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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!

Possession With A Focus On Width

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.

As soon as the players report in for training they each get a football.  The first 10 minutes is for them to juggle the ball, dribble & perform skills.  It also offers time for them to catch up with team mates.  The Academy is open to all players & many will play for different clubs across Northern Ireland.  After this period I will come in & increase the tempo.  On Sunday I put them through the ‘Ronaldo 7′ which is a series of 7 skills performed stationary with the ball.  We then played a game of ‘Every Man For Themselves’.  Simply half the boys will have balls to dribble & protect while the other half attempt to steal & keep.  This insures maximum exposure with the ball & increases the tempo.  After some stretches & water the players went through S.A.Q. (Speed, Agility & Quickness training using speed ladder, hurdles & hoops) before I progressed the session.

I wanted to keep the high tempo but at the same time recreate game like scenarios.  The below session comes from the outspoken Dutch man, Raymond Verheijen, who is a master on periodisation training.  Many of my sessions will focus on possession type games.

5 V 2 Periodisation Game

5 v 2 Periodisation Game

Emphasis

Ball possession based around periodisation.  Overload then build up to 5 v 5.

Set-Up

Session takes place on a 20 x 20 yard area.  5 attackers v 2 defenders.  Have 3 players waiting to be fed into session to build up to 5 v 5.  The coach should have a supply of balls to keep the game moving.

Objectives

Simple possession game where players develop their skills of passing & supporting each other.  Players in possession should try to pass to teammates.

Simple, early passes should be delivered & after having delivered the pass, players should adjust their positions so as to receive a return pass if necessary.

The team that starts with 2 players receive an additional player every 30 seconds.  The coach lets them know when to join in every 30 seconds as follows;

0.00 – 5 v 2 (2 touch)

0.30 – 5 v 3 (3 touch)

1.00 – 5 v 4

1.30 – 5 v 5

Progressions

  1. Set target of passes to be awarded a goal.
  2. One / two touch play.
  3. Add target players on the outside of the grid.
  4. Rotate groups to suit squad size, i.e. 3 groups of 5, work 2 & rest 1.

Coaching

  • Movement on / off ball.
  • Work rate on / off ball.
  • Create angles.
  • Protect ball.
  • Communication.
  • Quality passing.
  • Positioning.
  • Passing combinations.

Another important factor to remember is to keep a similar theme to your session so you build it up nicely & each session relates to the last one.  To develop I focused on a session I viewed from Arsenal Football Club.  This starts to add a bit more shape & encourages the central players to be the playmakers linking in with the wall players.  You can offer an opportunity for all players to sample each role or if you have an established team or working with an adult team simply play each player in their position.

Arsenal’s 6 V 4 + 2

Arsenal's 6 v 4 + 2

Emphasis

Keep ball game with play makers linking with wall players.

Set-Up

Session takes place in a 30 x 25 yard grid with a supply of balls on the outside.

Full build up with 12 players involved.  Positional game with 6 outfield players, 2 midfielders in the middle against the 4 defenders, represents a real game-like environment.

Objectives

6 wall players look to keep the ball through linking with the floaters (play makers) in the middle.

Encourage your players to think about the set up.  From the bottom of the diagram to the top you can see the basic formation of left back, centre back & right back.  In front of them left & right winger with forward at the top…playmaker / centre midfielders working to link all in the middle.

Keep score.  1 point for 5 successful passes, bonus 2 points for a split pass made between the defenders & 5 bonus points for a nutmeg.

Likewise, if the defenders win the ball they get a point.  If they keep it for 5 successful passes in the middle they get a bonus point & the same points for a nutmeg!

Progressions

  1. Change players roles throughout.
  2. Limit outside players to 2 touch.
  3. Floaters in middle only allowed 1 touch.
  4. Change scoring system.

Coaching

  • Work rate on / off ball.
  • Movement on / off ball.
  • Communication.
  • Quality passing.
  • Passing combination.
  • Use the whole area.
  • Shape.
  • Positioning.
  • Losing the defender.
  • Receiving the ball side on.
  • Defenders should stay compact – play in a diamond shape.  They should play pressure, 2 support players & a cover man (sweeper).

The goal of my session was to build into a game.  The game below works perfect as it keeps the theme of possession going but encourages width.  As always don’t get too caught up in the training game.  For example, although you want to encourage the ball to go wide if the ball is played through the centre encourage the forward player to have an attempt at goal rather than always going wide to the winger.

