Finding Nemo

For those that don't know my team & I operate over 25 different Toddler Soccer Centres throughout Northern Ireland.  Last week & over the weekend we played a fun game using the popular Disney movie, 'Finding Nemo'.  At this age using familiar movies or cartoon characters is perfect to motivate & relate to kids under the age of 5.  Imagination is key...let your inhibition go & have fun being a big kid yourself!  If you want to read more about my structure click here.  Below you will find my coaching notes...

Finding Nemo

Finding Nemo


A great game that toddlers can relate to as one of their favourite movies!

Movement, awareness, dribbling & co-ordination & passing.


In a 20 x 20 yard area set up a number of small traffic cones.

Ensure that you have enough cones for the size of your group.  Space the cones around the grid.


The toddlers are 'Nemo' & they 'swim' (run!) around all the rocks (cones).

The coaches are the 'sharks'.  When they shout, 'shark attack!'  The toddlers (Nemo) must hide behind one of the rocks (cones) so the sharks can't catch them.  If any of the sharks catch a 'Nemo' they then help the coaches & become a shark.


  1. Introduce a ball (Baby Nemo) & all the toddlers must dribble baby nemo around the ocean with them.  Again you can continue the same concept as above in 'shark attack.'
  2. To develop the session you can now encourage the toddlers to knock the rocks (cones) over with their ball.  This will help passing accuracy & is a lot of fun!  After knocking them all over they must fix the cones by balancing on one leg & fixing the cones up with their other foot - no hands!  You can maybe give the instructions, 'Messy Nemo' to knock the cones over & 'Tidy Nemo' to fix them back up.
  3. Finish with a little game called, 'Finding Nemo!'  Have a number of small orange disc cones (these are Nemo!) & hide them under another coloured cone like blue or yellow.  Also place a number of blue & yellow cones out around the grid with no orange cones placed directly underneath.  The blue & yellow cones are shells or rocks & the toddlers are sent out to find Nemo!


  • Listening skills.
  • Awareness.
  • Dribbling technique.
  • Passing accuracy.
  • Co-ordination & balance.

Want more info?  You can buy my Toddler Soccer book by clicking here!  Follow me on Facebook, Twitter or You Tube

How Many Touches Do You Get?

Over the past couple of weeks we have monitored a child to see how many touches they actually receive on the ball during training sessions & matches.  In my last blog post we talked about the 10,000 hour theory, in that to become an expert or professional in any field it takes 20 hours practice time per week.  What we experience as coaches is parents believing that their child has made it by playing football for a club that in some cases only have one session per week & one match per week...but how many times do they touch the ball?

To improve & develop you need to practice.  In football to be more comfortable on the ball & possess a good technical ability you need to practice with the ball.  Simple theory but crazy how many people miss this at such a young age!  I watch youth sessions & I see kids running round a pitch in 2's with the coach shouting, 'left hand down, right hand down'.  They get away with it as all parents see is their kids in their footy kit, with 'coaches' dressed in their gear & training on the best 3G pitch.  Well before I talk about improving the technical ability of kids I want to make a simple statement.  When paying upwards of £50 to hire a 3G pitch I don't want to run round the edge of it - I want to use the bloody pitch!

Then we have the IFA run mini leagues that encourage small sided games which in theory is great but again, unfortunately, they get it completely wrong in my opinion.  I operate Toddler Soccer in an indoor 3G arena on a Saturday morning.  Next to us we have kids only a year older than some of my toddler group playing in these mini leagues.  They play 5 a-side, but on the same size of pitches as fully grown men play with the long wide nets!  To me this is still like playing 11 v 11 on a full size pitch with the big goals!  What happens?  The ball is at one end of the pitch with 9 kids around it while the poor little kid is at the other end stuck in nets waving to his dad...then the inspired words from the coach, 'GET RID OF IT!', as little Billy lumps the ball down the other end for the 8 kids to run after with the other coach shouting, 'KEEPER - SWITCH ON!'  It is a waste of time.  Some will argue that the kids enjoy it, I don't know.  I would split the pitches in half & play left to right into mini goals with NO KEEPER, & encourage 4 v 4.  Still loads of space but more touches of the ball, more 1 v 1's, more tricks, more goals, more fun = improved technical ability.

