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Defending principles

by Paul Heckingbottom in Defending

This session is all about building the defensive role of every position when out of possession. It starts with individuals defending in 1v1 and 3v2 situations and builds all the way through the units to whole team defending when out of possession. I like this session because all the problems posed to players are realistic to game situations. MORE

Attacking & defending

by Nigel Clough in Attacking, Defending

This session focuses on the techniques of attacking and defending in and around the penalty area, giving players the opportunity to rehearse not only counter-attacking situations, but to attack and defend crosses from deep and from the by-line. It is a high intensity session that involves plenty of running and lots of accelerations and decelerations. MORE

Emergency defending with a back three

by Derek Egan in Defending

This training session is focused on making the three centre backs understand the four D’s – that they should delay, deny, dictate and defend when outnumbered. The practices create numerous occasions when players are exposed to stressful situations that are related to the area of the pitch in which they play and that are realistic to the game. MORE

Breaking lines

by Michael Duff in Attacking

This session is all about breaking lines in possession. Due to the way we play, our players need to be able to understand when to switch the play and when to split the opposition, all with the aim of penetrating opponents and allowing us to play forwards. MORE

Switching play quickly

by Ralph Hasenhüttl in Skills and Techniques

The focus of this session incorporates a number of my key principles: pressing, counter pressing and playing in tight areas whilst avoiding pressure. It’s about keeping possession in tight areas and then playing away from pressure, helping us to switch the play quickly. MORE

Attacking in central areas

by Joe Montemurro in Attacking

This session is about identifying opportunities to play forwards in central areas. It shows players how to create central overloads and encourages them to face forward to play forward effectively. The session is designed to help players recognise certain cues, such as when to invite pressure in order to create space further up the pitch and this helps to set up goal scoring opportunities. MORE

Linking through your centre-midfielder

by Carlos Carvalhal in Midfield

The role of the centre-midfielder is a vital one in modern soccer and his effectiveness and resourcefulness is best practised with regular repetition of technique and job role. This is a session I first outlined when with Besiktas back in 2011, but so solid and reliable is the role of the midfielder that it is... MORE

Possession & transition

by Daniel Farke in Formations and Tactics

This session involves many important topics from our football philosophy, such as possession and transition after winning or losing the ball in narrow spaces. The players are encouraged to perform the activities at their highest levels of intensity, which is important because it gives them the ideal load. MORE

Crossing and finishing

by Dave Jones in Attacking

This is an all-round session for all players – strikers, midfielders, wide players, full-backs, defenders and goalkeepers – and uses the basis of attackers having three separate attempts on goal. I like this session because it can be adapted for any formation, and has the important feature of an end product – namely goals being... MORE

Transition, rotating and attacking

by Steve McClaren in Attacking

This session is about counter-attacking, transitioning, and players rotating in their positions. It relies on good link-up play and positive attacking, combining fast-paced and measured attacks on goal. Defenders benefit from dealing with overloads in this session, which we always find important to practise, given that there are 200 turnovers per team in each game.... MORE

Transitions with an overload

by Neil Ardley in Skills and Techniques

This session is about managing moments in games when you’re on top or under pressure, and is designed to show that, if your transitions are good, you have a chance. This is a session that can be done at any time of the week; however, it can be adapted as 4x4min games up to 4x8min... MORE

Transitions

by Matt Murray in Skills and Techniques

Although this session is predominantly about transitions, it pays particular attention to pressing, making play predictable, communication, work to be done when in possession, and how to hurt the opposition with patience or a killer pass. What makes the session engaging is that it progresses through a number of different practices, each focusing on lots... MORE

Defending against counter-attacks

by Ben Garner in Defending

Defending against the counter-attack and reacting quickly to these transitions of play is important. That’s because in the modern era, once teams win possession they are capable of breaking forward at great speed and with real quality. The ability to make the correct countering defensive decisions is a core part of being a successful defender.... MORE

Defending as a zonal back four

by John Still in Defending

In this session, we try to give players an understanding of their roles and responsibilities in defensive zones in and around the box – this includes defending individually and as a back four unit. We also look at covering, team balance, and the ability to support. It’s important to practise this because, more than anywhere... MORE

Defending against a 4-2-3-1 formation

by Chris Powell in Defending

This is a session focused on defending against a particular formation. It is aimed at stopping a team that plans to attack in a 4-2-3-1 set-up. When facing a team who have the ability to pass through you or exploit spaces with their running on the ball, being unbalanced in your shape and not closing... MORE

Defending shapes

by Jimmy Bell in Defending

This session is looks at defensive structure – movement from side to side, pressure on the ball and cover from supporting players. Good defensive organisation is obviously called upon throughout matches, so these are principles that must always be practised. We believe that the unity of defenders and a shared knowledge of how to deal... MORE

Defending in and around the box

by Keith Hill in Defending

This session is about defending the 18-yard box when in control and when in states of ‘chaos’. It’s a great practice that improves both individuals and collective units, and instills rare fundamentals of the art of defending the red zone/danger zone (or 18-yard box). The reason I like this session so much is because the... MORE

Blind side runs

by Alan Irvine in Attacking

This session is about developing blind side runs in the final third in order to break the last line of defence. It’s important to practise this because goals are scored at the highest level as a result of blind side runs. In this session, the first practice was designed to recreate the goal scored by... MORE

Attacking overloads and positional play

by Chris Davies in Attacking

This session takes the form of a number of progressive exercises, each designed to develop players’ ability to progress the ball through the pitch. The idea is to create overloads because without them the game can become dependent on 1v1s, and that can mean it’s difficult to progress the ball unless you are far superior... MORE

