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Swansea City Academy Coach Education Session

TW Braga Coach, David Sleator, attended a coach education day provided by Swansea City Academy.  Below is his report and thoughts on the day.  We thank David for sharing his report.

Stormont Pavilion, Belfast - Sunday 3 December 2017.

Sunday saw the return of the now annual Swansea City Academy education event to Belfast’s Stormont Estate, attended by coaches from all over Northern Ireland.  It was a fascinating insight into the philosophy which underpins the Swans Academy setup, from the foundation phase through to U23's. What is clear is the amount of dedication and focus given to ensure that any player entering the Academy has a clear pathway through it, with the same technical and tactical aims.

Swansea City has built a reputation within their 1st team to play from the back utilising the goalkeepers, a key component to their Academy as well, but the 1st team does act independently when required - a fact reflected upon during the session given the current difficulty the team is facing in the Premier League. Adaptability is still a key component to development.

The session today was divided into the following parts;

  • Overview and Introduction to the Swans Academy – Aaron McNeill, Ireland Coordinator & Ollie Jefferies, Foundation Phase Academy Coach.
  • Practical session 1 – ‘Me’ - Roy Thomas, Head of Academy Coaching & Coach Educator & Andrew Sparkes, Head of Academy Goalkeeping.
  • Goalkeeping Focus – Andrew Sparkes, Head of Academy Goalkeeping.
  • Practical session 2 – ‘We’ & ‘Us’ - Roy Thomas, Head of Academy Coaching & Coach Educator & Andrew Sparkes, Head of Academy Goalkeeping.
  • Video and Statistical Analysis – Harry Spratley, Academy Analyst.

 

The “Swansea City Way”

Ollie outlined the key focus areas for the Academy – technical and tactical development, player personalities, coach interactions and target setting. The technical and tactical development is key to the philosophy of the Academy, which is to have players capable of playing out from the back in a typical 1-4-3-3 system. There has been a real shift in modern youth coaching, no longer is it acceptable to just have young players able to ‘get rid’ of the ball into attacking channels, but technically capable players able to not only receive a pass in their own defensive third, but also utilise the goalkeeper and other players in order to play passes in a controlled manner in their own half. The most fascinating part of this was the tactical awareness element which Swansea have incorporated and essential in producing players able to execute their approach to the game. Ollie continued to give an overview of a typical practical session for players in the foundation phase (u7 to u12) – a clear focus on technical aspects at this age, fun orientated sessions which seek to develop skills needed. Even at this phase, goalkeepers are an integral part of all practical sessions (on top of their own goalkeeping sessions) – should it be a possession based drill or focus on one particular aspect, they are utilised. In the example used, a simple 4v4 rondo uses two goalkeepers at each end who face forward at all times, able to play the ball in to their teammates. The idea of this is to get the goalkeepers as much contact time on the ball with their feet in a high pressure situation – how comfortable are they on making a good 1st touch before finding a teammate? Is their body shape correct in order to offer to receive the pass? All of this built nicely into the practical sessions which followed.

Another aspect touched upon was player personality and coach interaction. Swans Academy have player development plans for every player from u7 up to u23. A set template is used which coaches and players themselves feed into. I was really impressed at how Swansea get their youth players to be engaged in their own development – recognising strengths and weaknesses. Along with long term development, these plans are updated weekly and monthly allowing coaches and players to look at certain areas which require focus. The key thing here is getting the players, even at a very young age, to buy into their own development. Although it sounds very rigid, the plans have broad outlines of what the players are working on at any given time, e.g. technical such as first touch, or when the players are older the addition of psychosocial elements such as interaction with teammates or ability to cope with pressure. Further to this, players are asked what their ‘super-strengths’ are – those abilities a player has which they feel is their best attribute. The interesting thing here is that these stronger attributes are not placed to the side in order to concentrate on weaker elements, in fact it’s the opposite. If a player shows really good skill in playing a penetrating pass, focus remains on developing this to the fullest. The explanation is that players are defined by their strongest ability which will become a key aspect of their game, so why abandon the development of this? Of course it’s not to the detriment of improving all aspects of play, but a balanced approach.

While all that sounds quite overwhelming, it is in fact carefully structured. Training sessions are thoughtfully planned with not only focus on group development, but also individual development through goal-setting. The Academy asks captains (rotating weekly) to choose ‘extras’, a clever way of getting the boys to practice certain skills at home which they can record and share. The reason behind this is part of the wider debate in youth football. Young players in the UK are simply not getting as much contact time with the ball as previous generations did though street football and other forms of free form play which is now seen as key to development. This is one way the Swans Academy has sought to address this. Analysis and feedback is performed to each player, the example shown of the coach and parent watching some video footage of training, before the player is asked to note which areas they want to work on. What is great about this is the fact that the player will present back video footage to his coach and parent, identifying what they have learnt by talking through solutions to problems. For example this could be trying to find space to receive a pass in wide areas – how does a player identify space against the positioning of opponents etc. The technical work on the pitch is followed up with insight and review which greatly benefits the players. The degree of learning and player involvement is perhaps a luxury a Premiership Academy can employ, however it is interesting to see how beneficial even the slightest amount of player ownership of learning can be.

Players also share in the mentoring process, so the older boys will take a younger player under their wing and help them review their own development as well as set goals. We got a snapshot of that within the practical sessions where the older goalkeepers worked alongside the younger kids. This takes place as much off the training pitch as on it which is interesting to see. Finally, players are given the opportunity to player up or down a year depending on their particular need at any given time. So a player low on confidence could play a year down to give more touches/passes/shots, whereas players can also be challenged playing a year up to really stretch their abilities. It’s not too dissimilar to bio-banding which also looks at shaping games to fit in with levels of development, however this method continuously monitors the need of the individual player on a regular basis, allowing them that flexibility depending on how they are doing.

