need some training / drill ideas

Discussion in 'Coach' started by Rob55, May 6, 2012.

  1. Rob55

    Rob55 Member

    Nov 20, 2011
    My U14 girls rec team is improving as the season progresses. Dribbling, passing, finishing etc are all improvement areas. One thing my girls still seem to struggle with is knowing how to spread to get out of the way of the teammate with the ball. Lots of bunching and standing and watching and blocking our own players from doing something productive. On defense (in the box) many times one of my defenders will get the ball on her foot, and try to clear it, only to have 2+ girls still jogging towards her or standing only a few feet from her and not getting out of the way to receive a pass or open up a dribbling lane. This also frequently happens in midfield and even on offense my top scoring threats will sometimes get in each others way and roadblock our own attack plays instead of moving into good position to receive a pass or get out of their dribbling lanes. So what drills can I work on where players are bunched and learn to spread in support once one person has the ball? Alot has to do with communication as well which there seems to be little happening on the field. Any practice tips to get them the instincts to spread and communicate better. Only 2 weeks left in season so if there is anything I can do in 4 practices that would be great.
  2. rca2

    rca2 Member+

    Nov 25, 2005
    This involves at least two different problems, probably more, but all are dealing with off the ball play while in possession. First area of concern is the transistion from defense to offense. Second area of concern is technique for off the ball runs. Showing for a pass is one aspect, but creating space is another aspect of off the ball movement which appears to be what you need to address. Standing still a few feet away from a teammate who has just won the ball is not necessarily a mistake. Think of it as giving right of way to the first attacker. The first attacker can use the teammate to shield the ball, do a takeover, or either dribble or pass to either side of the team mate. If the team mate is are only a few feet away, running off is not going to drag the nearest defenders away from the ball.

    What I would suggest is three areas to work on.

    One is passing technique. Incorporate into passing technique after striking the ball immediate movement to a better supporting position. This reinforces the pass-and-move rhythm you want to see in the attack.

    Two is off the ball movement technique focused on creating space.

    Three is transistion from defense to offense. Focus here on immediately creating width and depth.

    Last I would use shadow play to incorporate what was learned in the three areas into a 11 a side matchlike situations.

    I would introduce the three areas in the numbered order. If you were going to use the three areas as the theme for three practices, I would use shadow play to put it into game context at each practice before having them play against pressure.

    As for drills, there are a number of coaching methods you could use. You don't have to go with specially designed drills. One is simply to focus your instruction on those areas while the team is doing routine warmups and SSGs. Another is shadow play. If I was going to use drills, I would probably incorporate something into the warmup phase.

    For instance for item one, divide everyone into pairs with one ball for each pair. Put everyone into a defined area and require the pairs to pass back and forth (dribble a few touches then pass and move, receive and repeat). The other pairs provide a complication requiring the players to look up, make choices and communicate during the exercise.
  3. Monkey Boy

    Monkey Boy Member

    Jul 21, 2006
    Madison, WI
    FC Bayern München
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    RCA put forth a lot of good points.
    Guidance I use with coaching younger kids, who always have this problem:
    - never say spread out. This has no meaning and doesn't provide useful direction. Players can be spread out from each other and be in terrible positions for passing or cover.
    - give simple instructions to off-ball players, such as 'if you don't have the ball, then your job is to get into space where you can receive a pass. Give your teammate a reason to pass to you - be in a better position, or provide a safe back pass option (depending on who you're talking to position wise).

    If you've really done your job when it comes to getting the players comfortable with the ball, then they likely want it. That's of course the main first step when it comes to creating a passing/possession team. Now your focus needs to turn toward those without the ball.
  4. GKbenji

    GKbenji Member+

    Jan 24, 2003
    Fort Collins CO
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Exactly--find the space where the ball can get to you. Players tend to watch the ball and get attracted to it; they need to learn to look around for the space instead. Here's an activity I use to work on that. You'll need a lot of cones!

    Mark out a grid of 5x5 yard boxes, overall 25x25 yards or 30x30 yards (you want about 2 boxes per player). So you'll need 36 cones or 49 cones depending on which size you use.