Defending compact in midfield

by Alex Morris in Defending

This session places an emphasis on midfield units staying compact and being hard to penetrate when out of possession. I like to run this because although it is midfield weighted, it strongly focuses on defensive ideas, which is important because defending is traditionally a less appealing topic in the minds of players. The introduction of... MORE

Adopting a high back four

by Andy Scott in Defending

This session is about defending as a group or unit. It looks at the relationships between players and teaches them how to use recovery moves to maximum advantage. Recovering quickly and early lays the foundation for a sound defensive platform, something upon which all successful sides are built. At Brentford, we will work on this... MORE

Switching play when counter-attacking

by Manuel Pellegrini in Attacking

This session is all about changing the point of attack and switching play in counter-attacking situations. It will help the team get out of trouble when they’re being pressed, allowing them to turn pressured situations into quick counter-attacks. To make this tactic effective, teams must be well organised when attacking. By repeating these practices, the... MORE

Possession and finishing

by Jimmy Bell in Attacking

This is a possession session that develops into a finishing challenge. It requires high tempo throughout and lots of legwork from players. At every club I’ve worked at there has always been real attention paid to the core principles of possession and work rate. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing the principles learned from... MORE

Diamond shooting game

by Nigel Worthington in Attacking

This is a game that practises shooting by restricting the playing area that players operate in. It requires pure attacking intent from players who must shoot on sight and be positive in everything they do. By narrowing the area players’ minds are subconsciously focused in on the goal, and we look for them to apply... MORE

Clinical Finishing

by Martin Allen in Attacking

I always instill in my strikers the difference between shooting and finishing. We see shooting in every game – a chance comes along and the forward puts his laces through the ball. But finishing is very different and much more valuable, particularly in the modern game where the number of clear-cut chances that develop in... MORE

Free-kick routines

by Kevin Nicholson in Set pieces

This session looks at maximising the potential of scoring goals from free-kicks. It does this by looking at ways of working the ball into the penalty box through intelligent and innovative routines, instead of continually shooting direct from outside of the box. The session provides a variety of free-kick routines that involve thoughtful, clever and... MORE

Keeping the ball to move forwards

by Steve Foley in Attacking

This session is based around a series of possession-based practices that are aimed at breaking the lines to move forwards when possible. It involves lots of varied passing techniques and good decision making. It also begins with a warm-up that is relevant to the topic, one that will prepare the players for the activities that... MORE

Back four understanding

by Iain Dowie in Defending

This overview session is about the responsibilities of the back four, and how they use distance, movement and angles in order to produce a formidable defensive unit. This is an important session for improving confidence, because a proficient defensive base acts as a springboard for the whole team, not least in a side’s ability to counter-attack... MORE

Supporting from deep

by Dougie Freedman in Attacking

This session is about forward runs and the ability of players to work at pace, supporting from deep or getting beyond a front striker to attack danger areas. For teams looking to build attacking play, intelligent forward running is essential, as is the timing and execution of those breaks. Players must also work to vary... MORE

Premier League possession

by Ian Holloway in Skills and Techniques

This multifunctional, directional session is about game-realistic play, positive moves and developing short and long passes. It is important to practise this because possession is key at any level of the game, but particularly in the Premier League where sides can be so ruthless when they have the ball. This session encourages players to receive... MORE

Technical training session

by Anthony Hudson in Skills and Techniques

This is a broad training session that enables players to practise a range of skills across multiple exercises. It rehearses ball skills in terms of tidy, quick and intelligent passing, plus finishing in and around the box. It’s also excellent for movement, closing down and positional awareness. These ranges of skills are essential for any... MORE

Attack and counter-attack

by Jose Gomes in Attacking

This exercise is about attacking and counter-attacking. On one hand it’s about the patience of a steady attacking build-up versus good defensive organization, while on the other hand it deals with quick defensive positioning when faced with a counter-attack. The idea is that the players are able to use both ways of attacking, depending on... MORE

Defensive transition

by Miguel Cardoso in Defending

This session is all about the transition to defence. What do we want our team to do when we lose the ball and how do we expect our players to react? These are key questions to be answered when we think about setting principles for this moment of the game. We want players to take... MORE

Overload attacking

by Terry Skiverton in Attacking

This session is based on a small-sided game with overloads producing overlapping attacking play. It’s a great session for attackers and defenders and is played at high intensity, because this promotes a competitive edge in training. The tight playing area is good for concentration levels, with strikers encouraged to work for angles and develop proficient... MORE

Pressing initiation

by Mauricio Pochettino in Defending

This session coaches players on understanding defensive pressing. It’s important to practise the key elements to identify how, when and where we can apply pressing technique, and that includes adopting the right shape tactically and togetherness of the group, as well as being able to identify the right moment to closedown. We see the benefits... MORE

Passing patterns

by Steve Tilson in Skills and Techniques

This session works on players’ ability to play one-two passing moves in order to create space and to get in behind the opposition’s defence. The practice is comprised of initial unopposed passing drills which familiarise players with movement, awareness and link-up play, before progressing onto a competitive 8v8 game. The entire session lasts 75 minutes... MORE

Positivity and awareness

by Willy Donachie in Formations and Tactics

This session teaches players to stay positive and aware in game situations, with a focus on moving play forward at all times. It encourages players to think about what’s ahead of and around them and relies on a good first touch and the use of clever angled passes. In the Premier League, the better the... MORE