 

Practical Session – ‘Me’

With two sessions running in parallel I had the opportunity to see the group of outfield players but choose to take a look at Andrew’s session with the goalkeepers. I’ve always felt goalkeepers are often an afterthought when it comes to training, but it can be difficult to incorporate them at times besides getting them to ‘go in goal’ – I wanted to see how the professionals did it! It was a good call, because as it turned out there was a particular focus on goalkeepers as part of the wider Academy context.

Warmup was a simple 3v1 passing rondo – working on 1st touch and quick passing. Progressing into all 4 keeping the ball up in the air using a ball in the hands to bounce, finally keeping the ball in the air using alternating hands.

With hands and feet warmed up, it was time to work on the goalkeepers playing the ball out wide and receiving passes in return on the back foot. Coaching points on body position to receive as well as footwork all feed in to the idea of getting ‘keepers comfortable receiving the ball and playing out with their feet. Decision making also played a part, with wide players eventually able to move between set cones so goalkeepers had to be fully aware of movement in front of them. This played perfectly into the other practical sessions later on which developed on these skills. It struck me at this point how little the hands had been used, clearly an emphasis was placed on ability with feet and it was reinforced by a comment Andrew made later on. He wants his goalkeepers to be as good in receiving and passing the ball as midfielders in the Academy. My initial surprise to this was put into context by what he pointed out next – a midfielder losing the ball can make a recovery run, have someone behind him to cover. A goalkeeper is last player back – a misjudged touch or poor pass can easily lead to a goal, and so given the way Swansea wish to play it is imperative the boys learn the skills at this foundation phase. We moved onto handling and diving technique and it was really good to see coaching points delivered one on one. Andrew’s main point was driven home as he touched upon something each of the three goalkeepers could improve upon – in one case position of the knee to aid the dive, setting of the hands forward rather than too wide and also setting too early. Giving a generalised overview for all players is not enough – it must be relevant to the individual.

 

Goalkeeping Focus

Back in the Pavilion Andrew presented a look into the goalkeeping pathway at Swansea City. Beginning in the foundation phase players are focusing in on distribution, catching technique etc. with progression onto dealing with crosses and through-balls and finally at the older age groups looking at specific types of saves as well as the tactical aspects of the game. All of this is centred on that one underpinning theme – playing out from the back. We saw examples of Academy goalkeepers make different types of passes, with three key outcomes - maintain possession, switch play or penetrate to by-pass opponents, all three using the short pass, lofted ball or driven pass. If play was congested down one side of the pitch, the goalkeeper could be used to switch play and this relied upon practising the technique of accurate passing. The second practical session would touch upon this. What initially seems as going against the principle of playing out from the back, goalkeepers are encouraged to look for penetrating passes forward should it be on – the application of smart accurate forward passes directly up to the midfielders or forwards is just as key to the way Swansea wish to develop their goalkeepers. Supporting all of this was a certain mind-set the Academy requires of their players – a short video of keepers from u7 all the way to u23 focused on key attributes of bravery, decision making and belief in their technical ability to play from the back. It struck me just how much emphasis is placed on goalkeepers in terms of what the Academy is trying to do. The modern goalkeeper is much more than a shot-stopper or sweeper for any team – the ability to be a part of the game in terms of switching play, or looking to make that penetrating pass more often associated with a deep lying playmaker is essential.

 

Practical session – ‘We’ & ‘Us’

The final practical session looked to build upon the first, beginning with a three station rotation – heading, pattern play with shooting and also variation of passing. The most interesting of the three asked players to make different types of passes – driven, curved and lofted into goals. Both outfield players and goalkeepers took part and something each of them could take into their own game. Roy touched upon the need to repeat the techniques involved. Following on from the first session, the goalkeepers taking part in the pattern play and shooting drill were tested on distribution as well as shot stopping. It was a nice way of working on as much of the skills as possible for all the players involved. Initial passes back to the goalkeeper were varied, so a slower pass really tested their ability to get the ball to a teammate first time before recovering to cover the incoming shot. Variation was added for the outfield players with concentration on decision making. Which player would sit and cover, which would join the ‘number 9’ to attack the goal?

During all of this, coaching was minimal. Roy noted it was a case that after initial demonstration, the players would continue. Minimal input was made, perhaps the odd question asked in order to get players to think about their decisions but overall player-driven. Also briefly mentioned was ‘shadow-coaching’ – Roy explained how although he may lead a session, other coaches may drop in to provide 1on1 advice when appropriate. A three team pressing game was next which was a great test of player anticipation and stamina, but the real insight was the final session with four teams working in two separate areas in the style of a ladder game – team 1 tried to maintain possession and prevent team 2 scoring, the other area have team 3 and 4 competing. As each team scored, they moved up or down the ladder, but what was interesting was the competitive nature of how the session developed. Roy highlighted one of the kids who had sprinted to retrieve the ball after a wayward shot in order to try and get that elusive goal, a trait any coach likes to see in a player and something picked up on even at that young age as a positive point to highlight.

 

Video and Statistical Analysis

The day finished with an overview from Harry on the role he played in stats and video analysis. It’s now vital to the elite clubs to have this data in order to get the maximum of their players, but it was interesting to hear how incorporating even small elements of video analysis can be beneficial to any youth teams. Looking back to the start of the day, the way in which the Swans Academy use video analysis for player reflection and development is hugely beneficial, getting players to get really involved in their own development by analysing decisions made not only in matches but training. It was noted that all games are filmed with the aim of at least one training session per week. Time consuming enough for full-time staff at the Academy, but something I want to look at in the future again.

