This session is designed to improve player and team awareness within the game. The specific awareness we are looking to improve is how to read an opponent’s defensive block and identify the space to attack. MORE
This session comes from the old Hearts manager, Bobby Seith, who developed this function and passed it on to Jim McLean at Dundee United, who coached me when I broke into the first-team at Tannadice. We’d run this for 40 minutes every day and when you see it in full swing it’s incredible.
Seith developed this because he was fed up running the same old training drills which only focused on possession or finishing or defending. Instead, he wanted something all-encompassing, and that’s what this provides.
I now deliver it to my team on a regular basis because it has everything we need to work on with the players.
|Balls, cones, goals|
|Number of Players|
|9v9 plus keepers|
|Function 40mins, match 20mins|
We set up as shown on a 50 x 44-yard area (1). The ball starts with the keeper who throws it out to one of his three defenders, of whom only two can defend at any one time. They must work it between themselves to play forward into one of their strikers. As the ball travels to the striker, any one defender steps out to create a 3 v 2 overload.
The strikers then work together with the ball to create a goalscoring opportunity. If the ball gets played to the third man runner, he must finish off one-touch.
Now we add wingers, as shown (2). Only strikers can link with the wingers – they can hold it up and play out wide before making a run into the box. A defender can still join in and attack the cross.
We now add a 25-yard midfield zone (3). Two central midfielders play on each team in linking defence and attack. The defenders can still join in with the midfielders and the midfielders with the strikers. We allow all three defenders to protect the goal now to make it more difficult for attackers. We can also allow the opposite winger to join in and attack the back post as he would in a game (4).
After 40 minutes, removing the cones brings the wingers in and invites teams to play a 10v10 game.
At first it’s all about the striker’s play – how he links up, movement and hold-up play. Is he finishing off chances, and can he create space to get a shot away?
As for defenders, are they getting tight, are they the right side of the player, and can they get in front of the striker to nick the ball away from him? We also assess positioning, quality of clearances, why mistakes are made and how we can ensure they’re not repeated.