lane.
  • Player 2 must run around the cone before entering the next lane to meet Players 1's pass.
  • Player 1 takes player 2's spot
  • Player 2 then plays a pass to player 3.  Player 3 lays the ball off for player 2 who plays a ball through to player 4.
  • Player 3 follows the pass. And player 2 takes player 3's spot.
  • Player 4 lays the ball back for player 3, moves into the next lane (around the cone) to meet the ball back from player 3 (wall pass).
  • Player 3 takes player 4's place.  Player 4 moves the ball to the middle player in the next lan and off they go....
  • When the ball finally gets to the player at the exit, they just turn and run back to the start line.
  • So the path of the ball in this sequence is Entry-1-Entry-2-1-2-3-2-4-3-4-next player
  • As each player assumes the next players spot they turn to be ready for the next player coming behind them.
  • As soon as player 1 and 2 execute their wall pass the next entry player plays a ball in.
  • When there is a flow, every player should be at the point where they play a ball and then turn to be ready for the next ball coming to them (with very little rest).
  • Concentration and accuracy are big in this exercise.  Every player will realize when they mess up it could cause the drill to collapse. 
Coaching points:
  • Accurate passes
  • Pay attention to where you are
  • Take responsibility for your part in the exercise and don't be the cause of it falling apart.
  • Ball laid back on an angle, backward at proper pace, on the ground
  • Locked ankles on longer passes
  • Do not stare at pass as another ball is coming behind you
  • Keep moving
  • Wall passes must be played firmly and in proper space  to keep timing with runs by receiving player
We then did a quick 1v1 drill before getting into a game.

We did not coach during the game.   It's tryouts and we're down to the last 2 sessions, so it was time to let them play.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

U17 Training - 4v4 in a gymnasium

The U17 boys trained in the Niagara College gym last night for 90 minutes.  The college purchased 2 real goals so the gym makes a nice little indoor facility now.  

Watching the boys play 4v4 was very entertaining.  There is something about playing in a gym that brings speed and problem solving to the game that the boys forget about when they go outside.  A lot of coaches want the turf time in the winter, but there is a reason why boys in South America play Futsal in their youth.  The only concern with some gyms is floor space and safety.  A lot of gyms have equipment laying around or some sort of apparatus projecting from walls.

There are a lot of benefits to playing in a gym:
  • To be successful you are forced to be more athletic in your play
  • You need to use all parts of both feet to keep the ball moving and in possession
  • You need to release your shots quicker because of limited time and space
  • You need to finish more precisely because of the smaller goals
  • You need to really establish your team’s shape to maximize the space on the floor and create space to work with the ball
  • More involvement/touches for each player (no hiding)
  • More meaningful coaching moments because the situation will come again very soon in a small game.
  • Exposes “lazy” players who do not move to create space.  Great opportunity for being constructive as a coach
Last night’s reminders were simply giving them ideas on moving the ball forward and looking for opportunities to move forward.  The reminders were not as much to the player with the ball but the teammates in how their shape creates the opportunities for penetration.

Last week we worked on 2v1s with them and reminded them last night how the support player checking back creates space for others.

I am interested to see how much these boys ingest in terms of game knowledge.

Friday, February 3, 2012

U13 Tryouts - Feb 2 - Playing a ball over the top

I wanted to build on our progress of adding something new every game.  We've worked on penetrating passes, attacking runs and laying the ball off for a trailing player.

Last night we started with our organization for the pentratng run/pass drill and progress it to a ball "over the top" meeting the runner (or just slightly ahead of them).

The organization was simple.  Two lines, and a support player at about half.  Players start at goal line, one line at the corner and the other about 15yds in.  The player on the inside takes a few steos with the ball, passes it to the support player up top and he lays it off for the teammate in the other line.  That teammate doesn't start their run until the ball is passed by the first player.  The coach is standing 5 yds behind the support player (as a defender)

The original player with the ball makes a pentrating run while the 2nd player plays a ball over the top for the runner to receive while in motion.

