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This week is the last week of our clubs summer break so this week I want to share what we offer our players and teams in the club to help them prepare for to return to training.
Each year our club offers a preseason camp available to anyone in the club. I like to use this as a Training Camp for my teams if there are enough players available to make it worthwhile. The camp can also be good for individuals who haven’t had their foot on the ball since the end of the spring.
I’ve found that it can be a great way to get to know a new team in a short period of time so I try to get everyone on board if possible.
This year I have a U16 girls team that I’ll be working with for the first time. We’ll have 10 or 11 girls which is enough to get some technical work done and start to build the team. But it’s not enough to allow me to spend much time on team concepts. We could do it but then we’d just have to do it again when we get everyone to training in early August.
The camp runs for an hour and a half for four days. I decided that I wanted to start with a fun activity, then cover a technical skill, add some finishing and end with a small-sided game each day.
I’ll go through each session briefly here but I’ll also put the complete training session in the printable show notes below.
One player is ‘IT’ and doesn’t have a ball. Everyone else is dribbling inside the area. If the ‘IT’ player touch a players soccer ball they keep the ball and the other player is now ‘IT’.
Play one round with no rules. Then review the Chop and teach the players the Hook change of direction move. Allow the players to practice the movement until they understand it. Play the game again but now the players can’t be stuck if they perform a Chop or Hook.
- Touch the ball with ever step
- Keep your head up to see the defender
- Start the COD before the defender gets too close
- Move away from the pressure and into the space
Change of Direction Moves
The players are in groups of three or four. The first player goes out and performs a BOB, comes back and uses a Chop, dribbles back out and does a Hook and then dribbles back to do a Cruyff before dribbling to the far side. Each alleyway is six yards long.
The other players in line perform fast footwork until it is their turn.
- Lean in the direction you want to go
- Change direction quickly
- Explode out of the cut
- Perform a fake shot with each move to make it more deceptive
Players dribble up to the player across from them and perform one of the fakes before they reach the cone on their side.
Players must time their move so they do not collide with the cone in front of them. Perform the moves and explode with get away touches under control.
1 v 1
Half of the players have a ball beside one goal while the other half of the players are in a line next to the other goal.
The player passes and pressures. The receiving player uses fakes and moves to beat the defender or create enough space for a shot.
- Start with a good pass to the attacker’s feet
- Focus on a quality first touch
- Dribble at the defender or at the space
- Fake to one side and attack the other
- Change direction if the defender recovers quickly
Teams defend one goal & attack one goal. Each goal has a goalkeeper.
Encourage players to use their 1 v 1 moves and change of direction moves to take opponents on and score goals.
They are not allowed to pass the ball forward only sideways or backward.
Allow the players to beat defenders with give-and-goes to move forward.
The players dribble from one cone to another in a pattern of their choice. For example: Orange, Yellow, Blue or Yellow, Orange, Blue, etc.
Next, I give them one action to perform at the Orange cone; a change of direction move for example. They continue to dribble in that pattern but perform the change of direction move whenever they reach the Orange cone.
I then give them an action for the Yellow cone; a fake like a scissors for example. Now they perform a change of direction move at Orange and a scissors at the Yellow.
Finally, I tell them to pull the ball back at the Blue cone, shield it and then turn around the cone.
Player runs/Shows through the gate and performs the turn past the gate. The player that passes the ball runs through the gate to receive the next ball and performs a turn.
- Passes should be firm with proper pace to make turns easier
- Turns should be clean
- Accelerate out of each turn
1 v 1 Through Cones
Half of the players have a ball and are between two cone goals on one side of a grid while the other half of the players are in a line across from them without a ball.
The first player with a ball passes and pressure. The receiving player uses fakes and moves to beat the defender and dribble through either one of the two cone goals. If the defender wins the ball they try to dribble through the cone goals on the other side.
Three Line Shooting
Player 1 dribble at cone, fakes and shoots
Then Player 1 shows for a pass from Player 2 who follows and shoots
Player 2 then moves to defend Player 3 in a 1 v 1
The players are matched up with one opponent. If their player scores they have to leave the field and run around it completely before rejoining the game.
The area is divided in half with teams of five or six in each half. One member of each team serves as a defender. The defenders go into the other team’s half at the same time. They try and knock as many player’s soccer balls out as quickly as they can. The dribbler is out of the game when their soccer ball leave the area. The last team with a dribbler in their area wins the round. Pick a new defender and begin again.
Play one round and then review the Chop, Hook and teach the BOB. Encourage the players to use these moves to go away from pressure and into open space.
The players pass ball to the right and follow. Players should receive the ball with the inside of their right foot, open up and play the ball with their right. Switch and go to the left.
Progress to Give & Go if the players are passing well with both feet.
5 v 2
This is a simple game of keepaway to put their passing technique and decision making under some limited pressure.
If an outside player losses the ball they switch places with the inside player that has been there the longest.
Focus on the quality of the passes, open body shape and having a plan before the ball arrives.
The players pass and move from one cone to the next. At the top of the box the first touch should be diagonal toward the penalty spot before shooting. The touch should be firm enough to get it out of your feet and allow for a powerful shot.
Be sure that the players are leaning forward and landing on their shooting foot.
One side begins and the other side waits until the second pass is made before they begin. This will but a space between each shot.
If a ball goes out of play the player who last touched it must retrieve the ball. The team who has possession can take a ball from any cone and continue to play.
When the player returns with the ball they put it on the empty cone before rejoining the game.
The players on the outside play one touch keep away from the players in the middle. If a defender touch the ball the last player to touch it trades places with the defender.
The ball is ball is passed to the receiver in, ‘The Cage’. They take one touch to control and one to leave the cage out to one side or the other.
The coach can dictate which touches are used and which way the players exit the cage or it can be left up to the players.
Two teams of players are divided into one half of the field each. The coach passes the ball into one half of the field and two defenders move from the other half to try to win the ball. The team in possession receives one point for every five consecutive passes. The defending team is allowed to send an extra defender to pressure the ball each time the team in possession completes five passes.
If the defenders win the ball they pass it to their teammates on the other half and start to connect passes. Only passes made in their attacking half of the field count. The attacking team should work to keep the ball in their half if a defender gets a touch or wins the ball.
L – Shooting
Player 1 passes to Player 2 who creates the angle to receive the ball back from Player 2 and then pass to Player 3. After Player 2 lays the ball back to Player 1 he overlaps Player 1 and receives a layoff from Player 3. Player 2 then takes one or two touches to the middle and shoots.
Each player moves forward one station. Player 2 returns after shooting. Player 3 collects a ball and goes to the opposite side of the field.
Each team attacks two goals and defends the other two.
Encourage the players to switch fields when one goal is defended to attack the open goal.
There’s nothing special about these sessions.
My goals for the week are:
- Get the players together so they can get to know each other
- Learn their names!
- Knock off the rust from their technical skills
- See where the players are technically and tactically
I would suggest trying to set up a Training Camp if you haven’t done one in the past. If you have done one, I’d love to hear how you approached it and what worked well (or didn’t) for you.
Printable Show Notes
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In the Next Episode
I think that at times we’re so focused on training the technical and tactical components of the game that we neglect to train our players how to be more aware of the space, pressure and opportunities around them. On next week’s podcast I’ll share some great exercises and games to help your players learn to play the game with greater vision and awareness.