Day 1 at the Coaching Clinic

Posted: February 11, 2011 in Coaching Philosophy, Tactical, Technical
Tags: , , ,

I am a huge fan of the Dutch system of development and training for youth soccer.  The Total Football of the 70’s and 80’s is something I’ve always aspired to as a coach and a player. 

So when I found out that an assistant coach from the Ajax system was coming to my area for a clinic I was on board right away.  So I thought I would blog about the clinic and some of the key points I’m picking up from the weekend.

Day 1

– Three sessions today covering transition play and the Dutch system of training related to passing.

The primary thing I took away from the first two sessions conducted by the Ajax coach was how far behind we are as a nation and how simple the Dutch have made the development of soccer.  It was so unfortunate that the club teams chosen to help out the clinician by demonstrating his training session could not catch on or perform to his standard.  He really struggled with them because their skill level was so poor.  These players looked like U16’s, and they were wearing USYSA Region 2 patches on their jerseys!  But the simple principles of maintaining possession in a 4v4 game was astounding.  They did not understand the concepts of playing  a diamond at all, and he was repeating himself several times.

When he started his session on technical passing the small things that U12 teams in Holland could do were lacking in our American players.  Simple things like having your feet ready to receive the ball, preparing the hips to receive a pass in a specific direction.  Playing mandatory two-touch, movement off the ball, and understanding patterns went right over their heads.  It was a just such a major visualization of where we are lacking as a country.

The thing that “rocked” my line of thinking so hard was the simplicity and redundant nature of the sessions he was talking about.  The players in the Ajax system will work on these passing drills two or three times a week.  There’s nothing too them, just focusing on passing with the left or right foot, preparing the body for the ball, etc. 

I want to start doing something more basic with my players until we are passing the ball the way we should be.

Day 2 tomorrow!

  1. jerzy says:

    Hey, looking forward to hearing about days 2 and 3, maybe some of your favorite drills….

    • One of the sessions that was my favorite was a technical session the coach from Ajax ran. It was a very simple session that progressed through passing. I’ll try and explain it as best as I can here.

      The first was a Rectangle Passing activity. Players passed and followed their pass. There were two balls moving around the rectangle at the same time, so players were forced to move quickly to the next cone and get their bodies ready for the next pass. Not a complicated thing, but the he made the players focus on a specific foot and surface of the foot to receive the ball on. It forced the players to get their bodies ready and become fluid in how they did it. It also kept the players moving after they passed.

      The next one was a “Y” passing activity. Players lined up in a “Y” (two at the top wide, and two at the bottom long) and the ball started at the bottom. This drill worked on the players receiving and turning with the ball (at the fork of the “Y”) and connecting a pass in two touches. Again, simple thing, but forced the players to receive the ball with both feet and different surfaces of the feet.

      Finally he had the kids go through a Diamond Passing activity. Basically it was just a simulation of what most coaches are looking for in the big game. He had the players go through patterns of ball movement, and how he wanted them shifting off the ball. Everything was simple repetitions and pattern play that related directly to the big game. The clinician said he would have the boys at Ajax do these activities at least twice a week for approximately 50 minutes each session.

  2. jerzy says:

    not feeling too welcome here…

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