Wingers Game

Wingers Game

Emphasis

Encouraging attacking play through the wings.

Set-Up

Play takes place on half a pitch with 2 full size goals & goalkeepers.  A channel is marked out with cones on either wing & separated in two.  Also divide the pitch in two.

Play 3 v 2 in either half (+ goalkeeper).  4 wide players are positioned in the channels, 2 playing in the attacking half for each team.

Objectives

The objective is to play the ball from the back, where the 3 defenders should have comfortable possession against the 2 attackers.

The ball should be played to one of the forwards who passes wide to one of the unmarked wingers.  The cross is then delivered to the 2 forwards who look to finish at goal.

Progressions

  1. A defender can join the attack along with the other winger being allowed to leave their zone & come into the central area.
  2. Change roles.

Coaching

  • Quality of crosses.
  • Movement of forwards.
  • Movement – check run, make space in front to receive.
  • Technique – stop just before receiving the ball.
  • Strength – shield the ball from the defender.
  • Awareness.
  • Quality passing.
  • Timing of run.
  • Quality finishing.
  • Communication.

The football played was terrific.  I always allow the players their own time at the end to play a game with no restrictions.  It was encouraging to see the main points we worked on carried out.  Some of the football was a joy to watch.

Another important factor is to be flexible in your sessions.  I had no goalkeepers present so used 4 mini goals (2 either end) & positioned them 5 yards in from each touchline.  This again reinforced width & switching.  Likewise adapt to suit the players you have in.  Although the above game is based on 14 outfield players I only had 12 present.  I simply played with 1 wide player on each wing who played as a neutral player.

Enjoy the session & let us know how you found it!

Transition

When you mention Barcelona everyone automatically thinks about the attractive football they play.  But have you thought about how good they are closing down, applying pressure to win the ball & how disciplined they are?  They all work as a unit to win the ball back in 6-7 seconds.  If they fail to do so they retreat into their set playing positions & ask the team to break them down often forcing them into errors.  Like a strategic army fighting a war Barcelona should receive as much credit to the discipline & quality they have without the ball.

Teams are at their most vulnerable in terms of losing the ball in the first few seconds after gaining possession.  It is this transition period that we are looking at, both in terms of winning the ball back quickly & then keeping it.

The key is the first 6 seconds after losing the ball.  This period is when the opposition have not yet switched from defensive to possession mode.

The other key period is those 6 seconds after you have won the ball back & need to maintain possession during that critical period when your team is changing shape & finding space (going wide & deep.)  This is what I focused my academy session on last Sunday & you can see that exactly from my session plans & videos below…especially if you watch the shape some of my players take automatically after winning the ball in the Braga transition game.

Warm up & technical bit…

After some dribbling, juggling & ball mastery the players moved into the following session…

Control

Control

Emphasis

Control & movement session.

Set-Up

Divide players in half.  Set a series of cones down, one down every 5 yards.

One player per cone with a ball.  Place the same amount of cones out facing the players 5 yards away.  The other half of the group line up at one end without a ball.

The other cones should be angled mid-way between the first row.

Bib groups off so it is easier for turnaround.

Objectives

One group serve while the other group control & return the ball.

Players go one by one, they move half way toward server, control & retreat backwards around cone & onto the next player.  Each player in line should be ready to go so that all players go in & out together.

After one circuit is complete players should reverse roles, i.e. first player in line changes with first server.  The server will then move to the starting cone.

Progressions

  1. Passing (one touch.)
  2. Volley (side on, then laces.)
  3. Heading.
  4. Chest / volley.
  5. Thigh / volley.
  6. Chest / thigh / volley.

Coaching

  • Good service.
  • First touch & return pass.
  • Quick movement & proper footwork.
  • Timed movement, so players go in & out together.
  • Communication.

The tactical bit…

This was a nice small sided game to get the boys disciplined to close down the ball well & hunt in packs.  They get used to forcing the opposition to make an error & communicate so if they can’t win the ball inside 6 seconds they retreat back into their shape asking the opposition to try & break them down.  Insure someone counts out aloud, ’1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6′ so they get used to the time & award a point for each success.

6 Second Transition Game

Watch the video highlights

6 Second Transition Game

Emphasis

Teams are at their most vulnerable in terms of losing the ball in the first few seconds after gaining possession.  It is this transition period that we are looking at, both in terms of winning the ball back quickly & then keeping it.

