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Another View of This Drill The drill or I call a functional practice is actually called the "Four Goal Game". The main purpose is switching play from one side of the field to the other. If a player with the ball is prevented from moving forward, then he / she should turn with the ball with the objective of passing back to supporting players or by finding players who are in a better position to penetrate weaker areas of the field (preferably 2 v 1 situations). Remember, the game is about decisions and turning with the ball. The earlier the decision and the quicker the turning, the better the player. Key coaching points include ability to switch play either though a series of passes or long accurate passes; communication between supporting players and player with the ball; patience of players who must be in position at all times,this means players on either side of the field waiting for the right time; ability of players to turn on the ball, turn with head up; and finally your point; the ability of players to see the field. This is a great drill and should be encouraged alot. Thanks To: Eric Erickson
Here is my favorite drill that I put my 14 and under team through. It is called 4 Across the Top. As the name suggests, you will have four lines that run across the half field line. Each line will be 10 yards apart. I suggest that you put up cones to show where each line starts. #2 passes the ball about 5 feet in front of #1, then #2 makes a jog behind #1 and as #2 goes around #1, #2 will sprint to the corner of the field. As #2 is sprinting to the corner, #1 will send the ball ahead of #2, so that #2 will have to catch up to it. #2 will do a one touch cross to an awaiting #3 & #4. Now, as soon as #1 passes the ball to the corner for #2, #4 will make a break to the near post and #3 will make a break to the far post. Communication is very important in this drill... When the ball is crossed, the shot is to be a one touch shot at the goal. When they are done., the next group will start. All of the lines will rotate toward the number one position. In other words, #1 goes to #4, #4 to #3, #3 to #2 and #2 to #1... Good luck!!!!!!!! Submitted by Chris Morrissey
A. pass<- C D ->pass .BPlayers A and B are at the cones with the balls. Players C and D show for the ball and then receive a pass and pass it back. Then, they run across and receive a pass from the other passer (i.e. C starts with A, then goes to B, back to A, etc.) Do this for a bit and then switch. The hard part is making sure C and D don't run into each other while running to meet the next pass.Modification:Now, have C be the attacker, D be the defender. Run it the same way, but now C must shield D from the ball to receive the pass. If C stands and waits, they won't get the ball. After a bit, switch C and D, then switch outside and inside. I usually have the defender start with light pressure - just running with the attacker, but I have them increase it to full pressure before too long.I've found that this seems to get the girls to move to the ball better, especially after you add the defender and they "see" why it is important to meet the ball. It also helps with communication - the player in the middle should be able to communicate to the passer to pass the ball to a particular side/foot (depending on how well the player in the middle can hold off the defender - with my U12s it takes some time.)Submitted by Paul Schnake -- U12 Girls A team, West District Tornadoes, Soccer Association of Columbia (MD)
A2 C2 A1 C1 | ^ ^| | \/ | | /\ | | / \| V V B1 D1 B2 D2A1 passes straight across to B1 and follows the pass to the B line; B1 receives, makes an angled pass to C1 and follows pass to C line; C1 receives, makes a straight ahead pass to D1 and follows pass to D line; D1 makes an angled pass to A2, etc.Warm-up Progression* Ask players to pass with specified foot* Restrict number of touches to control ball before making next pass* Switch to an instep pass, if accuracy can be maintained* At some point, have the team envision that each line is a goal post; the straight ahead passes are to the near post, the angled passes are to the far post* Ask the players to pass to the inside foot of the receiving player (i.e., inside the post)Warm-up Coaching Points:* Ensure the inside of the foot is used to pass (as this normally is the most accurate type of pass for a player)* Play should be continuous, have extra balls ready between groups A & C and groups B & D. Bad passes can be chased down by the passer while the next player puts a new ball back into play* Make sure receptions are toward the targetShooting Drill:Setup -- Structure the drill exactly like the warm-up, except with a goal between groups A and C. When A passes to B, B finishes with an angled pass to the far post; when C passes to D, D