Concentrate on the amount of touches each individual receives during each session

Through poor training methods & mis-guided development games the technical ability of our game suffers.  This starts from the grassroots game & no surprise continues through to the professional game.

Reading a recent report the Premier League has announced plans to at least triple the amount of coaching for promising young players in England which it hopes will eventually help improve the quality of the national team.

Under the plans, Premier League academies will provide 15-20 hours of coaching a week for 9 to 16 year olds instead of the current 5 hours, meaning youngsters would get even more coaching time than those in Germany or Holland.

The plan, which might also include football schools, was agreed by the 20 Premier League clubs before the World Cup in which England produced their worst ever performance.  There were 222 English-qualified players who played first-team football in the Premier League last season.  League chief executive, Richard Scudamore, believed that was enough to find 11 to perform in international competition.

Ged Roddy, the Premier League's director of youth development, stated that the average 18 year old at Ajax gets 6,000 hours of 'contact time' with coaches compared to 2,500 for the equivalent player in England.  He also added that the English system has lagged behind & it needs reconstructed.  One of the aims is to have about 10,000 hours of contact time in the future.

One English Club leading the way is Watford with the Harewood Academy.  They studied the set up at Dutch Club, Willem II Tilburg, & have tried to replicate the set up in England.  The focus is that the boys are transported to the Harewood Academy, which is a normal school with other pupils attending, so that boys continue their education but have more coaching time with the coaches.  Already the contact time with coaches has increased from 6 hours per week to 15 hours per week with studies, home work & meals all completed on site.  The project is currently based on 11-15 year olds.  They train in the morning then have classes before lunch.  More classes in the afternoon along with time for homework & another training session before returning home.  You can watch some videos about the Harewood Academy by simply clicking the following also includes ballet dancing in one!  Harewood Academy 1, Harewood Academy 2 & Harewood Academy 3.

'The young boys, they practice 5 times a week, at the end of the year they will not be the same players.  It's no superiority from any other country, it's just that here in England is less practice with the children than anywhere else.'

Arsene Wenger, Arsenal Manager.

This leads us on nicely to our study.  We took one player & counted the amount of times he touched the ball in different environments.  This was from training sessions to matches.  If you want your child to improve technically you should monitor how many practice sessions they are doing on a week to week basis & what they actually do in these sessions.

IFA National County Programme (2 hour training session)

20 minute warm up, working 1 ball in pairs passing.  171 touches.

Remainder of session working on patterns of play & a match.  53 touches.

Overall touches - 224.

Dungoyne FC Club Training (1 hour session)

Warm up, individual with a ball each.  170 touches.

Remainder of session based on possession game then a match.  137 touches.

Overall touches - 307.

Dungoyne vs. Carniny, League Game (30 minutes each way)

Played in midfield for duration of game on wing.  Scored a goal & set up 3.  Dungoyne won the game 8-1.

Warm up, 20 minutes.  162 touches.

During game, 60 minutes.  80 touches.

Overall touches - 242.

1-on-1 Coaching (1 hour session)

Session started off with keepie ups for a warm up.  Then operated the skill square concentrating on dribbling, turns & skills.  A fun passing exercise was followed by S.A.Q. (still using the ball).  A selection of shooting activities completed the session which included volleys, lobs, over heads, free kicks & then a cool down.

Overall touches - 699.

No surprises that the 1-on-1 session involved the most touches but shows the importance of them.  The overall total touches is heavily affected on what you are working on in training.  It is also interesting in the results that the shorter sessions still resulted in more touches of the ball!  This can also be a reflection on the coaching style.  How many times the session is stopped, how long the coach talks for, etc.  But one thing to remember is the importance of using a ball during the warm up.  The difference from a short warm up with the ball (average 165 touches) compared to zero touches if running around a pitch!

In signing off, how many touches does your player / child receive during a typical session or a match?  If it is not in the hundreds & they are not completing enough sessions / practice time you can bet their technical ability will suffer for it.  Why not take a count at the next session or game & add in the comments box?

