The NaTioNal FooTball curriculum

The NaTioNal FooTball curriculum
The National Football
curriculum
“the roadmap to international success”
Han Berger, National Technical Director
An official FFA Publication
Contents
Foreword by the Chief Executive Officer, FFA..........................A
Preface by the National Technical Director, FFA......................B
Chapters:
1. Fundamental Transformation................................................. 1
2. The National Football Curriculum
Vision and Philosophy ............................................................ 5
“The Australian way”
FFA’s playing philosophy............................................................. 5
FFA’s coaching philosophy........................................................ 20
FFA’s vision to bring the Curriculum to life.................................. 24
3. Youth Development .............................................................. 25
“The Building Blocks methodology”
Each Building Block explained in detail
U/6-U/9: The Discovery Phase ................................................ 29
learning football by playing football
U/10-U/13: The Skill Acquisition Phase................................... 31
learning the functional game skills
U/14-U/17: The Game Training Phase..................................... 35
learning how to play as a team
17 and above: The Performance Phase.................................. 43
learning how to win as a team
Small Sided Football ................................................................ 47
rationale and formats
11 v 11 ....................................................................................... 55
the best against the best
4. Coach Education................................................................... 63
“The Coaching Expertise Model”
5. Model Sessions..................................................................... 83
Discovery Phase Model Sessions............................................. 85
Skill Acquisition Phase Model Sessions.................................. 127
Game Training Phase Model Sessions.................................... 189
Performance Phase Model Sessions...................................... 267
Foreword
How should Australians play football? What skills and style best suit our nation and our hundreds of thousands of players? These are
fundamental questions that should engage the minds of everyone involved in the game from the professional tier to the grassroots.
The FFA National Football Curriculum not only provides answers, but explains the philosophy behind how we should play and illustrates
practical steps that bring the thinking to life in training and matches.
The first version of the National Curriculum in 2009 was a breakthrough in setting out a broad agenda, but this second version is
presented in a way that will resonate in schools, clubs, academies and elite development pathways, in fact anywhere football is played.
I’m delighted to formally publish the National Curriculum and I commend the FFA Technical Director Han Berger and his coach
education team for the meticulous approach to this work.
Having this Football Curriculum available for all the coaches across the nation is a key part of FFA’s Strategic Plan to make football the
biggest and most popular game in Australia.
I look forward to seeing the football that will flow as this curriculum influences our next generation of players.
David Gallop
Chief Executive Officer, FFA
David Gallop
Chief Executive Officer, FFA
Preface
I am proud to present the second edition
of the FFA National Football Curriculum
(NFC), with the sub-title “The Roadmap to
International Success.”
Although there have been many positive
developments since the introduction of
the first NFC in 2009, the understanding
of it in the broader football community can
still be much improved especially at
grassroots level.
The first edition mainly explained the
philosophical starting points but lacked
detailed explanation and practical examples.
This new version explains the mental
and physical characteristics of children
and young adults during the various
developmental stages and how these stages
are linked. It also contains Model Sessions
for every phase and explains how to
organise sessions and plan 6-week training
cycles for a season.
The Curriculum is a practical guide for
coaches and players of every age, gender
or level as well as their parents.
The National Football Curriculum intends to
deliver an Australian playing and coaching
philosophy based on analysis of top football
and scientific research, taking the specific
circumstances and characteristics of
Australian football into consideration.
So, it is not someone’s opinion or a copy
of another country’s curriculum.
It is aimed at a fundamental
transformation of the way football is played
and coached in Australia, especially at youth
level, in order to develop future generations
of players and teams that will enable
Australia to maintain a leading position in
world football, particularly within the Asian
Football Confederation.
I hope this new version of the National
Football Curriculum will create a better
understanding of what high quality youth
coaching is about and therefore help to
dramatically raise the standard of our game
at grassroots level.
I’d like to especially thank my
colleague Kelly Cross for his
contribution to the realisation of
this Curriculum. My thanks are
also due to Ange Postecoglou,
Ben Coburn and Dr. Donna
O’Connor for their peer reviews
of this book.
After all, only a strong and broad foundation
will create quality at the top.
Many challenges still lay ahead but if we all
work together in the interest of our great
game, we can overcome any roadblocks
and hurdles and make Australia truly a World
Leader of the World Game.
Han Berger
1.
Fundamental Transformation
The preface mentioned the necessity of a Fundamental Transformation,
but why is it necessary to change the way we play (and coach) football?
Another reality is that the changing dynamics of the football landscape
force us to adjust in order to stay competitive with the rest in the world.
After all, in the not too distant past Australian football produced many great
players who played in the top leagues of Europe, while the Socceroos
qualified for the World Cups in 2006, 2010 and 2014 and the Matildas
were crowned Asian Champions in 2010.
What worked for us 20 years ago, doesn’t necessarily work anymore.
Today, for example, more players go overseas at ever younger ages.
Also, the introduction of the A-League forced us to revise the AIS program
where the career of many of the ‘golden generation’ started.
The players and coaches involved have brought football to where we
are now in the FIFA Rankings: about 40th in men’s football and 10th
in women’s.
This is a great achievement in a country where historically
football has not been the number one sport.
But for some reason Australia has not produced
the same number of top players in recent years
and fewer Australians are starters at clubs in the
European top leagues.
There are many theories and opinions about the
cause of this, but what is not in doubt is that top
football has developed physically - but especially
technically - to a breathtaking level over the
last 10-15 years.
The modern game at the highest level is a fast,
high intensity, possession-based game where
‘special’ players with match-winning qualities
make the difference.
Since the AIS program is aimed at Australia’s best young players, and in
order to avoid competition with the A-League clubs for the same players,
we had to significantly lower the age of the AIS program from Young
Socceroos age (U/19-20) to Joeys age (U/16-17).
The responsibility for the development of the 17-21 year old players rests
now with the A-League clubs through the National Youth League teams.
The connection between the programs of State and Territory Member
Federations that underpin the National programs also required reviewing
and adjustment.
The government-run State Institutes of Sport have in recent years moved
away from the football programs to primarily focus on ’Olympic’ sports.
In order to safeguard this important layer of the talented player pathway,
FFA and the Member Federations have taken over the ownership of these
National Training Centre programs.
FFA National Football Curriculum - The roadmap to international success | Chapter 1 | Page 2
Every Member Federation now has an
identical Football Department structure with
a Technical Director and coaches for the
male and female National Training Centre
(NTC) and Skill Acquisition (SAP) programs.
These programs as well as the National
Youth Teams and AIS have already been
applying this Curriculum over the last couple
of years.
At these levels the positive effect is already
becoming visible, especially in the brand of
football these teams are playing and the type
of players that are being developed.
There have also been encouraging signs in
the A-League. Ange Postecoglou, one of
Australia’s top coaches, has seen evidence
of ‘footprints in our football landscape’ and
‘an impact at A-League level’, especially
reflected in the success of Brisbane Roar’s
high possession, technical brand of football.
Where the change hasn’t yet fully happened
and the National Football Curriculum still
has to make a real impact is at the level
underpinning these elite programs.
The National Football Curriculum is therefore
primarily aimed at the thousands of children
and youngsters who are playing football at
grassroots level as well as their coaches
and parents.
It is at this level that a fundamental change in
mentality and approach must take place and
the National Football Curriculum should have
its biggest impact
From ‘fightball’ to football
What exactly do we mean by a fundamental
change in mentality and approach?
Generally in Australian youth football far too
much emphasis is placed on results and this
hinders the development of skill, creativity
and tactical cleverness - characteristics
we currently lack compared to the best
of the world.
Of course everyone wants to win when
playing football, that’s the purpose of
the game.
But in youth football we should primarily
teach young players the proper skills and
allow them to play without negative pressure,
to express themselves and be allowed to
make and learn from mistakes.
In other words, there needs to be a better
balance between results and development.
Is this some sort of woolly opinion?
Consider the field research study (2011)
by Chris Sulley of Europe’s most renowned
youth academies (Bayern Munich, Ajax,
Barcelona, the French National training
centre at Clairefontaine, and others).
Sulley states:
“All the organisations focused on
development above and beyond winning
on match day”
Apparently the best in the world share the
same point of view.
Doubters should also read the book
‘Coaching Outside the Box’
by Mairs and Shaw.
‘Winning at all costs’, which is often the
traditional Australian way, has a number
of very negative side effects for youth
development.
If winning is made too important in youth
football, coaches automatically tend to select
physically and mentally more developed
children. These so-called early developers
are usually children born early in the year, for
being 10-11 months older usually makes a
big difference at a young age.
1.
Fundamental Transformation
This phenomenon is universally known as the Relative Age Effect (RAE) and results in overlooking large numbers of kids who may potentially be more talented than the
early developers.
Another negative factor is that an unhealthy level of psychological pressure at a young age suffocates creativity and initiative. The result is that you develop reactive
instead of proactive behaviour: out of fear of being criticised when making a mistake, children start looking at the coach for solutions instead of trying to solve football
problems themselves.
Finally, fitness is made far too important in youth football because many coaches think that is what is going to make their team win. Interestingly, analysis shows that
fitness was not a decisive factor at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The fittest teams were not the most successful, but rather the technically best teams containing the
‘special’ players had the greatest success!
More importantly, by having young players running laps around the park and doing push-ups and sit-ups, we waste a lot of very valuable football training time.
FFA National Football Curriculum - The roadmap to international success | Chapter 1 | Page 4
By the age of 12-13 the basic skills and right techniques
need to already be imprinted. After that age you can only
catch up and patch up to mask or modify bad habits and
technical deficiencies. So skill and technical development
should be our focus, especially given the fact that in
Australia we only play football 6 months of the year while in
most of the world football is played year round!
A good example of that approach is Japan which started
their football development plan 20 years ago with the results
only now starting to become visible.
This (and much more) is what is meant by a fundamental
transformation and that’s what the National Football
Curriculum is essentially about. We have no more time to
lose because football does not stop developing to wait for
Australia. Not only is the development of the world’s best
nations accelerating to a breathtaking level, also some Asian
countries are catching up with us rapidly.
“Developing young players who are capable of
excelling on the international stage is not an issue
which will change in the short-term and it is crucial
that a long-term development mindset is adopted”
However, we have to realise that only a consistent and
structured long term approach will deliver the necessary
changes and improvements.
Sir Trevor Brooking puts it this way in his foreword of
the English FA’s new Technical Guide for Young Player
Development.
2.
Vision & Philosophy
BP > BPO
FFA’s Football Vision and Philosophy is not just one individual’s preference or opinion. It is based
upon extensive analysis of (top) football and scientific research, taking the Australian circumstances
and characteristics into account.
In this chapter we explain the rationale of:
•FFA’s playing philosophy
•FFA’s coaching philosophy
•FFA’s vision on how to bring the theory to life.
BP
BPO
BPO > BP
FFA’s playing philosophy
Although football is a very difficult game for players to master, the essence of the game can be very
simply expressed:
‘Two teams of 11 players try, within the rules of the game, to win by scoring at least one goal more
than the opponent’.
In other words, the purpose of the game is trying to score goals when we have the ball
and prevent the opponent from scoring when they have the ball.
Any game of football, regardless of formation or playing style,
can be divided into 4 phases:
1. Ball Possession (BP) : this is the phase when our team has
the ball and we are attacking;
2. Ball Possession Opponent (BPO) : this is the phase when
the opponent has the ball and we are defending;
3. Transition to defence (BP>BPO) : this is the phase when we
lose the ball and must switch from attacking to defending;
4. Transition to attack (BPO>BP) this is the phase when we
win the ball back and switch from defending to attacking.
We call these phases the ‘four main moments’
FFA National Football Curriculum - The roadmap to international success | Chapter 2 | Page 6
‘Proactive’ or ‘reactive’?
There are many successful playing styles in world football. Some teams take defending as their
starting point. Their first priority is not to concede goals and their playing style and team organisation
is attuned to that. They allow the opponent to have a lot of possession and defend as a compact
unit in their own half. When the opponent loses the ball in these tight areas, they try to strike on the
counter attack. We call this a reactive playing style and some teams have been and still are very
successful playing the game this way.
Other teams take attacking as the starting point and their first priority is to score goals.
Their playing style and team organisation is attuned to putting the opponent under so much pressure
that they will make defensive mistakes and concede goals. These teams take the defensive risks of
this playing style for granted, counting on the fact that they will always score more goals than they
will concede. This proactive playing style is generally more attractive but also more difficult to apply
successfully.
Between these two extremes there exist of course also many successful ‘hybrids’.
In defining FFA’s Football Philosophy and Playing Style we looked closely at the Australian mentality
and psyche, both in general life and in sport. It’s obvious that a proactive playing style corresponds
best with the Australian mentality: the fighting spirit of Australian teams and athletes is renowned all
over the world and Australians always want to ‘go for it’.
‘After the World Cup in 2006, we decided to concentrate more on ball possession and
on initiating play. We set out to change our footballing culture and to move away from
reactive play’
Joachim Löw, National Team Head Coach, Germany
2.
Vision & Philosophy
‘Possession-based’ or ‘Direct Play’?
A proactive playing style can be applied in
various ways.
The two extremes
of proactive
football playing
styles
•One extreme is the possession-based style
of football made famous by FC Barcelona.
•The other extreme is ‘direct play’, which involves
playing long passes from the back to the front,
thereby taking the shortest route to the opponent’s
goal. This version of ‘proactive football’ is the
traditional approach to the game in Australia,
perhaps because of the influence of the other
Australian football codes.
Possession-based
Possession-based
Direct Play
Direct Play
Dominating the game by controlling possession
Putting the opponent under pressure by aiming long passes towards the strikers
as quickly and as often as possible
Patient build-up
Aerial and physical power to create scoring opportunities
Break down compact defences with individual skill and creative combination play
‘Long ball – second ball’ approach
Having expressed Australia’s natural preference for ‘proactive’ rather than ‘reactive’ football, we then had to decide which end of the above ‘proactive spectrum’ would
be the wisest choice for our national technical direction: ‘possession-based’ or ‘direct play’?
In itself, there is nothing wrong with the more physical ‘direct play’ style of football, as historically some teams and countries have had a certain amount of success with
it, but is it the right playing style for us to adopt if our aim is to challenge the best in the world?’
FFA National Football Curriculum - The roadmap to international success | Chapter 2 | Page 8
The English FA adopted a ‘Direct Play’ approach in the 80s and
90s, based on some statistics that showed most goals were scored
following moves of 3 passes or less. If that was true, it was argued,
then why bother with patient build-up and controlled possession?
Why not simply launch continuous long passes towards the strikers,
hope for the ‘second ball’, and then score in 3 passes or less?
This approach led to some short-term success for teams who
adopted it (Wimbledon, Norway, Republic of Ireland) but did not lead
to any real success for England at international level; in fact, one
might suggest that the opposite has occurred.
Many have questioned the validity of the ‘3-pass rule’, as the data
didn’t distinguish between three-pass moves resulting from long
passes and those from winning the ball in the opposition half, set
plays, etc. Obviously, many set plays or quick regains that led to
3-pass goals may have been gained after a multi-pass phase of
possession.
It was also apparent from the data that at the higher levels of football,
moves involving a higher number of passes are more successful.
The English have long since abandoned their ‘Direct Play’ policy, and
those responsible for it have been accused of ‘poisoning the well’ of
English football.
To gain further information on ‘possession-based’ versus ‘direct play’,
we took a close look at the best in the world, using FIFA’s analysis
of the 2010 World Cup, and the UEFA Technical Report on the Euro
2012 tournament.
FIFA’s expert analysis of the top three teams in South Africa in 2010
(Spain, Holland and Germany) was as follows:
Spain (1st)
Holland (2nd)
Germany (3rd)
Patient build-up play from the Patient build-up play from the Patient build-up play from the
back through the midfield
back through the midfield
back through the midfield
Excellent passing game
Excellent passing game
Excellent passing game Good options for the player in
possession
Influential individual players
(INIESTA, XAVI, VILLA)
Influential individual players
(SNEIJDER, ROBBEN)
Influential individual players
(SCHWEINSTEIGER, OEZIL,
MUELLER)
Comfortable in possession
when under pressure
Disciplined, well-organised
defence
Disciplined, well-organised
defence
Disciplined, well-organised
defence
Dangerous at set pieces
Dangerous at set pieces
Immediate pressure after
losing possession
Winning mentality
Winning mentality
Winning mentality
Good links between the team
Excellent team spirit
lines
Width of the pitch used well
Good links between the team - wingers attack the goal,
lines
are able to cut in, good 1 v 1
situations
Width of the pitch used well
- wingers attack the goal,
are able to cut in, good 1 v 1
situations
Width of the pitch used well
- wingers attack the goal,
are able to cut in, good 1 v 1
situations
Midfield pressing
Rapid transition from defence
to attack
Immediate pressure after
losing possession
Effective use of full-backs
2.
Vision & Philosophy
There are several striking similarities between these three successful teams at the
2010 World Cup, but in terms of answering our questions about ‘possessionbased’ football or ‘direct play’, the answer is clear. All three employed a ‘patient
build-up from the back through the midfield’ and an ‘excellent passing game’, and
no mention of long forward passing can be found. So direct play does not appear
to be the way to gain success.
The UEFA report on Euro 2012 also states that the ‘trend towards possessionbased football is undeniable’, especially in comparison with Euro 2008.