The passing diamond

by Paul Buckle in Skills and Techniques

The passing diamond is a coaching move that, while simple in its set-up, is crucial for players in rehearsing passing accuracy and tempo. It is also important for general ball work and encouraging the use of both feet. Modern day football is built upon a constant passing game, so the ability to conduct simple and... MORE

Concise corner kick routine

by Les Parry in Set pieces

This is a set-piece corner kick routine that relies on a quality ball into the box and the intelligent movement of attacking players. Set plays provide great opportunities for scoring goals because the ball is stationary, players cannot be tackled and they have the freedom to work space knowing where they can expect a delivery... MORE

Crossing and finishing

by Paul Lambert in Attacking

At Norwich City, we believe that you have to train the way you play, and this is a positive crossing and finishing routine that is direct and makes players adopt good habits. Crossing and finishing are fundamental elements for scoring goals and winning games. This rehearsed set-up of crossing with pace and timing, combined with... MORE

Quick play in the penalty box

by Steve Foley in Attacking

In the modern game, penalty boxes are tight, congested areas to work in and around. This session helps players practise elements of quick approach play, strong and dedicated support, along with the ability to dispatch immediate shots on goal. Individual skills are important, so we’ll encourage player traits such as subtle flicks or quick directional... MORE

The back four

by Paul Simpson in Defending

This session is all about making sure the defensive unit is organised. A strong, intelligent defence is crucial for keeping clean sheets, and achieving that aim is halfway towards winning matches. No matter who the opposition is, there will come a time in every game when the back four will be asked the toughest of... MORE

Cutting out counter-attacks

by Keith Hill in Attacking

Analysis at the end of our 2008/09 League Two campaign showed we needed to develop a new collective responsibility to defend against the counter-attack. We knew this would increase our potential to keep clean sheets whilst also ensuring that we had players in good areas of the pitch in order to regain and maintain possession.... MORE

Attacking wing play

by Stephen Constantine in Attacking

With this session we can get everyone in the team involved in thinking about how can we get the ball forwards as quickly and as efficiently as possible. We want quality and speed in all areas and an end product – ideally a goal. In order for this to happen everyone needs to understand their... MORE

Beating the block with creative play

by Neil Howarth in Attacking

I have used this session in the past when coaching teams that are struggling to score goals or create chances in matches – particularly when finding it difficult to break down a well-organised defence. Quite often it has been used prior to a home match when we are expected to have a lot of possession... MORE

Link-up combination play

by Ricky Sbragia in Skills and Techniques

Movement, support and running off the ball is essential in the modern game, and fine-tuning these abilities in players can really enhance attacking options throughout the team. Therefore, this unopposed drill is designed to examine receiving, touch, lay-off, link-up play and third-man running, so that players can work together in tight areas to maximum effect.... MORE

Finishing with transition

by Mikey Harris in Attacking

This is a high intensity session that works on improving player sharpness in and around the penalty box, arguably the most important area of the pitch and one where games are won or lost. It’s a finishing session but it is as much of a defending practice for the team out of possession. For the... MORE

Playing short and long

by Luke Williams in Skills and Techniques

This session examines when to play short and long. It’s a set-up that, despite its simplicity, addresses a key question that a player needs to ask himself every time he gets the ball, so is actually a mental principle that it’s vital to practise. And whilst it’s not an original question, the way we search... MORE

Match preparation

by Gabriele Cioffi in Formations and Tactics

This session is focussed on preparing players for an upcoming opponent, specifically with regard to getting them to understand their options for playing out from the goalkeeper against the exact formation they are likely to encounter. It also prepares them to play against the opposition when outnumbered in certain areas of the pitch. I like... MORE

Shot stopping for keepers

by Andrew Sparkes in Goalkeeping

This is a functional shot stopping session that starts using just the goalkeepers and the goalkeeping coach and it then progresses into a broader session and a small-sided game with the outfield players. The integration of the outfield players makes the session more match realistic and it will enhance the goalkeeper’s decision making in game... MORE

Quick attacks

by Aaron Callaghan in Attacking

This session is about quick play going forward. Initially in the main practice the three attackers are faced with one defender and have to make the right decision about when and where to pass the ball in relation to the defender’s positioning. As the session progresses, attackers play against two defenders and then three. We... MORE

Exploiting possession

by Tony Mowbray in Formations and Tactics

This session is focused on creating opportunities from possession. Every team should work on their ability to maintain and exploit possession because, when harnessed to attacking intent, keeping hold of the ball is the best way to break down defences and create goal-scoring chances. This kind of play greatly increases a team’s chances of winning... MORE

Don’t reinvent the wheel

by Steven Pressley in Skills and Techniques

This session is about short, sharp passing and use of possession. We use tight areas to improve players’ footwork and put demands on them to be able to work the ball with confidence, while those out of possession must close down with intensity. We believe this session has everything players need and want. The lead-up... MORE

Balancing the back four

by Andy Thorn in Defending

This session is about the back four working as a unit. It looks for them to clear the ball past a target when dealing with a range of deliveries from different areas of the pitch. It’s important to practise this because in the last 10-15 minutes of close games, opposition teams looking for a goal... MORE

Counter-pressing

by Danny Cowley in Defending

This session is aimed at influencing player behaviour on the loss of possession. We work very hard to affect player behaviour in the transition from attack to defence, as the counter-press is an important feature of our playing style. We aim to be a high energy, hyper mobile team. We see giving the ball away... MORE

