This session begins with muscle activation and mobility, moving into a dynamic warm-up that takes in flexibility, movement and coordination. Activation exercises significantly reduce the risk of injury, develop muscle memory, and help optimise explosive movements. And this type of activity relates directly to all movement patterns in a game.
This warm-up might be performed at the start of an energetic training session.
What do I get the players to do?
As a low intensity move, the first player lays the ball to the man in the centre and follows his pass, assuming the first player’s position (see diagram number one, below right).
The second player turns, passes to a chosen corner man, then follows that ball. The corner player runs with the ball and passes back to a player at the start. As soon as the first player is ready, passing continues, with everyone always alternating positions.
How do I progress the session?
Progress to moderate intensity – players repeat what they did to start off with but instead of turning and passing to the corner player, the second man passes back to the first for them to then pass to the corner (see diagram two).
There are then two high-intensity variations – instead of running with the ball, corner players play a one-two with the second player (see diagram three). In the next variation, instead of playing a one-two with the corner man, player two turns and passes to the opposite flank-running corner player (see diagram four). The player then runs to the opposite corner from where he received the pass, assuming the position of the player now running down the touchline. Alternate between corners with every new player.
What are the key things to look out for?
I am paying attention to the quality of movement during exercises. I also need to check that my players are focused on the ball-related activities, ensuring that they optimise their technical development.