    1. Players in pairs with a ball. Pass to partner, then move to an open, unoccupied box (this stays in effect for the following steps). Must be in a different box than your partner. Coaching Points: move quickly after the pass. Don't move into a box that is already occupied.

    2. Challenge pairs to complete as many passes as they can in one minute, following above rules. CP: open boxes may be farther away or behind the passer. Try to be in a position where there is an open path between you and the ball.

    3. Take one or two pairs of players and make them defenders who try to kick balls out of the grid. The other pairs continue to pass & move. Rotate defenders occasionally. CP: When finding space, be aware of the position of the defenders as well as the ball. Find an angle so the pass can't be intercepted by a defender.

    4. Divide into two teams, use one ball. Play keepaway in the grid, 3 consecutive passes is a point. If two players from the same team end up in the same box with the ball, possession goes to the other team. CP: Look for the space, don't watch the ball. Pay attention to where your teammates are and don't move into their box, even if away from the ball. Move quickly to new open space after a pass is made.

    5. Remove the inner cones, leaving the outer boundary of the grid. Play keepaway as above. CP: even though the boxes are gone, continue to look for and use the open space. You still shouldn't end up in the same "box" as a teammate.
  5. BUSA Bulldog

    BUSA Bulldog Member

    Jan 19, 2007
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Thanks - love the progression
  6. equus

    equus Member

    Jan 6, 2007
    Swedish Handball
    Divide into two teams. It's basically basketball without dribbling. Player in possession cannot move and cannot be guarded. Teammates must move to get open and receive a pass while being defended. once they receive a pass their defender has to back off. Have two end zones they have to pass and receive into to score. The ones with the ball will automatically look for the open man, and the ones without will move into space to get the ball.

    The 1-0 Game
    A Liverpool staple. Play a regular small-sided game. When one team scores, then the scoring team cannot score again and must play keepaway until the other team scores, then they play as normal until the next score and then that team plays keepaway...rinse, repeat.

    Everybody Must Score
    Play a regular small-sided game. Once someone scores a goal, they're not allowed to score again until everyone on their team scores. Depending on the scoring knack of your kids this might be more difficult to do, but the ones that do score will dribble and pass and the ones that know he/she can't score again will move to space to receive a pass or move into a scoring position knowing the scorer can't shoot the ball.

    These will (most of the time) naturally get your kids to create space just by the nature and rules of the games. I've had U8s and U10s who crowded a lot play these the first time and it looked like a totally different team. The catch is if you don't reinforce the concepts they learn in these games, once they get into a regular scrimmage or game situation, they'll likely go back to the same habits.

    You didn't say it in the initial email, but are the other teams doing something similar when you play them? It's very easy for kids to get sucked into the playing style of the team they play instead of playing the way their taught, especially in rec.
  7. Rob55

    Rob55 Member

    Nov 20, 2011
    Thanks everyone. I'm seeing lots of good and intersesting ideas on here that I'll incorporate into practice time. I think really there are 2 key issues my girls have:
    1) no communication - when one player reaches a loose ball (or even better...before they get the touch on it) the player needs to call off and direct the other players where to go instead of them still moving to the ball, standing in the way etc. I hear my older son's high school and U19 teams doing tons of communciation all the time in their games. I think its just part of maturity, development and experience. I think younger players don't communicate much because they actually don't know with much certainty where their teammates should go (so they don't say anything). Certainly not due to shyness...they chatter constantly when they shouldn't be! :)

    2) lack of game instincts with this particular unskilled bunch- I see the more advanced U14 girls team and U12 travel team (many girls I've coached before) just naturally understand when to transition, where to go, pouncing to the ball instead of standing and watching etc. I think because this season I've inherited many of the lesser skilled players, the learning curve is much slower (or non-existant at all).

    Most noticable example (could be fatigue related though) is when my goalie punts, I've counted 5-7 players walkingslowly out of the goal box still behind our punting goalie and not up field getting open to recieve a pass or win a 50/50 punt ball. So that leaves hardly any players to win the ball and most certainly the other team will be right back in the box taking a shot on goal. It just seems like a typical U8 thing to do yet many of my U14 girls still don't understand basic common sense soccer things like that. Just instincts aren't there. Same with transition game but its improving offensively but not defensively (backward transition).

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