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Passing Combinations

UEFA A Licence Coach, Tim Wareing, operates his Academy in Belfast. The ex Academy Director of Irish League side, Lisburn Distillery, shares his latest elite session with The Soccer Store. All the equipment that Tim uses can be purchased direct from The Soccer Store.  The focus this week is on passing.

It’s a pet hate of mine that with some coaches the first they do at training is send their players for a run as they arrive.  I want my players good on the ball & enjoying the sessions so the first thing they see is the ball.  Below is a typical warm up with the ball.  I delivered this to my younger group at the academy aged from 6-10.

Warm Up With Ball

Warm Up With Ball

Emphasis

Dribbling warm up with the ball with series of turns & movements.

Set-Up

All players have a ball & dribble inside a 30 x 30 yard area.

Objectives

All players dribble around the grid with their ball attacking space. Players should listen to the instructions called by the coach. Encourage players to attack space, use different fakes, moves & turns.

Progressions

  1. Players exchange balls with each other.
  2. Stop their ball & take another one.
  3. Stop their ball, jump in the air (while calling their name) & take another one.
  4. Stop their ball, touch the ground with both hands, then take another one.
  5. Stop the ball, roll it back with the sole of the foot, then take another one.
  6. Stop the ball, sit down, get up quickly & take another one.
  7. Stop the ball & take another one away at pace.
  8. Stop the ball, jump & shoulder charge the opponent, then take their ball.
  9. Stop the ball, jockey back three steps, then take another one.
  10. Stop the ball, run to touch the other ball, then run back to their own.

Add more as you please.

Coaching

  • Dribbling skills.
  • Close ball control.
  • Lots of touches, left & right foot.
  • Head up.
  • Turns & change of direction.
  • Awareness.
  • Attack space.
  • Speed.

The main focus of the session today was passing.  Although I generally don’t like boring drills I introduce a gate for a target that the players must make accurate passes for the ball to go through.  For a bit of fun you could play a game of ‘donkey’ that if a player makes an wayward pass they receive a letter.  Adds a little competition & helps keep players focus.

Passing / Receiving Through Targets

Passing / Receiving Through Targets

Emphasis

Passing accuracy.

Set-Up

One ball between two players.  Players should face each other 5-10 yards away from each other with a mini gate set up in the middle.  The gate should be approx a yard wide.

Objectives

X1 passes to X2 through the gate placed in between the players.  X2 controls the ball & passes it back through the gates to X1.  Players count how many passes go through the gates successfully in the time limit.

Progressions

  1. Condition passing foot.
  2. Players have to control with the left & play with right foot & vice versa.
  3. Reduce time.
  4. Increase the distance.
  5. If players miss a gate – there score returns to zero – keep count.

Coaching

  • Use inside of the foot.
  • Lock ankle square to the target.
  • On toes to receive a pass – move into line with the ball.
  • Communication – call partners name.
  • Try to be quick but maintain accuracy.
  • Help partner with straight passes.

I soon progressed the session so that players had to think how they received the ball along with shifting the ball.  This encouraged a good open body & worked on first touch as well as changing the angle of their pass.

Passing / Receiving Through Targets 2

Passing / Receiving Through Targets 2

Emphasis

Passing accuracy & shifting the angle of the ball.

Set-Up

One ball between two players.  Players should face each other 5-10 yards away from each other with a mini gate set up in the middle.  The gate should be approx a yard wide.

Objectives

X1 passes to X2 through the gate placed in between the players.  X2 takes the ball to the outside of the right foot & plays back down side of markers to X1.  X1 keeps playing the ball through the centre cones.  X2 uses alternate feet & plays back down alternative sides – reverse roles.

Progressions

  1. Players then use the inside of the foot & take the ball across the body.  Use disguise before making a move & playing the ball back to a partner.
  2. Reduce time.
  3. Increase the distance.

Coaching

  • Use markers as a defender.
  • Take the ball out of the feet & make crisp passes back.
  • On toes to receive a pass – move into line with the ball.
  • Communication – call partners name.
  • Throw a dummy / disguise movement.
  • Quick change of feet after a dummy to make a quicker return pass.
  • Look up before passing.

As I wanted the session to become more game realistic & offer more freedom for the players we took away the cones & used the open pitch.  We simply encouraged them to take up positions to receive the ball & form a triangle shape in groups of 3.  I was that encouraged on how they performed we then operated the session open play.  Basically we had 12 players & 4 balls on the go.  It was great to see how well they carried this out!

Combination Play

Combination Play

Emphasis

Combination passing.

Set-Up

Players spread out over half a pitch.  1 ball between 3 players.

Objectives

Players begin with playing any combination of passes to each other & moving anywhere through the half of the field.

Progressions

  1. 1 player must now play a series of give-and-go with the other 2 players.
  2. Once a player has performed a give-and-go, 1 of the other players does a takeover (1 play dribbles the ball toward another player & then leaves the ball for the other player to take.)  This will alternate the passer each time.
  3. Players make the following combinations; short pass, long pass, take-over.
  4. Finish with players being given free roles & allowing to make / receive a pass from anyone.

Coaching

  • Communication & understanding.
  • Players should use 1 or 2 touches only & use both feet.
  • Speed of play.
  • Quality passing, weight & accuracy.

As always it is important to keep that theme throughout.  We finished with the 5 Goal Game so that players were awarded points for dribbling & passing through target gates.  There was also bonus points on offer for passing combinations.

5 Goal Game

5 Goal Game

Emphasis

Possession & combination game focusing on changing the point of attack.

Set-Up

2 equal teams play on half a pitch.  5 mini goals / gates are set up within the area using poles or dome cones.

You can adapt the size of the area & the amount of mini goals set up to suit your group.

Objectives

Teams combine to score a point through dribbling through the gates, passing through the gates or score a bonus point by playing a 1-2 / give-&-go through the gates.

Players are not allowed to score back-to-back goals in the same gate.

Progressions

  1. Add more mini goals / gates.
  2. Colour code certain gates, i.e. gates on the wing to encourage good width.

Coaching

  • Good first touch.
  • Quality passing.
  • Movement & work rate on / off ball.
  • Don’t force it through gate, look to open up & switch.
  • Always receive ball side on.
  • Awareness.
  • Communication.

This was a nice session.  The players really enjoyed it & it offered progressions that challenged the players.  We have some terrific little talents that have a hunger to learn & carried everything out so well.  Let us know how you get on with your squad.

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