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Team In Team Out Continuous Play

By Philip Cauchi

Title:  Team in – Team out: Continuous play.

Area of practice: 30 yards by 25 yards.

Number of players: Two goalkeepers and twelve outfield players.  The outfield players are divided into three groups.

Workload:  Continuous play for eight minutes with a rest period of three minutes in between series.  Play three of four series depending on the level of the soccer fitness of your players. 

Description of the practice:

Two groups start playing against each other as in a normal game.   Each group/team attacks one goalpost and defends the opposite.  A goalkeeper is assigned to each team.  The third team act as neutrals and are positioned on the side lines as shown in the diagram below.  When one of the two teams score, they retain the ball and immediately counter on the opposite goalpost.  In the meantime the team who were neutral must immediately switch roles with the team that conceded the goal.

The two teams start the practice as a normal game where they attack one goalpost and defend the opposite.  The neutral players on the side lines help the team in possession to secure the ball but are not allowed to score.  This forces the players of the team in possession to create and exploit space in order to be able to finish on goal.

One of the team scores and retains possession of the ball.  Immediately the team who suffered the goal switch places with the team who is actively recovering by acting as neutrals on the side lines.

The team that scored attacks in the opposite direction.  All the players must quickly react to the change of the situation by adapting their position on the field of play accordingly.

By Philip Cauchi

Transition 1v1s

By Philip Cauchi

Title:  Transition 1v1s.

Area of practice: 15 yards by 12 yards.

Number of players: Six to eight players maximum.

Workload:  Work continuously for five minutes with the players rotating all the time.  Therefore the players rest between repetitions as part of these five minutes.  Perform twice (2 x 5 minutes with a recovery period of two minutes).

Description of the practice:

The first player in line sprints to touch the pole positioned at the side of the practice area.  Immediately the coach passes the ball to the next player in line to start the 1v1.  The player to whom the coach passed the ball attempts to score in the south goal while the opposite player attempts to score in the north goal.  Players may only score from inside their respective scoring zone.  After the attack is over, the player who attacked the south goal sprints to touch the pole while the coach passes a ball to the attacker next in line.  This player attacks the south goal while the player who previously attacked the south goal now defends it and attacks the north goal.

Key points:

The attacker should attempt to attack the goal at speed while using fakes to fend off the defender. 

The defender should get between the goal and the player with the ball and force him/her wide into a narrow angle.

On the positive transition the player who recovered the ball should immediately explode into the space in front of her to attack the defender’s goal and not to give her the opportunity to recover.

The players are organized in a line as shown in the image above.

The first player in line sprints to touch the pole positioned just outside the area.

Immediately the coach passes a ball to an attacker who aims to get past the defender and score in the mini goal post.  

When the action is over the player who previously attacked the south goal, sprints to touch the pole to then defend the same goal against a new opponent.  The defender aims to recover the ball and counter attacks on the north goal.

By Philip Cauchi

Crazy 1v1s

By Philip Cauchi

Title:  1v1s all over the place.

Area of practice: 20 yards by 20 yards.

Number of players: Eight players grouped into four pairs.

Workload:  2 sets of 6 repetitions x 30 seconds each repetition with a 90 seconds rest between repetitions and three minutes rest between sets.

Description of the practice:

The practice starts by having each pair passing the ball back and forth between them.  The coach then calls each pair individually (pairs are identified with letters such as group A, group B, etc.) and the mini goal post they have to attack and defend.  The player on the ball will immediately try to score in the assigned goal why the defender aims to recover the ball and score in the same goal.

Key points:

  • The players should be aware of their position in relation to their assigned goal immediately after it is indicated by the coach. 
  • The player on the ball should immediately take the initiative to attack the goal before the defender can recover. 
  • The attacker should use fakes to shake off the defender as well as quick changes of speed and direction with the ball. 
  • The defender should get between the goal and the player with the ball and force him wide into a narrow angle.

The practice starts by having the players grouped into pairs and passing the ball back and forth to each other.

The coach calls out a group and the goal post they have to attack or defend.

Each pair is finally assigned a goal to attack or defend.  Each repetition continues approximately for thirty seconds.  After each repetition, the coach calls out a new goal for each group to attack or defend.

By Philip Cauchi

Soccer-specific high intensity endurance

By Philip Cauchi

Title: Soccer-specific high intensity endurance

Aim:  To develop the players’ ability to perform many quality soccer actions per minute.   

Introduction:  The following practice develops the players’ ability to perform many soccer actions per minute but also for them to quickly adapt and adjust their position according to the needs of the team in a specific situation.  The communication channels between the players, both verbal and visual will be overloaded.  The below training load is just an example.  The training load should be adjusted according to the physical conditioning level of the players.  It should also be taken into consideration the load of the session as a whole, this exercise and the rest of the training session.  This exercise should not be carried out in less than seventy two hours following a match, as the body needs to be adequately recovered from the metabolic stress, and in not less than seventy two hours prior to the next match as we require that our players will be totally fresh.

Training load:  

Area of practice: A square with the sides measuring 25 to 30 yards.

