Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice


Manchester United’s three-ball routine

By David Clarke

davidscwnewManchester United’s first-team coach Rene Meulensteen developed what he called the three-ball routine to increase team speed and mental awareness. I saw it in action and it was a real flurry of movement and attacking action.

I created my own version of it to use with my youth teams.

It provides a very effective way of getting a side prepared for a forthcoming match because it improves the speed of defenders and the movement of attackers.

The routine starts with a shot from outside the box, then moves on to a cross that needs to be defended. As soon as the crossing element has finished, a third ball comes in from the other wing.

Meulensteen said: “It’s an exciting exercise – you’re looking at the quality of the passing and the variety from the wing, while watching runs at the near and far post. Can the players react to the ball?”

How to set it up:

  • Player numbers can vary but we’ve used 10 in this instance.
  • You need balls, cones and a goal, plus one keeper.
  • Place a pole or cone just outside the D of the penalty area, plus two additional
    cones on each wing – one to mark an early cross and the other a deep cross.
  • Four central players stand so the cone just outside the D is between them
    and the goalkeeper, with one player further forward than the others.
  • Two players position themselves on each of the wings.
  • There is one defender in the penalty area.
  • Ensure the central group have a good supply of balls.

Getting started

  • The central players one-touch pass to each other. When the ball arrives at the
    most advanced player, he turns on the cone and shoots first time at goal.
  • As the central group lays a ball to the right wing, the shooter makes his way into
    the penalty area to challenge 1v1 against the defender. Both players prepare for
    the cross from the side.
  • The right crosser then joins the action and the defender must defend 2v1 on a
    cross from the right. The ball is again fed from the central group.
  • The left crosser now joins to complete a maximum 3v1 in the middle.
    Repeat the crossing scenario with the two remaining wingers, this time from the
    deepest crossing cones.

Developing the session:

  • Set up as before but have an attacker and two defenders in the penalty box.
  • The advanced central player lays the ball back to a team mate
    before joining the other attacker – he needs to head for the post not covered
    by his team mate.
  • The ball is switched to the wing and the subsequent cross challenged 2v2 in
    the middle.

Why this works:

This is a great workout for defenders because it’s very match realistic.

There is reward for good play from the attackers in the form of goals, and the growing number of attacking players creates a constantly changing proposition for the lone defender – who ends up defending against a 3v1 overload.

Finally, the variety of attacking angles mean both attackers and defenders need
to stay aware at all times.

Take out a 97p trial to Soccer Coach Weekly today.

Don’t delay! Click here to find out how you can subscribe to Soccer Coach Weekly.



Quick, easy centre circle warm-up

David Clarke

There are times when I have turned up to find the equipment not where I would expect it and all I am left with is a ball and a pitch. So while I wait for the cones, balls and bibs to turn up I play a game that uses a ball and the centre circle.

How to play it

  • Set up as shown in the diagram with players split into pairs. Two pairs start in the middle of the centre circle with others spread around the outside.
  • In the middle, one team is nominated as attackers and the other pair defenders.
  • The attacking pair must keep possession for 30 seconds in order to score a point. To help them do so, they can use players around the outside for one-twos.
  •  If the possession is lost, the other pair now attempts to retain the ball for 30 seconds.
  •  Rotate the pairs every 90 seconds.

CentreCircleWarmUp
Technique and tactics

  •  The central players need to work hard at all times – either in moving to support, or closing down opponents in possession.
  •  Outside players must be alert and ready to receive the ball at all times.


Great passing movement warm up video

Hold player focus with a twist

David ClarkeYou know how we are taught that your players must focus on you during your pre-match team talk and not be chatting or pushing or playing with a ball?

Well try this instead. I get my players to concentrate on this core body strength warm up while they are listening to me talk about the game or training session they are about to take part in.

I think it works, let me know if you do…


How to do it

  • Start by sitting down, only your bottom will be touching the ground during the exercise.
  •  Lean back slightly.
  •  Feet off the ground with ankles crossed.
  •  Bend knees slightly.
  •  Touch ball to ground on each side.
  •  Keep arms straight.
  •  Ten touches each side then rest for 30 seconds.
  •  Do three sets.

How to advance it

  • Keep legs straight.
  • Try the same exercise using a medicine ball (if you have one, or try different sized balls).

Soccer workouts and exercises




Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,172 other followers