"Windows" drills are a particular
type of exercise that I was taught in several different coaching
clinics. Each instructor had his own method of using them but
the main idea was the same - a large circle of cones with half the
players inside the cones and half outside the circle. The
players on the outside of the circle served the balls to a player on
the inside. Those players on the interior of the circle had to
perform some specific activity and then return the ball to the
server (or to a different player other than the one who just served
the ball to him) on the outside of the circle. If the task was
a header the ball would be headed back to the same person who served
the ball. On the other hand if the task was a trap and turn
the player would look for a different person to return the ball to.
These are very
active exercises and required good fitness. The drills lasted about
two minutes each and then the players on the outside would swap with
the players on the interior of the circle and perform the same
activity. This allowed the players to rest while they are serving
the balls so that they could perform at peak fitness when it was
their turn to be inside the circle.
can easily be adapted to any age group and are suitable to almost
all ball skills. The size of the circle depended upon the number of
players involved, ages, and the type of activity performed as well
as the players' proficiency.
"windows" applies to the open spacing between the cones which served
as the "windows" where the server stands. Most of the exercises
specifically referred to by the instructors as "windows" exercises
were passing and receiving drills.
TYPICAL WINDOWS DRILL:
drills usually start with each of the players on the exterior with a
ball. For example one would be a large circle (25 to 30 yards in
diameter) with players on the outside of the circle with a ball and
an equal number of players on the interior.
would toss a ball to a player inside the circle who would head it
back. The interior player would then move and look for another
outside (of the circle) player to toss them a ball.
continuous movement exercises. Most were similar where the player
inside the circle had to perform some task (trap, pass, move, etc.)
and then look for another outside person to pass to them.
Defensive Headers - clearing headers - up and away
Attacking Headers - down at servers' feet
Pass on ground from server - one touch back to server and then look
for a different server. Do right foot only for one minute and left
foot only for one minute.
Pass on ground from server - receiver makes first touch away from
pressure and then finds another open player (one without a ball" on
the outside of the circle.
Inside of foot volley back to server - often used on throw-ins to
drop ball back to thrower - You can have the server use throw-in
technique to serve the ball. That will require a larger circle.
Volleys on laces back to server - use proper shooting technique
There are many more tasks that can be used.
Keep head up
- the number of bodies inside the circle requires the players keep
their heads up to avoid collision and, in some cases, to be sure
that they are returning the ball to a player who does not already
have a ball.
Change of speed
- after performing the task and returning the ball to an outside
player have the player move half-speed toward the opposite
- sloppy technique means that the balls go in wrong directions and
the servers spend too much time chasing balls. Since every player
is supposed to bring their own ball there should be twice as many
balls as needed. Have servers put the extra ball behind them so
that they can use it rather than chase an errant pass.
Proper weight on
- one problem I often see in these drills is soft "hospital" passes
- passes should be at least five yards - preferably more like ten
yards as you would want in games.
Good serves from
- serves for headers should be underhand at proper height and speed,
players to ball
waiting for ball to come to them.
I remember one other drill a coach called a windows drill.
He had a large circle lined with cones with spaces (windows) spaced
periodically between some of the cones with four players inside and
four outside the circle. There was also a cone in the very centre of
the circle. In his drill it was both the exterior and interior
players who had to move. The exterior players moved one direction
(clockwise) until they came to an opening and there they passed to a
player coming towards them from the cone. The interior player
received the ball and returned the pass. The interior player then
ran back touched the cone and moved in the opposite direction
(counter-clockwise) and received a pass from the next player at the
He had lots of variations in the drills, number of players, both
inside and outside moving the same and opposite direction, traps,
headers, passes etc. The main difference was that both inside and
outside players had to move so there was no chance for rest. It got
sloppy pretty quick with out of shape coaches.
I preferred the drills that allowed one group to rest and just serve
balls while the others worked on tactics. They wee still very
intensive but the rest allowed the exercises to stay at full speed
without falling apart. Two or three minutes performing a single task
(i.e. chest traps and returns) was enough to tire you out quickly. I
loved the rest period when I just got to serve the ball.