Passing and possession

by Tony Mowbray in Skills and Techniques

This session is about retaining and developing possession, plus switching play. It relies on smart decision making as well as excellent movement and communication between players. This is an important practice for us because, in match situations, main-taining possession is vital. Doing so not only aids the creation of chances, but it serves to wear... MORE

Clearing defensive danger

by John Sheridan in Defending

This session is about the reactions and movements of defensive players. It looks primarily at the role of the back four in squeezing up and condensing play as they would do in a match day situation, yet also checks on how players in other areas need to adapt their movements so as to protect the... MORE

Great goalkeeping

by Andy Quy in Goalkeeping

This is a session for goalkeepers that teaches and rehearses dealing with crosses, both opposed and unopposed, and in the context of a small-sided game. The ability to manage balls crossed in from the wings is one of the most important parts of a goalkeeper’s game. It relies specifically on positioning, technique and good decision-making.... MORE

Possession practices

by David Wagner in Skills and Techniques

This is a reactive pressure and possession game that coaches players in the basics of team mechanics – namely keeping the ball, exploiting opposition mistakes and looking for an end goal or product. Although basic in its delivery, these principles are vital for every side, and this is the sort of practice you will see... MORE

High tempo attacking and defending

by Bobby Davison in Attacking, Defending

This session incorporates the key elements of both attacking and defending at pace. From the time spent coaching Ferencvaros in Hungary through to my involvement in the England Under-19 set-up, developing an individual’s skills through passing, creating space, supporting, closing down, tracking and counter-attacking has always gone on to be of huge benefit to the... MORE

Back four protocols

by Lee Johnson in Defending

The purpose of this session is to assess and coach the specific roles of the defensive unit, to include defensive protocols, communication and recognising triggers. It’s a session pivotal to how we organise our defensive thinking at Barnsley, and although it is specific to our back four, it is introduced in the context of the... MORE

Defensive transition

by Mark Sampson in Defending

With this session, we are looking to develop the player’s decision-making ability and the execution of his/her actions in the moment that possession is turned over. Working with the players to understand the importance of balance, both in attack and defence, are consistent themes for us as a group. A key aspect of our balance... MORE

Beating the block

by Steven Gerrard in Attacking

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

Match preparation

by Terry Butcher in Formations and Tactics

This is the kind of training session I run with my teams in the build up to a match. It helps to rehearse the formation and shape we are going to use and it also introduces the shape and tactics that we expect our opponents to employ. Tactics are not always set in stone and... MORE

Press & protect

by Paul Buckle in Defending

This is a simple defensive session that encourages players to press high and press aggressively. It also conditions players to respond with speed to a successful turnover of possession, resulting in quick counter-attacks. The players really enjoy this session, as it’s fast and intense and it relies on quick reactions. When their team is in... MORE

Attacking and defending transitions

by Micky Mellon in Attacking, Defending

This session is about attacking and defending transitions, focusing on the key moments when the ball changes hands. We work on how we can defend and exploit these most exciting and important phases of the game, either by building a fast attack with the support of the full backs or by playing the ball early... MORE

When to press and when to drop

by Nathan Jones in Defending

This session is all about teaching players when to press and when to drop as a defensive unit and it encourages them to identify and respond to the visual triggers shown by their opponents. As a practice, it allows for the consistent repetition of the key triggers but within varied circumstances, helping players to quickly... MORE

Quick finishing

by Graham Alexander in Attacking

This session is mainly for attacking players but remains important for defenders who can take something from it as well. It’s ideally an afternoon session – 45 minutes maximum – focusing on producing an ‘end product’ to an attack. Individuals need to be good at what they are judged on and scoring goals is vital... MORE

Closing down and pressurising play

by Gary Waddock in Attacking

The more possession the team has, the more goalscoring opportunities they create. With that in mind, this session concerns itself with winning the ball back as quickly as possible by closing down and pressurising play. While regaining possession is the main aim, the session boosts fitness levels given that it is such an intensive workout.... MORE

Penalty box battles

by Dave Jones in Defending

Defending is a skill that needs practice, as much as dribbling or passing. Within that, it’s vital that players win their 1v1 duels, particularly in and around the penalty box. When we look back over matches where the team has emerged victorious, we’ll often find that our defenders have performed the defending principles well. We... MORE

Transition to counter-attack

by Jack Ross in Attacking

Primarily, work on the speed of your team’s transition from defence to counter-attack, but also focus on their reaction to losing possession and the speed of recovery when transitioning from attack to defence. MORE

Low block & emergency defending

by Matthew Bishop in Defending

Most teams will employ the low block at some point during a season. The key principle of this session is to block the middle of the pitch, starve the opposition of space in terms of vertical lines and prioritise showing the opposition wide. MORE

Switching play

by Lee Johnson in Attacking

Use this session about switching play and switching the point of attack to show your players how to exploit space on the pitch and ultimately create more goal-scoring opportunities. MORE

Team finishing

by Nuno Espirito Santo in Attacking

This is a finishing session, but as it unfolds and progresses it becomes so much more than that. It allows you to devote time to all of the players – practising and repeating specific actions that will be asked of them in a match situation. MORE

Defending – individual, unit and team

by Mick McCarthy in Defending

This session is a straight competition between defenders and attackers. It takes the principles of defending as individuals, in units and as a team, whilst also encouraging forwards and midfielders to engage, thus making it as realistic as possible for defenders. MORE

Movement to receive the ball

by Matthew Bishop in Skills and Techniques

With the compactness of the modern game, getting your team to exploit space when it’s presented is an essential ingredient for success. This practice develops understanding, cooperation and communication between players so that, wherever possible, they take advantage of the space in front of them. MORE