Sets: 1.

Repetitions for each set: 5 to 8.

Duration for each repetition: 4 to 6 minutes.

Rest between repetitions: 2 to 3 minutes.

Rest between sets: 3 to 5 minutes.

N.B.  During the practice the team positioned on the perimeter will be actively recovering.  

Description:  We will go through this exercise a step at a time with the guidance of the respectives diagrams.  

Below is the setup of the pitch.  Each side is marked in a different color using markers.  A number of balls are positioned beyond each side to allow for a better flow of the session.  Two mini goal posts are positioned on each side.

Two teams play against each other with the third team positioned around the marked area as shown in the below diagram.  The players of the third team positioned on the perimeter have a ball ready at their feet.  

The game is on with one team aiming to score in one direction and the other team aiming to score in the opposite mini goalposts. The red players are the third team and they play with the team in possession.  However the red players are not allowed to score.  

We can have the red players not participating in play so to overload further the players and play 4v4.  In this case we should play with a shorter duration for each repetition.

A goal is scored!  The team that scored the goal remains on the pitch but has to quickly defend against the red team.  We can modify the game and have the coach calling the team who remains on the pitch even when a goal is not scored.

The coach calls out “Attack from the red line!” which means that the red team starts their attack from the red line, who should then protect the goals positioned on this line and attack the goals positioned on the opposite line (the yellow).  The black team defends the two goals the red team are attacking on and scores in the two goals that the red team are defending.  This means that in the previous game against the yellows the black team were defending the two goals positioned on the orange line and attacking the two goalposts positioned on the blue line.  Now the orientation has changed for them.  They defend the goals positioned on the yellow line and attack the two goals positioned on the red line. The yellow team (the team that conceded the goal) take the roles that the red team were previously occupying. 

By Philip Cauchi

Relay Games For Soccer Endurance

By Philip Cauchi

Title: Relay Games For Soccer Endurance

Aim: To develop soccer-specific endurance

Introduction: The following are three relay games that target the development of soccer-specific endurance. Although personally I am more in favour of global and small-sided games to develop endurance, these might prove handy in introducing variety to the training routine, to maintain the interest and motivation levels of the players.

Relay game 1: Dribbling course plus finish on mini goal post.

Organization: The team should be divided into two equal teams (team A and team B). Each team has four poles positioned one yard in front of each other. A gate should be positioned one yard behind the last pole and three yards from the mini goal post.

Description: The front player of each team dribbles around the poles prior to dribbling through the gates and finishes on the mini goal post. Immediately another player from the same group starts his/her turn. It is forbidden to have two players from the same team taking part simultaneously. Sequence is continued after the time period is over or the maximum amount of goals are scored. The winner is the team that has scored the most number of goals.

Technical development:
Dribble the ball using both feet.
Kick with accuracy.

Relay game 2: Passing combination prior to finish on goal.

Organization: The team should be divided into two equal teams (team A and team B). Each team has a mannequin positioned ten yards in front of the player with the ball (A1 and B1). The second player should be positioned with his/her back to the mannequin (A2 and B2).

Description: The player with the ball passes to the second player who returns the ball in space and then spins around the mannequin to receive the return pass prior to finishing on the mini goal. A1 and B1 take the place of the player with his/her back to the mannequin (A2 and B2) while the latter collects the ball and goes back in line. Sequence is continued after the time period is over or the maximum amount of goals are scored. The winner is the team that has scored the most number of goals.

Technical development:
Passing with accuracy.
Spinning to attack the return pass played in the space.

Relay game 3: Diagonal passes to finish with accuracy.

Organization: We have two groups of players where each group is further divided into two sub-groups (Group B – B1 and B2 and group A – A1 and A2). The subgroups are positioned twelve yards diagonally apart from each other. A mini goal post is positioned five yards in front of the last group (A2 and B2).

Description: Player 1 of each group (A1 and B1) passes diagonally to his/her teammate player 2 (A2 and B2). Player 1 follows his/her pass to receive the ball again to finish with accuracy on the mini goalpost. After each repetition player 1 takes the place of player 2, player 2 picks up the ball and joins the team’s line. Sequence is continued after the time period is over or the maximum amount of goals are scored. The winner is the team that has scored the most number of goals.

Technical development:
Passing with accuracy.
Quality of the lay-off pass.

By Philip Cauchi

1v1 Conditioning Drill

By Philip Cauchi

Title: Combined strength in the 1v1.

Aim: To develop soccer-specific strength in the duel.

Organization: Mark an area measuring 12 yards by 8 yards with a mini goal post at both ends. A scoring zone is to be marked 2 yards from both ends. On one side of the area are 2 sets of three hurdles set in a line. The height of the hurdles vary but should not be too high in that it might cause injuries. The 2 sets of hurdles face each other approximately 5 yards apart.

The exercise starts on the coach’s signal. A player from each group makes three consecutive two-footed jumps over the hurdles. This is not a race and it should be stressed out to the players as more important than the power generated through each jump we seek correct movement.