 

Thoughts

Swansea City along with a number of resurgent clubs in the English game have sought to choose an identity or philosophy which defines them – through the Academy right through to the 1st team they share an overall approach to football meaning that in theory a player can enter their Academies at u7 and learn the skills required to go on and play in the 1st team, with all the technical and tactical skills required. Their coaching staff don’t drastically change the club in their style of play, reflected in who Swansea and other clubs have hired. Bar a few outliers in recent years, Roberto Martinez, Brendan Rogers, Michael Laudrup, Paul Clement - they all fit in with Swansea’s overall style of play. It’s a realisation of these clubs who cannot compete with the likes of the very top teams in terms of financial clout must seek other ways to be self-sufficient that has seen such focus on the development of their Academies. The attention to detail within a clearly defined player pathway is testament to how seriously Swansea is taking this. Having secured Academy category 1 status, the benefits of such an approach is certainly the medium and long term, but one which is fully invested by all of the Academy staff. They are desperate to see Academy players who pass through their ranks make it to the first team, and while the realm of a Premier League Academy may seem to be far sight from the work done in many clubs in our small province, it is clear that many aspects of what Swansea do can be adapted to enhance development. The ‘me’, ‘we’ and ‘us’ which acted as headers for the practical sessions fits into the “Swansea Way” – the foundation phase of ‘me’ and developing skills, ‘we’ in terms incorporating those skills with others, before ‘us’ – the principal identity of a Swansea Academy player who shares the same ethos, from u7 to u23. Player involvement in their own development plan, how to incorporate tactical learning and the benefits of understanding the psychosocial aspects can only be of help to any coach.

Many thanks to Rory and his team for being open on sharing insights into the Academy.

David Sleator

Seminar with Kevin Murphy from Manchester City Girls Academy

On Sunday I attended a seminar organised by the Irish FA with the head line speaker, Kevin Murphy, who is the Technical Director at Manchester City Woman's and Girls Academy.  We were also treated to presentations from Dr. Jonathan Bloomfield on the importance of sleep and Kevin Gallagher focusing on strength and conditioning.  It was a terrific morning of learning and wonderful that it was completely FREE - well done Irish FA!

Kevin began his presentation focusing on the most important factor - mindset.  He is 1 year in to the project at Manchester City.  His previous positions include Glasgow Rangers and Hamilton.  At Manchester City he was proud to say how inclusive they are with the mens team, boys academy, woman and girls.  He believes they are pioneers in England for woman's football.  City are only 18 months old with regard to their woman's team.

Their vision;

To create the best football academy in England which produces players of international standard who can excel at the highest level.

 

Set Up;

  • Regional Talent Clubs (RTC's) in England.
  • Tiers 1, 2 or 3.  Based on clubs infrastructure, facilities, pathways and coaching development.
  • Duel age bands for girls - U10, U12, U14, U16, Development Squad.
  • Based on academic year in England (September).
  • 34 clubs have 'tier' status divided into north and south.
  • Tier 1 - 13 clubs, Tier 2 - 12 clubs, Tier 3 - 9 clubs.  Manchester City are a Tier 1...other northern clubs that are tier 1 include Everton, Liverpool, Blackburn and Manchester United...although United don't have a girls section.
  • U10's and U12's play against boys.  U14 and U16 play in RTC regional league.

Manchester City invite teams in midweek to play games and train Saturday.  They do this to control the environment and level of teams.

U16 is the first competitive league with results published.

The Talent Pathway

England Woman Senior Team

England U15 / U16 / U17 / U18 / U19 / U20

FA Girls National Performance Camp

FA Girls Regional Development Program

FA Girls Regional Talent Club Tiers 1 / 2 / 3

Community Football / Grassroots Clubs / School Football

How we work at Manchester City FC

  • Individualised approach to each player.
  • The importance of the person and not only the player.
  • Imperative to have high work ethics, discipline and organisation to be part of the academy.
  • Access to world class facilities.
  • Professional environment equals professional standards.
  • 82 players in the academy.

 

Talent only gets you so far so they set tasks to find leaders; i.e. formation - sort yourself out; scenarios, 2-0 down, what are you going to do?  The academy is big believers in values.  When school work drops your training drops.  The academy will also organise work shops on time management, stress management, mental health, bullying - they want to develop a better person.

Training Schedule

  • U14's / U16's - 4 nights per week.
  • Includes gym, analysis, nutrition, multi sports.
  • Coaches have a curriculum, not scripted, but more like a theme.
  • Wednesday U16 / Development Squad receive a day release from school so feel what it is like to be a professional full time player.

Our Culture and our Environment

At the club all players shake hands on arrival and departure.  Two key factors is respect and hard work from players.


 

 

Other points that Kevin talked about...

  • Surround yourself with energisers rather than zappers - need to be positive (I love this one!)
  • Discipline!  Asks girls to wear black boots / no make up / no jewellery.
  • Keep humble.
  • Head teachers are invited in to see the football set up at Manchester City so it re-affirms the importance on education.
  • The first team players have a duty to inspire the next generation to come through.
  • Test resilience - need to change in challenging circumstances.

 

Self Analysis

This part of the talk really interested me.  At TW Braga we have used and continue to encourage the players to keep a weekly diary of their sleeping, eating and activity habits.  We also ask them to do a monthly Player Development Plan (PDP) for short and long term goal setting.  At Manchester City they utilise this with the latest app for players.  Once the players have the app on their phone they log on to trek their wellness.

  • How many hours did you sleep.
  • Quality of sleep.
  • Mood.
  • Sore Muscles?

 

Coaches review the data and possibility of adapting the players training.  They also look for a trigger if the player is not sleeping well.  Maybe the player is under stress with exams for example?

It is important that they always review performance.

