The other week I was watching another coach set up what I can safely say was a drill: 10 cones evenly spaced in front of two lines of players, no decision-making and off they went. The players ran out with the ball, put it down, ran to another cone, ran back and picked it up. They passed it to a team mate who repeated the exercise. MORE
Prevent boredom when doing core skills
Kids are not the only ones with short attention spans – all players get bored if they are repeating the same thing. There are different training strategies you can use to ensure your players stay focused by keeping your sessions active, enjoyable and purposeful.
1. Balance games and training
There are different ways to practise the same skills. Get a balance between competitive and non-competitive exercises and games. To get the best out of your players this balance should be more towards competitive exercises.
2 Training strategies
“Zigzag” training: Alternate between two different exercises, performing each for a short period of time before moving on. “Rotation” training: Move around a circuit of three or four different exercises spending a short time at each one before moving on. “Station” training: Split your squad into small groups who move around a series of stations where they perform a different exercise. You will need a coach at each station.
Speed between exercises maintains momentum. There are four ways to make sure this happens: Set up early, have all the equipment ready in the areas, have clearly defined spaces to work in and finally, keep all the areas close together.
Aim: Improve the accuracy of passing under pressure.
Warm up: Groups of three move around a 10m square passing a ball between them. Use the same exercise in a 5m square, then alternate between the two squares – 30 seconds in each.
- Players in pairs stand by side facing forward on a 10m line and pass to each other. How many passes can they complete in 20 seconds without dropping the ball?
- Players in pairs run up the 10m channel passing to and fro. They have five seconds to get to the end and have to see how many passes they can complete. Or set up two channels and pairs race against each other, they get a point for each pass and five points for finishing first.
Zigzag between these two activities, stop after each one and see if pairs have beaten their previous score.
Development activities: Rotate these three activities, spending three minutes at each then moving on.
- Five-pass game: Use the warm-up squares and alternate between the large and small square depending on the amount of pressure you want the players under. Playing 4v4, players have to complete five passes without the ball being knocked down by the defenders.
- World beaters: Three defenders stand at 5m intervals within a 20m x 5m channel. Players work in threes to beat each defender – who cannot chase back once beaten – and score by going past the final defender. Touch tackling (see top picture).
- Passing race: In a 10m square, teams of four compete head to head to pass the ball down the line reach the centre line first. The winner stays on each time and teams are rotated quickly (see bottom picture).