Euro 2008
Euro 2012
Highest no. of passes in one game
Highest no. of passes in one game
Spain
510
Highest Team average, passes per
game, was Spain with 450
Spain
929
(almost double the record
in 2008)
Every team except Ireland averaged
more than 450 passes per game
(which was the tournament high
in 2008)
Detailed data shows also that ‘the trend is away from a long-passing game’
(a ‘long pass’ is defined as one of 30 metres or more; a ‘medium pass’ is between
10 and 30 metres and ‘short passes’ are those which cover less than 10 metres)
•Long passes by the finalists throughout the tournament: Spain 8%; Italy 11%
•Most long passes: Ukraine (equal bottom of their group) 18%; Republic of
Ireland (bottom of group, 0 points) 19%
The only teams that were described in ‘direct play’ terms were:
•Republic of Ireland (bottom of their group): ‘Frequent use of long passes’
•Ukraine (equal bottom of their group): ‘Attacks sometimes based on direct
passes to Shevchenko’
•Sweden (equal bottom of their group): ‘Blend of direct passing and
combination play’
(The Czech Republic who lost their quarter-final to Portugal, are described as
employing ‘regular use of direct, back-to-front passes to lone striker Baroš’,
however, they were also analysed as having ‘a possession game’, ‘clever
combinations’ and ‘fluent, incisive middle-to-front passing’)
The evidence from Euro 2012 seems to add more weight to choosing the
‘possession’ end rather than the ‘direct’ one. ‘Direct play’, based on frequent long
forward passes, does not appear to be a policy of the top-performing nations.
The analysis of these major tournaments in 2010 and 2012 clearly shows that with
a direct playing style it is very difficult, if not impossible, to be successful in modern
top football, and that the most successful nations can be categorised as preferring
the ‘possession’ end of the spectrum.
FFA National Football Curriculum - The roadmap to international success | Chapter 2 | Page 10
Barcelona, one of the world’s leading club teams, appear to be the extreme in
‘possession-based football’, consistently averaging around 68% possession
in the Champions League.
At Euro 2012, Russia and Holland averaged 56% of the possession in their three
games, but went home after the Group Stage. England, despite only 36%
(25% during extra-time) against Italy, could have won the quarter-final shootout.
Spain, however, averaged 54% when they won Euro 2008, with only 48%
in the Final; they averaged 59% at Euro 2012, and in the Final had 47% in the
first half but thanks to Italy being a man down finished with a marginal 52%-48%
advantage.
Possession is not an end in itself: it is a means to an end. What is the point in
keeping possession in your own half for minutes on end, if there is no end product?
The only statistic that matters is the scoreline!
What is important to stress here is that we should not start an ‘obsession with
possession’: the crucial point is this:
Possession alone is not the key
It is foolish to believe that all you need to do in order to win football matches is end
up with a higher percentage of possession than your opponent. We are all aware
of matches in which the winning team’s possession statistics are inferior to those of
their beaten opponents.
What appears to be the difference with the really successful teams is how
possession leads to scoring chances.
The Euro 2012 report puts it this way:
‘As in the UEFA Champions League, the challenge was to translate
possession and inter-passing into a positive attacking game’
2.
Vision & Philosophy
When one looks closely at the statistics from Euro 2012, one finds an interesting
point: a key difference between the top teams and those eliminated in the Group
Stage is the number of passes made in the attacking third of the pitch
(and successful completion of those passes).
Spain, Italy and Germany had 50% more passes in the attacking third on average
than those eliminated.
Spain averaged 217 passes in the attacking third (80% successful),
Germany 200 (80% successful) and Italy 135 (70% successful).
In comparison, Ireland averaged 90 passes in the attacking third,
with around 54% success.
Recent data from the English Premier League supports this evidence.
‘SUCCESSFUL PENALTY AREA ENTRIES’
•The Top 4 EPL teams were approximately 40% better than the teams
placed 9th-20th
‘TOTAL TEAM SHOTS’
•The Top 8 EPL teams were approximately 25% better than the teams placed
9th-20th (a reflection of significantly higher ‘successful penalty area entries’)
‘TOTAL TEAM SHOTS ON TARGET’
These ‘successful passes in the attacking third’ figures also translate to the real
measure of effective football: shots on goal and shots on target:
•The Top 8 EPL teams were approximately 40% better on average than the
teams placed 9th-20th (a reflection of the two points above)
Spain, Italy and Germany = >25% more shots on goal on average than those
eliminated.
The evidence therefore leads us to believe that the ‘possession-based’ end of the
spectrum is the wisest choice.
Spain, Italy and Germany = almost 60% more shots on target on average than
those eliminated.
However, the emphasis must be on EFFECTIVE possession.
FFA National Football Curriculum - The roadmap to international success | Chapter 2 | Page 12
Individual Skill and Combination Play
Counterattacking
In modern football, more and more teams are able to defend effectively, and most
have the ability to form a ‘defensive block’ of eight or more players in a compact
unit. Therefore, successful teams have had to develop exceptional ability in
breaking down these defences.
What can also be deduced from World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012, is that top teams
need to have the ability to launch quick counterattacks. One can also observe
the potent use of counterattacking in successful club teams such as Real Madrid.
However, UEFA point out the ‘declining effectiveness of the counter’: in Euro 2008,
46% of the open play goals were from counters, but in Euro 2012 only 25% of
goals from open play were derived from counters. This decline is also observed
in the UEFA Champions League, where the percentage steadily fell to 27% in the
2011/12 season.
A key factor in defeating the ‘block’ is creativity. Teams need to have skilful
individuals who can ‘pick the lock’ and find a way through the tight defences.
The top four teams at the 2010 World Cup all had more than one of these special
‘match winning’ players:
Match-winning Players – FIFA World Cup 2010
Spain
Xavi, Iniesta, Villa
Holland
Sneijder, Robben, Van Persie
Germany
Oezil, Mueller, Schweinsteiger
Uruguay
Forlan, Suarez, Cavani
As well as creative individuals, teams also need quick and clever combination play.
This involves two or more players working together to produce unpredictable
inter-passing and mobility in order to penetrate the ‘block’
These individual and combination qualities are also key points in UEFA’s analysis
of the top four teams at Euro 2012. They are also mentioned in the reports on
Croatia, Czech Republic, England, France, Holland, Russia and Sweden.
Australia must work to develop more players like these in order to improve
performance.
The evidence suggests that the ability to counterattack quickly and successfully is
a ‘weapon’ that successful teams have at their disposal. Even ‘possession-based’
teams will look for the opportunity to do so when their opponent is disorganised or
slow in transition.
We must ensure that this ‘weapon’ is also developed. The danger of overstressing ‘possession and more possession’ is that players may not look for
counterattacking opportunities, and if they do, may not be equipped to exploit
them.
2.
Vision & Philosophy
Mental Strength
In the UEFA report on Euro 2012, reference is made to a theory that ‘teams can be measured by their reactions
to adversity.’ Asked to name the factors that can make a difference in a contest between evenly-matched teams,
Gérard Houllier responded: ‘Heart, commitment and mental resilience.’
Croatia’s coach, Slaven Bilić, echoed this opinion. ‘We are not as strong mentally as teams like Germany or Italy.
We need to improve this and we are working hard to do that.’
It is well-documented that Australia has always possessed this ‘never-say-die’ quality. Indeed, our National
Team players themselves, in ‘The Way of the Socceroos’, singled it out as a major strength of Australian football.
Whereas countries like Croatia apparently need to develop this attribute, it seems to be an in-built component in
Australia. Therefore, we must ensure that we maintain this valuable asset of our players.
However, it should be stressed that ‘mental strength’ alone will not make us a world leader. It is a quality that
supports good football, but it doesn’t replace it. Houllier’s words above define this ‘X Factor’ as something that
will give an extra edge to one team, not as the only ingredient required for success.
UEFA’s analysis of the teams at Euro 2012 gives special mention of mental strengths when describing Poland
and The Republic of Ireland.
POLAND: ‘Strong team ethic, fighting spirit and character’
IRELAND: ‘Energetic and highly competitive; mentally strong; never-say-die attitude’
Both these teams, however, finished at the bottom of their respective groups, highlighting the fact that these
qualities alone are not sufficient to bring success.
FFA National Football Curriculum - The roadmap to international success | Chapter 2 | Page 14
Here, it is interesting to look at some of the main points of the analysis of Ireland at
Euro 2012.
Ireland Euro 2012 (last place)
•Defence well equipped to deal with long balls and high crosses
•Frequent use of long passes
•Good ‘second ball’ mentality
•Emphasis on quick deliveries to classic twin strikers
•Heroic defending: blocks, interceptions, tackles
•Energetic and highly competitive; mentally strong; never-say-die attitude
Now consider the fact that Ireland played three matches, lost all three, scored one
and conceded nine! What use is all that heroism and competitiveness when you
finish bottom of your group? What use are all those long passes and a
‘well-equipped’ defence, if you rank 15th or 16th in all the key attacking statistics?
FIFA’s analysis of Australia at the 2010 World Cup consisted solely of the
following points:
Australia FIFA World Cup, 2010 (21st place)
•Deep defensive block
•Attacks using the width
•Immediate pressure after losing possession
•Strong, hard-working players
•Determination
Clearly, we too are noted for our physical and mental qualities and must never
lose this strength. It is also clear, however, that we must work to ensure that
future analysis of Australia at major tournaments also includes more prominent
mention of technical strengths and that our key statistics reveal a more successful
attacking threat.
2.
Vision & Philosophy
Approach to Defending
FFA’s philosophy is that it is preferable to be in possession of the ball as that will allow us to dictate what happens in the game. Obviously, if we have the ball then the
opponent cannot score.
Logically, therefore, when we lose possession our objective is to get it back as soon as possible. This does not necessarily mean that we must continuously press
the opponent high up the field and close to their goal. However, it does mean that we should defend in an intelligent manner, finding the best way to win the ball back
according to the situation.
At Euro 2012, UEFA’s Technical Report states that the priority for most of the teams was to transition quickly into defensive positions. At the same time, though,
their intention was to put pressure on the ball carrier.
It was noted, however, that whenever it was possible many teams would engage in collective high pressing, based not only on pressurising the ball carrier, but by using
additional players to cut off the short-passing options. In this way, they were able to restrict the game within small areas, with the players on the far side pushing across
towards the ball to complete a back-to-front and side-to-side squeezing operation.
This ability to high press was closely linked to an attacking philosophy: those teams who were prepared to push a larger number of players forward to join in the attack
were the ones who had players in place to immediately exert high pressure and win the ball back quickly. By contrast, teams with a more ‘direct play’ approach,
using long passes from back third to front third, were less able to utilize a high-pressing game.
Spain, the Champions, often used the high-pressing practices of FC Barcelona, but like many of the teams at UEFA EURO 2012 did not attempt to sustain this
high-intensity pressure for long periods.
The FIFA Technical Report from the 2010 World Cup also identified a trend towards ‘early pressing’. A link was suggested between this quick pressure and limiting
opponents’ ability to counterattack.
There is no evidence from the last World Cup and most recent European Championship that ‘retreat defence’ is a tool used by leading football nations.
In other words, top teams do not seem to react to loss of possession by ignoring the ball carrier and immediately retreating to defensive positions deep in their
own half to wait for the opponent.
FFA’s philosophical preference, then, for a ‘proactive’ style of defending seems to be matched by trends at the top level of the game, while also fitting perfectly
with Australia’s traditional competitiveness and winning mentality.
FFA National Football Curriculum - The roadmap to international success | Chapter 2 | Page 16
Summary of key points:
•‘Proactive’ rather than ‘reactive’
•‘Possession-based’ rather than ‘direct play’
•‘Effective possession’ is the key
•Creative combination play is required to break down defences
•Unpredictable individuals are the match winners
•Ability to counterattack quickly
•Commitment and mental resilience
•Proactive defending
The challenge now is to define a successful ‘modern’ Australian playing style, which
incorporates the analysis of the world’s top teams and top-level football, while
maintaining Australia’s unique strengths. We clearly have to make realistic changes
and adjustments to our traditional playing style while preserving our own identity.
It’s not realistic to try and make Australia play like Spain, Brazil or anyone else.
2.
Vision & Philosophy
National Playing Style Statement
FFA’s Football Philosophy can therefore be summarised in the following statement of a national playing style:
A proactive brand of football, based on effective possession with the cutting edge provided by
creative individuals.
Defensively the key components are quick transition and intelligent collective pressing.
The Playing Style is underpinned by a strong ‘team mentality’, capitalising on Australia’s
traditional strengths.
FFA National Football Curriculum - The roadmap to international success | Chapter 2 | Page 18
This means we must focus on developing teams and players that are able to
execute this playing style and we therefore looked at the main prerequisites.
Key Elements
Prerequisites
Dominate and control the game
through effective possession
Quality positioning play
Get the ball and our players into
goalscoring positions in a structured
manner
Break down compact defences
through individual skill and creative
combination play
Strive to possess the ball
(the more we have the ball, the less
we have to defend)
Win the ball back through quick
transition and intelligent collective
pressing
High technical level (all players must
be comfortable on the ball)
Special players
A suitable playing formation
Willingness and ability of all players to
immediately transition from BP>BPO
and BPO>BP for 90 minutes
(high-intensity football)
High level of football-specific
fitness (the essence of the Football
Conditioning methodology)
To explain further, a characteristic of possession-based football is to dominate and
therefore control a game by retaining the ball. Effective possession means that
keeping possession should not become an aim in itself but that it should be
a means to getting the ball and our players into goalscoring positions in
a controlled manner (as opposed to ‘trust to luck’). Effective possession should
also lead to a higher number of successful entries into the attacking third, more
shots on goal and more shots on target.
To be able to do that all players, including the goalkeeper, must be technically
proficient and all players must understand and be able to execute quality
positioning play.
What is also important in breaking down compact defences, as well as
combination play and individual skill, is stretching the opponent’s defence and
using the width of the pitch. The FIFA analysis mentions this as a characteristic
of all of the top 3 teams of the 2010 World Cup. All three had creative and fast
wingers, which is one reason why we have a preference for a 1-4-3-3 formation.
Another reason is that pressing an opponent’s defence is easier with three
attackers who are spread across the width of the pitch rather than with two.
A high-intensity playing style like this is only possible if all players are able and
willing to consistently execute the team and individual tasks during the whole
game. Whether players are able to do that depends on their football-specific
fitness while their willingness to do that depends on discipline and perseverance:
traditional Australian characteristics.
In Chapter 3 we will explain when and how to develop the main elements of our
preferred playing style through the Building Blocks methodology.
2.
Vision & Philosophy
Further lessons from the 2010 World Cup
What does the future look like?
Clear Attacking Strategy
‘The football of the past we must respect;
the football of today we must study;
the football of the future we must anticipate’
FIFA reports that ‘the most successful teams had a clear attacking strategy’. We
believe that the processes that have been put in place in Australia as a result of
the National Football Curriculum will provide our National Teams with this attribute.
A ‘clear attacking strategy’ is much easier to achieve when you have a clear
philosophy on football and the vision to make it happen. We look forward to the
day when football experts look at our teams and easily recognise the ‘Australian
style’ and our specific brand of attacking football.
Solid Youth Development Work
A link was observed between those countries who have been very proactive
and successful in Youth Development, and the countries who performed well in
South Africa.
Australia aims to enhance and extend its Youth Development programs and
educate more Youth coaches in order to achieve similar success at senior national
team level. One can already see how Japan have demonstrated the value of such
a policy.
In projects such as this National Football Curriculum, the first two of the above
should not pose too many problems. However, the third one is not so easy.
We have used an evidence-based approach to identify trends and patterns in
current top-class football. But where is the evidence of the future? Of course,
it doesn’t exist.
Therefore, FFA plans to constantly monitor world football, regularly review the
journey we have set out upon, and where necessary re-adjust the compass.
We feel, though, that football in the future will always require technical players
who make clever and creative decisions quickly, which is our stated focus in
Youth Development.
We also feel that the Australian culture will not shift away from the proactive, neversay-die, winners mentality, and therefore the fundamental philosophy
is well-positioned.
Perhaps one could say that a true ‘proactive’ nation will be one of those that
actually shapes the future rather than react to what others are doing: because
if you are always trying to copy others, you will always be at least one step behind.
FFA National Football Curriculum - The roadmap to international success | Chapter 2 | Page 20
FFA’s Coaching Philosophy
So, we’ve outlined FFA’s specific philosophy on how football should be played, but
FFA also has a specific philosophy on how football should be coached.
In Chapter 4 (Coach Education) FFA’s coaching philosophy is explained in detail,
but the essence of FFA’s coaching philosophy is this:
Traditionally, it has been accepted that football has four main components
(Technical, Tactical, Physical and Mental). Based on this, coaches and coach
educators have tended to distinguish these four elements and develop them
separately. We call this the ‘isolated approach’.
However in doing this, the holistic process of perceiving (a football situation),
deciding (how to act) and executing (the acting itself) is being separated. Football
is a game of constantly quick-changing situations. Not one situation is the same as
the one before or after. The complexity of football situations is determined by what
we call the ‘football-specific resistances’.
This means that I have to do ‘something’ with the ball (which requires ‘technique’)
but that ‘something’ depends on football-specific resistances such as: how
much time do I have; how much space do I have; in what direction must I go;
where are my team-mates; where are the opponents and what do they do; etc.
The football-specific resistances activate the holistic PERCEPTION-DECISIONEXECUTION chain. In the traditional isolated approach, the focus is often only on
the EXECUTION link of the chain.
2.
