Team Reaction Game

By Alex Trukan

Reaction time and speed over short distances are often deciding elements between losing and winning in soccer. This practice is focused on developing these physical components integrating dribbling and running with the ball skills what links both conditioning and technical side of the game. The following exercise requires players to be in constant alertness and awareness in order to be able to react to a trigger before other teammates. That increases competitiveness and motivation.

Set-Up and Directions

Organise a middle square of approximately 15×15 yards. Set up four poles, one 5 yards from each of the four corners of the square. Designate players inside the middle square. Every player needs a ball. Take up appropriate coaching position to see the whole picture.

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The players start dribbling inside the square. The games starts on a coach’s signal, who calls the name of one of the players in the group. The chosen player, then, needs to sprint with the ball as fast as possible to one of the poles (the player chooses which).

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At the same time, all other players have to follow the leading player to one of the poles. The challenge for the players is to get there before the leading player.

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First player to touch the pole is the winner. If it’s the leading player, he gets one point. If any other player got there first, two points are awarded.

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Then, the game restarts from the middle. As a progression, one defender can be added inside the square with the aim to win possession/guide the players out of the square.

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Timing

There should be 8-10 burst performed in 2-4 series. The rest between each burst (players dribbling inside the square – low intensity) should last 30 seconds, and between series it should be 4 minutes.

Variations

  • Increase/decrease the distance to poles
  • One defender inside the square
  • Ball manipulation in the ‘rest’ periods inside the square

By Alex Trukan, Development Coach, Nottingham Forest

Three Goal 1 v 1 Game

By Alex Trukan

The following practice is focused on developing endurance through extensive interval training method. That is especially relevant for improving recovery time between high intensity actions. For example, after quick bursts of acceleration or recovery runs. That is achieved in a modification of 1v1 practice, which involves three separate players defending their own gate and at the same time attacking oppositions’ goals. The practice is highly engaging and competitive and can be adapted to suit different numbers of players.

Set-Up and Directions

Organise three gates, each 4-5 yards wide, in a triangle shape as shown on the diagram below. Designate one player with one ball each to every single gate. The area size can be increased to develop running with the ball rather than dribbling. The number of gates can be adapted to the players available (i.e. 4 Gates).

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The game starts on the coach’s signal. The players are then free to dribble and try to go through one of the opposition’s goals to score a point.

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At the same time, the players have to prevent any other attacker going through their own gate. If a player goes through the gate, the player that protected that gate, loses a point.

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A great deal of this practice is a decision-making around risking to lose a point and trying to score a point (risk/reward). That also shows psychological attitude of players, indicating which players likes to take risks.

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Timing

The game should be played 1-3 minutes and be repeated 6-10 in 2 series. There should be 1 minute break between repetitions and 4 minutes between series.

Variations

  • 4 games of 1v1
  • Neutral defender in the middle, trying to get in possession
  • Increase/decrease the distance between gates and gates’ size

By Alex Trukan, Development Coach, Nottingham Forest

‘Hit the Ball’ 1v1 Game to improve Explosiveness

By Alex Trukan

The ‘Hit the Ball’ 1v1 Game is aimed at improving explosiveness and speed with the ball in a 1v1 competitive scenario. That will help the players to dominate duels against the defenders, improving the quality of ball control on the speed and under pressure. The organisation of the exercise, however, is not only focused on the dribbling content but also contains a passing element what makes it more competitive and match realistic.

Set-Up and Directions

Organise a 15×25 yards area with four cones, 5 yards apart, on each side. Place a ball on each of the end line cones. In 5 yards into the middle of the area, place another 4 cones in the same line as the end line cones. Divide the players into pairs. One player starts with the ball on one side of the middle area, while his partner positions himself on the opposite side of the central area.

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The game starts with a player in possession of the ball passing it into his partner. The quality of pass should allow the receiver to control the ball forwards.

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Each of the pair plays a 1v1 duel. The attacking player (whoever is in possession) tries to dribble past the first line of the cones.

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After the player gets past the first line, his aim is to strike the ball into one of the balls positioned on the cones. The team that strikes all of the opposition’s balls, wins the game.

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Timing

Each 1v1 round should be continued up to 10 seconds and be repeated 4-6 times in 1-2 series. The rest between repetitions should be a max. of 1 minute (time to reset) and between series – 4 minutes.

Variations

  • More/less balls on the end line
  • Increase/decrease the area size
  • Different starting positions

By Alex Trukan, Development Coach, Nottingham Forest

Sprinting and Sliding Game

By Alex Trukan

Sprinting and sliding game is designed to improve acceleration and speed over short distances. That will help players to win more running and 1v1 duels as well as forward runs with and without the ball. In the presented exercise, that is connected with sliding and intercepting skills to make the physical side more context specific and engaging.

Set-Up and Directions

Organise two gates 3 yards wide and one cone in between as shown on the diagram below. Set the players in a line behind the cone with one ball each. The coach should be positioned opposite the

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Passing Sequence with Repeated Sprints

By Alex Trukan

The presented exercise is aimed at developing repetitive sprints ability with a passing content. From the conditioning perspective, the practice is focused on improving players’ ability to keep the amount of sprints high throughout the game, without a decrease in the quality. Therefore, it is especially relevant for improving players in 1v1’s and running duels. That is integrated in the passing practice ensuring players are motivated and improving in the technical corner.

Set Up and Directions

Organise a square of approximately 20×20 yards. Place two poles, 10 yards from each side of the square as shown on the diagram below. Divide players into groups of five and give each player a number from one to five. Every group of

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‘Find a Friend’ Game to Develop Aerobic Power

By Alex Trukan

Passing and support exercise ‘Find a friend’ is an excellent method to develop aerobic power and capacity in a fun and engaging scenario. The main focus of the practice is to help players in developing an ability to sustain large volumes of physical effort due to faster recovery capacity. From the technical perspective, the presented game has various returns including: passing, receiving, support, creating space and movement. It is also highly adaptable to all abilities levels, numbers and age groups.

Set-Up and Directions
Organise a 25×25 yards box with four small boxes of 4×4 yards, one in each of the corners. Set one neutral player in each of the boxes, and divide the rest of the group into pairs. Two pairs are attackers and have one ball per two players. Minimum one pair is defending. Area size and

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