Coaching points:
  • Open foot, leaning back while making the pass
  • Properly laid off ball (on the ground, rolling, not "kicked", backward on an angle)
  • Target player looking forward and back while running
  • Settle ball when receiving or first touch strike on goal
When we got into our game we reminded them about what we've been working on and the boys implemented those ideas into their creativity.  The only problem was too many of the boys are going crazy running forward and they've forgotten the concept of checking back to set up a 2v1 when a player is under  pressure.  So Tuesday, we will review 2v1 play.

I am very happy with where this is going.

I like to have fun during the games and enjoy the creativity, but the boys were a little too loosy-goosy during the drills.  I like my drills organized and getting underway quickly.  The sooner the drill gets done, the sooner we can play.  So when boys are slow getting set up or not listening, I'm not a happy guy.  I am also a lot pickier during the technical part of the session because I want the boys to perfect their technique.

In their defense, they are probably eager to have the teams picked and move forward.  nce teams are separated I will organize a game with another club.

At 13 years old the boys will be a little hyper as they are trying to carve out their "place" in their little society, experimenting with different personality quirks.  I try hard to not point boys out in a big way at this age.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

U13 Tryouts - Jan 31 - laying ball back

Tonight we had a few boys missing because a big Science Fair is looming this week.  We still had 24 boys which made for a good session.

We planned a large full field passing drill that involves laying ball back, driven passes with laces and wall passes.  From beginning to end, it's a lot of running while staying organized.  It's one of my favourite team drills from a repetition and cardio point of view.  There's also a mental aspect to it so the whole thing doesn't fall apart and you don't want to be the player to break it up.  Some of the more experienced players know how to fix it on the fly or step out if they know it's getting too bogged down.   I have several versions of this exercise that works on first touch forward, wall passes, etc.

I'm going to have to video tape this drill and post if for fear of mangling it with a poor written description.  I picked it up from Tosh Farrell (formerly of Everton Academy) at a coaching conference put on by the Ontario Soccer Association.

My main coaching for this drill tonight was the section laying the ball back for the oncoming runner. Coaching points were:
  • Foot off the ground to ensure ball rolls true
  • Ball played back on angle, not square or forward
  • Get out of the way after laying off
When we started our game I reminded the boys of what we've been working on:
  • Penetrating passes
  • Attacking runs
  • Laying the ball off for a trailing player to play forward
I am pleased that the boys did implement those 3 points whenever they could.  We didn't over coach or stop the play, but we did give reminders after the fact.  We need to let them play and make their own decisions.

The games are getting pretty entertaining and some boys are showing some flair and creativity.

After 3 more sessions we will make our first and second rosters.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

U17 Training - Game-Activity-Game

Today I was helping with my son's U17 team for 2012.  It was their first session of the season.

They are a third level team and have a mixture of good, decent and average players, but all great kids.  Coach Ben has served these boys well in terms of giving them a place to play.  The boys get along and have come together from a multitude of teams.

The technique I used today is called Game-Activity-Game (or Global Analytical Global) but still known as GAG.

In a nutshell, you run the bigger picture activity (game, etc), then address a specific aspect of the game and introduce it by use of a drill or sequence and then back to the bigger picture activity.

It serves to put things in context for the players, but it also addresses different learning and thinking styles of the players.  Some players can easily take an idea and integrate it into a game.  Others need repetition and direct coaching.

Today we let them play for 10 minutes, then reviewed 2v1 scenarios.  After moving them from 2v1 to 3v2 then 4v3 we went back into the game.

Coaching points of 2v1
  • Identify when the 2v1 is on (identify man with ball being closed down by defender)
  • Supporting angle of teammate (shape)
  • Various options for winning a 2v1
  • Decisions and quick execution
  • PATIENCE, do not force the pass
When we got back to the game we were pointing out when a 2v1 situation was  advisable and eventually tapered off the coaching and let them play.

We had moderate success.  There is a work-ethic issue when it comes to supporting a teammate.  The players without the ball should be moving into position and quickly.  We will bring it up again next session and go from there.  Next time I will focus more on the speed of the pass and body position when receiving.

When watching a small game for this situation you seek out times when a player is going forward and nobody is checking back to establish the 2v1