Vision & Philosophy
ISOLATED APPROACH
Here is a visual to explain this point:
In this example dribbling/running
with the ball is being practised
but there is no real football
context since most of the game
specific resistances (space;
time; direction; team-mates;
opponents) are missing. From the
chain PERCEPTION-DECISIONEXECUTION only the execution part
is being practised.
This player will probably get very
skilful at ‘dribbling through cones’
but the question we have to ask
ourselves is:
“How much does this drill
help the player to get better at
running with the ball in a real
game, or are there better ways
to achieve that goal?”
FFA National Football Curriculum - The roadmap to international success | Chapter 2 | Page 22
Scientific research shows that the most educationally effective way to develop football players is to leave the PERCEPTION-DECISION-EXECUTION chain as much
as possible intact. This is FFA’s philosophy on coaching football and we call this the holistic approach. The rationale and detail of FFA’s coaching philosophy is further
explained in chapter 4.
Another important aspect of the holistic approach is that we believe it’s not only the most educationally effective way, but also the most time effective way.
This fact is very important since we play football only 6 months of the year in Australia! In most of the world football is played year round. In many cases also the quality
and frequency of practice is higher. This means that we have to be very conscious in deciding what we do with our precious practice time. We cannot afford to waste one
minute of valuable training time on non-football-specific practice.
How else will we ever be able to become good enough to challenge the best in the world?
2.
Vision & Philosophy
Holistic vs Isolated approach
Australia:
Rest of the
world:
year round
quality football
6 months
other sports
Wasted time?
6 months
football
‘Wasted Time’ is time spent on non-football-specific
activities, such as isolated technique training or isolated
fitness training. Because of this, the season of 6
months may only be 4 months of actual football!
FFA National Football Curriculum - The roadmap to international success | Chapter 2 | Page 24
In Australia there is an especially strong
tendency to regard fitness training as something
exclusive and therefore separate (‘isolate’) it from
football training. But by doing that we again lose
valuable time of which we are short as it is!
Of course you need to be fit to be able to
perform optimally but it is perfectly possible to
get fit for football by playing football. Footballspecific fitness and conditioning are therefore
also a part of FFA’s holistic coaching philosophy.
All the generally accepted physiological training
principles are being applied through the Football
Conditioning Methodology that is part of this
Curriculum: the players acquire high footballspecific fitness levels without wasting valuable
football training time!
Bringing the curriculum to life
So, we have now outlined and explained FFA’s
football and coaching philosophies. The next
question is: “how can we bring the theory to
life?” In the vision of FFA, Coach Education
and Youth Development are the primary
strategic spearheads to realise the Curriculum’s
objectives.
Why Youth Development?
Well, youth development in Australia is presently
inconsistent in both quality and approach due
to factors such as the diversity and self interest
of clubs; coaches; agents; private academies;
schools; etc. The quality of youth coaching is
generally still very poor and the competition
structures are of insufficient duration and quality.
If we are serious about one day challenging the
best of the world, we have to make considerable
changes and improvements in our approach to
youth development. What specifically needs to
be done, and how, is explained in Chapter 3:
The Building Blocks.
Why Coach Education?
The reason why Coach Education is the other
strategic spearhead in bringing the Curriculum to
life is obvious. The only way to really bring about
change and improvement is to better educate
coaches, especially the ones that work with
youth players. Better coaching will inevitably
lead to better football.
That’s why we have developed the FFA
Coaching Expertise Model and
re-structured all of the FFA coaching courses.
However, it is important to understand that this
is a long term process and will take a couple of
generations of coaches going through the new
coach education pathways before the effect will
become visible. The FFA coaching philosophy
and the Coaching Expertise Model are explained
in detail in Chapter 4.
3.
The Building Blocks
4 Training
Building Blocks
2 Playing
Building Blocks
Performance Phase
17
13
9
5
Game Training Phase
11 v 11
13
Skill Acquisition Phase
Discovery Phase
17
Small-sided
Football
9
5
FFA National Football Curriculum - The roadmap to international success | Chapter 3 | Page 26
The National Football Curriculum distinguishes
6 Building Blocks: 4 training Building Blocks and
2 playing Building Blocks.
The FFA Building Blocks Methodology is the
framework that provides practical guidelines for
coaches working at all levels of youth development in
order to help them in answering questions such as:
•What are the mental and physical characteristics of
players in the various development stages?
•What type of practices are best suited for specific
age groups and why?
•How long should a session go for and how often
should I train?
•How do I plan and design my sessions?
•What are points of interest when I coach
my team during games?
With the aim to:
•Develop technically proficient players
•Develop tactically aware, proactive players
•Transform the physical and direct style of youth
football in Australia to a successful style based upon
technique and creativity
•To instil a lifelong passion and love for football
in young players
•To create a real ‘football culture’ in Australia
The result of this approach must be future generations
of players with the skills and habits to make Australia
a successful contender on the World stage, both in
men’s and women’s football. Does the Building Blocks
methodology guarantee we will develop the next
Lionel Messi in Australia? Unfortunately the answer is
no, but this structured approach will certainly increase
the chance.
There is no magic formula for developing special
players but recent scientific research (Coyle; Ericsson,
Gladwell; Syed et al) does provide some very
interesting insights:
1. Talent is not ‘innate’. Messi (or any other
outstanding performer in sports, science or art)
didn’t receive or inherit special ‘genes’
from birth
2. Every world class performer has a history of
many years of deep practice that started
at a young age
3. A condition for many years of deep practice
is intrinsic and sustained motivation,
a characteristic all top performers share.
No top performer has ever circumvented these rules!
This doesn’t mean however that geniuses do not
exist. The top teachers and coaches Daniel Coyle
interviewed for his book “The Talent Code” pegged
the genius rate (Messi!) at about one per decade.
Let us take a closer look at these insights.
If talent is not innate and excellence is the result of
many years of sustained deep practice does that
mean that anyone can become a top level player?
Theoretically yes, although it’s not that simple.
Many people may have heard of the so-called
“Rule of 10,000 hours”. This rule, introduced by the
Swedish scientist Anders Ericsson, basically states
that it takes 10,000 hours (or 10 years) of practice to
reach a level of excellence in sports, science, art or
any other field.
It is apparent that the quality of that practice is vital
although, interestingly, research conducted by UK
professor Mark Williams shows that time invested in
non-organised practice, such as playing with mates
in the park or juggling a ball in the back yard, is at
least as important.
3.
The Building Blocks
Coaching
Motivation
Quality of practice is clearly contingent on the importance of good coaching.
Good coaching means purposeful practice and quality feedback.
Intrinsic motivation means that the player has developed a true passion for football
and the motivation to become the best they can be comes from deep inside.
The chance of developing a passion for football is of course greater when you
grow up in an environment with a real football culture, where you have role models
and more and better opportunities. That is why developing a real football culture is
so crucial for Australia.
Purposeful practice is always aimed at progress: after all, only by working at
what you can’t do will you turn into the expert you want to become. And quality
feedback is the rocket fuel that propels learning. Without it, no amount of practice
is going to get you there because “if you don’t know what you are doing wrong
you can never know what you are doing right”. Good coaches are therefore able
to design practice so that feedback is embedded in the exercise, leading to
automatic adjustment.
A good way of visualising what ‘purposeful practice’ means is to picture
something ‘just beyond the player’s reach’ or ‘just outside someone’s
comfort zone’, so there is a challenge but not one that is too difficult.
It’s also important to realise that it is impossible to ‘impose’ motivation.
Pushy parents or coaches will achieve nothing (or the opposite of what they are
looking for) if it isn’t the player’s own choice.
However if the motivation is intrinsic, the effect is very powerful.
One of the differences between good performers and the very best is that
top performers are able to “push themselves harder for longer” because their
motivation level is higher.
Intrinsic motivation by itself however is still not enough, for only sustained
motivation leads to excellence.
A prerequisite for sustained motivation is what Professor Carol Dweck calls
a ‘growth mindset’, which basically means that mistakes are embraced and
deficiencies confronted (“I can master this, I just have to practice harder”)
This mindset sees a setback as a motivational factor.
The opposite is called a ‘fixed mindset’; for those people, failure is a de-motivator
(“I will never be able to do this, I just don’t have the talent”)
Here, it is also worthwhile highlighting the fact that coaches also have
fixed or growth mindsets, which can affect their own development as well
as that of their players.
FFA National Football Curriculum - The roadmap to international success | Chapter 3 | Page 28
A growth mindset is a
characteristic shared by
most top performers
How can a coach or parent stimulate the development
of a growth mindset in players?
•Praise effort, not ‘talent’
•Emphasise that abilities can be transformed through
application
•Emphasise that challenges are learning opportunities
instead of threats
“Failure is a great opportunity for improvement”
To bring all of the above to life, FFA has developed the
Building Blocks Methodology, outlining the logical and
progressive steps necessary to achieve our long term
goals.
Key points:
•Football is a very complex game and takes at least
ten years to master
•A step-by-step, phased approach is required, taking
into account the age of the player
•The logical approach we have adopted in the
Building Blocks can be summarised like this:
- simplified situations before complex ones
- individual skills before team tactics
- football development before physical preparation
•The age groups stated are guidelines not absolute
rules; girls and boys develop at different rates,
and players of the same age may be at different
developmental stages
•Each Building Block has a clear, distinguishable
focus, but the player’s development should be
viewed as a gradual, ongoing process towards
game mastery
•It is an holistic approach, rather than a series of four
isolated stages/concepts.
For example, although the focus in the Skill Acquisition
Phase is on individual skill development, the player’s
tactical insight is being developed at the same
time, but using the ‘hidden learning’ approach.
The coach uses training exercises which involve as
many of the game-specific resistances (team-mates,
opponents, direction, goals, etc) as possible, so
that game awareness is automatically developed,
rather than trying to ‘coach tactics’. Equally, technical
development doesn’t stop at the end of the Skill
Acquisition Phase; it continues throughout the Game
Training and Performance Phases, although it is now
not the main focus.
Development of tactical insight doesn’t
suddenly begin in the Game Training phase; it
is developed during the Skill Acquisition phase
in smaller, simpler situations. Here, the players
are introduced to the fundamental individual and
team tasks that form the foundation of decisionmaking in the 11 v 11 game.
Let’s now have a closer look at each individual
Building Block.
3.
The Discovery Phase
4 Training Building Blocks
2 Playing Building Blocks
Performance Phase
17
13
9
5
Game Training Phase
11 v 11
13
Skill Acquisition Phase
Discovery Phase
•Discovering one’s (im)possibilities through trial & error
•Natural development: ‘learn FOOTBALL by playing football’
•No ‘coaching’ but organising fun football exercises
•Replicating the ‘street/park football’ environment of the past
•Emphasis on building a love of the game
17
Small-sided
Football
9
5
FFA National Football Curriculum - The roadmap to international success | Chapter 3 | Page 30
The Discovery Phase (U/6-U/9)
Regarding the first Building Block, the points made earlier concerning the development of excellence
don’t really apply yet and fortunately things are still quite simple.
What are the characteristics of children in this age bracket?
•They are still ‘clumsy’ (lack fine motor skills), because they are still developing their coordination
•They have a short span of attention and are quickly and easily distracted
•They are ‘self-centred’ and not yet able to really work together (so do not ask them to perform
team play, it is impossible for them!)
•They play or participate for fun with short bursts of energy and enthusiasm
•They are unable to handle a lot of information (instructions; feedback)
What does this mean for training sessions with children this age?
Just let them play a lot of varied fun football related games!
In the ‘good old days’ as a kid you learned to play football in the street or the park. There were no
coaches involved who made you run laps or do stretches and push-ups. When you were with just
one mate you played a 1 v 1 game, when there were 8 of you, you played 4 v 4. There were no
referees either, you made your own rules and every problem got solved. You just played, every free
minute of the day. Funny as it may seem, this was (and still is) the best possible way to develop
a basic skill level, understanding and passion for football.
In third World countries the old saying “the game is the teacher” still applies and is one of the reasons
why we find so many creative and technically good players from Africa and South America
in the European top leagues. But in our developed society children do not play sports in the streets
and parks that much anymore. They watch television, surf the
internet, play computer games, chat on Twitter and Facebook
as well as having to study.
As parents we now send our children to a club or academy to
learn to play football and, despite all good intentions, here we
make the mistake of ‘coaching’ children this age.
The first and most important step when ‘coaching’ the
youngest kids is to take the word ‘coach’
out of your mind. Your most important job is to
recreate that street football environment, be an
organiser of fun football-related practices and.......
let them play! This approach, where they can
‘discover’ how the game works in a natural way,
is the right one for the Discovery Phase.
You’ll find the
Discovery Phase
Model Sessions on
page 85.
3.
Skill Acquisition Phase
4 Training Building Blocks
2 Playing Building Blocks
Performance Phase
17
13
9
5
Game Training Phase
11 v 11
13
Skill Acquisition Phase
Discovery Phase
17
Small-sided
Football
9
5
•In the Skill Acquisition Phase the coach must focus exclusively on providing a solid foundation of technical skill
•If the player does not gain this skill foundation during this phase it will be very difficult to make it up later
•No amount of fitness or competitive spirit will ever compensate for deficiencies in functional game skills
FFA National Football Curriculum - The roadmap to international success | Chapter 3 | Page 32
The Skill Acquisition Phase (U/10-U/13)
The characteristics of children this age are:
•They are highly motivated and enthusiastic
•They are competitive, like challenges and want to show they’re the best
•They are well balanced and coordinated
•They are very adaptive to learning motor skills
•Although still self-centred, they start to learn how to work together
•They are sensitive to criticism and failure (praise is important)
•They are physically and mentally ready for a more structured approach
to training
As mentioned above, in the period before entering the growth spurt that goes
hand in hand with puberty, children are well balanced and coordinated.
This makes them very adaptive to developing motor skills (techniques)
especially since this is one of the brain’s key development periods.
The Japanese call this phase of ‘turbo charged’ technical development the ‘Golden
Age of motor learning’. In no other development phase in life will motor learning
happen faster than here. As a logical consequence of the above,
it makes sense that we make optimal use of this period to lay a sustainable
technical foundation.
TECHNICAL SKILLS MUST BE DEVELOPED NOW
(if we miss out here it will hamper us for the rest of our playing career).
Hopefully it now makes perfect sense why we call this phase the ‘Skill Acquisition
Phase’. The focus during this period is on the development of the ‘functional
game skills’.
These are the technical skills you need to perform effectively during a game.
The word ‘functional’ emphasises the difference to ‘un-functional’ tricks,
which may be fun to see and do but useless during the game.
The 4 Core Skills:
The FFA Skill Acquisition training program focuses upon developing four core skills
when in possession of the ball.
1. Striking the ball
This includes all forms of striking the ball such as short/long passing;
shooting and crossing
2. First touch
Controlling the ball with all allowed body parts
3. 1 v 1
All moves, feints and accelerations to get past and away from an opponent
4. Running with the ball
At speed (with a lot of space) or ‘dribbling’ (in tight areas), this includes
techniques for protecting the ball and changing direction.
These four core skills cover 95% of the actions of any outfield player when in
possession of the ball during a game of football. The other 5% consists of actions
such as heading and throw-ins.
3.
Skill Acquisition Phase
Of course we can also distinguish defensive skills such as various tackling
techniques and it goes without saying that the defensive 1 v 1 skills are equally
important and must be properly developed too.
We made the practical choice to develop the defensive skills as part of the 1 v 1
practices. Although the emphasis is on the attacking skills, we are not ignoring the
defensive ones. So, in the 1 v 1 Model Sessions, coaches will find the box below
with coaching tips for the defender as well the attacker.
1 v 1 Coaching Tips
Attacker
Defender
“Go at the defender with speed”
“Show the attacker one way/force them
away from goal”
“Use a feint to put the defender off
balance”
“Bend your knees and stand on your
toes so you’re able to change direction
quickly”
“Threaten to go to one side then
suddenly attack the other”
“The best moment to commit is when
the attacker takes a heavy touch or
slows down”
As far as heading is concerned, the advice is to start developing this specific skill
at the start of the Game Training Phase. At younger ages heading is a ‘scary’
activity and not much heading takes place anyway since most players lack the
power to play aerial balls.
If heading is practised during the Skill Acquisition Phase we advise the use of
so-called super light balls (specially devised for youth football).
As we’ve explained earlier it takes many hours of practicing and lots of repetition
to properly develop the four core skills with both feet and ‘automate’ the
techniques. Automate means that we’ve practised the techniques so often that we
can execute them without having to consciously concentrate on the execution.
We can compare this process with learning to drive a car: in the beginning
we have to consciously think of every act in the process, we even tend to look
where the pedals are. But after some time we drive from A to B while having
a conversation, thinking deeply about something or making a (hands free)
phone call. We arrive at our destination totally unaware of the driving acts we have
executed on the way: driving a car has become an automatism.
The same principle applies for mastering the core skills: many hours of
purposeful practice will eventually lead to automatism and we execute the skill
‘unconsciously’. When this happens we will, as a consequence, have more time
for scanning our options and making decisions. With top level players the ball is
‘glued’ to their feet while they look around and check the options.
The principle of thousands of hours of practice leading to automatism applies to
everything, from playing a violin to playing golf or football. Football however
differs from golf because the technical skills must be executed under constant
pressure of football-specific resistances (opponents; space; time; direction),
in ever-changing situations.
Scientific research (Daniel Coyle, ‘The Talent Code’; et al.) shows that in football
the most educationally effective way is to develop technical skills (execution)
and perception skills (decision-making) simultaneously.