Ghost Coaching

At Manchester City they often would have two coaches coaching at each girls session.  What they wanted to avoid was one coach working hard and the other simply standing back waiting to coach so they came up with the idea 'ghost coaching'.

One coach will lead while the ghost coach will go across every player to offer advice or say something to them.  This offers more individualised coaching for the players.

There is 12 weekly reviews on progress.  The games are filmed (younger sections every other game).

Good to Great programme

Wrist bands indicate what level each player is at.  There is 12 stations to work at as homework.  Every 6 weeks they come together for grading.  Similar to martial arts and working hard to get to your black belt this is a similar concept.

I love the idea.  This is something we will look to find our more information on when we visit Kevin at Manchester City and potentially look to introduce across our own program.

Manchester City Session Plan
A typical session plan at City begins with a warm up before progressing to a 15-20 minute technical practice.  It builds into a possession and reaction drill before some 1v1 duels.  Finally they focus on team organisation (defence v attack theme for example) then 'free play'.

Although there will generally always be some restriction during 'free play' of a game scenario like a girl or woman sent off and they have to play 7v6.

Every screen around the facility will offer highlights of the academy - both boys and girls, as well as the development squads and first team.  This is broadcast in the players lounge, parents room, reception, etc. it always features all teams.

 

 

Some final points that came up during a question and answer session included the following;

  • U10's play 7v7 / U12's play 9v9.  All players must play equal game time.
  • U14's play 11v11 on reduced size pitch.  All players must play half a game.
  • From U16's game time is based on performance.
  • Maximum of 15 players in younger squads and 18 players in older sections.

 

 

Kevin finished with a great image of 'A Player's Journey'.  It was a terrific and interesting seminar.  Superb as a coach to hear such a open and honest presentation on a professional club academy.  Kevin is a very driven coach demanding standards but very humble.  I thanked him for his time and sharing his content and experiences.  To show the class of the guy I passed him my business card asking him about the app they used.  Later on in the evening I had an email direct from Kevin!  Great day.  Coaches - never stop learning.  To have the opportunity to attend a seminar like this is invaluable.  Thank you to the Irish FA and everyone involved making it such a terrific morning.

Frame Football Hoping to get off to a Flyer

Local youth football club, TW Braga, are delivering the first Frame Football Section in Northern Ireland. Saturday 23 January will see the first meeting of the Belfast based club. This will take place at Loughside Recreation Centre from 1-2pm.

Frame Football Kicks Off 23 January

Frame Football Kicks Off 23 January

Frame Football was first launched in England in 2013 and provides the opportunity for children who are unable to walk unaided but do not require a wheelchair to play football. Many of these children use a walker style frame for mobility. These children cannot play in mainstream football because of the safety regulations. Frame Football brings them together to play an adapted game that suits their needs.

The IFA believe in creating opportunities for those with a disability to play the beautiful game. Let Them Play is the strapline of the new Youth Strategy and this Frame Football Programme will enable those children to play the game.

DJ and Let Them Play supporter, Colin Murray, recently raised over £5,000 for the establishment and development of Frame Football in Northern Ireland through the ‘101 Mankini’s’ walk on Boxing Day.

This money will be spent initially on starting a pilot Frame Football club in Belfast in partnership with TW Braga. In particular, it will go towards facilities, coaching fees, promotion within the disability sector and training kit for players.

Irish FA Development Manager for Disability Football, Alan Crooks, is very positive about this new initiative in Northern Ireland. He commented, “Frame Football is a great example of the how ‘Let Them Play’ is having a positive impact on the kids in Northern Ireland. We hope that with the awareness raised and support from Colin Murray that Frame Football will take off in our wee country.”

TW Braga Academy Director, Tim Wareing, added, 'We are so grateful to Colin Murray for his fantastic achievement of raising valuable funds & to everyone who donated. This will insure Frame Football kicks off strong in Northern Ireland. It's a wonderful opportunity to get everyone involved in the game. I would like to thank Richard Seedhouse of Frame Football for letting us get involved with his exciting project that kicked off in Coventry. I've enjoyed visiting & seeing Frame Football in operation at St. George's Park & appreciate the training & support the IFA have given TW Braga. We all can't wait to get kicked off on 23 January!'

It is anticipated that an additional two clubs in Armagh and Coleraine will be in operation by end 2016. Once these clubs are both up and running it will enable organisers to hold matches, competitions and festival days involving the three clubs.

For further information on Frame Football visit: https://www.facebook.com/FrameFootball or contact TW Braga Academy Director Tim Wareing on 07740120788.

The Secrets to Developing ELITE Youth Football Players

Tim Wareing has released his third book through his publisher titled, 'The Secrets to Developing ELITE Youth Football Players.' Copies are available in paperback or e-book!

Overview of 'The Secrets to Developing ELITE Youth Football Players.'...

Tim Wareing's latest book

Tim Wareing's latest book

Tim Wareing is a highly sought after coach. With over 20 years coaching experience and having achieved the prestigious UEFA European 'A' Licence at the age of 24, his methods and coaching philosophy are known and respected worldwide. He has delivered clinics in Ireland, England, Europe and USA along with his previous two books selling in over 30 different countries.

Tim spent six years at Irish Premier League side, Lisburn Distillery. He held roles as Reserve Team Manager and under 18 Manager. He played his part in developing Youth International Players and players for the first team, before setting up a very successful Academy for the Club.

As opinions changed in the direction the Academy was going, Tim stood down from his role and decided to take a sabbatical. He used the time to recharge his batteries and re-educate himself, visiting some of the top European Clubs, including FC Barcelona, SC Braga, Ajax and PSV Eindhoven, where he studied and exchanged ideas in youth development.

It was in Holland that he met with a top Portuguese Coach, Hugo Vicente, and the pair got talking about youth development. They shared similar philosophies and it was on this trip that two years later would see a new project launch in Northern Ireland.

