I want to share a training session that is intended to build confidence and encourage creativity. I’ve always spent a lot of time training 1 v 1 skills with young team so this is not a new concept for me but I was surprised at the impact this session had on my players.
This training session works on the tool necessary to be creative and skillful but more than that it develops the mentality of the players to go for it and be confident when facing these situations. It’s a session that my players really enjoy and get a lot out of. I’d encourage you to try it with your own team and see if you players aren’t more confident and creative afterward.
I’ve had many conversations with coaches and parents about whether or not creative players can be developed. It’s the same nature vs nurture argument that you can have about just about any aspect of human performance.
I believe that creativity is not so much taught as it is encouraged. We need to teach our players to control the ball and how to use fakes and moves to unbalance defenders but probably more important than that, we need to create an environment that encourages the use of these skills.
Too many players are taught HOW to be creative with the ball but then they’re criticized, made to feel guilty and even punished when it doesn’t work and they lose the ball. If you’re going to create skillful creative players you’re going to have to accept a period of time where they lose the ball more often than you’d like. But if you encourage them to take risks and go for it you’ll develop a player than can create something out of nothing.
This is a session that was inspired by a conversation I had with a fellow coach about a game that he played with his teams.
- Both Feet
- Favorite Foot
- Other Foot
- Two Footed ‘V’
Pairs Between Cones
- A Ball Each
- Staying on their side
- Each at their own speed
- Two Footed ‘V’
- First easy
- To the ‘Edge of Out of Control’
- Freestyle – Be creative and quick
1 v 1
- Each player gets 30 seconds with the ball
- Defender shadows the Attacker from their own side
- If the Attacker reaches the cone he receives a point
- Ladder progression
- 1. Winner Moves Up
- 2. Loser Moves Back
Ball Hog – 3 v 3 or 2 v 2
- Half of a court
- One game on each half
- Four teams of three
- Score in an end zone
- Can only pass backward
- Must dribble forward
- Players keep passing back at first
- Fear of losing the ball
- We tell them 1v1 is good but pass if it’s 1v3
- Here we want them to go for it
- Coaching Points
- Attack the spaces between defenders
- Use Fakes
- Quick Changes of Direction
- Or Both
- Support behind but to the side
- In the open space
- Attack the space quickly if you receive a pass
- Talk about how the practice relates to the game
- Look for situations to be a ‘Ball Hog’
- When and Where
- In this game I want them to go for it
This session gives players permission to take players on and be creative. We all say we want to develop creative, skillful players but then we do one possession activity after the next where the emphasis is on keeping the ball and not losing possession. This sends our players the message that risk taking should be avoided because they might lose the ball.
It’s important to create a balance between the possession work that is necessary for the team to play together with work that puts the players in positions to take players on and make things happen. This will give them the skills to take advantage of both situations when they encounter them in the game.
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In the Next Episode
Next week I’ll share a session that you might think is the exact opposite of the one I just talked about but I found that the two complimented each other perfectly when done back-to-back in the same week.