When the final jump is completed the players open up to receive the ball from their teammate next in line. The players should receive the ball facing forward and controlling it using their backfoot.

After controlling the ball the players should dribble towards and around their assigned pole before kicking the ball into the respective mini goalpost.

After kicking the ball into the mini goal post, the coach passes to any of the two players who play a 1v1 duel. The players can only score from inside their assigned scoring zone. The game is on until the ball goes out of play or a goal is scored.

Training load:
Sets: 2.
Repetitions: 4 to 6.
Duration for each repetition: 20 seconds to 25 seconds.
Rest between repetitions: 60 seconds.
Rest between sets: 4 minutes.

By Philip Cauchi

Five Part Speed and Agility Course

By Philip Cauchi

Title: Technical and rapidity parcourse.
Theme: Speed, agility and quickness.

Development of the soccer domains:
Technical-tactical: Dribbling, controlling the ball and kicking.
Mental: Maintain focus.
Socio-psychological: n/a.
Physical: Perform rapid movements with and without the ball.

Organisation: We have five setups (or parts) as shown in the below diagram. In part one there are four poles positioned one yard apart and in a line. In part two there are two poles positioned one yard apart and a passing wall board set eight yards from these two poles. In part three we have a number of cones scattered and two gates made of markers. One is the entry gate while the other is the exit gate. In part four we have an agility ladder, while in part five we have two mannequins positioned at an angle from each other and five yards from the mini goal.

Description: The exercise is divided into five parts as described hereunder. These are stations which the player must complete in sequential order.

Part 1: Self-pass the ball, slalom around the poles to receive and control the ball.

Part 2: The player dribbles through the gate and passes against the wall board to receive and control the ball.

Part 3: The player enters the station from between the entry gate (marked with blue markers) and dribbles around the cones to exit from the opposite gate (also marked with blue markers).

Part 4: Before performing quick footwork using the agility ladder, the player self-passes the ball and controls at the end.

Part 5: The player performs a feint at each mannequin prior to finish with a well-aimed pass on the mini goal.

Training load: Each player should perform the circuit between six to eight times with a one minute rest in between. The par-course should take between twenty and twenty five seconds to complete.

Periodization: This practice is ideal as a recovery session. The level of complexity, the intensity and also the duration is low.

Variations: Players can perform different types of footwork on the agility ladder. They can also pass using the left of right foot, dribble using different parts of the same foot and perform different agility movements.

1

The initial set up of the par-course. Variations of the set up may be applied to introduce different movements.

By Philip Cauchi

1v1 to Goal Conditioning

By Philip Cauchi

Title: 1v1 duel to finish on goal.

Theme: Strength endurance in the duel.

Development of the soccer domains:
Technical-tactical: Receiving with a good first touch, dribbling and controlling the ball under opposition pressure and finishing on goal with accuracy and power.
Mental: Maintain a positive mentality to dribble past the defender and conclude on goal.
Socio-psychological: Communicate with teammate (mostly non-verbal) where the ball should be passed and received.
Physical: Resist opposition pressure to conclude at goal while maintaining balance and quality of movements with the ball.

Organisation: The area of practice is the whole penalty area. The players are divided into three groups of which two are forwards (blacks) and the other defenders. All the players are positioned approximately ten yards in front of the penalty area as shown in the first diagram. A goalkeeper is in goal and forwards A1 and A2 both start with a ball. Forward A2 has a number of balls at his disposal as needed for the practice.

Description: The exercise is divided into three parts as described hereunder.
Part 1: Forward A1 dribbles forward while under pressure from the defender. Forward A1 can only score once inside the penalty area and by dribbling between the markers (diagram 2).

Part 2: When the first part is over, forward A1 receives a pass from A2 with his back to the goal while the defender applies pressure on him. Forward A1 must find a way to turn and conclude at goal (diagram 3).

Part 3: Upon completing the second part, forward A1 receives the ball from A2 and play a 1v1 against the goalkeeper (diagram 4).

Once these actions are all over, the forwards switch roles.

Training load: Each forward should go through the above process for two sets of four to eight repetitions each. The rest between repetitions should be two minutes as the total duration of each repetition is approximately thirty to forty seconds. The rest between sets should be of four minutes so to ensure a high quality output of soccer actions.

Periodization: This session should take place at least seventy two hours following the previous match (MD+3) and not less than seventy two hours prior to the last match. This applies only for those players who played a substantial amount of minutes in the previous match. Those who did not take part in the match or played just for a few minutes (duration depends on the intensity of the match), can perform this practice even the day after.

Targeted energy system: Accumulation of lactic acid may occur during the practice. This and the body’s ability to quickly remove a high amount of lactic acid during the rest periods depends on the level of soccer fitness of the players.


Diagram 1: The initial set up of the practice.


Diagram 2: Forward A1 dribbles forward to shoot at goal while under pressure.


Diagram 3: Forward A1 receives the ball from A2 with his back to the goal.


Diagram 4: Forward A1 receives the ball from A2 to play 1v1 against the goalkeeper.

By Philip Cauchi

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