The key is the first 6 seconds after losing the ball.  This period is when the opposition have not yet switched from defensive to possession mode.

The other key period is those 6 seconds after you have won the ball back & need to maintain possession during that critical period when your team is changing shape & finding space (going wide & deep.)

Set-Up

40 x 25 yard pitch with 2 mini soccer goals.  You can play 4 v 4 – 6 v 6 depending on the amount of players you have available.

Have a supply of balls in either goal.  Play starts with the goalkeeper rolling it out.

Objectives

In this game when a team lose possession they have 6 seconds to win the ball back (the coach counts this out loud.)  If they win it back in that time they are awarded a point (a goal.)

The idea is to double team & work frantically to get the ball back in the allotted time frame.  If they fail to achieve this they must then go to the centre & make sure they close all the gaps & limit the space for the opposition.

If they do win the ball back within 6 seconds, if they are high up the pitch they must look for an immediate goal scoring opportunity.  If they are in a more crowded midfield area they must look for an ‘outman’ who can get hold of the ball & maintain possession through the crucial 6 second period.

Progressions

  1. Adapt amount of players & size of pitch.
  2. Award bonus points for set amount of passes / time opposition keep the ball.

Coaching

Trying to win possession;

  • Concentrate on closing down – ‘PRESS’.  When a player goes to win possession players around them close space – tuck in.  Don’t dive in!
  • Keep shape, apply pressure while others react & drop off but cover space in behind.
  • Communication.
  • Nearest player pressures the ball.
  • On the call, ‘PRESS’, all players should look to win the ball off the opposition.

In possession;

  • Quality passing – weight & accuracy.
  • Decision making.
  • Support play.
  • Work rate on / off ball.
  • Receive ball side on.
  • Head up.
  • Play simple pass.
  • Look for space.
  • Use of width & depth.

Develop to…

After the 6 second transition game this worked great.  The players really enjoyed the session & it encouraged good ball retention.  The team that won the ball & used it well were not only rewarded with bonus points but got to continue to attack!  Make poor decisions or lose the ball & you’re out the game!  Start off simple & don’t allow the team that lost the ball to win it back in their own half.  As the players get used to the concept develop so that teams can win the ball back before the other team leave the half.

Braga’s Concentration Of Transition

Watch the video highlights

Braga's Concentration of Transition

Emphasis

To win ball & counter attack at speed.

Set-Up

Play takes place on half a pitch with 2 full size goals & the pitch split in half by cones.

A supply of balls are placed in each goal with a keeper at either end.  Organise 3 teams of 6.  A team of white is in one half with 6 red v 6 yellow in the other half.

Objectives

Red attack yellow.  If yellow gain possession of the ball the red team stop while the yellow team attack the white team in the other half.

Teams continue to attack until they lose the ball.

The session is based around transition.

Progressions

  1. The team that loses possession can try to regain the ball before it leaves their half.

Coaching

Trying to win possession;

  • Concentrate on closing down – ‘PRESS’.  When a player goes to win possession players around them close space – tuck in.  Don’t dive in!
  • Keep shape, apply pressure while others react & drop off but cover space in behind.
  • Communication.
  • Nearest player pressures the ball.
  • On the call, ‘PRESS’, all players should look to win the ball off the opposition.
  • Recovery run.

In possession;

  • Break & attack at speed.
  • Quality passing – weight & accuracy.
  • Decision making.
  • Support play.
  • Work rate on / off ball.
  • Receive ball side on.
  • Head up.
  • Play simple pass or run with ball.
  • Look for space.
  • Use of width & depth.

Finish off with some free play & a cool down along with a debrief.

Coaches, always adapt.  My diagrams above will show a certain amount of players but if you don’t have enough – adapt!  Adjust the size of the pitch too.  Insure your players enjoy the training but demand a lot of hard work from them at the same time.

Let me know how you get on if you use with your own team.  Always feel free to re-post & share as long as you link back to my blog.

Want more info?  You can access over 450 of my session plans by clicking here!  Follow me on Facebook, Twitter or You Tube

1-on-1 Coaching – Taking players To The Next Level

With the demise of street football kids nowadays don’t play the same amount of football as we once did growing up.  The overall technical ability of players suffers as there is not the same practice time.  When they attend their own club training they don’t receive the individual attention they need & in some cases don’t get the same freedom to play.