finishes with an angled pass to his/her far postDrill Progression:* Change drill so that A passes across to D who finishes (to the near post) with a straight on pass; C passes across to D who finishes with a straight on pass* Restrict number of touches before shot* Use instep (if accuracy can be maintained)* Add a GK; initially position the GK away from the post the players will be shooting; that is, the GK should be shaded toward the side that makes the initial pass* Let the GK be active and allow the attacker to finish to the appropriate post and appropriate part of footDrill Coaching Points:* Stress accuracy, not power, constantly* The position of body and support foot should be towards the finishing point* Have player look up to side of goal they are finishing; when GK added, player should look to near post, if not covered shoot there, else go to far post (do not look at or try to find the GK)* Make sure player is looking at the ball at the point when the shot is taken* Team and coaches should reinforce every made goal with some kind of positive exaltation; save the loudest for the accurate goal as the power shot will get its fair share of "oohs" and "aaahs."--Thanks to: Gary Rue, KY HS and Select
* A . GK B *Move the GK out from the goal mouth 2-5 yards to cut down the shooters angle (see figure below). Still the GK should not make diving or angle cutting movements (we are still trying to reinforce positive results at this point). Increase the dribbling distance and speed of the shooter. Gradually have the goalkeeper close down the shooter. The shooter must shoot before the GK closes him down. The GK is still not totally active, other than making a foot save.
* A . GK B *Move the team to real goals (if available). Start with a speed dribble and shot to an unattended goal (they must be within a yard of either post). Accuracy is still the focus. Decrease the speed of the player until they are accurate. Watch for over-kicking and over-striding.Add defensive presence (not pressure) from the side. The player must shoot with the foot opposite the defender. Change the presence to come from behind. Gradually add GK presence (no diving). The GKs can work on their timing of going out to the ball and getting their hands low (they can focus on their technique without worrying about stopping the shot). Increase the pressure from behind enough to make the shooter dribble at full speed. Increase the GK presence and pressure until everything is full speed. Remember to decrease the pressure if the shooter is not able to consistently get the shot off. If the defensive pressure is still too much, then go to timing the attacker (as in the MSL shootout). Make the shooter get the shot off within so many seconds.For an added shooting variation, send in a second attacker for cleanup of any GK deflections. This can be done with a 2v1 setup. Play the ball behind the defender with the attacker running on to start the breakaway.Of course the other breakaway weapon for an attacker is the chip over a GK that has come off his line too soon, or not far enough. In later practices, you can run the same progression as above, but work on the chipping technique. The GK will have to come off his line sooner in the progression. I would not work on this technique in the initial practice(s).Coaching thoughts on breakaways--the GK is most vulnerable on close-in shots when they are low and within 2 feet of either leg. It is often easier for a GK to save shots further away from his body in this situation. The attacker must be trained to recognize this fact. All too often, shots are missed wide because the attacker tries too hard to stay away from a GK that is cutting down the angle. GKs that are moving at the time of the shot are extremely vulnerable, as they are not able to react as well.Attackers often try to dribble too close, swing their kicking leg too hard on the shot or try to shoot at full speed and maximum leg stride. They must have tight dribble control of the ball by the 18, their stride length must be shorten and they should look for the earliest opportunity to shoot. If the first or second touch on the ball after they get inside the penalty area is not a shot, they probably have waited too long.Players must learn to play with both feet. Generally, the inside of the foot or front foot are more effective than the instep (big leg swings are often a prelim to instep shots). Toe balls may be very effective on breakaways as the toe ball produces the low hard shot we are looking for. Also, by the very nature of the breakaway, the ball may be too far in front of the body at the moment of truth for the use of any other part of the foot. However, I would never teach this to any player that frequently uses toe ball passing.--Thanks to: Gary Rue, KY HS and Select
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