FFA National Football Curriculum - The roadmap to international success | Chapter 3 | Page 34
This ‘holistic approach’ is one of the essences of the FFA Coaching Philosophy which is explained in depth in chapter 4.
So, herein lies the huge challenge for anyone working with players in this important age bracket: your primary role is that of a ‘skills teacher’ focused on individual
technical development as opposed to being a ‘team coach’.
Your mission is to ‘automate’ the core skills through lots of repetition, but at the same time avoid ‘drill’ practices, where there may be repetition but no decision-making.
It’s not easy to get this right!
You’ll find the Skill Acquisition Phase Model
Sessions on page 127.
3.
Game Training Phase
4 Training Building Blocks
2 Playing Building Blocks
Performance Phase
17
13
9
5
Game Training Phase
11 v 11
17
13
Skill Acquisition Phase
Discovery Phase
Small-sided
Football
9
5
•Preparing players for senior football by teaching them to apply the functional game skills in a team setting using
1-4-3-3 as the preferred formation
•Developing tactical awareness, perception and decision-making through a game-related approach to training
FFA National Football Curriculum - The roadmap to international success | Chapter 3 | Page 36
The Game Training Phase
(U/14-U/17)
The most important aspect of this age
bracket is the fact that these players are
in (or entering into) the puberty phase
which is a phase of radical mental and
physical changes.
Huge changes in the hormonal
system cause confusion while the
physical changes can also unsettle
the youngsters. Physically they may
sometimes suddenly look like adults
but mentally they often are still children,
something that may also confuse
coaches. Another aspect for coaches
to consider is that in general, girls enter
the puberty phase slightly earlier than
boys.
The main mental characteristics of the
puberty phase are:
•Sudden mood changes
•Resistance against authority
•Impulsiveness (first acting then
thinking)
•Accelerated intellectual development
•Identity search which leads to a desire
to be part of a group
The main physical characteristic of the
puberty phase is a sudden acceleration
in growth. One of the consequences of
this growth spurt may be a temporary
decrease of coordination and strength.
Because suddenly the bones start
growing fast and the muscles and
ligaments as well as the nervous
system need time to adjust to the new
proportions, players may look ‘clumsy’.
Players are also prone to overuse
injuries like Osgood-Schlatter disease
during this phase.
It goes without saying that it’s of the
ultimate importance that coaches
working with players this age have
knowledge and understanding of all
these aspects to be able to guide
youngsters through this critical
development phase in a well-considered
way.
While during the puberty phase players’
physical and technical development
temporarily stagnates or loses
ground, their intellectual development
accelerates as does their understanding
of and appreciation for teamwork.
This makes the Game Training Phase
exceptionally suited for developing
tactical awareness and insight.
Whereas the purpose of the Skill
Acquisition Phase is to acquire the
core skills, the Game Training Phase is
about learning how to apply them in
a functional way. In the Game Training
Phase the focus shifts towards learning
to play as a team and developing
an understanding of the team tasks
during the main moments (attacking;
defending; transitioning), as well as the
specific tasks that go with the individual
team positions.
To be able to properly develop the team
tasks and the individual player tasks we
need the context of a playing formation.
After all, team tasks and player tasks
may differ depending on the playing
formation.
The 1-4-3-3 formation
It is important to realise that we
did not just take 1-4-3-3 as a
starting point! Unfortunately this
has been and continues to be
widely misunderstood and far too
much attention has been devoted
to discussions about playing
formations.
Of course there are many successful
styles and formations in football but FFA
considers 1-4-3-3 the most appropriate
formation to develop an understanding
of team play in young players.
Our opinion is supported by another
very interesting quote from the Chris
Sulley research on Europe’s most
successful academies:
“There was a clear emphasis on a
possession based philosophy and
most employed a 4-3-3 model with
an explicit attempt to pass the ball
through the units. There was a tangible
difference in the type of work delivered
to the players from what is typically
delivered at EPL academies. Early
age players typically participated in
random and variable practices that
involved decision-making tactically.
The consistent Talent ID criteria was
centred around the player’s ability to
handle the ball, make good decisions
and speed, as opposed to the notions
of power, size and strength that still
dominate the English youth system”.
3.
Game Training Phase
Why?
1
•In the 1-4-3-3 formation there are 3 lines with a balanced spread of players
over the pitch (‘triangles’ of players). As explained earlier, this is one of the basic
conditions for successful positioning play or to put it more simply: this creates
a range of other, more ‘logical’, options for youth players. Instead of just kicking
the ball forward, players almost ‘automatically’ start making combinations;
•The 1-4-3-3 formation stimulates the development of creative attacking players;
more specifically the 3 attackers and the attacking midfielder(s)
3
4
2
•Defensively 1-4-3-3 also has an advantage since pressurising an opponent’s
defence line (proactive defending!) is easier to do with 3 attackers as it requires
less running and is tactically less complicated
5
6
•For youth players, the positions and the attached player tasks are logical,
recognizable and easy to comprehend. Moreover, every position has a specific
number which makes learning to play as a team easier.
8
10
7
9
11
FFA National Football Curriculum - The roadmap to international success | Chapter 3 | Page 38
Competence profile - Goalkeeper #1
The goalkeeper is of course a
special position in any playing
system or formation. First and
foremost it’s the goalkeeper’s
task to keep the opponent from
scoring in any possible way within
the rules of the game. Some
goalkeepers do that by making
spectacular saves, others are
great at organizing their defence
and anticipating situations. Top
keepers possess all these qualities
as well as the physical and mental
characteristics required.
Competence profile - Full-backs #2 & #5
Full-backs in modern high-level
football must be very versatile.
1
3
4
2
5
6
8
10
7
9
11
A condition for our preferred
playing style is that goalkeepers
must be able to play with their feet
as a prerequisite for possessionbased football and the goalkeeper
is an indispensable link for that.
As a consequence of defending high up the park, there will regularly be a big space
behind our defence. This requires a goalkeeper to be able to play as a ‘sweeper’
which is another characteristic specific to the playing style.
Defensively sometimes they have
a direct opponent (winger) which
requires strong defensive 1 v 1
skills. Sometimes they have no
direct opponent so they have to
defend ‘positionally’ which requires
awareness and tactical insight. The
role of modern full-backs in playing
out and especially in attacking
wing play has become vitally
important.
1
3
4
2
5
6
8
10
7
9
11
When playing out, it’s often the
full-backs that can receive the ball
from the goalkeeper because they
do not have a direct opponent and
are therefore unmarked.
In attack, more often than not it’s
the overlapping full-backs that provide the decisive crosses and assists. Especially
in possession of the ball it’s favourable if #2 is right footed and #5 is left footed.
3.
Game Training Phase
Competence profile - Centre-backs #3 & #4
Competence profile - Midfielders #6 & #8
Just like the full-backs,
modern centre-backs also need
to be more versatile than before.
The right (#6) and left (#8)
midfielders are the ‘engine room’
of the team.
Of course a centre-back still
needs to be defensively strong
and good in the air. But today’s
centre-backs also need to be
tactically aware and know what
to do when the opponent plays
with one striker or with two,
when to close down and mark an
opponent and when to drop off
and give cover.
1
3
4
2
5
6
8
10
7
9
11
In ball possession, a good crossfield pass to the wingers is still an
important asset for any centreback. But modern centre-backs
should also be able to move
into the midfield with the ball at
their feet and create a numerical
advantage. It’s also important for a centre-back to have leadership skills and to
coach and organise the team. Centre-backs usually have all the other outfield
players in front of them which gives them an ideal view of the game.
Playing out is much easier if #3 is right-footed and #4 left-footed.
Their task is to stay centrally and
support the back four during BPO
as well as feed and support the
attack in BP.
It’s important they can ‘read’ the
game (meaning they are tactically
aware) and have a good passing
range.
1
3
4
2
5
6
8
10
7
9
11
Defensively they must assist the
defence by creating a block with
the centre-backs and screen the
passing lines to the opponent’s
central striker(s).
In BP they must be the link
players that receive the ball from
the defenders and deliver it to the attackers without turning it over unnecessarily.
One of the two should always join in to support the attack while the other one
stays behind the ball to keep the defensive balance. If #6 is right footed and #8 left
footed it’s easier to quickly change the point of attack which increases the chance
of successful attacking play.
FFA National Football Curriculum - The roadmap to international success | Chapter 3 | Page 40
Competence profile - Attacking Midfielder #10
Competence profile - Wingers #7 & #11
In the 1-4-3-3 formation the role of
the #10 is of vital importance for
successful attacking play.
The task of the right winger (#7)
and left winger (#11) is to stretch
the opponent’s defence and,
together with the full-backs,
create openings in the wide areas.
Although wingers can (should) also
cut inside, it’s important to do this
at the right moment which means
not too early and not all the time.
The #10 must be a versatile,
creative player that can combine,
dribble and take on opponents.
1
3
A good #10 recognises the right
moments to play a killer pass and
has the ability to score goals.
The #10 tries to get on the ball in
the space between the opponent’s
back four and midfield (‘playing
between the lines’).
4
2
5
6
8
10
7
9
1
3
Although the attacking contribution
of #10 is vitally important, it’s
a midfield position (not a 2nd
striker).
Defensively the attacking midfielder should therefore connect with #6 and #8
to form a compact unit that presses the opponent in the central midfield area.
A moment when they should
always come inside is when
a cross is delivered into the penalty
area from the opposite wing.
Wingers must have good attacking
1 v 1 skills, be able to run with the
ball at speed and to deliver good
crosses. Creative combination
skills as well as goalscoring abilities
are also important attributes.
5
6
8
10
Their starting position should
always be high and wide.
11
4
2
7
9
11
Defensively the wingers play an important role in pressuring the opponent’s back
four and, together with the full-back, protect and defend their designated wing.
3.
Game Training Phase
Competence profile - Central Striker #9
Traditionally the central striker or
centre forward is the ‘target man’
that plays as high as possible.
This is still the most common
interpretation although there are
also variations.
1
3
4
2
Of course the primary task of the
central striker is to score goals.
That means #9 must have a good
shot with both feet and be a good
header of the ball.
The #9 must also have a keen
spatial awareness and excellent
timing. Other important skills
are creative combination play,
the ability to keep the ball under
pressure from an opponent and
the ability to take on defenders.
You’ll find the Game Training Phase Model
Sessions on page 189.
5
6
8
10
7
9
11
Defending in modern football
starts with the attackers. The central striker in particular has an important role in
determining when and where to start pressuring the opponent’s back four.
FFA National Football Curriculum - The roadmap to international success | Chapter 3 | Page 42
3.
Performance Phase
4 Training Building Blocks
17
13
9
5
2 Playing Building Blocks
Performance Phase
Game Training Phase
11 v 11
13
Skill Acquisition Phase
Discovery Phase
Small-sided
Football
•Preparing teams for a competition environment where winning becomes the main aim
•Training to focus on solving football problems, based on match analysis
•FOOTBALL CONDITIONING becomes a key part of the program
17
9
5
FFA National Football Curriculum - The roadmap to international success | Chapter 3 | Page 44
The Performance Phase (17 years and older)
This is also the moment that winning really starts to matter. That’s why the purpose
of the Performance Phase is:
The Performance Phase starts when the puberty phase has ended and the growth
spurt has come to a standstill. Generally this happens around the age of 16, but
differs from individual to individual and, as stated before, girls generally reach this
point earlier than boys.
Learning how to perform/win as a team
Girls and boys diverge in their physical abilities as they enter puberty and move
through adolescence. Higher levels of the hormone Testosterone allow boys to
add muscle and even without much effort on their part, get stronger. In turn, they
become less flexible.
Girls, as their levels of the hormone Estrogen increase, tend to add fat rather
than muscle. They must train rigorously to get significantly stronger. Estrogen also
makes girls’ ligaments lax which makes them more flexible than boys but also more
prone to certain injuries such as ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) rupture.
Core Stability strength training is therefore an important training element in the
Performance phase, especially for girls. However, it’s unnecessary to do that in
a gym since Core Stability programs can perfectly be done on the pitch as part of
the warm-up. This way we avoid losing valuable football training time.
At this stage of development, the young adults are ready for high performance
training. Coordination is back, the mental balance has been restored and the
energy systems of the body are now effectively ‘trainable’.
This is the moment that football-specific conditioning can start. At an earlier
age so-called ‘conditioning’ is mostly pointless and generally a waste of time (or
even dangerous if conducted inexpertly).
So in the Performance Phase, the coach is very much focused on getting results.
Training, therefore, is centred on fixing specific problems with the team’s tactical
performance.
You’ll find the Performance Phase Model
Sessions on page 267.
3.
Performance Phase
FFA National Football Curriculum - The roadmap to international success | Chapter 3 | Page 46
3.
Small Sided Football
The last two Building Blocks are the Playing Building Blocks, Small Sided Football and 11 v 11.
4 Training Building Blocks
2 Playing Building Blocks
Performance Phase
17
13
9
5
Game Training Phase
Skill Acquisition Phase
Discovery Phase
•U/6-U/7 : 4 v 4 (no goalkeepers)
•U/8-U/9 : 7 v 7 (6 outfield players and a goalkeeper)
•U/10-U/11 : 9 v 9 (8 outfield players and a
goalkeeper)
•From U/12 : 11 v 11
11 v 11
17
13
Small-sided
Football
9
5
•Emphasis on fun, freedom of expression and
‘learning by playing’ instead of ‘winning at all costs’
•The game is for the players, the role of coaches and
parents is to help, teach, stimulate and praise them
so they enjoy playing.
FFA National Football Curriculum - The roadmap to international success | Chapter 3 | Page 48
Small Sided Football
A former colleague of mine once came up with this perfect analogy while discussing the rationale of Small
Sided Football with someone who disagreed with the concept:
“So then, would you also throw your 3 year old daughter into the deep end of an Olympic Pool to
teach her how to swim?”
The motives behind the concept of Small Sided Football (SSF) are numerous and make perfect sense for any
right-thinking person:
•For kids aged 5-12 the distances they have to cover on a full pitch are way too big. They are unable to run
or pass over big distances and they will be exhausted in no time
•An 11 v 11 game is far too complex for young kids: there are too many rules, options and choices to be
made and as a result the success rate will be very low
•The number of ball contacts in a game involving 22 kids and one ball on a big pitch will be very limited so
they do not develop and it’s not much fun
As a result of the above mentioned points the motivation to play our beautiful game will soon be gone
and the kids will turn their interests to other activities! The biggest mistake you can make as a coach is to
consider children to be little adults. We have hopefully made this clear by describing the mental and physical
development stages throughout the various Building Blocks.
By gradually increasing the number of players as well as the pitch sizes the children learn to play the game
in a progressive, logical and stimulating way.
In his book “The Talent Code”, researcher Daniel Coyle describes why futsal (which is Small Sided
Football!) is the secret behind the success of Brazilian football. In futsal players touch the ball on average 6
times per minute more often than in 11 v 11. In addition to this, because of the limited space, quickness of
decision-making as well as accuracy improves dramatically.
Coyle calls futsal ‘turbo charged football learning’.
This is once again an example of what we call the
holistic approach. Brazilian kids do not separately learn
how to pass the ball first; then to dribble and then to
receive the ball, etc. They develop those technical skills
as well as the decision-making skills while playing futsal.
Currently the rationale of Small Sided Football is
understood and adopted all over the football world as
the best way to make the youngest players familiar with
our game.
On the next pages you will find the Small Sided Football
formats used by FFA with an explanation of how
7 v 7 and 9 v 9 lead up to the 1-4-3-3 formation in a
logical and methodical manner as well as a number of
coaching tips.
3.
Small Sided Football
Small Sided Football Formats
Playing
Format
Under 6 & 7
Under 8 & 9
Under 10 & 11
Numbers
4v4
7v7
9v9
Field Size
Length: 30m
Width: 20m
¼ Full Size Pitch
Length: 40m - 50m
Width: 30m - 40m
½ Full Size Pitch
Length: 60m - 70m
Width: 40m - 50m
Field
Markings
Markers or line markings Markers or line markings Markers or line markings
Penalty Area
Nil
5m depth x 12m width
5m depth x 12m width
Goal Size
Width: 1.5m - 2.0m
Height: 0.9m - 1.0m
Width: 2.5m - 3.0m
Height: 1.8m - 2.0m
Width: 4.5m - 5.0m
Height: 1.8m - 2.0m
Goal Type
Markers, Poles, Goals
Markers, Poles, Goals
Markers, Poles, Goals
Ball Size
Size 3
Size 3
Size 4
Goalkeeper
No
Yes
Yes
Playing Time
2 x 15 minutes
2 x 20 minutes
2 x 25 minutes
Half Time
Break
5 minutes
5 minutes
7.5 minutes
Referee
Game Leader
Instructing Referee
Instructing Referee
FFA National Football Curriculum - The roadmap to international success | Chapter 3 | Page 50
U/6-7
Teams of 4 players (no goalkeepers).
Coaching tips:
No ‘coaching’ only stimulating and praising
‘Natural’ development through just playing and discovering
one’s (im)possibilities through trial & error.
Emphasis on fun and building a love of the game.
The best coach is not the
one who shouts instructions
the whole game, however
unfortunately many parents
seem to feel that’s what good
coaches are supposed to do.
•In 4 v 4 football, the
‘coach’ should not worry
about ‘tactics’ other than
encouraging the kids to try
and score when they have
the ball and win it back
when the other team has the
ball in order to prevent them
from scoring
•Aim for equal playing time.
