This session is about the players and their reactions to transitions, both in an attacking sense and a defensive sense. It’s all about how quick we can win the ball back and how effective we can be with it when we’ve won it.
Players like this session because they are always involved and there is a lot of action as the practices develop. It also features plenty of match realism in terms of both attacking and defending. It’s performed at a high tempo and is short in duration but it has a big emphasis on competition and there is always a result at the end of it.
As we have a bank of these sessions, they can be part of a match day -1 practice or a main working day practice. The emphasis and set-up can be altered to suit what we need to get out of the week from a physical point of view, whilst the tactical element of the session remains constant.
Technique also plays a large part in the session, as having good technical ability makes these activities more successful in terms of passes completed, chances created and goals scored.
THREE TEAM TRANSITION GAME
We set up a playing area of 29×12 yards which is divided into two 12-yard end zones and a 5-yard central zone. We’re using 24 outfield players split into three teams of eight. Teams are spread across the three zones with the yellow team in the middle zone working as the pressing team and the outer two teams linking up to keep possession.
A coach starts play by passing into the red team and two yellow players from the central zone enter the end zone to close them down and attempt to win the ball. After making six passes in the end zone, the red team are free to pass to the blue team in the opposite end zone, as shown , and this scores the reds one point. The pass can go through or over the central zone.
Now two of the pressing players from the central zone go and press the blue team and try to win the ball. If the pressing players win the ball or it goes out of play, the coach plays a new ball into the end zone opposite to the one where the ball was lost.
Games last 90 seconds. Each team has four games passing and two games closing down.
We set up a playing area of 25×15 yards divided into two halves, although the area size can be adapted depending on the physical requirements needed.
We’re using 12 outfield players split into two teams of six, with the reds starting in one half and the blues starting in the other half.
A coach starts play by passing the ball into one of the teams, who pass the ball to keep possession. The opposite team sends in three players to try to win possession in a 3v6. If they win possession, they pass the ball back into their own half, as shown [2a], and now they must try to keep the ball from the three players from the opposite team who have been sent in to win possession, as shown [2b].
We play four games of two minutes. In games 1 and 2, teams score one point for each successful transfer. In games 3 and 4, they can also score one point for eight successful passes completed.
POSSESSION/TRANSITION GAME WITH GOALS
We set up a playing area between the penalty boxes of our pitch, with a goal and a goalkeeper at each end. The main playing area is coned off to the width of the penalty area, with an unopposed wide channel on each side. We’re using 24 outfield players split into two teams of 10, plus four neutrals who work in the wide channels and who play for the team in possession.
Play starts with a pass out from the goalkeeper and the team in possession must try to keep hold of the ball with the help of both keepers and the four neutral players, giving them a significant overload, as shown [3a]. The keepers and the neutrals are one touch.
If the pressing team wins the ball, they can try to score in either goal, as shown [3b].
We play four games of three minutes. In game 2, the teams switch roles. In game 3, we progress it so the team in possession can now also score in the goals. In game 4 the teams switch roles again.
What are the key things to look for?
Technically speaking, good receiving skills and the ability to find the first pass are both extremely important as the session progresses. Finishing ability is also very important to the success of a team during the final activity of the session.
Turning the defensive transition to the team’s advantage is vital, while identifying danger and reacting to it plays a big part in stopping the opposition gaining success.
Players should offer good angles and support to team mates in possession and they should move the ball quickly in attacking transitions but be calm with the ball and don’t force the play needlessly.
What are the typical mistakes players might make and how do I avoid them?
A typical mistake occurs when players try to force passes that aren’t on initially. Other typical mistakes include not reacting to danger quickly enough, failing to give team mates support, and not reacting with speed when winning the ball back, which can damage the team’s opportunity to be successful.