Posts Tagged ‘training session’

I had the opportunity to preview this book before it was released.  Stevie Grieve does a great job of breaking down the details of the 4-2-3-1, and it builds well on his first edition of the system (I’ve also read the first book).

In the “Advanced Tactics” he breaks down the defensive and attacking principles of the system.  Looks at certain professional clubs and what he has seen from them and this formation.  He also does a great job of looking at pattern play in developing the attack.

In both books he finished with several training sessions related to the 4-2-3-1 and teaching defensive and attacking principles needed for the system.

I recommend this book if anyone is looking for more detail and information on this modern system that everyone seems to be adopting.  There are definitely things that I am going to take away from Grieve’s book and apply to our 4-3-3 system this upcoming spring.

You can find more information about the book and how to order at this link: World Class Coaching

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Content is starting to get pretty thin from a schedule stand point, but the instructor’s feedback and candidate comments are just as good as any coaching seminar I’ve ever attended.

The day kicked off with two field sessions led by Mark Berson.  The first was addressing possession through the thirds of the field.  I enjoyed how he handled this topic and used small restrictions to help the U18 IMG Academy boys recognize that short, quick possession is used to gain ground up the field towards an end goal.  I’ve seen a lot of teams who possess the ball for the sake of possession with no apparent purpose in mind, and Berson’s session always kept the end objective of scoring a goal in mind.  He followed up this session with a training on flank play.  Fairly standard session, but the coaching points were solid and they players improved their flank play.

The rest of the day was spent on practice coaching sessions.  Every day I grow to have a deeper respect for the depth of knowledge that Tom Durkin has of the game.  I know I must sound like a broken record, but the attention to detail, and his recognition of the small things that make a big difference is remarkable.  Listening to his critique of the candidates during and at the end of sessions is a coaching clinic in itself.  Rough day physically, we’ve been blessed to have IMG kids available for every session but for the afternoon we had approximately three girls available.  We were spoiled leading up to this point only needing three of four coaches per training session, and for this afternoon you could notice an immediate drop in intensity level as every practice session passed and old legs got heavy.  I really do enjoy playing and contributing, but I also recognize that I’m not in the best form I could be to help the other candidates out.

Tomorrow we begin with practice coaching again, with one lecture to finish out the morning, and then it is practice coaching all afternoon.

The day started right at 8am with a field session on Deep Defending by Jeff Pill.  The way the course is set up is very different from the Premier Course (which is great for me to get a weeks worth of new information) in that the topics are geared towards styles and tactics used in an 11v11 match.  The Premier Diploma focuses on systems and styles of play commonly used within those systems (which I also thoroughly enjoyed learning) taught by four coaches who are currently, or were using those systems with the teams they coached on a regular basis.  The “A” license is looking at systems of play, but is primarily focused on tactics used by coaches in full sided games such as deep defending, high pressure, flank play, counter attacking, or build up play.

The other theme that I’m starting to catch on to at the course is the emphasis given to answering the “5 W’s” when analyzing the game of soccer; Who, What, Where, When, and Why?  Jeff presented his topic of deep defending by addressing these “5 W’s” during his model session.  The build up lead to a full-sided game on the full field.

The second field session of the morning was the 1-4-4-2 v. a 1-4-5-1 presented by Tom Durkin, and the tactical elements we need to consider in the attack and in defending.  Issues like defending the the extra man, attacking weaknesses, and strengths and weaknesses of the two systems were demonstrated in a full 11v11 match.

Jeff followed up his field session with a classroom lecture on the principles he covered in the field session.  In the afternoon we had the privilege of having Peter Mellor (former English professional with Fulham and Portsmouth) and one of our course candidates, Paul Rogers (current USWNT goalkeepers coach) conduct a classroom lecture and field session on goal keeping in a team system.  Key coaching points were the importance of organizing team shape and initiating the teams transition into attack.