How NOT to coach Small Sided Football
3.
Small Sided Football
U/8-9
Teams of 7 players (one goalkeeper and 6 outfield players)
D
Coaching tips:
•The players now begin to understand what the game’s purpose is (winning by scoring more
goals than the opponent)
•There will still be a lot of individual play but the players start to understand that they have to
work together in order to be successful
•A basic ‘feeling’ for team play, direction and dealing with an opponent starts to develop
•Preference and talent for a specific position starts to show: you can start working on a basic
organisation (1 in goal; 3 at the back; 3 up front) and a basic understanding of some team
tasks (how to defend and attack as a team)
GK
A
D
A
D
A
•The coach should still let every player play in every position regularly. One week they want to
be goalie, next time the centre forward. Let them!
•Bigger goals with goalkeepers automatically appeal to aiming and shooting: give them all
plenty of opportunities to shoot (or be the goalkeeper).
•In 7 v 7 football, the coach should still not be too concerned with ‘tactics’. The focus in
training is on the individual player, so in the weekend game the players should have the
opportunity to apply their skills in a game setting. The coach organises the players into two
lines of three with a Goalkeeper behind. The players just need simple tasks so they do not
become confused or overwhelmed with information (Examples: ‘You three try to defend more
than you attack’ ‘you three try to attack more than you defend’ ‘let’s see if we can always
have one of our players pushed right up in the middle of the pitch’ ‘when the opponent has
the ball, can we get one of our team near every one of their players on the goal side’, etc)
•At half-time, the coach should rotate players around to experience
different aspects of the game (e.g. the three defenders become the
three attackers)
•Aim for equal playing time
FFA National Football Curriculum - The roadmap to international success | Chapter 3 | Page 52
U/10-11
Coaching tips:
GK
•The understanding of working together as a team develops more and more
•The awareness of the individual roles in relation to teamwork is also developing as well as the
understanding for acting without the ball both in defence and attack
D
D
D
•With 8 outfield players a tighter and more strict task allocation and use of space is required
M
•Preference/ability for specific positions becomes more and more clear
M
•At this age the kids are very competitive and clever and very quickly develop their motor skills
•All the above means that the coach can raise the bar on all these aspects but:
- Avoid an information ‘overkill’
- Keep it simple (speak their language)
- It’s their game, it’s not about the coach
•In 9 v 9, the coach organises the players into three lines with a goalkeeper behind, preferably in a 1-3-2-3
formation as a guide for team shape
•The coach is still not too concerned with tactics or obsessed with results
•The players still just need simple tasks on match day
•The players should still be regularly rotated, either at half-time or from
game to game
•Avoid playing the best players in central positions, and ‘hiding’ the weaker players out wide
•Aim for equal playing time
A
A
A
3.
Small Sided Football
U/11
•With the U/11’s it is FFA’s preference to play box to
box and narrow the field approximately 5m each
side. Playing in the length of the pitch is a totally
new experience with a different perception and more
complexity. As a last step towards the real, full pitch
game this format offers the ideal link.
D
A
M
GK
A
D
M
D
A
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3.
11 v 11
4 Training Building Blocks
2 Playing Building Blocks
Performance Phase
17
13
9
5
Game Training Phase
11 v 11
13
Skill Acquisition Phase
Discovery Phase
•From U/12 at the earliest
•The weekly game is a vital developmental element for
young players
•The game is the frame of reference that tells us if we
are improving
17
Small-sided
Football
9
5
•Only in a regular, year-round competition environment
can game cleverness, game hardness and game
experience be developed
•The game is for players (not for the coach)
FFA National Football Curriculum - The roadmap to international success | Chapter 3 | Page 56
11 v 11
In the opinion of FFA, the full 11 v 11 game should be played
from U/12 at the earliest. Worldwide, many experts are of the
opinion that even this is too early and it’s better to wait till after
the growth spurt.
In order to improve the competition structures as well
as the structure and quality of club youth academies
in Australia, FFA has introduced the Talented Player
Pathway Three Pillar Structure.
There is general consensus though on the fact that a weekly
game is a vital element for the development of young players
because the game is the frame of reference that tells us if we are
improving. Only in a regular, year-round competition environment
can players develop game cleverness, game hardness and
game experience.
The Three Pillar Structure is aimed at drastically raising
the quality, accessibility and clarity of the Talented Player
Pathway in Australia. The Three Pillar Structure is a work
in progress though and still contains gaps.
In youth football the development of the INDIVIDUAL should
come first NOT the team result, something many coaches (and
parents) often seem to forget.
In order to develop players to the maximum of their potential,
they need to continuously be challenged to raise their
individual bar.
Therefore each player should train and play at a level that is
most appropriate for his/her actual development stage. If the
level of resistance is too low and it’s too easy, players do not
develop. If the level of resistance is too high and it’s too difficult,
they do not develop either.
This is why the best must train with the best and play
against the best.
This also explains why quality competitions are such a vital
element of the development pathway.
Therefore FFA together with the Member Federations
have taken ownership of parts of the National Talented
Player Pathway whereas in most countries in the world
youth development is undertaken by the (professional)
clubs.
On the next pages you will find an explanation of the
Three Pillar Structure of the male Elite Player Pathway.
The Female Elite Player Pathway ReStructure together with the National
Competitions Review for Women’s
Football is still in progress and
accordingly is not available for
inclusion in this publication.
Although the starting points are
identical, there will be certain
differences in the pathway structure
for girls and women.
3.
The Three Pillar Structure
PILLAR 1
PILLAR 2
PILLAR 3
“The Elite”
“Best of the Best”
“The Best”
FFA
U22
Scouting / Talent ID
Socceroos
Olyroos
A-League / FFA /
Member Federations
A-League
U20
U19
NYL
Young Socceroos
U18
U17
U16
U15
U14
U13
U12
National Premier
League
First Team
U20 Team
U19 Team (optional)
U18 Team
Joeys
AIS
Scouting /
Talent ID
U17 Team (optional)
NTC Challenge
(U/15-16)
NTC
U/13-14
National Youth
Championships
Skilleroos
Skill Acquisition
Programs
U16 Team
U15 Team (optional)
U14 Team
U13 Team (optional)
U12 Team
FFA National Football Curriculum - The roadmap to international success | Chapter 3 | Page 58
Pillar 1: The Elite
“The Elite”
The first pillar consists of the men’s National Team
programs which are the specific responsibility of
FFA (AIS/Joeys, Young Socceroos, Olyroos and
Socceroos).
The male national team pathway starts with the
AIS program.
This is a 2 year full time program at the Australian
Institute of Sport (AIS) in Canberra for the best
Australian U/16-17 boys.
FFA
U22
Socceroos
Olyroos
U20
U19
The players for this top level program of international
standards are primarily recruited from the
underpinning State and Territory National Training
Centre (NTC) programs.
U18
The AIS team participates in the National Youth
League (NYL) and ideally the AIS squad is the same
group of players that form the Australian U/17 team
(the ‘Joeys’).
U16
This program prepares the players for the AFC U/16
Championships and the U/17 World Cup (subject to
qualification) that are held every 2 years.
U14
Graduates from the AIS program generally continue
their playing career with National Youth League
(NYL) or A-League clubs or are being contracted by
overseas clubs.
U12
U17
U15
U13
Young Socceroos
Joeys
AIS
The next national representative team are the Young
Socceroos for U/19-20 year old players. The Young
Socceroos program is a ‘camp based’ program,
since the majority of players are contracted NYL or
A-League players or playing for overseas clubs. It is a
2 year program comprising of the U/19 AFC Qualifiers
and Championships, the latter being the qualification
tournament for the U/20 World Cup held every 2
years.
The Olyroos program is for U/22-23 year old players.
Every two years they participate in the U/22 AFC
Qualifiers and Championships, and every 4 years
these Championships are the qualification tournament
for the Olympic Games.
The last and most important step in the pathway is of
course the Socceroos. The majority of Australia’s top
senior players are playing for overseas clubs, several
of them in European top leagues. But recently more
players from the A-League are being selected for the
Socceroos which underlines the increasing quality of
our domestic competition.
Every 4 years the Socceroos must qualify for the FIFA
World Cup. Every 4 years the AFC also organises
the Asian Championships (usually the year after the
World Cup).
For both events there is a staged qualification process
for countries that are members of the Asian Football
Confederation (AFC).
3.
The Three Pillar Structure
Pillar 2: The Best of the Best
“Best of the Best”
The second pillar consists of the combined FFA/
Member Federations programs, the National Youth
League (NYL) teams and the A-League clubs.
A-League / FFA /
Member Federations
The Skill Acquisition Programs (SAP) are programs
aiming for talented boys aged U/14 and under, with
the emphasis on developing the functional game
skills as explained earlier in this chapter (the Skill
Acquisition Phase).
There is at least one SAP program in every State and
Territory and the so-called ‘Skilleroos’ squads
(U/13-14) form the pinnacle of these programs.
There are yearly U/13 and 14 National Youth
Championships to identify the most talented players
in these age brackets.
The SAP is the first level of the National Talented
Player Pathway for every boy that dreams of one day
wearing the ‘Green and Gold’.
U22
A-League
U20
U19
NYL
U18
U17
U16
U15
Graduates from the SAP programs enter the National
Training Centre (NTC) programs aimed at talented
U/15-16 boys in every State and Territory.
U14
The focus of these programs is on developing an
understanding of the team tasks and individual
player tasks as explained earlier in this chapter (the
Game Training Phase).
U12
U13
NTC
Skilleroos
Skill Acquisition
Programs
There is a yearly ‘NTC challenge’ to identify the most
talented U/15-16 year old players for the AIS program
that leads into the National U/17 team, the ‘Joeys’.
The National Youth League (NYL) teams of the
A-League clubs should form the next step for
NTC graduates to continue their playing career
at elite level.
Reality, however, shows that this step is often too big
since many NYL teams are made up of 18-21 year
olds and senior first team players.
Ideally we should bridge the current U16-U18 gap in
Pillar 2 (light blue box in the diagram). FFA, together
with the Member Federations and the A-League clubs
are currently discussing possible solutions.
FFA’s preferred solution is the so-called ‘integrated
pathway’. This means fusing together the FFA/
Member Federation programs with the local A-League
clubs. Pillar 2 will then consist of the A-League and
NYL teams underpinned by U/12-18 ‘academies’
thus creating another important building block in
Australia’s Talented Player Pathway.
The current SAP and NTC program structure
would then need revising and restructuring and
appropriate solutions need to be in place for States
and Territories that do not have an A-League club.
It’s worth mentioning that some A-League clubs,
such as Newcastle Jets, in conjunction with FFA and
their Member Federation, have already established
academies in line with this philosophy.
FFA National Football Curriculum - The roadmap to international success | Chapter 3 | Page 60
Pillar 3: The Best
The third pillar is being created as a
result of the National Competitions
Review (NCR) and will create a
competition for Elite Clubs at the
highest level below the A-League
in every State and Territory across
Australia.
The name of these competitions is
‘The National Premier League’ (NPL).
These ‘Elite’ clubs are selected
and identified through an Elite Club
Licensing Program that is being
phased in from 2013 onwards.
The purpose is to drastically raise
the quality and quantity of youth
development by improving and
standardising the structure of these
clubs. To obtain a license for the
National Premier League, clubs must
(amongst many others) meet criteria
regarding:
•Teams: NPL clubs must have
teams in all age groups from first
grade to U/12’s;
•Youth development: NPL clubs
must have a long-term youth
development mindset. Through
the introduction of a points system
an NPL club can only raise a
competitive first team by filling it
predominantly with young, self
developed players;
•Coaching: To guarantee the quality
of coaching all NPL clubs must
appoint a Technical Director and
appropriately accredited coaches
for all age group teams. The
Technical Director must ensure that
the National Football Curriculum is
implemented;
•Finance: It will be mandatory
for NPL clubs to publicise their
registration fee structure in order
to put a halt to the culture of using
youth players and their parents as
the source of income to fund the
first grade.
Other criteria will focus on
governance, facilities, organisational
structure, membership protection,
medical provisions, reporting structure
and so on.
A final important objective of the
National Competitions Review will
be a gradual extension of the youth
season to 10 months (including
competitions and training), which will
bring Australia more into line with
world’s best practice. Whilst access
to facilities outside of the winter period
will be an obstacle, FFA will work
with Member Federations to establish
strategies which will provide greater
access to football facilities.
The three pillar structure will not only
drastically increase the quality of
youth development but at the same
time create far more opportunities
for talented players. The expectation
is justifiable that the majority of
Australia’s talented players will be
gathered in these three pillars with
the opportunity to switch from one
pillar to another at any stage of their
development. A late developer can be
identified in the third pillar at any stage
of his development and be transferred
to Pillar Two (or even One).
If on the other hand the pathway for
a player in Pillar Two stops, the player
has the opportunity to continue his
playing career on a quality level in
Pillar Three. Through this three pillar
structure the pathways will be much
clearer for both players and their
parents.
“The Best”
National Premier
League
U22
U20
U19
U18
U17
U16
U15
U14
U13
U12
First Team
U20 Team
U19 Team (optional)
U18 Team
U17 Team (optional)
U16 Team
U15 Team (optional)
U14 Team
U13 Team (optional)
U12 Team
3.
The Three Pillar Structure
FFA recognises that State and Territory based clubs have long played an
important role in developing talented young players, and that they will play
an increasingly important role in youth development in the future.
Assessing current Socceroos and A-League club squads, the vast
majority of players are known to have risen through these clubs. With the
implementation of the Elite Club Licensing program it is expected that many
more young players of an even higher technical quality will be produced
by the NPL club system. For this reason, FFA will officially recognise these
accredited elite clubs as part of the Elite Player Pathway.
In the new three pillars pathway structure, the “best of the best” will
continue to be selected for State/Territory or National programs
(e.g. Skilleroos; NTC; AIS), where players will be exposed to year-round
football in an elite or professional environment, ideally at no cost.
FFA National Football Curriculum - The roadmap to international success | Chapter 3 | Page 62
4.
Coach Education
For too long, there was no clear direction for
football in Australia and the result was an obvious
lack of progress towards a defined objective.
This applied equally to both Youth Development
and Coach Education, which have now been
identified as the two strategic spearheads to drive
this country to its long-term goal.
The National Football Curriculum has set the
road map and one of the major benefits of the
Curriculum and its philosophy is that we now have
clarity on the way forward. We have realised that
football isn’t ‘just football’; there are many styles
and brands of football but we now know how we
want to play. We can now talk about ‘our football’,
which can be defined and visualized, and not settle
for ‘any football’. We are now able to say ‘any old
football isn’t good enough’.
That provides a solid platform for Youth
Development, because we can logically define
the types of players required to play the way we
want to play. It has also provided the platform for
Coach Education because, since we now know
the football we want to play and we know the
players required, we can logically define the kind
of coaches we need to produce these players
and playing style. As a consequence, we can now
define ‘The Australian way of Coaching’. We are
able to say ‘any old coaching isn’t good enough’;
there are many methods of coaching football, but
we now know how we need to coach.
The Football We Want to Play
(in Order for Australia to Be a World Leader)
A Philosophy on
playing Football
(National Football
Curriculum)
The Players We Need
(in Order to Play That Way)
A Philosophy on
playing Football
(National Football
Curriculum)
The Coaches We Need
(in Order to Produce Those Players
and Develop the Teams They Play In)
A Philosophy on
coaching Football
(Coaching Expertise
Model)
FFA National Football Curriculum - The roadmap to international success | Chapter 4 | Page 64
The FFA Coaching Expertise Model
Vision and Philosophy
This has been developed, as is outlined in the diagram,
to fill the final step in the logical process of developing
football teams and football players. The National
Football Curriculum answers the questions ‘What
is Football?’ and ‘What should Football in Australia
look like? The Coaching Expertise Model answers the
questions ‘What is Football Coaching?’ and ‘What
should Football Coaching in Australia look like?’
Training
The Match
Football Knowledge
Management
4.
Coach Education
The Construction of the FFA Coaching Expertise
Model:
Football Knowledge
The bottom of the model contains the foundation supporting the three pillars:
Training
The Match
Management
In the middle are the three main areas of competency (the ‘pillars’) the coach
must develop. ‘The Match’ is at the centre of the whole model in line with FFA’s
philosophical direction, as it is the focus of everything a coach does: it all begins
and ends with the game of football. That also explains why the central pillar is
green and looks like a football field. Match-day competencies are a vital part of the
coach’s ‘toolbox’.
To the left is ‘Training’. There are specific competencies required to be an effective
coach on the training field, and they all relate to the whole context of the model.
Put simply, the coach’s work on the training field is only effective if it leads to
improved performance on the field when The Match is played.
At the right-hand side of the model is ‘Management’. Since the coach, regardless
of the level at which he/she works, is constantly interacting with others
(communicating, leading, etc), he/she needs to develop competencies which will
improve the success of these processes.
A broad knowledge of the game of football is absolutely essential for the
professional coach and, of course, desirable for those working at community level.
Football Knowledge can be developed in many ways, including playing, coaching,
analysing and discussing football. The process of gaining Football Knowledge is
never-ending.
Vision and Philosophy
At the top is the overarching ‘compass’ that guides the coach. The almost infinite
breadth of football knowledge available can lead to a lack of clear direction; there
are so many different ways of playing football, such a huge variety of training
exercises and so many examples of coaching methods. That is why ‘Vision and
Philosophy’ overarches the whole model; the coach is aware of all the football that
is ‘out there’, but based on their own experience and preference, must develop a
strong personal Philosophy on Football and a clear Vision on how they want their
team to play.