1-on-1 Coaching helped develop Luke

In Northern Ireland (& other parts of the UK) there is a problem with the lack of contact time players have with their coaches & clubs.  Generally most players will receive only one or two training sessions a week at their club.

Receiving two to three hours practice time a week, including a match programme, is not nearly enough for any player to develop & gain a good knowledge of the game.  Elite players in England & Holland generally receive 9-12 hours practice time a week with their coaches & club!

Another issue is the education & development programme in place at clubs around the country.  There are some great youth coaches & clubs in place, but for every good set-up you can be sure there are six poorly run youth teams.

A player’s football education & understanding is very important.  In school, if a child struggles or falls behind in a certain subject, they will receive additional work on a one-to-one basis.  We should be offering exactly that in football.

Some players only train once or twice a week in a squad of 15-20 individuals.  If they have problems, they may often be left out of the starting line up, meaning that they will fall further behind.

Let’s Get Started…

I have been working with a client for some time offering 1-on-1 coaching.  He arrived as a very talented player, but could only play with one foot.  It is amazing how extra coaching, 1-on-1, a good attitude & having fun can improve a player.  Add in goal setting & You Tube & you have a highly motivated & skilful player!

A 1-on-1 coaching session includes;

  • consultation & private programme
  • warm up
  • individual technical work
  • skill stations
  • free play
  • cool down
  • debrief & homework
  • Player Development Plan (PDP).

1-on-1 coaching may not be a priority for a parent, but I feel it should be if you really want your child to improve their technical ability.  This is especially true for children who are struggling.  It can be the difference between becoming a regular team player or leaving the game altogether.

Relationship & Praise…

When you work 1-on-1, it is essential that the coach & the player have a good relationship.  You need to like each other, trust each other & have a friendship but still maintain a professional distance.

Always welcome your students with a ‘high five’.  Ask what kind of day they have had.  A bad day at school or a tiring day can affect performance, attitude & work rate.  Taking an interest in their daily schedule will open up lines of communication & benefit each session.  Even a disappointment from the previous game can stick in a player’s head.  Talk, discuss & communicate continually.

Another important factor is praising each player.  Remember it is just you & the player, so it is essential that you motivate & encourage the player throughout the session.  Always correct technique in a positive way & reinforce good practice so that the individual is constantly improving.

Coaching Style…

So, what do I work on during a 1-on-1 session?  I love to concentrate on the technical side of the game, with activities such as skills & tricks, touch, passing & finishing.  I also throw in many fun activities.  Repetition is good, but I also like to contain some fresh ideas.

We start with activities from the skills grid & PSV warm up & go on to the 4-goal game.  We then focus on our mini pitch & mini goals & play ‘First Touch’, ‘The Raul Spoon’, & ‘Finish & Pass Through The Hoop’ games.  We end with a series of games including some fun games such as ‘Lob The Keeper’ & ‘Crossbar Challenge’.

However, training doesn’t end on the pitch.  Each 1-on-1 student has homework to do, such as setting themselves goals & doing research using the web.

We set the homework together after discussion.  Players can also gain more information on training sessions, diet, fitness, preparation & psychology using the web.

Visual psychology - surround yourself with it!

Player Development Plan…

I also set goals for players when they start, which must be updated each month.  It is important that all players have long term goals to aim for, but essential that they have short-term goals that they can achieve along the way.  We simply use a blank bit of paper & list strengths & weaknesses.  We look how we would improve on our (notice I always use ‘our’ as we work together as a team) weaknesses.  We then have short-term goals like play ‘X’ amount of games, creating goals or scoring goals.  We also aim to improve length of ‘keepie-ups’.  You always need to be realistic & ensure that the short-term goals are achievable.  If the player can do 30 ‘keepie-ups’ it’s better for them to target 35 rather than 40 so that their next target is then more realistic & likely to be achieved.

Also, if the player has a target of setting up 6 goals over the course of a month you have to remind them that they have reached their target if they provide 6 good passes to the forward even if he doesn’t score from them, so you are always being realistic & positive.  The long term goal?  Well this can be to play for an English club side, play for the national side, anything!  However, in the end it is up to the individual who must put in the work.

Finally, we always name tricks & games after players or teams.  I also encourage players to look up You Tube to see top players in action.  This helps to better visualise the skill sets they need & lets them see what could be possible.

If you are interested let me know & I will write a blog piece based on my Player Development Plan that you can tailor for your own use.