Finally in the evening Tom Durkin conducted a classroom lecture on the elements required for a team to regain possession early by pressing.  By this session I’ve started to have a growing respect for the attention to detail, and the demand of a high standard, that Tom places on his players.  He demands a high level of attention to the small things that will make a team better, and it has been a great experience for me to listen to Tom talk about, and teach, the game of soccer.  There are things I find to be a little over the top about his coaching style and method, but you have to respect that standard he demands from his players, and the purposeful teaching method he uses for attention to details.

More to come with day 3…

Four weeks into the spring semester for our university and second week of off-season training.  Just thought I’d discuss our off-season principles and priorities.

Technical, physical, mental and tactical development are all intermixed in off-season training.  We break our spring semester into two phases; Phase one runs from mid-January to early March and we focus more on technical and physical development during this phase.  Phase two runs mid-March through April and the focus is implementing tactical elements and developing the mental side of the game.

Phase one will run six weeks and includes three main elements.  The first is individual skills training in small groups of 4-6 athletes twice a week.  One session is always a touch and passing accuracy skills circuit that the players are ranked on every week.  Scores accumulate for the whole six weeks and players are ranked for the entire period.  The second skills session is up to the coaching staff to focus on the technical elements that were seen lacking during the previous season.

The second element of phase one is weight training.  We lift year round, but during this six week period we will run through a metabolic routine that really pushes the players lactic acid threshold.  We have two lower body days and an upper body day with at least 72 hours rest between the two lower body days.

The final element involves film and tactical sessions once a week.  These sessions are held with the entire team, or in their lines depending on the tactical elements that we want to address with the players.

Phase two is a five week period when we go back outside and also schedule three dates of scrimmages that we normally term “spring ball.”  For each spring ball session the coaching staff identifies a couple tactical elements that we feel need attention before the upcoming competitive season.  It is also a time for us to look at new line ups that will be options for the upcoming fall.  We normally train three times a week at normal training times, and have a team meeting once a week to either watch film or address mental skills training.

According to league rules we are allowed to schedule three competitive dates during this period.  Normally we schedule scrimmages against non-conference schools to give us a different look, and we prefer playing teams who are a division above ours to really push our limits and prepare us for the fall.  And if we can schedule it, we will try to have an alumni scrimmage in the spring as well to give us a fourth date of competition and to bring the graduates back to campus and see where the program is headed.

Over the years I’ve noticed that spring semester is a tough time for fall sports.  The season seems so far off in the distance, and the winter months seem long.  Motivation is usually a tough thing, and it’s important to keep team goals for the upcoming season in front of the players.  Still, it is a challenge to keep the intensity high during this period.  But it usually helps to get back outside in March and start getting back to playing other teams.

We won our season opener against a rival team at home in front of 295 fans (a good sized crowd for our college).  This session is going to be used to help us prepare for our next opponent, currently the #10 team in the country, who presses a lot in the middle third of the field to create counter attacks.  The boys have been training real hard and are mentally preparing for the long stretch of nationally ranked opponents that we have this month.

Topic: Attacking Out of Pressure

Objective: Help the players recognize when to play a penetrating pass and advance the attack.

3:30 Keepers with GK Coach: Reaction Saves

3:45 Technical Warm-Up: Rectangle Passing

4:00 Technical Activity: Continuous Passing

-Two grids 30×40, two teams per grid with colors.  Each team has one ball.  Teams will pass the ball one touch continuously inside the grid to their teammates.  Be aware of the other team in the grid and play accurate and properly weighted passes.  Progress to sequence passing in teams (1 passes to 2, 2 passes to 3).  Progress by having to pass to player on opposite team.

-Coaching points: Play the ball the way you’re facing.  Head up as the ball travels to you, make your decision before passing.  Get body ready for the ball and next pass.  Move off the ball for one another.

4:15 Small Sided Activity: Four Goal Game

-Two grids 20×30, four gates set up diagonally inside the grid’s four corners.  Two teams of four players, one team waiting to get on.  Teams can score by either passing or dribbling through the gates.  Teams must “open” scoring first by going through a gate, and then they can score for each gate they go through after that as long as they have possession.  Once the lose possession they have to re-open scoring, but score picks up where it left off.