As a solid Vision and Philosophy is best developed after many years of experience,
FFA’s C and B Licence courses are conducted with FFA’s Vision and Philosophy as
the cornerstone.
FFA National Football Curriculum - The roadmap to international success | Chapter 4 | Page 66
Vision and Philosophy
Training
The Match
Management
Football Knowledge
We believe that the model is a strong one as it has sturdy pillars supported by a firm base, and is securely held together at
the top.
These qualities are also intended to give the model a timeless structure that, we believe, might only ever need adjustments in
the details that define the elements: we firmly believe that the elements themselves are constants.
‘It is a good model if it is elegant and there are few arbitrary or adjustable elements.’
Stephen Hawking
4.
Coach Education
3. Teambuilding
Focus
philisophy
2. pre-match
performance
2. Team model
(visual)
1. post-training
1. First Half
refocus
2. football study
2. Beliefs on
football
The Match
1. football
experience
1. opinions on
football
1. Team Model
(verbal)
vision
1. what is football?
vision and philosophy
Course-driven
Self-driven
Football Knowledge
Overview of the five elements
1. Post-match
2. half-time
3. Second Half
2. pre-training
3. environment
1. foundation
1. objective achieved?
2. animation
3. conclusion
2. problem solved?
3. next steps
manage self
2. equipment
Management
1. people
manage others
2. design
conduct
prepare
1. define
evaluate
Training
plan
FFA National Football Curriculum - The roadmap to international success | Chapter 4 | Page 68
1. know yourself
2. develop
yourself
1. Know others
2. develop others
4.
Coach Education
As outlined on the previous pages, the Coaching
Expertise Model provides a framework for visualising
the role of the coach and therefore provides an
answer to our first question:
‘What is Football Coaching?’
We now need to answer the second question:
‘What should Football Coaching in Australia
look like?
In other words, how is the National Football
Curriculum implemented via the Coaching Expertise
Model? How will we address the identified
weaknesses of coaching in Australia (planning
sessions properly, conducting sessions effectively)?
•The team has a number of main Team Tasks in
attacking, defending and transitioning to achieve
these objectives
•The player has a range of general and positionspecific tasks to perform in order to assist the team
in the accomplishment of the team tasks
•The player executes a range of individual ‘Player
Actions’ to successfully perform his/her tasks
Therefore, at its most basic level, football is all about
‘Player Actions’ – the things a player does. A player’s
actions are easy to see (and hear, in the case of
communication) and analyse, but we must also look
at what makes a player do what he/she does.
The answer lies in the brain.
Perception – Decision - Execution
Based on the Objectives and Tasks of football
outlined above, the player Perceives what is
happening in the game, processes the information,
Decides what should be done, and then Executes
the action.
The three stages of Perception, Decision and
Execution can be quite clearly distinguished, but
are so closely inter-dependent that they cannot be
separated.
The Curriculum clearly states our philosophy: that we
believe a ‘Holistic’ approach to coaching football is
the best choice. Our belief is supported by analysis
and scientific research.
Analysis of Football leads to the following
conclusions:
•Football is a team game in which two teams try to
win the game by scoring one more goal than the
other
•Therefore, scoring and preventing goals are the
main objectives for the team
Perception
Decision
Execution
FFA National Football Curriculum - The roadmap to international success | Chapter 4 | Page 70
The ‘Holistic’ v ‘Isolated’ debate
Just like there are many different philosophies on how to play football, there are
also different philosophies on what is the most effective way to coach football.
Many coaches, and indeed countries, still hold the belief that football must be
broken down into its many small components and that these components should
then be practised in isolation until the techniques are deeply ingrained: we call this
the ‘Isolated’ approach.
Supporters of the isolated approach believe that the best way of improving a
player’s ability in, for example, ‘passing with the inside of the foot’ is to take
‘passing with the inside of the foot’ out of its natural game context and practice
it in pairs or in lines; their reasoning is that this isolated training provides the
opportunity for ‘repetition’. However, this type of practice removes the realism
required for proper learning, as there are no longer ‘game-specific resistances’
such as opponents: it may look a bit like football, but it isn’t really football. In terms
of Perception-Decision-Execution, isolated training only touches on the Execution;
by removing the Perception and Decision, it is Execution without relevance.
Research has shown that this type of ‘drills-based’ practice (i.e. repetition without
decision-making) is not the most educationally effective way to teach football.
Players may learn to ‘perform’ the techniques, but do not learn how to ‘apply’
them in the game.
This makes sense if you think about this a little longer:
A player who looks great performing a prescribed technique on the
training pitch but does not recognise when to use it during the game has
the same problem as the player who sees the right moment to use it but
lacks the technique to execute it.
In order to reach a level of excellence in football, one needs thousands of hours of
purposeful practice.
Purposeful practice for football is practice that develops the players’
technical and perception/decision-making skills, as well as the required
football fitness, in conjunction with each other instead of developing the
individual components in isolation.
We call this the Holistic approach to coaching.
The isolated approach is successful, and perhaps necessary, for specific sports,
such as golf and gymnastics. However football demands the holistic approach as
by its very nature, it is an incredibly complex game, with unpredictable situations
where the player is regularly required to rapidly select from a wide range of possible
options and execute them under pressure.
Daniel Coyle, in his much-acclaimed book ‘The Talent Code’, explains the
difference in the brain processes involved in, on the one hand, activities like golf
and violin-playing, compared to activities like football.
‘Skills like football are flexible-circuit skills, meaning they require us to
grow vast ivy-vine circuits that we can flick through to navigate an everchanging set of obstacles. Playing violin, golf, gymnastics and figureskating, on the other hand, are consistent-circuit skills, depending utterly
on a solid foundation of technique that enables us to reliably re-create the
fundamentals of an ideal performance.’
4.
Coach Education
Example - Two ways of teaching a child to solve a 60-piece jigsaw puzzle
Method One (Isolated Approach):
Method Two (Holistic Approach):
Lesson 1: Take one piece out of the box, close the
lid, and then take that piece to the child. Ask her to
keep looking at the piece until she is totally familiar
with it. Then take that piece away and put it back in
the box.
Lesson 1: Put the jigsaw pieces together according
to the picture on the front of the box. Take the
complete jigsaw to the child’s desk and ask her to
familiarize herself with the whole picture.
Lesson 2: Take another jigsaw piece out, close the
lid, and take the second piece to the child. Again,
ask her to keep looking at the piece until she is totally
familiar with it.
Lessons 3-60: Repeat the process until she is
familiar with all the separate jigsaw pieces.
Lesson 61: Finally, empty the whole box of pieces on
the child’s desk, and take the box away. Ask the child
to arrange all the pieces into a rectangular picture.
Lesson 2: Take the complete jigsaw to the child’s
desk and ask her to familiarize herself with the whole
picture, focusing mainly on one quarter of it.
Lesson 3: Take the complete jigsaw to the child’s
desk and ask her to familiarize herself with the whole
picture, focusing mainly on a second quarter of it.
Lesson 4: Take the complete jigsaw to the child’s
desk and ask her to familiarize herself with the whole
picture, focusing mainly on a third quarter of it.
Lesson 5: Take the complete jigsaw to the child’s
desk and ask her to familiarize herself with the whole
picture, focusing mainly on the final quarter of it.
Lesson 6: Take the jigsaw apart, put the pieces on
the child’s desk and ask her to put it back together.
Which child do you think would finish the jigsaw
quickest? It is feasible that the 6 lessons of the
‘holistic’ approach would be more successful than
60 lessons of ‘isolated’ because the child has always
been presented with the ‘big picture’. Therefore the
child can see the links and make the connections
between the pieces much more quickly and efficiently.
Here lies another problem with the ‘isolated’
approach: there are so many elements to the game
of football, that the coach can end up with a list of,
say, 60 separate elements to work on. If the coach
then proceeds to address them all individually in an
isolated way, the whole training program becomes
totally removed from the real context of football. To
compound the problem, by the time you work on the
60th ‘jigsaw piece’, the players have forgotten what
the first piece looks like!
Repetition is of course important in developing
players, but we must strive for:
repetition of football-specific situations with
a focus on a particular aspect.
FFA National Football Curriculum - The roadmap to international success | Chapter 4 | Page 72
The players must always be playing football by
‘perceiving-deciding-executing’, and the relevance
to the ‘big picture’ must always be apparent.
The coach makes this happen by designing training
exercises with game-specific resistances,
by manipulating things like:
It is FFA’s belief that this kind of isolated, remedial
work is best utilised as ‘homework’: in fact, all players
should clock up a large number of hours mastering
the ball at home, for example, using a wall to help
develop passing and receiving technique, or trying out
1 v 1 moves in the back yard.
•The number of opponents
So, how is the National Football Curriculum’s ‘holistic’
approach implemented via the Coaching Expertise
Model? In short, we holistically teach coaches to
holistically teach players.
•The number of team-mates
•The size and position of the goals/targets
•The size of the space to work in
•The objective of the exercise
These are all usually absent in isolated training.
However, this is not to say that there is absolutely no
place for isolated training. In specific circumstances,
for a specific player, when the coach has exhausted
all holistic means to improve the player, the only
remaining solution is to work individually on
‘technique’. Isolated exercises should be the last
resort for certain players, when necessary, not the
fundamental basis of training for all players.
In the same way that some countries prefer to break
football up into little pieces and teach the isolated way,
many countries choose to do the same with coach
education. The Coach’s role is broken up into a large
number of distinct elements and these are covered in
isolation. The same problem occurs: the true context
is lost and the relevance is not always apparent.
Teaching separate, isolated parts of the coach’s role
may look a bit like Coach Education, but it isn’t really
Coach Education.
Every element and module of FFA’s Advanced
Pathway courses is put into context, in relation to
the Coaching Expertise Model. The Model itself is
a holistic representation of the competencies and
knowledge required to become an expert coach.
We adopt the same approach to teaching coaches
as we do to teaching players – they both need to see
the whole picture, giving everything a clear context
and relevance.
In terms of teaching players, there are two main ways
in which the holistic approach is implemented:
1. Training Session Content: Clear guidelines are
provided to assist coaches to design game-related
and football-specific exercises which maximize
learning and lead to the development of the kind of
players we need
2. Coach Intervention: FFA has developed a clear
process by which the coach can plan and
conduct training sessions that use a task-based
approach to give players real learning opportunities;
fundamentally, we believe that if the players are
challenged to solve problems at training, there is
a greater likelihood that they will be able to solve
problems in the game.
Our approach also aims to drastically reduce the
amount of time players have traditionally spent
standing still in training, while coaches give one
long-winded speech after another. When conducting
training sessions, it is important for the coach to
remember ‘it’s all about the players’. The focus should
be on helping the players to improve. Unfortunately,
for a number of reasons, the most common method
employed by coaches in Australia is to constantly stop
the training session to give long-winded speeches to
the players. We have even observed this happening
in the warm-up stage and in the ‘training game’ at the
end of a training session.
4.
Coach Education
All coaches are well-meaning, keen to help their
players, but the fact is that this approach is misguided
and simply doesn’t work. Players learn by ‘doing’
and the coach must guide and facilitate this learning
process. Coaches have to learn when to stop the
players, how long for and how often. They must also
learn what to say and how to say it in order to achieve
the best possible outcome. Stopping the players
too often, and talking for too long are not only noneducational, but they also frustrate the players and
take away their enjoyment of training. Perhaps more
worryingly, they take away valuable training time,
compounding the problems caused by too much
isolated training.
In terms of educating coaches, the Coaching
Expertise Model provides the framework, which
is clearly visualised and easily articulated
‘The Coach uses the competencies of TRAINING,
MATCH and MANAGEMENT to develop players
and teams according to a clear VISION AND
PHILOSOPHY, and the whole process is
supported by a broad FOOTBALL KNOWLEDGE’
So, we have defined what coaches need to learn and
how best to educate them.
FFA National Football Curriculum - The roadmap to international success | Chapter 4 | Page 74
Coaching Courses
One of the identified weaknesses of Coach Education in the past was that there
was only one stream of courses available, whether you were coaching a social
team of amateurs once a week or Head Coach of a State Premier League team.
The courses were also far too short to deliver enough long-term learning or
produce enough elite Australian coaches.
A key culture shift has had to occur as the Advanced Pathway has been
introduced: we have had to accept that, in the same way that it takes a long time
and a lot of effort to become a professional football player, it also takes a long time
and a lot of effort to become a professional football coach.
The Two Pathways and their relationship to the Building Blocks:
Community
Courses
Building Block
Advanced
Courses
SENIOR CERTIFICATE
PERFORMANCE
PHASE
SENIOR C, B, A AND
PROFESSIONAL
DIPLOMA
GAME TRAINING
CERTIFICATE
GAME TRAINING
PHASE
It was clear that two pathways were required, especially when one accepts
that players can generally be divided into two streams: those that play for
Participation, and those considered Performance players.
Therefore, the Two Pathway system was introduced in 2007:
1. The Community Pathway
2. The Advanced Pathway
Community Pathway courses are specifically designed for the coaches who look
after Participation players: the courses are short, easily-accessible and low-cost.
Because of the nature of the coach and the player in the Community context, these
courses focus almost exclusively on the ‘Training’ pillar of the Coaching Expertise
Model.
Advanced Pathway courses are specifically designed for the coaches who work
with Performance players: the courses are longer and much more intensive.
The course fees reflect the length and quality of the training program delivered.
Because of the nature of the coach and the player in the Advanced context, these
courses progressively develop all the elements of the Coaching Expertise Model.
Graduates from the Advanced Pathway are the pool of coaches that are to be
considered for full and part-time employment as football coaches.
YOUTH C LICENCE
SKILL TRAINING
CERTIFICATE
SKILL ACQUISITION
PHASE
GRASSROOTS
CERTIFICATE
DISCOVERY PHASE
N/A
Note:
•The Youth C Licence was introduced in 2013
•The Community Pathway is being revised as above and will also be rolled
out in early 2014.
4.
Coach Education
Community Pathway Diagram
Goalkeeping
Diploma
14hr practical course
includes assessment
Grassroots
Football
Certificate
Goalkeeping
Licence
Futsal
Licence
7hr practical course
includes assessment
8.5hr practical course
includes assessment
Skill Training
Certificate
Game Training
Certificate
Senior Coaching
Certificate
Goalkeeping
Certificate
Futsal
Certificate
14hr practical course
no assessment
14hr practical course
no assessment
14hr practical course
no assessment
7hr practical course
no assessment
3.5hr practical course
no assessment
Starting point
Starting point
Starting point
Starting point
For coaches of
5-9 year olds
For coaches of
9-13 year olds
For coaches of
13-17 year olds
For coaches of
17+ year olds
3hr practical course
no assessment
Horizontal entry points
vertical entry points
FFA National Football Curriculum - The roadmap to international success | Chapter 4 | Page 76
Advanced Pathway Diagram
Pro - Diploma
AFC and FFA
FFA’s Advanced Pathway courses are approved by
AFC. Since Australia has its own National Football
Curriculum, we naturally need to deliver our own
specific courses rather than the generic AFC courses,
and AFC has recognised this (Australia and Japan
are the only two of AFC’s 46 member associations to
have this right).
‘A’ Licence
football
conditioning
Licence
Level 3
goalkeeping
licence
‘B’ Licence
Senior ‘C’
Licence
Level 2 Futsal
licence
Level 2
goalkeeping
licence
Level 1 Futsal
licence
Level 1
goalkeeping
licence
FUTSAL
GOALKEEPING
Youth ‘C’ Licence
Players 9-17
Players 17 years +
and above
‘C’ Licence Part 1
Introduction to
advanced coaching
4.
Coach Education
Minimum Coach Accreditation Requirements
FFA has established a set of guidelines outlining the preferred level of accreditation required to hold certain coaching positions.
This is necessary to ensure quality control and to reinforce the key messages that must continue to be delivered if we are to achieve our long-term goals.
The A-League, W-League, National Teams and key coaching positions in the state federations have been our major concern to date.
Team / Program
Socceroos
Olyroos U23
Young Socceroos U20
Joeys U17
Matildas
Position
Minimum Accreditation
Head Coach
Professional Diploma
Assistant Coach
Professional Diploma
GK Coach
Level 2 GK Licence (Level 3 by January 1, 2015)
Head Coach
Professional Diploma
Assistant Coach
A Licence
GK Coach
Level 1 GK Licence (Level 2 by January 1, 2015)
Head Coach
Professional Diploma
Assistant Coach
A Licence
GK Coach
Level 1 GK Licence (Level 2 by January 1, 2015)
Head Coach
Professional Diploma
Assistant Coach
A Licence
GK Coach
Level 1 GK Licence (Level 2 by January 1, 2015)
Head Coach
Professional Diploma
Assistant Coach
A Licence
GK Coach
Level 1 GK Licence (Level 2 by January 1, 2015)
FFA National Football Curriculum - The roadmap to international success | Chapter 4 | Page 78
Team / Program
Young Matildas
Women’s U17
A-League
W-League
National Youth League
AIS Program
Position
Minimum Accreditation
Head Coach
A Licence
Assistant Coach
Male coaches: A Licence. Female coaches: B Licence
GK Coach
Level 1 GK Licence (Level 2 by January 1, 2015)
Head Coach
A Licence
Assistant Coach
Male coaches: B Licence. Female coaches: C Licence
GK Coach
Level 1 GK Licence (Level 2 by January 1, 2015)
Head Coach
A Licence (Professional Diploma by start of 2015/16 season)
Assistant Coach
A Licence
GK Coach
Level 1 GK Licence (Level 2 by start of 2014/15 season; Level 3 by start of 2015/16 season)
Conditioning Coach
FFA Football Conditioning Licence by start of 2015/16 season
Head Coach
Male coaches: A Licence. Female coaches: B Licence (A Licence by start of 2015/16 season)
Assistant Coach
Male coaches: B Licence. Female coaches: C Licence (B Licence by start of 2015/16 season)
GK Coach
Must hold at least a Community GK accreditation (Level 1 GK Licence by 2014/15 season)
Head Coach
A Licence
Assistant Coach
B Licence
GK Coach
Level 1 GK Licence (Level 2 by start of 2014/15 season)
Head Coach
Professional Diploma
Assistant Coach
B Licence (A Licence by January 1, 2014)
GK Coach
Level 1 GK Licence (Level 2 by January 1, 2015; Level 3 by January 1, 2017)
4.