Creating space in midfield

by Paul Peschisolido in Midfield

This session is about creating space in midfield in order to receive or support others in breaks. This scenario often occurs as a first build-up stage in a game when full-backs or centre-backs have possession and want to use it smartly. MORE

Defending crosses

by Mark Bowen in Defending

Use this session to develop the decision making and positional awareness of defenders when faced with a variety of dangerous balls crossed into the penalty area. MORE

Switching play to score

by Stuart McCall in Attacking

Coach your players how and when to switch play to create goal-scoring opportunities – the different activities in this session have a lot of technical, tactical, physical, social and physiological elements within them. These keep the players focused, while also maintaining the sense of competition. MORE

Improving the defence

by Phil Parkinson in Defending

This session begins with simple 1v1 and 2v2 defending exercises in order to rehearse players in the basics. It then progresses through practices designed to show defenders how to deal with attacking wide players and how to prevent crosses. MORE

Direct distribution

by Seamus McDonagh in Goalkeeping

Distribution from goalkeepers - using both feet - is now a vital part of the game. This session helps distribution to real targets become second nature, and prevents keepers kicking aimlessly. MORE

Midfield magic

by Malky Mackay in Midfield

Get your midfielders to link up play and support forwards with this progressive attacking session that's based around core principles of retaining possession and getting the midfield to move freely. MORE

Defending as a back four unit

by Dave Jones in Defending

Get your back four working as a unit, whilst developing a clear understanding of defensive roles. This will create a solidity that is difficult for opposition teams to penetrate, meaning attackers can only create chances by doing something really special. MORE

Attacking with forward runs

by Gary Caldwell in Attacking

Exploiting space and getting behind the opposition defence is a great way to create scoring opportunities. This session is designed to encourage players to make forward runs without the ball, in order to break the last line of defence. MORE

Keeper’s kicking drill

by Adrian Tucker in Goalkeeping

The platform for success often starts with a comfortable and confident goalkeeper, which is why this practice is designed to enhance the composure of goalkeepers when they have the ball at their feet. It uses situations that vary in space, time and pressure to test ability and decision-making skills. MORE

Running in behind

by Alex McLeish in Formations and Tactics

Use this exercise to practise simple movements that are related to improving a player’s awareness of space, developing game intelligence, and encouraging players to understand when, and how, to make runs in behind the defence. MORE

Finding the spare man

by Matthew Bloxham in Attacking

This session focuses on finding the spare man in central areas. It allows for controlled, patient possession, with the belief that if a team dominates the space in the middle of the pitch just outside the penalty area it can dominate the game! MORE

Creating overloads in defence

by Darren Sarll in Defending

Get your defenders creating 2v1s at the back to restrict the attacking threat. You want to see them efficiently and effectively closing down opponents in winning the ball, negating space between the lines. MORE

Link play between forwards

by Sean Dyche in Attacking

Some modern-day formations can make it difficult to gain a true understanding of attacking principles. For that reason, working on movements and link play in the attacking third, as we do in this session, is key. MORE

Pressing

by Karl Robinson in Defending

Pressing is important in all areas of the pitch. In this session we look at pressing technique, the relationships between players, and the value of winning the ball in different areas, with an emphasis on turning over possession and creating onward goalscoring chances. MORE

Long-range shooting

by Gary Johnson in Attacking

Goalscoring, more than anything else, builds confidence in players. And with a game-realistic session such as this, players are building good habits into their match day practice. MORE

Quick finishing

by Brian McClair in Attacking

Use this fast and frantic work out to encourage quick finishing in the context of a small-sided game. It is vital that your players understand and differentiate between shooting and finishing – they should be taking quick and accurate shots on goal rather than just hitting the ball and hoping. MORE

Passing between and through the lines

by Paul Buckle in Attacking

If your team is set up to pass the ball, use this session to practise passing through and around the lines of defence. It focuses on keeping the ball on the floor, with players encouraged to find positive blind side angles of attack. MORE

Possession/transition

by Grant McCann in Attacking

This game is focused mainly on the attacking process so it encourages use of all of the main strengths of the attackers, including their pace and skill. It’s really all about scoring a goal as quickly as possible, and with a time-limited opportunity to score. MORE

Goalkeeping 1v1

by Perry Suckling in Goalkeeping

A goalkeeper must be quick to deal with a 1v1 situation. Not just quick footed, but quick thinking too. This training session creates just the kind of 1v1 situations needed to rehearse the skills and decision-making needed to deal with an oncoming opponent. MORE

Becoming pass masters

by Paul Hart in Skills and Techniques

The four parts parts of this session deal with the basics of passing and receiving. Although simplistic in their delivery, perfecting these techniques provides the platform for almost everything a footballer needs to do on the pitch. MORE

Passing forwards with overloads

by Jamie Day in Attacking

As well as helping your players to be positive when in possession of the ball and encouraging them to attack the opposition with confidence, this session will also demonstrate the benefits of creating overloads using good movement and intelligent decision-making. MORE

Supporting the striker

by Tony Pulis in Attacking

Encourage your players to make forward runs to support the striker. Also, use this session to make attacks lightning fast, with the focus on getting the ball to the striker as quickly as possible. MORE

Dealing with crosses

by Kenny Jackett in Defending

Get your players dealing with crosses that are played both into and outside of the 18-yard box. Heading, clearances, blocks and communication are the key areas of focus in this session. MORE

