Coaching Practice Structures to Assist in Teaching Your Playing Philosophy


Technique practice

  • Unopposed practice with the emphasis on the development of a game technique.
  • Challenges to the development of techniques maybe gradually introduced in the form of increased or decreased time, area, target and degree of difficulty of task.
  • The degree of difficulty will depend on the standard of player performance and rate of improvement.
  • Repetitive technical practice should be employed (at any age and stage of development) to hone muscle memory, enhance technical decision-making, develop and refine ball contact precision.
  • There is a need to move from technical (constant) practice towards decision-making (variable and random) practice to develop understanding.

Example: Basic Dribbling & Passing on the Move

Skill practice

  • Opposed practice with the emphasis on developing the bond between technique and decision-making.
  • Practice contains objectives for all players derived from the technical theme.
  • Appropriate areas, numbers of players involved and imposed conditions will vary around the skill theme for development.
  • All players should be set realistic targets; it is expected that all players will perform realistically.

Example: Basic Ball Retention

Small-sided game

  • A directional game/practice involving goalkeepers in teams less than 11-a-side.
  • Can be used by the coach to work technically or tactically, and is ideal for developing the principles of play and team understanding.
  • Working areas are adapted to meet the session requirements, along with the needs and number of players involved.
  • Official game rules are applied, although some may (and are often) modified.
  • The coach will usually work with one team and on one theme.

Recommend: 9v9 on 80x55yds (system and area to suit needs of practice)