Economical Training Drills

EXERCISE #1

Playing Area: Open
Equipment: Balls, scrimmage vests in two colors.

Description
When the coach kicks the ball out into the open area, the first player in each line attempts to get to the ball, keep possession and return it to the coach, while the other player is defending him/her, trying to gain possession for himself/herself.

Coaching Points

  • 1v1 attacking and defending skills
  • Decision making
  • Dribbling
  • Shielding
  • Tackling

Progressions
(NOTE: Open area, no boundaries) Coach is equipped with the soccer ball. Color-coded players lined up in two single-file lines — one line on the right side of the coach and one line on the left, each facing toward the open area.

The player that returns the ball to the coach earns a point. This is a 1v1 dual in open space. The moment the coach receives the ball, he/she kicks it out again for the next players in each line (limit lines to a maximum of four players on each side).

After the coach kicks out the ball, he/she should move away from the other players. There are two reasons for this. One — risk to the other players. Two — the players in the competition will look back for their target, anticipating how to turn on their opponent.

Variations
If, before the coach kicks the ball out, he/she says, "Two!", then two players from each line chase the ball and we have a 2v2 competition. The coach can further manipulate the activity by calling out, "Three!" or "Four!"

EXERCISE #2

Playing Area: 20x15 yards (make the area smaller or larger depending on the level of the players).
Equipment: Balls, scrimmage vests in two colors.

Description
The coach serves a ball into the field of play and play begins. When a ball goes out of bounds or if a player dribbles (progress to shooting) through the opposition's goal, the coach sends another ball into the field and play continues in this manner until all the balls are used up.

Coaching Points

  • Fun
  • Making decisions that only the game can present
  • Excitement
  • Dribbling
  • Shooting
  • Passing
  • Anticipation

Progressions
Coach is positioned outside the field at the mid-line with all of the soccer balls. Two players versus two players on the field. Set up two fields so that more of your players are playing. At this point, the coach says that he/she is out of soccer balls and asks all the players to go get a ball and dribble it back to him/her.

EXERCISE #3

Playing Area: 45x35 yards with modified goals (manipulate size to get what you want out of the session).

Description
Goals at each end made out of cones or flags, approximately 5-6 steps wide. Balls are placed outside and behind the goals. Six players versus six players (6v6) on the field.

Coaching Points

  • Technique under the pressure of a game
  • Decision making in the competitive game environment
  • Triangular and rectangular shapes
  • Passing and receiving
  • Shooting
  • FUN

Progressions
Start play with a kick-off from the center of the field. Play is continuous.

EXERCISE #4

Playing Area: 60x45 yards with modified goals (approximate). Manipulate size to get what you want out of the session.

Description
Separate players into two color-coded (red and blue) groups (teams). Play the real game of soccer. Organize the players into two even teams. If there is an odd number, see below and incorporate a neutral player that is always on the attack.

Coaching Points

  • Individual possession and possession in small groups (combination)
  • Individual and collective penetration; get in behind the opponents
  • Pressure, cover and balance on defense; defending in twos, threes and fours
  • Using the extra neutral players to your advantage
  • Mentality; risky on the attack; restrained aggression on defense

Progressions
Select one player who will wear a yellow penny (neutral player). Send seven players from each team to the field. The red players defend one goal at one end of the field and the yellow players defend the other goal. The blue player joins the field as a neutral player. The blue player only plays with the team in possession of the ball, giving them a numerical advantage [i.e. 7v7+1 means eight attacking players versus seven defending players]. The match lasts for 10-15 minutes or have a series of short games (four minutes each).

On the coach's command, the red and yellow teams, along with the blue neutral players, play a 7v7+1 game. The players police themselves; in other words, they control the environment; they sort out rules, etc.  Play 5v5+1 games. (Adjust fields appropriately.) Play 6v6+1 games. (Adjust fields appropriately.)