Pressing and screening

by Roy Hodgson in Defending

Get your players pressing and screening the ball with this dynamic session. It also rehearses when and where to chase, and looks at covering positions within the team, recovery runs, and good 1v1 defending techniques. MORE

Developing defenders’ confidence

by Steve Harrison in Defending

This is a defensive session that takes the form of three different practices. Each one progresses from the last in terms of how defenders are being asked to cope with ever-changing threats, both in terms of additional attacking players and a wider physical area of responsibility. MORE

Crossing for keepers

by Richie Barker in Goalkeeping

Coach your goalkeepers in the basics of anticipating crosses and dominating their area. Having a trustworthy, proficient keeper positively influences the mindsets and playing abilities of all players in front of him, so this is a vital position in any team. MORE

Overlapping

by Malky Mackay in Attacking

Moving the opposition back four with switches of play and timing of overlaps is a vital part of any offensive side’s armoury, which is why this session looks at creating crossing opportunities high up the pitch by manufacturing 2v1 overlaps and overloads. MORE

Possession and retention

by Russell Slade in Midfield

The ability to hold the ball in midfield areas is crucial to any side as gaining control of the midfield often equates to gaining control of the game, so this is a session that should be practised often. MORE

Breaking lines

by Anthony Williams in Formations and Tactics

Help your players understand the importance of using the correct weight and angle of pass. The timing of off the ball runs is an important feature of this session and it should also develop an awareness of how to receive a pass.  MORE

High speed counter-attacks

by Neil Warnock in Attacking

The counter-attack is an integral element of the modern game and teams can utilise this tactic to their advantage. This session specifically encourages attackers to make key penetrating movements that are all very realistic to a game situation. MORE

Positive attacking play

by Tony Pulis in Attacking

Encourage positive play in your team… Any coach who runs this session will be guaranteed to see their players making plenty of crosses, taking all kinds of shots and scoring lots of goals. MORE

Pole to pole vision

by Dan Walder in Skills and Techniques

Develop your players' visual awareness by getting them to look around and interpret detail – in essence processing things in their peripheral vision – so that when the ball does come to them they can switch or develop play immediately. MORE

Transitions of play (offensive)

by Russ Wilcox in Attacking

Mastering the art of stealing the ball is vital if teams are to turn defence into attack. So this session coaches players in being aware of transitions in the middle third of the pitch, teaching them how to perfect a high-energy pressing game. MORE

Pure wing play

by Kenny Jackett in Attacking

Pure wing play is about developing wingers’ ability to cross the ball, whilst promoting relationships and understanding with strikers and other attack-minded team mates. MORE

High press

by Edu Rubio in Formations and Tactics

Pressing high gives your team the chance to regain possession as soon as possible. This session will help both individual roles and team movement when pressing opponents in their own half of the pitch, starting from their defensive third. MORE

Defending 1v1

by Aidy Boothroyd in Defending

If players can take the ball off their opponent anywhere on the pitch, the team is better equipped to deal with an attacking overload, so get your players mastering the art of 1v1 defending. MORE

Defensive understanding through heading

by Dave Bassett in Defending

Use this session to improve understanding between your defenders and goalkeeper. It teaches them how to cope with long aerial deliveries, be they from the opposition keeper or outfield players and highlights the importance of cover when defending. MORE

Passing forward with a purpose

by Guy Whittingham in Attacking

Recognising when to pass forward, sideways and backwards is a core skill and something that must be practised. This session aims to help players understand the importance of passing forward when the opportunity is there to break the lines of defence. MORE

Playing into and around the penalty area

by Sean Dyche in Attacking

One of the most difficult parts of the game is to break down and penetrate the penalty area. This session is all about encouraging movement in and around the penalty area in order to get past a tight defensive unit and create scoring opportunities. MORE

Wing play

by Claudio Ranieri in Attacking

Wing play can be the winning difference for teams on match days. This session works on giving players the ability to make quick decisions to transfer the ball to the wings and to support the movement created by that decision. MORE

Counter-attacking

by Steve Burns in Attacking

This is a session that coaches players in how to build up to counter-attacking, and it uses a whole/part/whole method. That means we take on new ideas before breaking them down and revisiting MORE

Attack against defence

by Ryan Giggs in Attacking, Defending

In this session, because the defending team is facing an overload, it is important for them to work together in the best ways possible. It is up to the attacking team to take advantage of their overload and score goals. MORE

Quick counter-attacking

by Chris Hughton in Attacking

Use this session is to achieve a fast transition from defence to attack. It covers all aspects of high tempo training – defenders not only have to defend overloads, but the session is also about winning possession and fast forward passing. MORE

Compact team movement

by Roberto Martinez in Attacking, Defending

This session is about movement of the team in attack and defence to ensure we remain compact with good distances between players. It also helps us develop good spatial awareness of the player in and out of possession, as well as creating good options for the man on the ball. MORE

Switching play

by Rob Page in Midfield

The session is about passing the ball quickly and effectively across the width of the pitch to utilise space and to penetrate the opposition. Ultimately, players love passing the ball, so following that logic through, quick and effective link-up play is the best way to create opportunities, find weaknesses in your opponents and score goals. MORE

Shooting in and around the box

by Mark Stimson in Attacking

This session is about shooting from different angles in and around the box. It looks at how players can best negotiate space in what is the tightest, most controlled area of the pitch, while also explaining the benefits of reacting after each shot. MORE