Coach Education
Team / Program
NTC Program (Male)
NTC Program (Female)
Position
Minimum Accreditation
Head Coach
A Licence
Assistant Coach
B Licence
GK Coach
Level 1 GK Licence by January 1, 2015 (Level 2 by January 1, 2017)
Head Coach
Male coaches: A Licence. Female coaches: B Licence (A Licence by January 1, 2016)
Assistant Coach
Male coaches: B Licence. Female coaches: C Licence (B Licence by January 1, 2016)
GK Coach
Level 1 GK Licence by January 1, 2015 (Level 2 by January 1, 2017)
State Technical Director
A Licence
State Teams
(U13/14 Nationals)
B Licence or Youth C Licence (Youth C Licence only from January 1, 2015)
AFC Futsal Competitions
Head Coach
Level 1 Futsal Licence
Assistant Coach
Level 1 Futsal Licence
(NB: FFA Accreditation is preferred to equivalent accreditation from other National associations for all the above positions)
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Overseas Coaches (those who do not hold Australian citizenship or residency)
ALL National Team Head Coach Positions
(Male and Female Teams)
Professional Diploma
All National Team Assistant Coach Positions
(Male Teams)
Professional Diploma
A-League Head Coach and Assistant Coaches
Professional Diploma
W-League Head Coach
Professional Diploma (male), A Licence (female)
All AIS positions
Professional Diploma
NYL Head Coach
Professional Diploma
NTC Head Coach (Male and Female Programs)
Professional Diploma (male), A Licence (female)
Goalkeeper Coach Positions
Equivalent accreditation to that outlined above for Australian coaches
Conditioning Coach Positions
CV and proof of accreditation must be submitted to FFA for prior approval
All other positions
A Licence
4.
Coach Education
NPL Coach Accreditation
All NPL clubs are expected to work towards the following guidelines to further spread the effect of the National Football Curriculum message and bring quality control
several steps further.
All references are to Advanced Pathway Accreditation unless prefixed with ‘Community’. ‘New’ Licences are those commenced in 2010 or later.
Requirement
Mandatory /
Flexible
Technical Director
Mandatory
B Licence AND must have attended a State Coaching
Conference during the previous 12 months.
‘New’ A Licence (or an ‘old’ A Licence and an FFA
Curriculum Refresher Certificate) AND must have attended
a Youth C Licence
First Team Head
Coach
Mandatory
B Licence AND must have attended a State Coaching
Conference during the previous 12 months.
‘New’ A Licence (or an ‘old’ A-Licence and an FFA
Curriculum Refresher Certificate)
First Team
Assistant Coach
Mandatory
C Licence AND must have attended a State Coaching
Conference during the previous 12 months.
‘New’ B Licence (or an ‘old’ B Licence and an FFA
Curriculum Refresher Certificate)
U20, U19 Coach
Mandatory
C Licence
‘New’ B Licence (or an ‘old’ B Licence and an FFA
Curriculum Refresher Certificate)
U20, U19 Assistant
Coach
Mandatory
Community Senior Certificate
Senior C Licence (or an ‘old’ C Licence and an FFA
Curriculum Refresher Certificate)
U18, U17 Coach
Mandatory
Community Senior Certificate
Senior C Licence (or an ‘old’ C Licence and an FFA
Curriculum Refresher Certificate)
U18, U17 Assistant
Coach
Flexible
Community Youth Certificate or Community
Senior Certificate
Community Senior Certificate
U16, U15, U14 Coach
Mandatory
Community Youth Certificate
Youth C Licence
2013
2014
2015
2016
FFA National Football Curriculum - The roadmap to international success | Chapter 4 | Page 82
NPL Coach Accreditation
Requirement
Mandatory /
Flexible
U16, U15, U14
Assistant Coach
Flexible
Community Youth Certificate
Community Game Training Certificate
U13, U12 Coach
Mandatory
Community Youth Certificate
Youth C Licence
U13, U12 Assistant
Coach
Flexible
Community Youth Certificate
Community Skill Training Certificate
First Team GK
Coach
Mandatory
All other GK
Coaches
Flexible
2013
Community Goalkeeper
Certificate
2014
Community Goalkeeper
License
Community Goalkeeper Certificate
2015
2016
Community Goalkeeper
Diploma
Level 1 Goalkeeping Licence
Community Goalkeeper
License
Community Goalkeeper
Diploma
5.
Model Sessions
Discovery Phase Model Sessions.......................................................... 85
Skill Acquisition Phase Model Sessions............................................. 127
Game Training Phase Model Sessions................................................ 189
Performance Phase Model Sessions................................................... 267
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Introduction to the Model Sessions
Training pitches in Australia are unfortunately often full of hurdles and ladders
instead of balls and goals during youth training sessions. This isn’t really helpful
if we want to develop better FOOTBALL players. The Model Sessions contained
in this Curriculum elaborate our national philosophy and are designed to help
you train your players the right way. Please note that a ‘one session fits all’
approach obviously doesn’t work; the exercises in these sessions should be
modified/extended/simplified according to the needs of your players.
Number of players in the Model
Sessions
The following table explains the
shadow numbers:
Team
numbers
Shadow
numbers
1
22
2
12
3
13
4
14
5
15
6
16
2. Is football being learned (and therefore taught)?
Since coaches are faced with a
range of squad sizes, and different
numbers of players at training, it was
decided that it would not be suitable
for us to decide on a fixed number
of players for the Model Sessions.
Instead, a variety of exercises with
differing numbers of players have
been presented, allowing coaches to
modify and adjust them as they see fit,
depending on how many players they
are working with. The main purpose
of the sessions presented is to convey
FFA’s basic coaching philosophy.
7
17
3. Is football being experienced (and enjoyed)?
8
18
Numbering System used
9
19
10
20
11
21
We have also developed a useful checklist for evaluating your training sessions:
‘The youth training checklist’
1. Is football being played?
4. Do the players understand the football purpose of the exercise?
5. Do the players recognise the relation to the real game of football?
6. Are the players challenged to improve as a football player?
Coaches should avoid:
•Too long waiting in lines
•Non-stimulating or over-complicated exercises
•Intensity too high or too low
•Coach intervening too much and talking for too long
In Game Training Phase and
Performance Phase Model Sessions,
players are given shirt numbers to
reflect the 1-4-3-3 positions and their
corresponding numbers.
Sometimes ‘shadow’ numbers are
used, to indicate 2 players of the
same position within an exercise
(e.g. #10 and #20 who both play the
number 10 position).
Key for diagrams:
Players
Coach
Running with the ball
Running without the ball
Passing the ball
Lofted pass
5.
Discovery Phase Model Sessions
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3.
The Discovery Phase
Model Sessions
Session planning
Here are some useful tips to help you perform the important role of ‘kids coach’:
A training session for kids this age consists of 3 components: The Beginning,
The Middle and The End.
•Two weekly training sessions of 45 minutes and one game during the weekend
is a maximum safe workload for U/6’s and U/7’s
•For U/8’s and U/9’s the length of the sessions can be increased to 60 minutes
•Plan your sessions in advance
•Arrive early and set up the area
•Give clear, short instructions
•Demonstrate quickly and efficiently
The purpose of The Beginning (better known as the warm-up) is to get the kids
in the right frame of mind and activate their bodies. It’s unnecessary to run laps
around the field and do stretches to achieve that: all sorts of relays and tagging
games with and without the ball are much better (more specific, more fun) and
also help develop the children’s basic coordination.
The Middle is the section of the training session where we conduct fun football
exercises such as dribbling, passing, shooting, etc.
The last part (The End) is allocated for playing all sorts of Small-Sided Games
•Keep the session flowing
This leads to the following session timeline:
•Vary the activities but keep it simple
1Welcome (5 minutes)
•Be enthusiastic and give lots of praise
2The Beginning (10 minutes)
•Encourage after mistakes
3The Middle (15 minutes)
•Be patient
4The End (20 minutes)
•Have fun (both the kids and you!)
5Wrap up (5 minutes)
•Keep everyone active, avoid having kids standing around
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Cycle Planning
If your team trains only once a week, or on different days, you can of course adjust
this schedule accordingly.
In this section you will find an example of a 6 week cycle and 12 Model Sessions
for the Discovery Phase. This 6 week cycle is based on the assumption that the
weekly training sessions are on Tuesdays and Thursdays with the weekly game on
Saturday.
For the next 6 week cycle(s) the coach can:
Discovery
Phase
CYCLE 1
Tuesday
Thursday
Saturday
WEEK 1
Model Session 1
Model Session 2
game
WEEK 2
Model Session 3
Model Session 4
game
WEEK 3
Model Session 5
Model Session 6
game
WEEK 4
Model Session 7
Model Session 8
game
WEEK 5
Model Session 9
Model Session 10
game
WEEK 6
Model Session 11 Model Session 12
game
•Repeat the sessions in the same order 1-12
•Repeat them in a random order
•Combine the various session components of the 12 Model Sessions differently
(i.e. The Beginning of session 1; The Middle of session 2 and The End of
session 3; etc.)
•Attend the FFA Grassroots Football Certificate course, and use the
accompanying resource ‘Football for Kids’ to gain more ideas for session content
5.
Discovery Phase Model Sessions
Model Session 1
Beginning: Relays
Explanation for relays
•Each player starts with a ball, dribbles around the marker (as shown in diagrams
1 and 2) and returns to the start
•Upon returning to the starting point, the next player starts the same pattern with
their own ball
Guidelines for relays
•Avoid long queues
•Keep players as active as possible (don’t keep them waiting in line for too long)
•Give the group a quick break for a drink when necessary
•All relays in this section can be performed with and without the ball
(the preference is to always use the ball, but it is fine to take the ball out of
the relays early in the session)
•The more skill your players acquire, the more the ball should be used and the
greater the challenges can be
•If there are more than six players, make another lane of cones and keep it to two
players in a line (this avoids long queues)
Diagram 1
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Diagram 2
5.
Discovery Phase Model Sessions
Middle: Feather the Nest
Mark out a triangle with sides 10m–12m long. Three teams of two players are
positioned at each corner with a cluster of balls in the middle of the triangle.
The object of the game is to gather as many balls as possible for the corner or
‘nest’ within a set time period.
One player from each team runs to the middle of the triangle to get a ball and
dribbles it to their corner, or nest, and leaves it there. Their team-mate then does
the same. When all the balls in the middle of the triangle are gone, players can
take them from someone else’s nest.
Players are NOT allowed to stop others from taking balls from their nest
– no blocking, defending, tackling, etc. No hands! Feet only.
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End: 3 v 3 (or 4 v 4, 5 v 5) Training Game
Length: 20m–25m
Width: 14m–18m
Goal: 2m–3m
•“Just let them play”
•You can play with or without goalkeepers
•Short games - 3 to 5 mins in length (with regular drink breaks)
5.
Discovery Phase Model Sessions
Model Session 2
Beginning: Stuck-in-the-mud
Mark out a 10m × 14m area. Five players try to avoid one player who carries
a ball in their hands.
The ball-carrier attempts to tag the runners by touching them with the ball (make
sure the ball is not thrown and that players aim for the trunk). If a player is tagged,
they are ‘stuck in the mud’, and stand with their legs wide apart until a team-mate
frees them by crawling through their legs.
Each ball-carrier has 30 seconds to tag as many players as possible.
After 30 seconds, change the ball-carrier.
Progression:
•Ball-carrier dribbles the ball around the field and tags the players with their hand,
while keeping the ball close to them (if this progression proves difficult for them,
make the field smaller)
Tagged
Player
Ball-carrier
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Middle: Robin Hood
Two teams of three split up as shown in the diagram opposite. Each team starts
with an equal number of balls in their ‘safe’. When the game begins, each team
can start stealing balls from their opponent’s ‘safe’ – there is one ‘thief’ who
takes a ball and passes it across the first ‘moat’ to their team-mate; they then
pass it across the second ‘moat’, to their team’s ‘collector’, who puts it in the
team’s ‘safe’.
C
Meanwhile, their opponents are doing the same with their balls! After a set time
period (e.g. two minutes), see which team has the most balls in their ‘safe’. The
team that passes and controls the balls best will have the most balls in their ‘safe’
and will therefore be the winners.
You can’t use your hands – feet only!
C
C
Thief
C
Collector
5.
Discovery Phase Model Sessions
End: Pass to score
Length: 15m–20m
Width: 15m
Goal: none (make 4 or 5 gates of 1m–2m width inside the area)
•To score a goal, pass the ball through any of the gates to a team-mate
•This game encourages passing
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Model Session 3
Beginning: Relay
Explanation for relay
•Each player starts with a ball, and dribbles around the first marker in a full circle
(as shown in diagram) then dribbles around the second marker, and then returns
to the start
•Upon returning to the starting point, the next player starts the same pattern with
their own ball
Discovery Phase Model Sessions
Middle: Empty it! Fill it!
Mark out a 14m × 14m square.
Players in two teams dribble balls inside the square. Outside the square, each
team has two lines marked: one for their balls and one for themselves. On the call
‘empty it!’ the teams compete to be the first to empty the square.
Players go here
On the call ‘fill it!’ the teams compete to be the first to get all their balls and
themselves back in the square.
Players go here
Balls go here
5.
Balls go here
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End: 4-Goal football
Length: 20m
Width: 15m
Goal: 2 goals (2m wide) on each end-line
•There are no goalkeepers
•Goals can be scored in either of your opponents goals
•This game encourages shooting and scoring
5.
Discovery Phase Model Sessions
Model Session 4
Beginning: Me and my shadow
Players get into pairs; one is designated as ‘leader’ and the other as ‘follower’.
The ‘leader’ moves around the field, changing speed and direction frequently, and
perhaps adding a variation here and there, such as a jump or a ground touch.
The ‘follower’ then copies everything the ‘leader’ does.
Change roles regularly and also change partners regularly.
Progression:
•The leader (only) has a ball
•The leader and the follower both have balls
•The follower has a ball (this is a difficult progression so instruct ‘leader’ to jog at
medium speed around the area, with occasional random changes of direction)
Follower
Leader
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Middle: 1 v 1 Mini Games
Make three small areas about 10m × 7m.
Players play 1 v 1 on each mini-field and score by dribbling the ball over the
opponents’ line.
Think of safety when setting up; avoid scenarios where players could dribble into
each other by allowing buffer zones.
Keep rotating so opponents are changed regularly. Rotation also allows a period
of rest, so control how long rotation takes depending on how fatigued the players
seem. You could also give some brief hints to the whole group in order to give
them a rest.
Games should be no longer than 1 minute maximum.
If enough cones are available, progress to a small goal on each end-line for players
to score in.
You will also need a good supply of spare balls, as they tend to go
everywhere when shooting is introduced.
5.
Discovery Phase Model Sessions
End: Line football 3 v 3 (or 4 v 4, 5 v 5)
Length: 20m
Width: 15m
Goal: none
•Usual rules, but method of scoring is to dribble the ball across the opponents’
end line
•This game encourages dribbling and 1 v 1 skills
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Model Session 5
2
Beginning: Relay
2
Explanation for relay
•Each player starts with a ball, and
dribbles around the first marker and
then cuts the ball, changing direction to
the left (as shown in diagram 1). Then
dribbles around the second marker, and
repeats the same pattern (but cuts right
this time) on the way back
•Upon returning to the starting point,
the next player starts the same pattern
with their own ball
•Variation - instead of all players
beginning at the one point, they could
be split up at either end
•Player 1 now dribbles around the first
marker and then passes the ball to
player 2 (as shown in diagram 2),
who repeats the same movement
and passes to player 3
Diagram 1
1
1
3
3
Diagram 2
5.
Discovery Phase Model Sessions
Middle: Round em’ up
Five players dribble their balls inside a 10m × 14m area. On your call ‘round ’em
up!’ the sixth player tries to ‘round up’ all five balls, by kicking them out of the
square.
Allow 30 seconds for players to ‘round up’ as many balls as possible.
Take turns so each player has a go at rounding up the balls.
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End: 3 v 3 (or 4 v 4, 5 v 5) Training Game
Length: 20m
Width: 15m
Gate: 2m–3m
•In this game players can score by passing/shooting the ball through either side
of the gate, from in front or behind
•“Just let them play”
•You can play with or without goalkeepers
•Short games - 3 to 5 mins in length (with regular drink breaks)
5.
Discovery Phase Model Sessions
Model Session 6
Beginning: Double Trouble
Two players without a ball link hands and move around the area trying to kick
other players’ balls out.