Review…

Always review the player, your performance & your programme.  You should watch the player in game situations so you can effectively see how his or her individual performance is coming on.  Take notes so you can adapt your programme to suit the individual.

Keep a check with the player & parent on their daily schedule, e.g. school work, other training sessions, other hobbies, diet, sleep, etc. & make suggestions for change if necessary.

Coach Tim’s 1-on-1 Session…

I thought I would share one of my typical 1-on-1 sessions with you.  This is a session I delivered to a talent last week.  After greeting him with a high five & having a quick chat we started our warm up by juggling a ball between us.

Warm Up

Ronaldo 7

Ronaldo 7

Emphasis

The ‘Ronaldo 7′ originated from the great Manchester United Coach, Rene Meulensteen, & of course Ronaldo.

The Dutch coach was brought to United to operate as the Skills coach.  He used Ronaldo & his squad number to demonstrate 7 different skills.

The idea is that your feet is the furthest thing away from your brain.  So through repetition you will operate things without thinking – instinct or to improvise.

The other bonus is though using the ‘Ronaldo 7′ in a warm up it increases the bodies temperature along with maximum touches of the ball.  In fact your players could touch the ball several hundred times – much more beneficial than jogging around the side of a pitch!  It is simply improving the players touch & co-ordination.

Set-Up

Easy – give the player a ball!

Objectives

For the player to carry out 7 different skills at a high tempo.  The player & ball should not move from their starting position.

The Ronaldo 7 is made up of the following moves;

  1. Toe Taps – Place the sole of the foot on top of the ball then look to alternate feet.  Switching from left foot to right foot.  Look to increase speed.
  2. Sides – Play the ball between left & right foot by passing with the inside of each foot.  Look to increase speed but keeping the ball under control at all times.
  3. Sticky Tape – Start with the sole of the right foot on top of the ball.  Look to roll your foot from one side of the ball to the other.  Try to get your foot as close to the ground as possible but don’t touch the ground or let go of the ball.  Depending what is most comfortable balance stationary on your left foot or hop.  Change feet after set time.
  4. Laces, front roll, drag back – Start of all right foot.  Use the laces to hit the ball in front of you, then drag back with the sole of your right foot.  Continue at speed.  Switch over to your left foot.  Then after set time look to mix.  Kick the ball with laces of your right foot, drag back with the sole of your left foot.  Kick out with the laces of your left foot, drag back with the sole of your right foot.  Repeat at speed.
  5. Step Over – Ball is stationary.  Right foot should step over the ball from the outside over, adjust footing then repeat with left foot.  Continue at speed.  Insure you don’t touch the ball or move from the spot.
  6. Ronaldo Scissors  – The famous Ronaldo skill!  Right foot should come around the inside of the ball then make a complete circle around it.  Repeat with the left foot.  Continue at speed, again don’t touch the ball & keep in the same area.
  7. Tap Dance – Fun co-ordination one to finish on.  Front part of each foot touches the ball.  Left foot, right foot, left foot twists around the back of right leg to touch the ball.  Right foot, left foot, right foot twists around the back of left leg to touch the ball.  Repeat at speed.

Progressions

  1. Time each skill.
  2. Add different skills.

Coaching

  • Touch.
  • Perfecting skills.
  • Speed.
  • Co-ordination.
Want to see us in action & find out why we do it?  Click here to watch the video!

Control & Passing

Control & Passing

Emphasis

Great session that concentrates on control & passing accuracy.

Set-Up

20 x 20 yard grid with a series of cones spread about the grid.

Coaches stands at one end of the grid with a supply of balls while the player stands at the other end of the grid.

Objectives

Super session that works on the players touch & passing accuracy.

  1. The coach passes the ball.
  2. Player controls ball.
  3. Player then passes ball to knock one of the targets down.

The game can start by allowing the player to enter the grid after controlling to knock down the cones.  As their ability improves put a restriction that they must pass the ball from outside the grid.

Play a couple of rounds with a set number of balls, i.e. 15 footballs to knock down 10 cones.  Keep score.

Progressions

  1. Increase distance away from targets.
  2. Vary the technique of the pass, i.e. lofted, driven with laces or outside of the foot (both coach &player.)
  3. Vary the part of the body that you control the ball with.