-Coaching points: Move off the ball for teammates to quality passing angles.  Ability to dribble out of pressure and create a quality pass.

4:30 Expanded Activity: Six Goal Game

-Two grids 30×40, six gates along the two end lines.  Two teams of five players, subs waiting at diagonal corners with balls at their feet.  Teams can score by either passing or dribbling through the three gates they are attacking.  Keepers stand behind each end line, they can act as support for their team.  Progress to finding target players before scoring.  Keepers act as target players, have two touches to lay the ball off.  Can only score through the gates off of a lay-off by target players.

-Coaching Points: Pick your head up and advance the ball as soon as possible.  Look for when to penetrate.  Focus on player’s decision making, but encourage them to go forward.  When target players are added focus turns to supporting runs, third man runs, etc.

5:00 Match Play: Middle 3rd 10v10

-Full field with a 40 yard zone running across midfield.  Two teams playing 11v11 including keepers.  All 20 field players have to play within the middle third zone, defending team is allowed to come back and receive the ball from their keeper.  Attacking team is allowed to attack into the attacking third only, no defending.  Progess to allowing defending team to drop and defend the attack.  Progress to open play.

-Coaching Points: Looking for creativity and ability to break the pressure and play a ball through to start the attack.

5:30 Cool Down

I had the opportunity to sit in on the Chicago Fire’s training session on July 19th as they prepare to take on Manchester United this July 23rd.  First, just need to say thanks to Frank Klopas and Brendan Hannan for letting me join the Fire, what a friendly and accommodating organization.

9:45 am – Assistant Coaches have the field set up already and players start arriving and playing small games.

10:00 am – Physio Coach takes the player for a ladder warm-up with several dynamics intermixed followed by static stretching and water.  Goal keepers warm-up separately with the keeper coach.

10:15 am – Four corner passing.  Four cones set up a grid approximately 20x20yds, and a coaching stick is set up one yard inside of each cone.  Field players divide up evenly at each cone with a two balls starting in corners diagonal from each other.  The team trainer puts the guys through a series of passing drills and combinations.  The coaching sticks are defenders and the players are asked to go game speed in beating the “opponent.”  They start with just an outside of the foot touch, wall pass, drop pass, and over laps.  Keepers are still working on footwork and positioning with multiple shots from different positions.

10:40 am – Players moved to a grid 30×40 with a half way line down the middle and are divided into two even teams of eight players.  Greens are on one side of the half and blues on the other.  The objective is to connect five passes to score a point, the other team is allowed to send four defenders into the other side of the grid to break it up.  After they score a point they have to find the coach.  Play was very tight and quality first touch and passing is demanded of the players to be successful.

Game changed a little with having to connect a pass into the other half after five passes on their side to score a point.  And then moved on to include a drop pass to score the point.

11:00 am – Team moves to a grid with two full sized goals set up around two penalty areas.  A line extends at the half to the full width of the field.  Players are divided into two teams of eight with two players left wide in the channels for each team, four defenders, and two attackers in the attacking half.  Ball must be played wide by the defenders and then that wide player looks to combine with the two attackers and join them. Goalkeepers joined the session at this point as well.

Game changed to where both wide players can join the attack when the ball is played wide by the defenders.

11:20 am – Team moved to a 9v9 match with standard match rules.  Field was 50×60 yds.

11:50 am – Closing comments by Coach Klopas, and then they were given a few minutes to stretch on their own.

Primary coaching points by the staff related to possession in small spaces to develop the attack.  Could they find a way to advance the ball with small space and lots of pressure.

Personal Notes: The elements were fighting against the players, it was extremely humid and hot and did not create a very conducive training environment.  The players were given several water breaks, but I thought it was interesting that they didn’t leave them any subs during the session.  Every player was asked to train the entire session and to go hard without substitutions.

I thought for the most part that the training session was successful, and the activities brought out the topic fairly well.

Always a positive when you can learn from coaches who have been around the game longer and at a higher level.  The love of learning is the first step to excellence, the second is application.  Really enjoyed the experience, and even had a chance to talk to Frank Klopas a little after the session.