Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice


Creating intelligent players

davidscwnew

Intelligence on the pitch isn’t something that comes naturally to all players. Many will make good passes or strong tackles but won’t think about what follows. Smart players are those who learn there is more than one part to a move – they must link, support and anticipate.

It is through exercises such as this one that a player’s footballing intelligence can be enhanced – not just so they replicate moves well, but so they realise too that when they’ve made their contribution, the sequence continues to build.

How to set it up:

  • Set up as shown in the diagram, with two players by the first cone (A). Five yards on, place another cone (B), then at right and left diagonals, place two more cones (C and D) 10 yards away.

Getting started:

  • This part of the exercise is run without a ball.

  • Setting off side by side, players sprint from A to B. They touch the cone at B and sprint to the diagonal cone on their side, touch that cone, then race back to the start.

  • As soon as the outgoing player touches cone B, the next man in line begins his run.

Developing the session:

  • For the second part, a ball is added.

  • Two servers are placed two yards either side of cone B.

  • Now, one player advances to cone A, passes to either of the servers, then sprints past B, where he receives the ball back in his stride.

  • This working player dribbles to C or D before returning to the start.

  • Swap the servers so each player has a go at both roles, and encourage working players to change the direction they take around the circuit each time.

Further progression:

  • This time, we place a player on A and two on B, plus two men on C and D.

  • The player at A passes to B, follows his pass and stops at the cone.

  • The player at B turns to his right with the ball, dribbles for a short distance then passes to the player at C.

  • This man receives the pass, dribbles to cone A, and begins the move again from the start.

  • The player at B this time turns in the other direction and heads for D.

Why this works:

Research from Sport England has shown that the average number of times a youth player sprints during a match is 19. The average distance is 10 yards and the run is not in a straight line.

What is replicated in this exercise is passing and receiving, taking into account those sprint statistics for youth matches.

The formation of the exercise also mimics the attacking angles players will practise in matches. And the alternating between cones C and D ensures that players use both feet.

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1 Comment so far
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Coaches have to remember that players need to know how to react, not wait to be told what to do, during actual game play. You want them to be able to handle situations and changes without pause. Complex drills that force your players to pay attention to a lot of things are great for this.

Comment by Jodi Murphy




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