Coaching

  • Communication & keep eye on ball.
  • Good first touch & keep the ball from getting stuck under your feet.
  • Non kicking foot, body shape facing target.
  • Quality passing, good accuracy & weight in the pass.
  • Get the head up.
  • Use of both feet.
I would then have the player break off & run through S.A.Q..  We would concentrate on the speed ladder, hurdles & hoops.  I have devoted a section in my book based on what we do & set up.

PSV Game

PSV Game

Emphasis

This is a session I viewed at the PSV Eindhoven Academy.  Hence the name!  PSV has one of the best Youth Academies in Holland.

This session has everything to develop great young players & their touch, technique & finishing.

Set-Up

5 cones should be placed in zig zag motion on either side of the pitch.

Add spiked poles a yard or two in from each post for additional target practice & scoring.

Place approx 7 balls on either side of the half way line.

Objectives

Player starts dribbling the ball while performing a trick at each cone (imaginary defender) once they complete the 5 cones they should perform a skill & finish with a shot at goal.

Alternate from either side so that your player uses both feet.

Progressions

  1. Operate from both sides.
  2. Operate certain skills.
  3. On the last cone rather than always going inside to shoot, vary, go outside & use other foot.
  4. If you have a player over operate with defender so that when attacker comes through last cone there is a 1 v 1 duel.
  5. Or you can operate with a goalkeeper.  Have the player finish by taking the ball around the approaching keeper.

Coaching

  • Dribbling skills.
  • Turns & tricks.
  • Balance & speed.
  • Execution of skills at pace.
  • Quality finishing.
  • Follow shots in.

4 Goal Game

4 Goal Game

Emphasis

Developing touch & passing accuracy in a themed game.

Set-Up

Set up a grid measuring 40 x 40 yards approximately.  Place 4 mini goals around the outside, 1 on each side placed centrally.

A supply of balls is placed in one of the corners.

Objectives

The player is positioned in the centre of the grid.  The coach is positioned in one of the corners with a supply of balls.

Each mini goal signifies a playing position;

  1. Goalkeeper / Defender
  2. Right Midfielder
  3. Left Midfielder
  4. Attacker

The session starts with the coach kicking the ball in for the player to control.  As the coach kicks the ball they shout a position, i.e. ‘Forward’.  The player controls the ball with 1 touch before passing the ball into ‘goal 4′.

Vary the position that you call.  Encourage the player to be on their toes.  The secret is a good first touch along with quality passing.

Progressions

  1. Increase distance away from mini goals.
  2. Vary the technique of the pass, i.e. lofted, driven with laces or outside of the foot.
  3. Vary the part of the body that you control the ball with.
  4. Time the session – against the clock!

Coaching

  • Communication & keep eye on ball.
  • Good first touch & keep the ball from getting stuck under your feet.
  • Non kicking foot, body shape facing target.
  • Quality passing, good accuracy & weight in the pass.
  • Get the head up.
  • Use of both feet.

Hoop Game

Hoop Game

Emphasis

As a coach use your imagination as the ‘simple’ games can be the most effective & fun.

I created this game when clearing my speed, agility & quickness equipment up.  I was walking up the bank to my van & shouted to Luke to try & pass the ball through the hoop I rolled down the bank!

We then got his dad to roll the hoops down the bank while we split the balls.  Luke was one side & I was the other.  This kept in easy in terms of retrieving the balls & added a fun competitiveness to the game!

Set-Up

A series of hoops at the top of a small slope.  Player to have a number of balls & positioned approximately 20 yards away.

Objectives

Roll the hoops down the slope, 1 by 1, as the player tries to pass the ball through the hoop.

Accuracy, weight & timing all play a part in this simple, but highly effective & fun game.

Progressions

  1. Vary the distance away from the hoop.
  2. Roll the hoop faster.
  3. Vary the pass, driven, inside of foot, outside of foot etc.

Coaching

  • Passing accuracy.
  • Weight of pass.
  • Timing of pass.
  • Use of both feet.

Coach Tim’s Book…

I have just published my second book, ’1-on-1 Coaching The Secrets To Improve ALL Football Players – GUARANTEED!’  So if you have enjoyed my blog piece you’ll love my book!  I am very pleased with the book; I am basically sharing with you my entire programme.  Please support my project and spread the news about my new book.

To receive your FREE taster of the book, or order your copy, simply click here!

Tim Wareing’s methods will improve ALL players!

What does the book offer?

’1-on-1 Coaching The Secrets To Improve ALL Football Players – GUARANTEED!’ by Tim Wareing.   Tim Wareing is a highly sought after coach.  With over 15 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.