Keepers: crossing and distribution

by Billy Mercer in Goalkeeping

This is a keeper session that looks at dealing with crossing then distributing into counter-attacking areas beginning with a good warm-up before moving into basic handling drills, then progress to dealing with crosses and distribution, starting off unopposed then putting in defenders and attackers. MORE

Possession: tactical play

by Graham Westley in Attacking

Use this session to play an open, expansive, forward-thinking passing game, with an emphasis on quick play and forward running. It involves how players should react when the team is in possession and moving upfield. MORE

Accomplished possession and overloads

by Gordon Strachan in Midfield

The session focuses on creating overloads in central areas. It explores the variety of options available for us to ‘own’ this key area, and puts the emphasis on player awareness in possession to make maximum use of what’s in front of them. MORE

Passing through the lines

by Arsène Wenger in Skills and Techniques

This is a training session that incorporates quick combination passing, positional awareness and intelligent decision-making. It’s important to practise this because receiving and passing are core skills, and they are fundamental to the success of every football team. MORE

The final third

by Alan Pardew in Attacking

Get your strikers to replicate movements required on match day. Begin with different phases of play, then look at attacking runs across the face of a defender, pulling off the shoulder, plus complex combination moves. MORE

Penalty box session

by Steve Clarke in Attacking

This is about high quality of crosses into the box with good finishing. It’s important to practise this because it is basic technique, skill and tactical awareness that ultimately leads to goalscoring chances being created. MORE

Defending crosses

by Simon Grayson in Defending

Challenge your players to properly defend crosses into the 18-yard box with this session that examines the requirements of technique, communication, awareness and a true desire not to concede goals. MORE

Match specific defending

by Dean Smith in Defending

Use this session to teach players the key points involved in being a solid defensive team – namely patience, and the ability to delay the opposition in order to allow for cover and support from team mates. MORE

Deliveries from wide areas

by Mark Warburton in Attacking

The focus of this session is on combination play that results in a crossed delivery from a specific wide area. We play with attacking full-backs and like to work the ball into wider positions from which we can deliver quality crosses into the area. The first ‘pattern of play’ allows us to place players in... MORE

Defending crosses

by Alan Pardew in Defending

You only have to look at the number of goals scored from crosses to know why it’s important for to practise this session. It works primarily on players’ recovery runs when out of possession, and teaches the best runs to make out of possession in protecting the goal. MORE

Finishing in the box

by Dean Smith in Attacking

The vast majority of goals scored in the penalty area are achieved using one or two touches. This session therefore rehearses quick thinking and fast shooting in danger areas, where anticipation and speed of thought is key. MORE

Crossing and finishing

by Dean Smith in Attacking

No matter how good you are as an attacking player, you’ll always need great service, and that’s what this session coaches, notably in practising crossing situations from in and around the box. MORE

Counter-attacking short and long

by Shaun Derry in Attacking

This session covers accuracy of passing both in deep areas of the pitch and in and around the goal. It also showcases combination play of centre-forwards and finishing techniques, third man running and defending situations when outnumbered. MORE

Defensive principles

by Chris Hughton in Defending

This is all about setting out a defensive mainframe that also focused on the important aspect of transitions because, as a team, you want to attack and score goals, yet you know that by doing so you will lose possession. So that is when the defensive strategies come into play even more. MORE

2v2s with recovery runs

by Wally Downes in Skills and Techniques

This 2v2 exercise focuses on players making recovery runs, then being positive in both attacking and defending situations. It’s a great session to run during the week if we are looking to work players hard, or in pre-season when building up fitness. MORE

Attacking zones in the box

by Alex McLeish in Attacking

This session is principally about the importance of Zone A (post) and Zone B (post) runs. For simplicity, the balls are delivered from wide areas after a ball exchange. Coaching of movement and accuracy of crossing applies. MORE

Attacking centrally

by Chris Ramsey in Attacking

Get your attacking runners playing through the lines centrally, then progress to get players ‘going around the outside’ and pinning the far post with runners in the box. MORE

Counter-attacking structure

by Kit Symons in Attacking

This is a counter-attacking practice that leads into transitions. The session will start with an unopposed counter, attacking from deep. This will then progress into a 3v2 attacking opportunity and on into a 4v3 with transition to win the ball from deep in order to counter. MORE

Switching play

by Anthony Williams in Midfield

Switching of play is a devastating and dynamic way of catching opposition players out of position, and this session takes the basic principles of switching before adding progressions and advancements in play so that teams can really utilise this attacking weapon. MORE

Defending the counter

by Lee Johnson in Defending

This is an important session to practise if you want to play a high defensive line, because at some point it’s inevitable you will lose possession and become exposed and vulnerable to a counter-attack. MORE

Attacking offside elements

by Eric Kinder in Attacking

More and more centre-forwards are learning how to play smarter when it comes to taking advantage of the rules of offside. Being clever with their movement can cause defenders countless problems, this session looks at attackers keeping defenders deep by standing in offside positions before coming back onside. MORE

Pressing masterclass

by Matthew Bishop in Midfield

A high intensity session comprised of a variety of practices that focus on pressing as a team in game situations and transitional play. The key tactical elements practised are vital for all players in all positions. MORE

Wing and wide man contributions

by David Pleat in Attacking

A progressive and precise session that outlines some of the intricacies of smart wing play. It has been put together to offer a basic wing setup before advancing this through various stages, and using the involvement of additional team mates, plus opposition players. MORE

