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U12s and U13s: Training to play on a bigger pitch
Here are some solutions and training methods to introduce your team to playing on a bigger pitch.
There are no specific drills for teaching players the “sense” of playing on a bigger pitch. Of course they could always pass more effectively and be better conditioned, but the best way is to create game situations in training – and below are a couple of games I’d recommend.
There’s a big problem to address when you play a game between yourselves. To start with, the players won’t exploit the spaces or need to defend the spaces because neither attack or defence will know any better!
My main piece of advice is to be patient and not say anything. Let the game be the teacher. Don’t offer any advice but just ask a few brief questions at the end on what they’ve learnt.
If you can create the right environment, the players will find they’ll win or score more often if they revert to the right tactics for a bigger pitch. And they’ll do it at their own pace.
Some players will “get it” quicker than others. Great. They’ll pass this onto their peers and it will become more powerful still.
GAME 1 – RISING NUMBERS
In this, the game gets progressively more difficult for the attack.
Play a touch game of 11 v 2 in a 30m square box. Every time the attack scores, another player joins the defence, so you move to 11 v 3, 11 v 4 and so on until eventually it’s 11 v 11.
The attack will learn to move the ball wide quickly and the defence will learn to drift.
GAME 2 – TWO IN THE RUCK
Play a game of full contact on a wide pitch, but only two attackers are allowed into the rucks. As many defenders can go into the rucks as they like.
This forces the attack to play away from the close areas. If the attack is now forced to play wider, the defence will have to match it. If more than two attackers go in, it’s a turnover and the extra attackers are sidelined and only allowed back in when their side has the ball back.