‘The tactics & philosophies of a UEFA A Licence Coach who has European Clubs monitoring his players talents.’

Who is Tim Wareing & how can he develop my players?

Tim spent 6 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.

He continues to travel on a regular basis across Europe to continue learning and sharing his coaching philosophy.  Tim has visited FC Barcelona, Ajax, PSV Eindhoven and Braga.  His training methods will improve ALL players through using the latest and most innovative procedures.

With a host of clients and clubs requesting Tim to work with them, and families travelling from New York and Paris to access his coaching, he has put his award -winning programme together in this book.  ’1-on-1 Coaching The Secrets To Improve ALL Footballers – GUARANTEED!’ not only provides readers with his session plans, but includes information on his successful blue print on how to coach players on a 1-to-1 basis.  He has also included a section on his renowned ‘Player Development Plan’.

This book has been specially designed, so that each session is simple to follow, yet includes the coaching points that Tim offers to his players.  Today, when we see less and less street football, the technical ability of our players is decreasing.  ’1-on-1 Coaching The Secrets To Improve ALL Footballers – GUARANTEED!’ will change that and improve everyone’s technical ability and game understanding.

Videos of Tim at work…

1-on-1 Coaching by Tim Wareing

1-on-1 Coaching by Tim Wareing 2

1-on-1 Coaching by Tim Wareing 3

Testimonials…

‘Luke has been receiving 1-on-1 coaching from Tim for over two years.  He has been part of Tim’s community programme from the age of six.  After six months of Tim working with Luke he was invited into the Liverpool Academy based in Belfast.  He has also been invited to the IFA County Down and Excellence Programme.  A number of clubs are monitoring Luke’s development after a successful performance in Holland on Tim’s Academy tour as well as a great season with his club.  I can’t speak highly enough of the importance of 1-on-1 coaching and how it has developed my son’s talent and ability.’

Martin Kenny, parent of Luke
Current Liverpool Belfast Academy Student

Tim is also author of, ‘Toddler Soccer The Essential Guide’, that has sold in over 20 different countries.  You can order a copy from here; www.ToddlerSoccer.Org/book

If you want to…

  • Find out more
  • Buy the book
  • Stock the book
  • Organise an interview with Tim

Then simply contact Tim direct on, 07740120788 or by email, tim@twsports.org

Remember this book will improve the technical ability of EVERY player that reads it…

ORDER YOUR COPY NOW (E-Book or Paperback) << CLICK HERE FOR INSTANT ACCESS >>

Coach Tim’s Academy Session

I thought I would share my own Academy session that I performed with my squad last Sunday.  We had a squad of 14 boys aged 11-13 that reported for the session.  Typical Belfast weather – rain & high winds!  With this in mind I wanted a session that would always involve the players and that was easy to manage in terms of setting up and developing.

As soon as my players arrive a ball is at their feet

I always arrive 20 minutes before the players so I can set my coaching area up and everything runs smoothly.  On Sunday I set up 4 grids measuring 15 x 15 yards with a 5 x 5 yard safety area between them.  This offered me an overall 35 x 35 yard coaching area which is what we would develop to.  One session to the next only involved lifting a few cones – no waiting about for the players!  Inside each grid I set up a 4 x 4 yard triangle.

On arrival my players know to get a ball and go for a light dribble in one of the allocated grids.  This is their own time as I encourage them to arrive early, get a ball, go for a dribble and have a chat with their team mates – always giving each other a high-5 on arrival.  I then welcome the group, give all the boys a high-5 and ask how they got on in their matches for their club sides.  I then give them a quick overview to the session ahead.  Players then focus and get to work.  They continue the warm up through a series of dribbling, skills, turns & keepie ups.  I like to run through the ‘Ronaldo 7′ and then organise them to juggle the ball in groups.

By the time my warm up is complete each boy will have touched the ball several hundred times.  Yet how many youth set ups still keep the ball locked away and have their players run laps around a pitch!  There is time allowed for players to stretch & take on fluids.  We then run through our Speed, Agility & Quickness routine.  We use a series of movements through the speed ladder, hurdles and hoops.  Players again take a drink before returning for the first part of our technical session.  I always like to use the ball and will always concentrate on possession games setting goals and keeping game realistic.