Coach Tim’s Session Notes

Not long in from a wonderful Academy session today.  We had a squad of 15 boys aged 11-13 that reported for the session.  It was a lovely morning in Belfast with blue skies & sun.

Structure your training sessions well

I always arrive 20 minutes before the players so I can set my coaching area up and everything runs smoothly.  I set up a coaching area measuring 38 x 20 yards using the throw in line & 18 yard line as a guide.  I used red cones placing one on the throw in line with another 5 yards heading towards the 18 yard line.  Width wise I then set another red cone down every 7 yards approx.  This set up a rectangle scoring grid.  Length wise I set down a yellow cone every 7 yards until I got 33 yards away when I set up another scoring zone (5 x 20 yards) using blue cones.  In the other half I had 2 full size portable goals placed on the half way line & the 6 yard line.  I used cones to make the pitch slightly smaller than the full width but left a 5 yard channel for my themed coaching game.  I also placed 2 dome cones in each corner of the pitch, while the Speed, Agility & Quickness (SAQ) was set up off pitch.  No waiting about for the players!  They moved from one area to the next.

On arrival my players know to get a ball and go for a light dribble.  We used the 'yellow' area for their warm up.  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.  This morning they worked 3 v 1 keep ball.

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.  I always like to use the ball and will always concentrate on possession games setting goals and keeping game realistic.

After the warm up I got my players organised into teams.  6 players remained in their orange Academy tops, while 6 put yellow bibs on & the 3 remaining players but blue bibs on to be the neutral players (although adapt to suit the size of your squad, I had to change from my original diagram below.)  I like to overload the attack, especially at the start of sessions to have a high success rate.  Basically the neutral players played with the team in possession offering 9 v 6.  I keep score to add a competitive edge, i.e. orange 2 up, orange 1 up, all square, etc.

Passing Skill & Possession

Passing Skill & Possession


Possession game improving passing, movement & support play with direction.


Session takes place on half a pitch with 2 end zones of 5 yards in length but same width as pitch.


6 v 6 with 3 neutral players play on half a pitch.

On gaining possession of the ball each team must retain possession & attempt to move the ball into the opponent's end zone & one player must put their foot on the ball in that zone.

If a team is successful the opponents gain possession & attempt to score in the other end zone, so play is end to end.


  1. Encourage variety of passing, i.e. short, long, ground, aerial, etc.
  2. Running with the ball to beat the opponent - encourage 1 v 1 duels.
  3. Play 1 or 2 touch.
  4. Extra point for set number of passes.
  5. Time limit to score or loss of possession.


  • Quality passing.
  • Support & movement on / off ball.
  • Work rate on / off ball.
  • Encourage forward passing - penetration.
  • Speed - counter attack.
  • Direction & attacking purpose.
  • Communication.
  • Summary

    The session worked well, although the orange team hammered the yellow team.  They seemed to grasp the concept better.  They used possession well with a number of quick short balls mixed with a variety of driven passes.  Real joy to watch.

    After the players had a quick drink they went into their S.A.Q. working speed ladder, hurdles & hoops.  You can find more of my S.A.Q. plans on my coaching website, TrainingSoccer.Org.

    Keeping the possession theme in mind we moved onto the half pitch that I had set up at the start of the session.  I wanted to encourage switching the point of attack & width.  This is one of my favourite possession games.  As we now had 'target' players in the game I reverted to 7 v 7 + 1 neutral player.

    Shifting Point Of Attack

    Shifting Point Of Attack


    Directional possession game with 4 mini goals.


    The game takes place on half a pitch with a mini goal positioned in every corner.

    5 v 5 (+ 2).  Each team has a target player in opposite diagonal goals.


    Teams must keep possession from one target to the other.  To score you must pass the ball to one of the target players & they must return the ball to the same player or a team mate.

    Look to switch & attack the other goal.


    1. I personally love to see players run with the ball but to encourage passing limit the touches.
    2. Target players only allowed one touch.
    3. Target players switch with the person that passed it to them.
    4. Introduce neutral players that play with the team in possession.


