The following session is an excerpt from “Soccer Awareness Coaching Curriculums presented by Game Sizes: 4 v 4, 7 v 7, 9 v 9 through to 11 v 11”
This eBook covers up to 14 weeks of training for each game size presented as one session per week. All sessions have small sided games scrimmage set ups as close as we can get it to finish to reflect the theme of the session
As the program moves from 4 v 4 through to 11 v 11 the focus changes from individual teachings at 4 v 4, to small sided situations at 7 v 7, to Phases of play and tactical needs at 9 v 9; through to team tactical development at 11 v 11. 11 v 11 focuses on advanced training ideas to teach the “team”.
Introducing footwork and coordination to new players is vital in their development, even if only for 5 minutes at the start of each session.
Our work is based upon developing a balance between ball handling and functional running and sprinting in combination with jumping, stopping and turning.
Quick feet, light feet, changing stride length exercises will be particularly important.
Repetition of the exercises is important throughout the season on a weekly basis to develop good and correct habits regarding co-ordination, comfort in running, awareness of the efficient use of arms and legs in running and the synchronization of limbs.
Far too many players play flat footed, they do not get their feet in place early enough (or at all) to run or change direction or, “particularly”, to receive the ball and be able to control it with comfort and effectiveness. This training is designed to cure this big problem. It is about improving balance, foot co-ordination and speed.
Emphasizing the Importance of the First Step
1. Lots of quick standing starts emphasizing the importance of the first stride (emphasize also a short step). This is the most important stride as it is the explosive one to move quickly. In this routine the players practice many of these.
2. The theme is a quick start and sprint and a quick stop.
There must be a pronounced stop between runs as we are working on that explosive start. They all sprint forward one cone on command from the coach and stop quickly. Turn and sprint back together on command. Always a run the way you are facing. First group just sprint and stop.
3. Sprint forward one cone and stop but face the same way. The next command is to turn quickly and sprint back.
4. Jog backwards the turn at pace and sprint.
5. Sprint to any cone, it can be a diagonal run now, who is the last player to find a cone? This is good for spatial awareness too, where is the free cone?
6. Sprint to two cones and stop at the second, sprint to three cones and stop at the third. Changing direction now but have them stand still at each cone for a fraction of a second so their next first stride is from a standing start.
7. Let it go free now.
8. Players can move anywhere. This now involves them using anticipation, decision making, reaction and perception and well as co-ordination and fast feet to find space to move into without bumping into people.
Developing fast feet with a fun game
Fast footwork, Coordination and Speed training
Up to 5 players in a group with one of the players in the middle (could be three on the outside in a triangle for example). Outside players need to pass the ball to another player but at the same time try to hit the player in the middle with the ball below the knees.
This forces the middle player to move their feet quickly and be well balanced and mobile. It is just a fun warm up game for players to get them moving and get them focusing on fast feet and coordination.
(3) Tries to hit (4) in the middle and (4) moves quickly out of the way. (2) Moves on the outside also to get possession of the ball. (2) Can try again to hit (4) or, as in this example, pass the ball to (1) for (1) to try, passing to (5) as a consequence of trying to hit (4).
The area can be as big or small as you like, smaller means the player in the middle has less time to get out of the way so has to be quicker. Maybe start up to10 by 10 yards then reduce it to 5 by 5 yards as they get better at it.
Encourage players to pass quickly and accurately making it hard work for the middle player. Rotate the players.