You will see from my first game we use the grids wisely.  I ended up having one grid spare.  In two other grids we had 4 v 1 and in the other grid we had 3 v 1.  This was intresting as I rotated so that all groups had the opportunity to try 3 v 1 as it was more challenging.  I always like to insure success in all my sessions but then like to challenge so feel free to make the triangle smaller (i did) or change it from 4 v 1 to 3 v 1 or maybe 4 v 2?  Have fun, this is a great session to develop movement and work rate off the ball along with passing and supporting runs to passing and touch.

Movement ‘Off The Ball’ In A Passing & Support Game

Movement 'Off The Ball' In A Passing & Support Game

Emphasis

Focus on improving movement ‘off’ the ball.  Session to work on passing, movement off the ball, fitness & looking for the penetrating pass.

Set-Up

Play takes place in a 15 x 15 yard area with a 4 yard equilateral triangle in the middle made up of cones.  There are 5 players in the activity with one being a defender & the other four being on offense.

Objectives

The 4 players try to maintain possession while also looking to score goals by playing the ball through the triangle to their team mates.  The defender is NOT allowed inside the triangle so they must be constantly working their way around the triangle trying to cut of the penetrating passes.

What makes this such an interesting activity is the required movement off the ball by the offensive players.  On every pass they are moving in order to get into a better position to either make a penetrating pass or receive one.

Play this game for a 5 minute period with each player having a one minute turn in defence.  It gets the players working hard, thinking & competing while having fun trying to beat their team mates.  The player who gives up the fewest number of goals in defence wins.

There is a tendency in this game for the offensive players to get to close to the triangle which takes away the passing angles.  This is easy to correct & is a good learning opportunity for the players.

Progressions

  1. Change to 4 v 2, or 2 v 2 v 2.  Keep the overload initially until players get good at this before you move on.  Experiment with numbers increasing the difficulty of the session as you go.

Coaching

  • Creating space for yourself or for a team mate by movement off the ball.
  • Quality of passing (weight, accuracy & timing.)
  • Quality of control & first touch.
  • Effective maintenance of possession,
  • Communication.
I then developed the session.  As I had set up 4 grids with the safty area of 5 yards between each grid it left a 5 x 5 yard box in the centre and a 35 x 35 yard area to work in.  I simply had to lift the 3 cones from the triangle in each grid and we could move straight on to this session.  This offered a smooth transition with little to no standing about for the players (another pet hate of mine!)
You’ll see from my session plan below that this game is 5 v 3 with the 5 in possession trying to play to the 2 target players in the box.  With the 4 players I had over I had them play as wall players.  they played with the team in possession.  If the defenders won the ball the wall players played with them.  For 5 passes they were rewarded with 1 goal, this offers incentives to both the defenders as well as the attackers.  I rotated the players so everyone played in each role.  Remember the target players inside the box are replaced by the player who plays the ball to them.  My players carried this out great!

Target Passing & Possession Game

Target Passing & Possession Game

Emphasis

Passing & possession game to play to target player.

Set-Up

Play takes place inside a 35 x 35 yard area with a smaller 6 x 6 yard square in the centre.

Objectives

The 5 yellow players pass the ball & look to keep possession from the 3 red players.  The object is to pass the ball to the 2 yellow players inside the square.

The 3 defenders work as a unit to stop the attacking players passing to the smaller square.

Apart from the 2 players inside the square, no one is allowed to enter the smaller area.

Progressions

  1. If the defenders win the ball offer them a goal for set number of passes that they retain possession.
  2. Players inside the smaller square follow their pass out of the square & the player making the pass replaces them.
  3. Play 4 v 4 with both teams looking to play the ball into the smaller square to the target players.

Coaching

  • Keep possession – be patient.
  • Pass & move.
  • Good supporting angles.
  • Work rate & movement on / off the ball.
  • Communication.
  • For defenders look to press.
  • Intercept / block passes.
  • Anticipate.
I then finished the session off with a 7 v 7 game into full size goals on a slightly smaller half a pitch.  I simply asked them to get a basic shape and enjoy themselves.  Only changes I add from a ‘normal game’ is keeper must roll out and play from the back.  Throw in’s are replaced with pass in’s or dribble in’s.
I do think it is important that players can have some freedom to play without continual instructions and ‘orders’ from the coach.  We then finished off with a cool down.
Let me know what you think of my session and if you try out the sessions how you and your team got on with them and what variations (if any) you made.  Remember you can have full access to all my session plans by clicking here!

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