    • Work rate & movement on / off the ball.
    • Quality passing.
    • Look to beat opponents by dribbling at speed & use of skills.
    • Be direct - look to penetrate.
    • Look to switch & keep the ball.
    • Communication & understanding.
    • Support & shape.
    This proved to be a lot closer game than the first part of my session.  The players really enjoyed the session.  Very game realistic with everything from dribbling, passing, scoring, keeping possession, tackling, work rate & movement on & off the ball.  To see the positions that 12 year olds got into was quality.  They moved the ball so well creating 2 v 1 & 3 v 1 situations.  Their decision making was excellent today!
    To reward their hard work we got into a game.  Although I still used switching & width as the main coaching point.  We played 6 v 6 + 1 neutral player in the middle zone with a neutral winger on either channel.  If the boys scored from a cross the goal counted as 2.  Although I hate to 'over coach' so I don't force them to always pass the ball wide.  My reason for this?  Well if your striker is 1-on-1 with the keeper on a Saturday he's not going to pass it wide or stop so I try to play naturally as well.
    Again you can see from my diagram below that I can easily adapt if I have a player or two missing from my sessions.  Do the same as well.  Adapt to suit to your level, ability & numbers.

    8 V 8 Plus 2 Wingers

    8 v 8 Plus 2 Wingers


    Encouraging attacking play through the wings.


    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.

    Play 8 v 8 in either half (+ goalkeeper).  4 wide players are positioned in the channels, 2 playing in the attacking half for each team.


    The objective is to play the ball wide to one of the unmarked wingers.  The cross is then delivered to the forwards who look to finish at goal.


    1. Change roles.
    2. Add restrictions, i.e. limit touches.


    • 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.
    • Attacking & defensive heading.
    • Quality finishing.
    • Communication.
    • Goalkeeper / distribution.
    We changed the wingers & kept them neutral, i.e. they simply played with the team in possession so attacked either goal.  The boys organised themselves well.  I like to offer them some responsibility & both teams did very well.  They all had a nice balance, mainly playing a 2-2-1 & getting their width from the wide neutral players.
    We finished the session off with a great shooting drill.  For a bit of fun we did cross bar challenge & then 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!  As always please add your comments & if you like to use the session & share with others please credit my work with a link back to my blog or coaching website.

    Parent & Player Welcome Pack

    I thought I'd take the time to share with you my parent & player pack.  This is something I produce at the start of every season & pass around players & parents.  This has been my template as Academy Director at Irish Premiership side, Lisburn Distillery.  I believe it is essential to have good communication levels with parents & players.  At the same time it is essential to outline how you wish to operate your sessions, preparation before, after & during along with the important match day.

    Communicate with players & parents

    This is something which most coaches miss out.  Remember not all parents know football.  They maybe haven't played it so don't know about what us coaches see as basics, i.e. what boots, shin pads, behaviour.  As coaches we have an important role to play & we must insure we provide good information & communication to parents & player.  This also helps keep things running smoothly.  It allows parents to know what support they should be offering their child.

    Only the other day did I have a parent asking me what trainers they should buy their child as she only had girls before her son arrived!  I also have heard about other parents being baffled to what shin pads are - never presume everyone knows what we are talking about!  Another common factor that is always brought up is touchline behaviour & parents 'coaching' from the side.  If you detail from the start how you expect your parents to behave this should minimise the problems.

    Most importantly, respect the parents & communicate!  If it wasn't for mum & dad we wouldn't have their child along to training, matches & all those favours we ask from assisting with lifts to sponsor walks.  Hopefully you'll find my welcome pack informative.  Please respect the time & effort I have put into putting this together.  If you would like to use or share attach a link to my blog.  At the same time adapt it to suit your team.  Let me have your feedback & comments...

    Welcome to TW Academy!

    Dear Parent & Player

    Please keep this in a safe place for reference.

    Welcome to the Academy.  Your child & their development is the most important thing to us.  We guarantee that we will improve your child’s technical ability & game understanding in a fun, relaxed environment.

    Please take time to read the following points that we hope ensure an enjoyable experience for both player & parent.

