Focus on forward runs and encourage positive forward movement linked to patient buildup play and good pitch geography. MORE
This session is about improving penalty box anticipation and reactions, for both defensive and offensive players. Obviously this is crucially important because every game is decided by penalty box behaviour.
We will run this practice once per week – subject to periodisation of training – based on game-load. And it would be best to set this up the day before a game given that it combines low level physical demands with a requirement for high mental alertness.
Overall it’s a simple session and the premise is very much on the coaches to let natural game play develop, because really anything can happen in the course of players using the space. But what is certain is players will find it enjoyable, and it will put them in the right mindset for the challenges that follow on match day.
|Use of half-pitch|
|Balls, cones, goals|
|Number of Players|
We set up as shown (1), using three goals positioned around a penalty box. It’s three teams of seven – six and a keeper in each – with the instruction of defending your own allocated goal whilst looking to score in either of the other two.
We run this for three periods of 5mins, each time changing the goal to be defended so that, after three phases, each team has rotated around the area and we reach an accumulated score.
We are looking for players to display excellent reactions based on their positions. For offensive players this must involve being courageous and able to work quick technical adjustment to opportunities, preferably one-touch. For defensive players, we want to see solid defensive blocks and protection of the keeper.
Poor or slow mental reactions are ultimately what will cost teams goals, or prevent them from taking the chances that come their way, while being able to execute technical tasks under pressure is also a must if players are to fulfil the potential that this multi-angled practice offers.
A simple progression is to transfer the practice into small directional games in penalty box-sized areas, with players taking forward the idea of threats and opportunities being present all around them.