Switch of play

by Graham Alexander in Midfield

This session is about switching play quickly while in possession. This can be specifically done for your back four, your midfield, or the entire team. It’s important to practise this so that it becomes a habit for players, and so we don’t just pass forwards. Instead, we want to see players working diagonally – this... MORE

Attacking philosophy

by Dougie Freedman in Attacking

This session is designed to replicate our shape in a game, and to give players an idea of our passing and player movement in different areas of the pitch. Rehearsing this sort of movement is vital if players are to gain an understanding of team mechanics, since this mode of attacking play will be replicated... MORE

Shooting from outside the box

by Mark Stimson in Attacking

A shooting session that really gets played in the mood to attack. It’s sometimes assumed that ‘distance’ attacking practices such as this one are just about getting laces behind the ball, but good technique is crucial, particularly with players getting their head over the ball. MORE

Working through the thirds

by Steve Bruce in Midfield

This session rehearses passing, receiving and offering support through thirds of the pitch. It takes directional passing as a warm-up, then brings in opposed possession challenges in outlining a variety of key technical points. MORE

Midfield as a defensive unit

by Steve Lomas in Midfield

Use this session to get your midfield working as a defensive unit. It’s important to practise this because players in the midfield unit need to develop a clear understanding of their defensive roles. They must learn to be an effective bank without, as well as with, the ball. MORE

Improving defending

by David Moyes in Defending

This session is all about establishing and improving defensive principles. It is essential that players know how to defend in all situations: in 1v1s, as a defensive unit, and as a team. MORE

Defending the box

by Sam Allardyce in Defending

The session looks at the core ideal of defending the box, and with it, the goal. It uses 1v1, 2v2 and 3v3 systems working in a unit, highlights crosses into the box and works on phase of play against attacking formations. It’s important to practise this in the first place to achieve what I deem... MORE

Decisive defending

by Roberto Mancini in Defending

Use this exclusive session to focus on showing the opposition outside from the front, incorporating solid formation play and effective covering of team mates. The emphasis is always on getting the ball to the relative safety of the wing. MORE

Back three tactics

by Antonio Conte in Defending, Formations and Tactics

Give players the opportunity to defend the box as a three, and move the ball forward, either by playing through the midfielders, passing out to the wingbacks, or playing the ball directly to the forwards through the channels either side of the midfield. MORE

Playing off the front men

by Mick McCarthy in Attacking

Get your team playing off the front men to get in behind the opposition’s defence. Also, help develop possession to create good opportunities to play into either of the two strikers up front MORE

Counter-attacking masterclass

by Neil Lennon in Attacking

Run this session so that you're prepared to counter-attack with an overload. When an opposition attack breaks down, it’s crucial to be ready and prepared to break quickly, so you can capitalise on the fact they are out of position. MORE

Dealing with crosses

by Neil Cutler in Goalkeeping

This session is designed to help goalkeepers deal with crosses of different heights, power and trajectories. It will not only show them the technical aspects of dealing with the cross, but also howto use momentum and power when working in and around opposition bodies. MORE

Mastering midfield

by Tony Pulis in Midfield

This session relies on the midfield four pressing around the halfway line. It involves movement up and across the pitch to intercept, and dynamic counter-attacking play. MORE

Clever keeper distribution

by Gus Poyet in Goalkeeping

This session is about keeper distribution and retaining possession by building play from the back. It mimics short passes to centre-backs and midfield players, low driven and chipped passes to full-backs and wide midfielders, and longer passes to centre-forwards and wide attackers (through half-volleys and volleys). At Sunderland, the keeper is deemed to have a... MORE

Breaking lines

by Eddie Howe in Attacking

Getting players comfortable when both in and out of possession has been central to my coaching philosophy. I have seen players making huge strides in what they do when mastering the art of protecting or pursuing the ball, and good possession habits ultimately translate on the pitch into other skills. MORE

Defending as individuals and pairs

by Steve Bruce in Defending

We often think of the defence as a unit comprising four or more players, but it’s common for one or two defenders to find themselves in situations where they are exposed to an overload of attackers. This session is one where concentration and communication are absolutely essential. MORE

Defensive principles

by Roy Hodgson in Defending

All basic defending principles can be developed and practised with this session, particularly holding up attacks, pushing up from the back, covering over and getting out quickly to meet the wingers. MORE

Scoring from crosses

by Tony Pulis in Attacking

This session is about scoring from crosses. Balls in from wingers contribute to more goal chances than anything else in the game, so ensuring that attackers make the correct runs is crucial at any level. MORE

So bad it’s good

by Elite Soccer in Book Reviews

It’s fair and accurate to suggest we’re all programmed to compete – even the person least concerned about winning or achieving something/anything will have a tiny, alert element that spurs him on to challenge either himself or someone else. Whether though we can programme that competitive streak into a process and method that can leave us to excel past levels we thought unachievable is ultimately what separates great athletes from really great athletes. MORE

Embracing failure?

by Elite Soccer in Book Reviews

When Matthew Syed published Bounce in 2011, there was a feeling that a lid had been lifted on some of the true psychological mechanics behind talent and power. It was a book of research, gleaned through first-hand experiences over the course of many decades – not least 10 years spent as the number one table tennis player in Britain – that weaved together to create one of the most stimulating and thought-provoking sports coaching books ever to hit the shelves. MORE

Wenger’s invincibles

by Elite Soccer in Book Reviews

Invincible’ is, first and foremost, a tribute to an incredible side who made history by going through the entire 2003/04 Premier League season unbeaten. It overlaps player interviews with a season diary, subtly placing statistics and events into a framework that builds to a momentous crescendo. MORE


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