In several posts, I have advocated
an emphasis on developing confidence with the ball at the feet,
regardless of the position a player plays. In today's game with the
interchangeability of positions, any player may find themselves in an
attacking position. Moreover, the ability to
whether for possession or penetration, will serve a player well in any
segment of the field. A defender who is confident with the football at their
feet will get you out of more trouble than they will ever get you into.
The first attribute to developing
confident dribblers comes from you as the coach. You must support your
players decisions to dribble, whether resulting in success or failure.
That doesn't mean that you don't try to help them see options or discuss
the wisdom of various decisions with them. But you must realize that each
decision to dribble places the player at enormous risk of personal
failure. You have to recognize and appreciate the player's willingness to
take that risk. If you can do that, realizing that failures will outnumber
successes then you have taken the first step toward developing that
confidence: you have created an environment where the courageous and
creative dribbler can flourish.
MODEL TRAINING SESSION:
(U14 and below)
Warm-up (10 minutes) Every player gets a cone and you make a circle (or
use the penalty area). Dribbling in the area, each player with a ball, no
defenders. The other players and the boundaries provide the match related
pressure of space. Working at a reasonable pace have the players execute
Coerver type moves, have them dribble with all surfaces of the foot.
Encourage creativity, body feints, evaluate and correct dribbling posture.
Each player will get plenty of warm-up touches if they work at a good
STRETCH (5 Minutes)
all major muscle groups.
TACTICAL - Without Direction
(25 - 35 minutes) Back
in the circle or penalty area, each player with a ball
1) Introduce the player to the two
biggest assets in beating defenders - change of speed and change of
direction. These two simple steps are many times more successful than all
the feints, fakes and footwork. They are the building blocks for confident
attackers. Have the players change speed and change direction on your
call. Emphasize that dribbling speed in games is NOT maximum speed. If you
are at maximum speed as you dribble, you can't change speed to go by
defenders. On the change of direction, watch that players are pushing, not
cutting the ball. Cuts are emergency type manoeuvres in that they call for
the ball to be changed rapidly and often out of immediate controlling
distance or into space not protected by the body. Cuts have their place,
but should not be a primary (or even secondary) weapon in the arsenal of
tricks to beat defenders.
2) Now introduce the role of vision
and how it ties to space. Encourage heads up dribbling and introduce the
idea that with the ball at your feet you are looking for space. The
sequence is as follows:
EYES see the space FEET push the ball to space (change of direction)
ACCELERATE into the space (change of speed)
Have players now dribbling look for space created by
the movement of other players and perform the sequence. You should see and
notice both the change of speed and the change of direction.
3) Continuing the EYES, FEET,
ACCELERATE sequence, designate a "key player." This player continues to
perform the sequence, but randomly stops his ball. All players must stop
their ball as soon as he does. Now the players are not only looking for
space but must scan the field for the movement of their teammates.
4) Hospital Tag
- I like to finish
the circle work with a game that players seem to like a lot. Everyone with
a ball dribbles in the area. 2 taggers (also with a ball) try to tag as
many players as they can in 45 seconds. If a tagger chases you out of the
area or you lose control of your ball (not kicked away by attackers: this
is NOT KNOCKOUT) you are considered tagged. If tagged, you keep going and
try to avoid tags for the rest of the time (no player ever stops and is
"frozen") If tagger looses control of ball making tag, they are not to
count the tag. Go through the whole team as taggers. You can make coaching
points out of the fact that if you are constantly going to open space, you
will avoid the taggers. You can also make the point that if you are in a
crowd of your own teammates i.e. trying to avoid the tag) you are still at
risk because there is no room to manoeuvre. I also use this game as an
evaluative tool at tryouts. It tells you a lot about the mindset of
players. If they are risk takers, they will often dribble AT the taggers,
trying to dart away at the last moment, daring them to tag them (what
position do you see that player in?). More conservative players will keep
moving to distances and space opposite the taggers (what part of the field
do we want this mindset in?).
BREAK (5 minutes) I use this
time to describe what we are about to do, give them water etc.
TACTICAL - Unidirectional 30
minutes 1v1 in a 20x10
area. Pairs, one ball
per group. Set up 20x10 areas for each pair. Each partner on a opposite
end line 1) D on end
line plays ball up to A 2) A receives and tries to beat D across end line
Coaching Points: A
moves to ball, don't wait on it, receive it on the move D follows ball and
assumes good defending position A should attack the front foot of D, force
D to turn. If D turns, go by him as he shifts. If D is not set (i.e. still
coming forward as you meet) push the ball into space behind D and
accelerate Encourage use of feints and fakes to unbalance D If you beat D,
accelerate through the end line. How many times have we seen attackers run
down form behind after beating a D? We want them to continue acceleration
for a good 5-7 yards to put the D out of the play. Then they come to
normal speed to seek out the next chance. A pushes the play - don't give
other Ds time to get back. Try to put this D out of play as quickly as
possible (to reinforce this point ("Delay helps the defence") I condition
this game to provide that A CANNOT turn his back to the Defender, but must
face him up. REMEMBER this is a practice for the attacker. We want to
vanquish our defenders quickly and decisively.
Switch roles every 10 balls. Switch
partners frequently so all players are matched against one another. Praise
creative attempts, even if they are unsuccessful.
This game is played in the penalty
area. 2 defenders 6-12 yards off goal line, all other players in the goal
mouth with a ball. When the coach calls "Escape" players try to get out of
the penalty area (over the 18 or either side line) They must dribble over
the line with control. Defenders try to dispossess and shoot the ball back
into the net. If the defenders score the shot, attacker joins defenders.
If defenders don't score, or player kicks the ball over the line (as
opposed to dribbling) the attacker must reenter the field through the goal
mouth and try to escape again. Round continues until all players have
escaped or been turned into defenders. Then remaining attackers go back to
goal mouth and coach calls escape again. Game continues until only one
vision - find space, sides as well as straight ahead. great chances to
escape with good change of direction you are not out if you lose ball,
chase and prevent shot
TACTICAL - WITH TRANSITION
(15 minutes) Side
against Side, to two 4 yd goals, no keepers (or full goals with keepers)
Regular game with 2 modifications:
no forward passes (only square or drop) dribbling
gates in the field - if a player dribbles through the gate in either
direction, they score a point for their team.
You can set up a scoring system as
you wish (i.e. goals 1 pt., gates 3 pt. other systems have given points
for beating a defender, doubled points for beating the second defender,
"quality points" for a great move, "brilliance points" for recognizing and
attempting a good 1v1 even if unsuccessful, etc.
END MODEL TRAINING SESSION
This session is good for U11-U14,
and I use it even for U19 and college teams as a reminder/introduction
early in the year, with a few modifications.
© 1996 Scott Placek
Used by permission of the
Eagles Soccer Academy.