The frustrations that Wareing had at his previous club are common across Northern Ireland. A lack of contact time with players, unqualified coaches, out dated methods and little to none specialist coaches and staff offer a limited opportunity for players to develop.

Re-energised he began to set up a very special project that would change the way youth football was delivered in Northern Ireland. Young players would come in and achieve up to 10 hours of contact time per week. Not only would they have access to Wareing but also a special talented team of experts. This would include games related training, match analysis, a conditioning coach, goalkeeper coach, education officer and pastoral care.

Players would come from all different backgrounds. Many arrived as broken players who had been told they weren't good enough, while others simply weren't receiving the correct education on and off the field to develop. Wareing would start to create better players, better people, using a new approach that was player and child centred. From conception to champions in 22 months attracted much interest from the National press and Irish Football Association. TW Braga would share their journey on their You Tube channel, @twsportsgroup, to date it has over 640,000 video views! These are the sessions that Tim Wareing used to help develop the complete player, that would improve each individual technically, tactically, physically and psychologically. This book has been specifically designed, so that each session is simple to follow, yet includes the coaching points that Tim offers to his players. These are all of Tim's preferred sessions that he has gathered on his coaching journey through his own experience and while visiting professional clubs across Europe.

'The Secrets to Developing ELITE Youth Football Players' will aid in developing your group of players, whilst having them enjoy their training!

What people think about Tim Wareing...

'One always takes pleasure in following the career and achievements of those one meets and works with on coaching programmes. It gives me particular pleasure to add to the congratulations being extended to Tim Wareing on the publication of his latest book.

He has huge respect in the Northern Ireland football community and further afield. He has fulfilled the expectations people had of him. Expertise, vision and hard work always get results.'

Jack Gallagher, FIFA Coaching Instructor and FIFA Technical Advisor 1979-2007

'Tim Wareing started the TW Sports Academy 10 years ago.

Just 24 at the time, Tim felt there was restricted youth development in Northern Ireland and felt passionately about doing something about it.

Encouraged and supported by his dad to complete his coaching badges, he worked his way up to UEFA European 'A' Licence level.

For six years he coached the Under 18's and Academy players at Lisburn Distillery, when his 'mentor' Paul Kirk was manager of the Ballyskeagh outfit.

While thrilled to be working with the kids, Tim was frustrated by the lack of contact time with the players, believing while he was making progress he could make an even bigger impact with more training sessions.

And so he decided to fully focus on taking his own Academy to a different level.
The acorn that begun with just himself coaching youngsters in the Cregagh area in Belfast, is fast becoming a big oak tree. Now, aided by sponsors Subway, he operates province-wide, employs 20 other qualified coaches and his Academy coaches up to 700 children per week ranging from the age of two to fifteen.

The first to bring a 'Toddler Soccer programme' to Northern Ireland, he has now written this third book. Tim's previous books on coaching youngsters sold in 30 countries. Also he is never afraid to post videos of training sessions on You Tube for the world to see.

He is an engaging character with an excellent pedigree and he coaches kids in the right way. I wish him well going forward.'

Steven Beacom is the Belfast Telegraph Sports Editor

'It is vitally important that children are fully developed as individual players as well as team players. On a recent visit to Northern Ireland I observed the excellent work carried out by the TWSports.Org Group in relation to not only team development but also the individual development coaching given.'

Martien Pennings, Coach PSV Eindhoven (Holland)

'What the TWSports.Org Group is doing is exceptional, it is different from what anyone else in Northern Ireland is doing, you try to bring the kids together at similar levels and start to work on that. At TWAcademy.Org it is all football related and child centered unlike other coaching which focuses on the physical aspect and not the talent.'

Bert-Jan (BJ) Heijmans, Director Dutch UK Football School

'During my time at Distillery FC, I had the privilege of working alongside Tim in his capacity as Director of Youth Football, a position that Tim embraced with his great enthusiasm and technical ability as a first class coach.

During our time together, I watched numerous boys and girls develop, from grass roots players at a young age, to elite athletes, players, and well rounded individuals.

Testimony to Tim’s work is recognised in just some of the players who developed through that structure and under his guidance; Jack Chambers now at West Brom., Josh Tipping now at Chesterfield, Nathan Kerr now at Stevenage and Luke Fisher now at Fleetwood.

Carry on the good work Tim, with your infectious enthusiasm dedication and knowledge of all aspects of the game. Good luck in the future, I know many more will benefit from having worked with you.'

Paul Kirk, UEFA Pro Licence Coach. Former Manager of Premier League side, Lisburn Distillery

"Here at Elite, we are extremely pleased with the professionalism and authenticity TW Academy has offered us over the past two years while conducting our soccer summer clinics in USA. Coach Tim and his team of coaches are highly knowledgeable and bring excitement to the field! The kids are thrilled and have smiles on their faces while learning the game of soccer." I trust coach Tim and the work he has to share with others. This is a great book to acquire soccer knowledge in creating the Elite soccer player. Apply these principles in this book and your players will improve and so will you as a coach."

Javier Perez, Founder and Executive Director of Elite Soccer Training

'I would like to congratulate Tim on this, his new book, and highly recommend it.

I first met Tim on a study trip in Holland, and since then he has changed very little. He is constantly searching for inspiration, knowledge, competence and different views and perspectives on training methods and philosophies.

He has made regular visits to other clubs in several countries, increasing his network of coaches and many other people involved in football, in order to share ideas about the game, and above all, about youth development. I feel that this book is a consequence of his dedication. It is basically his manual, sharing the good practices he has used throughout the years in his successful projects, and I think that this book can be used as an inspirational tool for all coaches at any level of the game.'

