This is a session we actually ran after a pre-season game at Valencia this year. For the players that played more than 60 minutes of the game, their training would be focused on recovery and largely based on aerobic work, with some upper body weights and some time on the exercise bikes. But for the ones that played less than 60 minutes, we would run this top up session with the ball. It’s based in football and structured endurance.
In attack, this session works on our possession and establishing our superiority in transition. We also work on the proper use of space. In defence, we work on closing space inside, pressing after losing the ball and recovering our shape on the transition from attack to defence.
We would run this session after every game, as the work is based on these principles – it’s a recovery session and a good, high-intensity workout with the ball for the players that either didn’t participate in the match or participated less minutes on the pitch.
We set up a playing area of 16×8 yards divided into two halves. We’re using 12 outfield players split into two teams of six. Five reds start in one half along with two blues, while one red waits outside the end line of that half; three blues start in the other half and one blue waits outside the end line of that half.
The five reds pass the ball in their half and try to keep possession from the two blues, who press to cause a turnover. When the blues win the ball in this 5v2, they should immediately pass it to one of their three team mates in the other half, as shown [1a].
Then the red player who lost possession, together with the red player waiting on the outside end of that half, should both chase the ball across the halfway line where they become the new pressers. The three blues are joined by their two team mates who have also followed the ball from the other half, making it a 5v2 in the new half, as shown [1b].
Players are limited to two touches.
We set up a playing area of 48×18 yards divided into a 12-yard defending/attacking zone either side of a 14-yard central zone. We position two small goals at each end in a 5-yard zone that only the goalkeepers can play in.
We’re using 14 outfield players split into two teams of seven plus goalkeepers. Each team has two defenders, four midfielders and one striker and the players start in their relevant zones.
Play begins with a goalkeeper passing into the defensive zone, where his team have a 2v1 advantage. However, an opponent from the central zone can push into the zone to make it 2v2, applying pressure and forcing the possession team to play a long ball into midfield, either from the goalkeeper or from one of the centre backs.
Following the pass, the centre backs can split and if needed they can move into the central zone to create an overload or to assist by pressing or supporting their team mates.
The possession team should work the ball forwards, creating an opportunity to pass to the striker in the attacking zone. One of the midfielders can then enter the attacking zone to support the striker, making it a 2v2 attack, as shown .
The goalkeepers guard both goals at their end and are limited to two touches. The outfield players have no limit on touches.
We set up a playing area on just over half a pitch, with a goal and goalkeeper in their normal positions at one end and three poles positioned as shown. We’re using five outfield players.
Most of the players start on the halfway line of the pitch but two start diagonally opposite near to one of the poles. The players work their way around the circuit, shooting at the goal at one end before running around the goal and receiving a pass from – and returning it to – the next player.
They then complete the circuit with a sprint to the back of the starting queue, picking up a new ball along the way, as shown .
During the course of this circuit, players have the opportunity to work on various technical aspects of their game, such as passing, ball control and shooting.
We set up a playing area of 30×24 yards with a goal and a goalkeeper at each end. We’re using 10 outfield players split into two teams of five. We play a 5v5 directional game plus keepers. Play starts and restarts with a ball from the goalkeeper and the possession team builds an attack on the other end, as shown [4a].
If players try to score when they’re in the opposition half, all of their team mates except their keeper and all of their opponents must be in that half before they can shoot, as shown [4b]. However, the goal counts double if an opponent fails to drop back into their own half.
If a shot is taken from their own half, there are no restrictions. Normal offside applies. There is no limit on the number of touches players can take.