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It was great to be back on the pitch again for Week 6 of the Winter Program. Please review the coaching points & comments by your coaches to get additional feedback.
WEEK 4 TOPIC for 5-7 & 8-10 - 1 v 1 / 2 v 2 Attacking
1 v 1
- Attack with Speed
- Bend your Knees to help with doing the skill
- If you don't sell it, they won't buy it (really exaggerate the direction you are trying to fake the defender)
- After executing the skill, accelerate away
- First touch forward to go right at defender with no fear, also can take them to the left or right depending on space available to execute certain skill
- Know what skill you are going to do before you get the ball
- Technique, technique, technique (focus on the technique of the actual skill and get it down 100%
2 v 2 Combinations
- Placement of pass (for a wall pass/1-2, the ball should be played back in space rather than back to feet)
- Communication (especially on overlap, 'Hold, hold, hold, release)
- Quality of pass (weight of pass and accuracy)
- Know what you are going to do or what action you want back before you pass the ball
- Move the ball with speed
13-15 High Performance - 2 v 2 Attacking
- Create relationships with the players you know you are going to be combining with the most (the more you do certain moves/combinations together, the more they will become natural on the field)
- Move the ball with speed
- Quality of pass + Intelligence of pass (weight + accuracy but also where you are placing the ball - as you are attacking, the ball will need to be played in front of the players so you can attack forwards)
- Weight of through balls *** - not every pass has to be a hard pass and this is where you can play a ball in the right space with a lesser amount of speed to make sure the player can meet the ball on their run and then get a chance to shoot or cross
- Awareness (head up to see where the defenders are and where you can put the ball for your pass through or around defenders)
5 - 7 Age Group - Coach Mo
Although we very much wanted to work on 2 v 2s, we made the decision with the coaching staff to work again on 1 v 1s to give players some additional time to really focus and improve on this area of their game. The reason for this was that with the limited time we have with the players, we wanted to make sure they got the first stage before moving onto a topic that would be too difficult for them in terms of the coaching points.
Players did a much better job this week while again focusing on some main 1 v 1 skills including the Messi drop the shoulder, Ronaldo Scissors as the skills were much refined and clean. There is of course still areas to work on like getting the ball out of their feet with their first touch, but even that improved as well as we had another week to reinforce key areas.
We were happy with the group as they thoroughly enjoyed themselves and are learning every week. We look forward to seeing them on Saturday!
8 - 10 Age Group - Coach Mahan
We started the session working on 1 v 1 skills to make sure players had picked up specific skills. The main areas still include 'selling the skill' which means players need to bend their knees and really fake the way they are going to go. The main ones who we worked on again included the Messi, Ronaldo Scissors, as well as the Stop Hop n' Go turn.
After that, we then pushed onto an open session with freedom where players partnered up and then focused on 2 v 2 combinations including wall passes (1-2's) and also overlaps. The 1-2s were quite good however players really need to focus on the placement of their passes to ensure they go in front of the player they are passing to since that player is running and doesn't want the ball at their feet. There was no doubt that the overlap was one of the harder aspects for this group to learn as players struggled with the concept of where to run around the player and when to receive the ball.
A big general area we will have to work on will be the communication of working in pairs as it was quite quiet and in respect to the overlap specifically, players need to work on telling their teammate to hold the ball and then release it at the right time when they are making their run around their teammate.
Definitely a tougher topic for the group, but something we were happy to do to show them what that next level looks like.
U13 - U15 High Performance Group - Coach Ali
It was a tough session for the group in terms of their overall quality and to grasp the session but a good learning experience. The first thing we spoke about right away was players working on something to help activate them before the session to get into the football mind state to train and train hard. The example given to them was for example tapping the badge on their chest, or dragging their feet as they walk on the pitch (something Zidane used to do). This is something that acts as a switch to turn them on and get them ready to stay focused on and work hard.
The areas of quality that were missing from the beginning was their passing technique as they kept making mistakes in the beginning of the session which is something they usually wouldn't. After they finally got a hold on that, then players were having a go at working in pairs first in 2 v 1 attacking and then in 2 v 2 attacking.
The key factors included creating a relationship with the teammate you were partnered up with meaning you had to communicate with them in terms of what you wanted to do and when you wanted to receive the ball. Certain players who are generally more shy opened up a lot more which was great to see so we had some improvement there.
Our biggest struggle on the day actually was our passing which was the main thing that we need to improve on. It wasn't just the passing technique itself but it was learning what type of pass and more specifically, the weight and location of the passes. With the space not being the biggest as if they were doing the same activity on an 11 v 11 field, they really had to measure the pass to make sure #1 it went past the defenders (who were only able to move left and right due to COVID restrictions) and also to make sure it didn't get to the goalkeeper.
Players regularly hit the ball too hard or tried to force it through defenders where they weren't able to get it through or when they did, the ball was rolling too fast for the other player to catch it. The big key how is to watch games and see how players measure their through balls as those balls aren't sent with speed. They are sent with delicate weight and the right accuracy in the right spot. That also doesn't happen magically as players also need to communicate together to show their teammate where they want the ball.
It takes special players to know where to put the ball, in terms of the weight, accuracy and also the communication between players to combine in the right spots and at the right times. For me, this is definitely an area where this group of players need work and it is not just a learning lesson for the players but also for the coaches on what we can work on with this group.
Apart from that, well done to the group for pushing through and here is a video to watch to help with the next stage of developing your combinations and also on passing ability/through balls.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=459zkTf9Jso (focus on the balls played on the ground)
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Great job by all the age groups and we look forward to seeing you this weekend.
Next weekend's topic: 2 v 2 Attacking (REPEAT - without opposition) + Team Attacking
Forever Moving Forward