Hugo Vicente

Currently working on a new project at Follo FK, Norway. Formerly the SC Braga Academy Director, SL Benfica Youth Coach, Coerver Coaching Portugal Director, also involved in other clubs. Hugo is a top name in Portuguese youth football, and has travelled the world working with many clubs and federations, holding courses, coaching education and workshops.

Order your copy now! Simply follow this link. Available in book or e-book. For more details contact Tim Wareing, 07740120788 or by email; tim@twsports.org

Tim's first book, 'Toddler Soccer The Essential Guide', has sold in over 30 different countries! This stretches from the UK & Ireland, across Europe to USA & Canada, the Far East & Australia! Order a copy from here!

Likewise his second book, '1-on-1 Coaching The Secrets To Improve ALL Football Players - GUARANTEED!' is available to purchase here.

Do You Pick a Youth Team to Win or Develop?

Last year I wrote a blog on 'How Much Game Time Does Your Youth Team Players Get?' & some may have argued it is easy for me to write that but do I carry it through with my own team? Why should you look to share game time? Below is some of my findings from last year & how it compares to what I've done with my own U12 team this season.

The Scenario...

It’s a cold winters morning & your squad of 16 players have been up from 8am getting ready. They meet at 9am to travel 1 hour to the venue. 10.30am they’re doing the warm up for the 11am kick off. So 3 hours have passed by & 11 players take to the field to kick off while 5 others watch on…

This is a common situation in youth football. The scenario I have used above puts the manager against the ‘best’ side in the league. So he picks his best 11 players to play the game which is 30 minutes each way. His team come in at half time 2-0 down. He looks to the bench & simply thinks he has his best 11 on the pitch & the other 5 won’t make a difference so doesn’t make any changes. The 5 kids on the bench are freezing & disappointed, they have all went to training during the week & have been up from 8am…now at 11.40am they still haven’t got anywhere near getting on! Mid way through the second half the manager finds his team 3-0 down so asks the 5 subs to get warmed up.

10 minutes to go & it is 4-0. He replaces the 2 forwards with 2 subs thinking they can’t do any worse. 5 minutes left he replaces a winger like for like. In the last minute he makes the other 2 changes so everyone gets a game. The game finishes 4-0 & everyone is disappointed. They do a cool down & get changed before making their way home. They leave the ground at 12.30pm & return home at 1.30pm. Jonny who has been up at 8am got back into his house just before 2pm…nearly 6 hours dedicated to the team that offered him 2 minutes on the pitch today.

How many minutes each of our players have played to date…

How many minutes each of our players have played to date…

This is common in youth football. So many parents have said to me over the years that their child doesn't receive equal game time while signed up at other clubs. This season was the first time in 5 years that I ran my own team. I wanted to insure ALL of my players received similar game time. I have scanned my record time for my team for you to see. You'll notice against some players there is a second time in brackets. This is to allow for weekends away, suspensions, injuries or rarely a player arriving late. This helps keep a balance.

I purposely keep my squad to 14 players so that I only have 3 subs. I always try to make 3 subs at half time so everyone receives at least half a game. We have noticed a real difference as some players in the summer were behind others in terms of development. With insuring they play similar game time as the rest, in some cases more time, we have noticed a real improvement.

The project is only 6 months in but as we review at the end of the year the game time is pretty much the same. Obviously we only have one goalkeeper hence he is at the top of the list (Dale) while we don't have many centre backs so they also are a little ahead of the rest of the pack.

As a coach or manager do you review game time? Do you try to be fair to aid development for all players? I also want to insure that players don't get complacent either. We ask the subs can they be impact players? Basically they only have half the time to make a difference so can they become an impact player! At the same time we now will balance out the second half of the season. If we feel any player is getting too complacent in terms of thinking they will get a full game so not work as hard they will be subbed. We now ask the question to players, 'play so we can't sub you'. It's not to add pressure it is simply to get them thinking more about their game.

We realise that at a young age players will never have consistency in their games but we always expect the basics of time keeping, appearance, attitude, work rate & always wanting the ball. We offer a positive environment that allows them a platform to perform.

Let us have your feedback to this article regardless if you are a coach, parent or player. My next blog will be based around what the subs can do while waiting to get involved. Below is our end of year video review. Some funnies, tricks, great football & goals after kicking off this project in June. Enjoy!

Goalkeeper Training – The Forgotten Man? (Part 3)

During Part 2 we looked at reflex sessions along with pressure saves & crossing.  In grassroots football the goalkeeper is generally the forgotten man.  Simply the training they receive is in group format or via a shooting drill.  Obviously at this level resources are limited but to find someone to do a little work is better than forgetting about one of the most important people on the pitch.  Below I will share a copy of my session plan notes specifically for our keepers.  This is the final part of our 3 part series.

We will focus on goalkeeper games during part 3.

Goalkeeper Games

Distribution Games.

1. Object of the game is to score in the other goalkeepers net by throwing the ball. Goalkeeper 1 starts the game by throwing the ball towards goalkeeper 2 & their net. If goalkeeper 2 saves by catching the ball they are allowed maximum of 2 steps towards goalkeeper 1 before throwing the ball. If either goalkeeper tips ball or punches ball out of play the goalkeeper who had the shot gains possession.

Variations include kicking the ball from the hands, volley or drop kick the ball, kick the ball from the ground or play 2 goalkeepers in each goal & if 1 shoots wide or over they must complete a lap of playing area before continuing in the game.

Session 1

2. To practice good all round distribution of the ball set up areas so that the goalkeeper has targets to throw or kick the ball to.

Session 2

3. 3 players; A, B & C, & positioned along the half way line. They each have a supply of balls & stand beside a mini goal. Each take it in turn to cross the ball towards the goalkeeper. Once goalkeeper collects the ball they should look to distribute toward any of the 3 mini goals by throwing or kicking.