    If you require any further advice you can contact me on 077 4012 0788 or by email,

    IMPORTANT LINKS - You will find two short videos of 1-to-1 coaching featuring one of our 98 players, Luke.  A number of the tricks & skills in these videos are named after players.  We expect all Academy players to practice these skills.

    www.TWAcademy.Org/players/ - This is the parent & player section of the Academy website.  Here you will be able to read & print off information on diet, health (including what players should be eating / drinking before, during & after games), practice sessions, information nights & tours.

    We have coaches from Braga & Benfica over during May to operate elite camps & hope to organise a tour to Portugal to visit & play against Braga toward the end of August.

    www.TWAcademy.Org/tim/ - Will offer you more information on me & the Academy team along with my philosophy.

    www.DutchSoccer4s.Org/who/ - Here you will find why we operate 4 v 4 games at the end of most sessions.  We want players to play with freedom with little to no coaching – the game is the teacher!  It will show the Manchester United study on how 4 v 4 is so much more beneficial than the likes of 8 v 8.  Also there is a section on the games that we will use in the Academy, players should be familiar with them.


    All players are expected to attend all training sessions & arrive 10 minutes before the start of each session.  This is very important as to receive an appropriate warm up.

    It is parents responsibility to contact their players coach to advise of non attendance.  This should be organised in advance as training sessions are organised to suit each squad size.  It also allows parents to receive important announcements that are made at the end of each session.


    All players are expected to arrive & depart training in the TW Academy polo & tracksuit.  On arrival they should change into the Academy kit (orange top, white shorts & orange socks) along with black rain jacket, boots & shin pads.


    Players should pack their own kit bag the night before a game with the assistance of a parent.  Please don’t do this for your son as this is an important routine for your child to learn.  Players should have their uniform ready.  They should pack their boots (cleaned), shin pads, towel, change of clothes, toiletries, drinks (water or still sports drinks & child’s name should be marked on bottles), snack (banana, jaffa cakes or fig rolls.)


    Players are reminded that at TW Academy their behaviour is expected to be exemplary at all times.

    Players should be courtesy to all Club officials, coaches, parents & team mates.

    The use of bad language or bad behaviour on or off the pitch will not be tolerated.

    Players must remove jewellery before coaching sessions & are reminded not to bring valuables with them.  Players must show good sportsmanship at all times.  Good team spirit is very important; therefore encourage team mates, especially when a mistake is made.

    Verbal, racist & physical abuse is totally unacceptable & will not be tolerated.


    It would be impossible to run our programme effectively without the support of parents, & we are grateful for any assistance you can give.

    We ask that parents don’t coach their son - this must be left to the coaches - & expectations of him should always be realistic.

    To allow coaching sessions to run efficiently & without undue distraction for both players & coaches, parents are asked to keep away from the coaching area for the duration of active coaching.

    Unless they have consulted a coach, parents should refrain from giving feedback to players regarding their performance.  This avoids over repetition of or contradiction of a coach’s advice which can lead to confusion or frustration for a player.

    To help a player understand the need to develop self-confidence, positive parental support is essential, particularly in times of disappointment.  During matches parents should set a good example by supporting the teams positively.  Please refrain from shouting unencouraging views & ‘coaching’.  Respect opponents & match officials.


    Parents should ensure that their child is receiving enough sleep throughout the week & at weekends, especially the evening before a game or training.  Each child should be getting at least 10 hours sleep every night.

    We would also advise you to take note of every physical session your child takes part in.  They should also have a balanced diet & ensure they drink enough fluids; this is especially important before & after training sessions & matches.


    All children are encouraged to attend a TWSports.Org Mini Soccer Centre / DutchSoccer4s.Org Centre.  You can attend from as little as £3 per week while you remain at the Academy.  For those with younger brothers & sisters we operate ToddlerSoccer.Org!

    Please don’t hesitate to contact me for any further information required about the Academy or advice on player’s preparation, diet, etc.

    Yours in Sport

    Tim Wareing
    Academy Director & Head Coach

    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


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


    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.


    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.


    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.


    • 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


    Passing & possession game to play to target player.


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


    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.


    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.


    • 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!

    « Previous Entries