Coaching points include communication, distribution, winning the ball, work both feet, throwing & kicking technique & rapid build up.

You can develop by having players A, B & C dribble the ball & performing back passes for the goalkeeper to deal with in same way. You can add a second player to look to close the goalkeeper down automatically to help it become more realistic to a game. Finally, after collecting the ball the goalkeeper should look for a defender to play out to for them now to score into the mini goals.

Session 3

Crossing Games.

1. Goalkeeper 1 throws the ball to W1. W1, within 3 touches, crosses the ball long & high into the penalty area for goalkeeper 2 to collect. Distribute the ball to W2 to cross for goalkeeper 1.

3 important factors to handling crossing situations are; positioning, judgement & action (to attack cross or not). Goalkeepers positioning will vary according to the angle & distance of the cross. Goalkeepers should wait until the cross has been delivered & quickly decide whether to attack the cross or advise defenders to attack it.

Goalkeepers need much practice on positioning & decision making on crosses coming into the box. This practice is simply organised & allows goalkeepers to practice all that is mentioned above. Make sure that the winger varies the crosses, i.e. hard & low, near post, far post, etc.

Session 1

2. Players remain in zones. Goalkeeper delivers to W or to A1 & A2. A1 / A2 passes wide to W. W crosses the ball within 3 touches. Goalkeeper then communicates & decides whether to come & collect the cross or allow the defenders to deal with it.

This session adds to the previous one by testing the goalkeepers ability to deal with crosses while under pressure from opponents being marked by the keepers defenders. If is important that the goalkeeper communicates with the defence to remind them of their marking responsibilities as well as taking up a correct position. Then the keeper has to decide whether to attack the cross or advise his defenders to challenge. In taking the latter course, the goalkeeper needs to give clear information to attack the cross, shouting clearly & loudly, 'AWAY!' If the goalkeeper decides to attack the cross, they should shout loudly & clearly, 'KEEPER'S BALL!'

Session 2

Duel Games / Mini Games.

1. This session is to practice & improve a goalkeeper when faced by oncoming attacker in a 1 v 1 situation. The goalkeeper should always look to come off his line (although not to quickly as to avoid being chipped) & narrow the angle for the attacking player. The goalkeeper should not be easily tricked after a feint & should remain big & confident as to outwit the forward.

(S) plays the ball to X1 or X2. X1 or X2 runs with the ball through the cones & at the goalkeeper. The attacking player attempts to score past the goalkeeper in a 1 v 1 situation by shooting or to try & dribble past the keeper.

Session 1

Every club should allocate some time & personnel to work with the goalkeepers.  Whether that be to bring the goalkeeper in early of have a keeper group night it is essential that the last man in defense is not forgotten about.  I hope you have enjoyed my 3 part series.

Goalkeeper Training – The Forgotten Man? (Part 2)

During Part 1 we looked at warm ups & handling along with agility & goal line sessions.  In grassroots football the goalkeeper is generally the forgotten man.  Simply the training they receive is in group format or via a shooting drill.  Obviously at this level resources are limited but to find someone to do a little work is better than forgetting about one of the most important people on the pitch.  Below I will share a copy of my session plan notes specifically for our keepers.  This is the second of a 3 part series so please check back soon for part 3!

We will focus on reflex sessions along with pressure saves & crossing during part 2.

Reflex Sessions

The following sessions should be operated in sets of 10. Although please adapt to suit the age & fitness of goalkeeper.

1. X1 throws ball through on looking goalkeepers legs, goalkeeper then turns & X2 immediately shoots.

Session 1

2. X passes to right, goalkeeper dives to save & rolls back. Same process but to the left.

Session 2

3. Develop previous session by passing to either side. Coaching points will include not diving too early, sharp, adjust & try not to come forward.

4. Goalkeeper operates on knees in mini goals. S1 throws to X1 who volley's to alternative sides for goalkeeper to save & knock out. Same process but from S2, firm throws, react to re-bounds. Develop with goalkeeper on feet, use whole goal.

Session 4

5. Goalkeeper touching near post & looking at S1, then reacts to shot from X1.

Session 5

6. Goalkeeper is arms length from near post, on call quick feet, spring & dive to stop throw from server scoring. Develop to working on both sides of goal.

Develop again, after save goalkeeper is flat on ground on belly & reacts on call to save in other corner. Coaching points include spring & power.

Session 6

7. Server throws to top corner, goalkeeper leaps to save.

Pressure Saves & Crosses

1. S1 shoots, goalkeeper saves, moves to other goal, sets & saves from S2 then sets & saves from S3 in other goal. Coaching points include footwork, position, relax & save.

Session 1

2. S1 throws to S2 who shoots against GK1 or GK2. Coaching points include alertness, reaction & cover re-bounds.

Session 2

Late Reaction Saves.

1. Goalkeeper looks the other way & on command turns & saves. Serve from penalty spot to 18 yard line. Coaching points include goalkeeper to be on toes, sight of ball, attack it & save it.

Crosses.

1. S1 throws ball into X1, X2 & X3 who all put pressure on the goalkeeper. Object of the game is for the goalkeeper to collect cross or punch clear out of danger zone. Coaching points include the goalkeeper being slightly off line (2-3 yards), face the ball, correct timing, catch ball at highest point, be decisive & positive in attacking the ball, call loud & early if goalkeeper is coming for the ball, if not shout away - defenders need to know, communicate, be confident & positive.

Session 1

Every club should allocate some time & personnel to work with the goalkeepers.  Whether that be to bring the goalkeeper in early of have a keeper group night it is essential that the last man in defense is not forgotten about.  Join us next month for part 3.

Goalkeeper Training – The Forgotten Man? (Part 1)

In grassroots football the goalkeeper is generally the forgotten man.  Simply the training they receive is in group format or via a shooting drill.  Obviously at this level resources are limited but to find someone to do a little work is better than forgetting about one of the most important people on the pitch.  Below I will share a copy of my session plan notes specifically for our keepers.  This is the first of a 3 part series so please check back soon for part 2!

We will focus on how a goalkeeper should warm up & I've also included details on agility & goal line sessions during part 1.

Warm Up & Ball Handling Sessions

1. Bounce ball, on command carry out:

  • Roll ball in front & dive on it.
  • Throw ball into air & jump & catch it.
  • Put ball in between legs & dive & catch.

2. Goalkeeper 1 kicks ball into hands of goalkeeper 3 who catches & kicks ball back, same then with goalkeeper 2. Rotate so that each goalkeeper is working. Coaching points are - stance, handling & speed.

Session 2

3. Develop by serving the ball high in the air so that goalkeeper 3 can take short steps & jump high to catch the ball finishing with stretch.

4. Operate sessions 2 & 3 again but vary starting position so goalkeepers can work on foot work & turning.

Session 4

5. Goalkeeper 1 throws to goalkeeper 2 who dives to right, catches & throws back while getting straight back up to dive again - carry out 10 times. Coaching points are - foot work, handling, speed, return ball & get back up in one motion.

Session 5

Agility & Goal Line Sessions

The following sessions should be operated in sets of 12 developing to 20. Although please adapt to suit the age & fitness of goalkeeper.

1. Goalkeeper sits on bum with legs bent & loose, partner then serves ball so goalkeeper can stretch & catch ball over head & return. Coaching points is speed & technique, i.e. operate session like sit up.

2. Rowing, feet off ground, partner throws ball goalkeeper catches with knees up to chest & returns with legs out. Coaching point is co-ordination, i.e. operate session like rowing machine.

3. Goalkeeper on bum, partner throws ball to left & right so goalkeeper can catch & throw back. Coaching points include agility, service, catching & to keep loose.

4. Develop above session, dive from left to right - keep ball off the ground. Main coaching point is to keep ball in front of body line.

Every club should allocate some time & personnel to work with the goalkeepers.  Whether that be to bring the goalkeeper in early of have a keeper group night it is essential that the last man in defense is not forgotten about.  Join us next month for part 2.

Player Development Plan (PDP) & Visual Psychology

In everyday life we all have to set goals.  We set targets to achieve results.  It can vary from improving our business to increasing sales in our job or simply using behaviour charts for children!  I remember working in a Travel Agent where there was a white board displayed with everyone's name written on it.  Your total number of sales was written alongside your colleagues.  The month started on zero.  If you made a booking for a family of five & a group booking for 20 you shot up to 25 while your colleagues lagged behind.  It was a nice feeling, but if it was the other way around it made you work harder to improve your performance & reach your goal, especially if there was a reward at the end of it.

Surround yourself with positive visual psychology!

Surround yourself with positive visual psychology!

Football is no different.  All my 1-on-1 students keep a Player Development Plan (PDP).  I also provide a folder with a lot of advice included in it for them.  We then set a plan & goals for them to achieve.

You can make it as simple as you want, write it out by hand or complete online & print it out.  The main topics you should cover include:

  • player's name
  • month / year
  • strengths / weaknesses
  • what I need to improve on
  • how to improve
  • targets
  • short-term goal
  • medium-term goal
  • long-term goal
  • signature

It is important that the player himself completes the PDP, but assist & guide them.  If they have weaknesses, set targets for improvement in that area.  Set relevant homework.

You can see from the examples below, how one of my players has completed his PDPs.

One of Luke's early Player Development Plans...

One of Luke's early Player Development Plans...

You can see his strengths & what he feels he needs to work on.  We then focus on this during our 1-on-1 sessions, but also set homework so he can be working on this away from the sessions.

He also sets his long term-term goal.  This can be anything from playing for a top club to playing for your country, or both!  This is the dream, the goal to aim for.  The important thing is also to set short to medium-term goals so each individual can see, feel & touch success.  Ensure the short-term goals are achievable & realistic.  In this example, he has set a target to score 4 goals & set up 8 goals over the month.  Obviously, the number of games he plays & his position on the team will affect this.  You have to remind the player that he may put in several terrific crosses or through balls but, even if the forward doesn't score, it is no reflection on his own creativity.

I also like my players to have their PDP placed on the wall so they see their targets first thing in the morning & last thing at night.  I am also a firm believer in surrounding yourself with positive images & memories.

I have my coaching certificates on the wall, my last book cover blown up & framed along with images & newspapers clippings framed.  It's not to stoke my ego but simply to surround myself with positive memories.  Then if I have a bad day I can remind myself of what I have already achieved.

This is why I ask my players to display their medals, trophies & images in their room.  This is called Visual Psychology - surrounding yourself with a positive image - just like the image above.

If they have a bad game or disappointing news I ask them to go to their room & take 10-15 minutes, looking around them & reading through their PDP to see how far they have developed.

One of my players came home very upset after a game.  Yet, a short time away on his own, around his positive memories & reading his PDP really helped & completely changed that.

Comparing the same player's PDP from December 2009 to March 2011 you will see new strengths added, less evidence of weaknesses in his game & his keepie-ups go from his early target of 37 - 38 to being able to do 100!  In the same folder, we also have invitations to the National County Excellence meetings & report cards.  Also details on his performance with his club & attendance at the Liverpool Academy.

Player Development Plans work - have your child or players keep a record & goal set from today!

Comparison of PDP from December 2009 to March 2011 - look at the improvement!

Comparison of PDP from December 2009 to March 2011 - look at the improvement!

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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