The other players dribble their balls around the area, trying to avoid having their
ball kicked out.
There are two options for this game:
•Change the chasing pair when everyone is out (when a player’s ball is kicked
out, they fetch it then remain outside until that game is over)
•Change the chasing pair after a set time period by setting the challenge:
‘How many balls can you kick out in 30 seconds?’ (When a player’s ball is
kicked out, they fetch it and come back into the area as soon as possible,
continuing to dribble and to avoid losing their ball)
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Middle: Pairs through the gates
Mark out an area about 7m × 10m and set up four small gates – two cones about
two metres apart.
The players run around the area in pairs with a ball between them and pass it
through the gates to each other until they have performed a successful pass
through each gate.
The winning pair is the first to pass through every gate and wait outside the area.
Before moving to the next activity, have a competition to see which pair
(one at a time) can pass through the most gates in 20 seconds.
5.
Discovery Phase Model Sessions
End: Short and wide
Length: 15m
Width: 25m
Goal: 2 goals (2m wide) on each end-line
•This game develops awareness of space
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Model Session 7
Beginning: Figure 8 Relay
Explanation for relay
•Each player starts with a ball, and dribbles around the first marker and then the
second marker in a figure 8 type direction (as shown in the diagram)
•Upon returning to the starting point, the next player starts the same pattern with
their own ball
•Progressions
- Players to use their right foot only
- Players to use their left foot only
- Players to use the inside of their foot only
- Players to use the outside of their foot only
- Each group to use one ball only, where the ball is exchanged at each end upon
completing the figure 8
5.
Discovery Phase Model Sessions
Middle: Colour code
This activity should be arranged in a square 15m x 15m and requires at least three
cones of two or more colours placed randomly inside the square.
Players dribble their balls round the outside perimeter of the area.
Call out a colour and the kids must dribble into the square, around the cone of
that colour, and back outside the square. The winner is the first one back outside
with their foot on their ball.
Remind players to keep their heads up and watch out for possible collisions.
Variations:
•Round all cones of that colour
•Players to use their right foot only
•Players to use their left foot only
•Players to use the inside of their foot only
•Players to use the outside of their foot only
There are more possible variations, limited only by the number and colour
of your cones, and your imagination!
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End: Dribble to score 3 v 3 (or 4 v 4, 5 v 5)
Length: 15m–20m
Width: 15m
Goal: none (make 4 or 5 gates of 1m–2m width inside the area)
•To score a goal, dribble the ball through any one of the gates
•This game encourages dribbling
•Players cannot score in the same gate consecutively
5.
Discovery Phase Model Sessions
Model Session 8
Beginning: Dribblers and Collectors
Two players without a ball link hands and move around the area trying to kick
other players’ balls out. They are the ‘collectors’.
When a player’s ball is kicked out, they immediately join the ‘collectors’, so that
there are now three players with hands linked chasing the others (then four and
five) until everyone is out. Then two new ‘collectors’ start chasing.
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Middle: 1 v 1 Mini Games
Make three small areas about 10m wide × 7m-8m long (field is short and wide).
Two gates 2m wide placed on each byline, approximately 1m away from each
corner marker.
Players play 1 v 1 on each mini-field and score by dribbling the ball through one of
the gates.
Think of safety when setting up; avoid scenarios where players could dribble into
each other by allowing buffer zones.
Keep rotating so opponents are changed regularly. Rotation also allows a period
of rest, so control how long rotation takes depending on how fatigued the players
seem. You could also give some brief hints to the whole group in order to give
them a rest.
5.
Discovery Phase Model Sessions
End: Line football 3 v 3 (or 4 v 4, 5 v 5)
•Field dimension is short and wide
Length:15m -20m
Width: 20m - 25m
Goal: none
•Usual rules, but method of scoring is to dribble the ball across the opponents’
end line
•This game encourages dribbling and 1 v 1 skills
•Progression:
- Add 2 scoring zones behind each byline (as shown in the diagram)
- To score, players must dribble the ball over the byline, but also stop the ball in
the scoring zone
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Model Session 9
Beginning: Relay
3
Explanation for relay
•Each group starts with 1 ball
•Player 1 dribbles the ball to marker 1, and leaves it there.
Then runs around the marker and tags player 2 at the starting point
•Player 2 runs to the ball, collects it from marker 1, dribbles it to marker 2 and
leaves it there, then runs around the marker and tags player 3 at the starting
point
2
•Player 3 runs to the ball, collects it from marker 2, dribbles with it around marker
3 and brings it back to the starting point
•Change the player numbers regularly
1
•Progressions
- Players to use their right foot only
- Players to use their left foot only
1
2 3
1
2 3
1
2 3
5.
Discovery Phase Model Sessions
Middle: Beehive
Six players with a ball each dribble around an area about 7m × 10m.
They attempt to kick the other players’ balls out of the area while keeping their
own ball under control. The players must be careful – while they are kicking
someone’s ball out, someone else might kick theirs out!
If their ball is kicked out, the player must leave the area immediately without
kicking any other balls out. The player can fetch their own ball and wait until there
is a winner and the game starts again.
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End: 3 v 3 (or 4 v 4, 5 v 5) Training Game - focus on shooting
•Field dimension is short and wide
Length: 15m
Width: 15m - 20m
Goal: 3 goals on each byline (as shown in diagram)
•This game encourages shooting as often as possible
5.
Discovery Phase Model Sessions
Model Session 10
Beginning: Catch the Tails
One or more players are ‘hunters’. They chase the other players and try to remove
their ‘tails’. If a player’s ‘tail’ is taken, they become a ‘hunter’.
(Bibs tucked into shorts can function as ‘tails’).
Progression:
•The ‘hunter’ dribbles their ball while trying to remove the ‘tails’
•Players with ‘tails’ dribble their balls while trying to avoid the ‘hunter’
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Middle: Simon Says
Players dribble freely around the area with a ball each. Give the kids various tasks
and challenges, which they must do ONLY if you say ‘Simon says’ at the start of
the sentence. Therefore, sometimes you use ‘Simon says’ and sometimes you
don’t – see who’s listening!
The players must avoid touching anyone else’s ball, and must not let anyone else
touch their own ball.
Possible tasks:
•STOP! (Means stop dead with your foot on your ball)
•TURN! (Quickly go the other way with your ball)
•OUT! (Run outside the square and put your foot on your ball)
•CHANGE! (Leave your ball and find another one to dribble; who is the last one
dribbling a new ball?)
•LEFT! (Dribble around the area touching the ball only with your left foot)
•RIGHT! (Dribble around the area touching the ball only with your right foot)
•Use your imagination!
Use instructions like ‘Simon says sit next to your ball’ or ‘Simon says get
a drink from your bag’, to give the players a rest when needed.
5.
Discovery Phase Model Sessions
End: 2 v 2 (or 3 v 3, 4 v 4) end zone football
Length: 20m
Width: 15m
Goal: create an end zone (a square 2m x 2m) behind the centre of each byline
•To score the players must pass the ball to their own player in the end zone who
must stop/control the ball in the area
•There are no goalkeepers
•Rotate players in the end zone every 1-2 minutes
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Model Session 11
Beginning: Relay
Explanation for relay
•Each player starts with a ball. Player 1 dribbles their ball through the middle gate
and then around the far cone and back through the middle gate again on the
way back
•Upon returning to the starting point, player 2 commences the same pattern
•Twelve cones are required
•Vary the width of the gates to increase/decrease difficulty
5.
Discovery Phase Model Sessions
Middle: Pass and Move
This activity requires two players with a ball and four players without.
The players with the balls start by dribbling, while the other players move freely
around the area. When the ball carriers see another player ready to receive the
ball, they pass to them, then move to another part of the area. When a player
receives the ball, they dribble until they can see another player who is ready to
receive the ball. They then pass the ball to that player and move. Players are
constantly moving, either looking to receive one of the two balls, or looking to pass
to one of the players without a ball.
Progression:
•Three players with a ball and three without
This activity helps develop vision and communication and introduces the concept
of passing the ball to a team-mate, which is often difficult to grasp for a naturally
self-centred under-seven!
Passing will begin to be more evident from under-eights upwards.
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End: 4 sided football 3 v 3 (or 4 v 4, 5 v 5)
Length: 20m
Width: 20m
Gates: 4 gates of 1m–2m wide inside the area (as shown in the diagram)
•Players can score by passing the ball through any one of the 4 gates (and from
either side) to one of their team-mates
•This game encourages passing and supporting
5.
Discovery Phase Model Sessions
Model Session 12
Beginning: Dribble Tag
In an area about 10m × 14m, players dribble their balls around.
A ‘chaser’ is nominated and they try to tag the other players while keeping
control of their own ball. The other players avoid him or her while keeping control
of their balls.
If you are the tagger you must carry a bib so everyone knows who the chaser is.
Chaser
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Middle: Hit the target
Make three small areas about 10m × 7m.
To score, players must hit the target to get points.
Targets may include 3 tall cones, water bottles, balls, empty plastic bottles etc.
Players will receive 1 point for every target which is knocked over or hit (like ten
pin bowling).
5.
Discovery Phase Model Sessions
End: Triangular goal football 3 v 3 (or 4 v 4, 5 v 5)
Length: 20m
Width: 15m
Goal: triangular goal, 2m-3m per side, 2m-3m inside the field
•To score players must shoot or pass through any one of the 3 sides of the
triangle of their designated goal
•This game encourages passing and shooting from different angles
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5.
Skill Acquisition Phase Model Sessions
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3.
Skill Acquisition Phase
Model Sessions
It is also advisable to ‘wrap-up’ the session at the end, summarising the main
points of the session to enhance learning.
At this age the children are ready for a more structured approach to training.
In every session the focus is on one of the core skills, from the beginning until
the end of the session (“theme based sessions”).
Since the Skill Games are games in which all the Game Specific Resistances
are present (team-mates; opponents; goals; direction; etc) they also provide an
ideal opportunity to gradually establish the basic principles of the team tasks
during the main moments of the game (e.g. ‘make the field small’ when defending;
‘try to face forward’ when attacking).
The Skill Acquisition Phase sessions consist of 3 components:
1. Skill introduction, this is the warm-up as well as an introduction to the
designated core skill for this session. This is the only part of the session where
drill-type exercises should be used, but the creative coach can include elements
of decision-making.
- Flow, no ‘stop-start coaching’.
2. Skill training, this is the part of the session where conscious teaching and
learning of the designated core skill takes place.
- Lots of repetition in game realistic scenarios!
- Task-based coaching
- Effective feedback
- Use of questioning (ask players ‘why did you choose that option?’,
‘where do you think there might be more space?’, etc)
3. Skill game, a game where as much as possible all the elements of the real
game are present but organised in a way that the designated core skill has to
be used regularly.
- Skill games are preferably small sided games to stimulate the number
of repetitions/touches!
- The players play, the coach observes if learning has taken place.
In other words: the emphasis in the Skill Acquisition Phase is on Skill
Development but this can/should not be separated from developing
insight/game understanding at the same time.
If this approach is applied properly, it will provide a seamless transition into the
Game Training Phase.
This principle also relates to the concept of Small Sided Football and appropriate
coach behaviour (refer to chapter 3):
During the Skill Acquisition Phase, 2-3 sessions of 60-75 minutes plus a game
is a safe weekly workload, with the following session planning guidelines:
•Welcome: 5 minutes
•Skill Introduction: 15-20 minutes
•Skill Training: 25-30 minutes
•Skill Game: 20-25 minutes
•Wrap up: 5 minutes
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On the next pages you will find three consecutive 6 week cycles (18 weeks
program) and 12 Skill Acquisition Phase Model Sessions, 3 for each core skill
with increasing difficulty. The 6 week cycles are based on the assumption that the
weekly training sessions are on Tuesdays and Thursdays with a game on Saturday.
During the first cycle, Model Session 1 of each core skill is repeated every two
weeks. Each time we repeat the Model Session we try to make a step-up (make
the session more challenging) but only if the players are ready for it. During the
second cycle, Model Session 2 of each core skill is repeated every two weeks
and during the third cycle Model Session 3 of each core skill:
Skill
Acquisition
Phase
CYCLE 1
Tuesday
Thursday
Saturday
WEEK 1
First touch
Striking the ball
Model Session 1 Model Session 1
game
WEEK 2
Running with the ball
1v1
Model Session 1 Model Session 1
game
WEEK 3
First touch
Striking the ball
Model Session 1 Model Session 1
Step up (if possible)
Step up (if possible)
game
WEEK 4
1v1
Running with the ball
Model Session 1 Model Session 1
Step up (if possible)
Step up (if possible)
game
WEEK 5
First touch
Striking the ball
Model Session 1 Model Session 1
Step up (if possible)
Step up (if possible)
game
WEEK 6
Running with the ball
1v1
Model Session 1 Model Session 1
Step up (if possible)
Step up (if possible)
game
3.
Skill Acquisition Phase
Skill
Acquisition
Phase
CYCLE 2
Tuesday
Thursday
Saturday
Skill
Acquisition
Phase
CYCLE 3
Tuesday
Thursday
Saturday
WEEK 1
First touch
Striking the ball
Model Session 2 Model Session 2
game
WEEK 1
First touch
Striking the ball
Model Session 3 Model Session 3
game
WEEK 2
Running with the ball
1v1
Model Session 2 Model Session 2
game
WEEK 2
Running with the ball
1v1
Model Session 3 Model Session 3
game
WEEK 3
First touch
Striking the ball
Model Session 2 Model Session 2
Step up (if possible) Step up (if possible)
game
WEEK 3
First touch
Striking the ball
Model Session 3 Model Session 3
Step up (if possible) Step up (if possible)
game
WEEK 4
1v1
Running with the ball
Model Session 2 Model Session 2
Step up (if possible) Step up (if possible)
game
WEEK 4
1v1
Running with the ball
Model Session 3 Model Session 3
Step up (if possible) Step up (if possible)
game
WEEK 5
First touch
Striking the ball
Model Session 2 Model Session 2
Step up (if possible) Step up (if possible)
game
WEEK 5
First touch
Striking the ball
Model Session 3 Model Session 3
Step up (if possible) Step up (if possible)
game
WEEK 6
Running with the ball
1v1
Model Session 2 Model Session 2
Step up (if possible) Step up (if possible)
game
WEEK 6
Running with the ball
1v1
Model Session 3 Model Session 3
Step up (if possible) Step up (if possible)
game
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With 3 sessions per week our advice is to limit the duration of the sessions to
60 minutes and rest the players the day before as well as the day after the game.
So, with a game on Saturday, we recommend a training session on Monday,
Tuesday and Thursday.
Factors to consider:
•Performance of the players in previous training sessions
•Performance of the players in matches (NB: matches should only be assessed
in terms of core skill performance, not ‘team tactics’. That way, training and
matches are closely and logically linked)
Observation may lead you to conclude that one core skill appears to be especially
deficient in most of the players, while another is generally strong.
Possible Cycle Planning changes:
•Replace the stronger skill with the weaker one every second rotation
•Move to a 5-session rotation in which each skill is focused on once, except for
the weaker one which appears twice
The best advice for a coach working with players in this age group would be to
attend the FFA Youth C Licence course.
This will give coaches a much better understanding of the why’s and how’s of
session planning and season planning, while developing their ability to design their
own practices.
Important:
•When the kids start playing 11 v 11 while they are still in the Skill Acquisition
Phase, (U12/13) there is a common tendency for coaches to become totally
obsessed with results, and forget that the players are still in the skill acquisition
phase. This has a very negative effect on training session content as well as
Match Day behaviour.
Training must remain focused on skill development; it is poor practice and
detrimental to the players to sacrifice critical skill training time in order
to conduct unnecessary ‘tactical’ coaching.
Match Day is when the coach can start developing the players insight and
understanding of the basic team and player tasks. This involves reinforcement
and elaboration of the basic tasks introduced at training during Skill Games
(‘Get between the lines’, ‘Can you face forward?’ ‘Look for the killer pass’,
‘Make the field big’, etc)
It is also disadvantageous for young players’ development to specialize for
a specific team position too early; let them experience the various positions
and aim for specialisation during the Game Training phase (the rationale for
this is excellently explained in the book ‘Coaching Outside the Box’ by
Mairs and Shaw).
5.
Skill Acquisition Phase Model Sessions
First touch Model Session 1
1. Skill introduction
Players in fours (fives is also fine, and is a way of reducing intensity, if required) with
one ball between them. 2 pairs facing each other 5m-7m apart. The yellow player
starts by passing the ball to the orange player and following their pass at speed.
A
3
2
The orange player uses their first touch to move the ball away from the yellow
player, and with the second touch passes to the blue player. The orange player
follows their pass and jogs to the back of the opposite line.
1
In example A, the orange player has moved the ball to the right because the yellow
player approached him/her slightly to his/her left side.
In example B, the yellow player has moved the ball to the left because the blue
player approached him/her to his/her right.
The coach can also direct the passer to follow the pass by running directly at
the receiver. Therefore the receiver has the option of going left or right, ideally the
receiver will fake to move the ball in one direction, and then with his/her first touch
move the ball the other way.
Concluding Competition:
B
1
2
3
Which group can complete 10 passes first?
5-7m
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First touch Model Session 1
2. Skill training component:
Positioning Games with two touches as a mandatory requirement (i.e. first touch
= control the ball, second touch = pass the ball).
Disallowing a direct pass forces the players to have a good first touch in order to
move the ball away from the defender(s) and keep possession!
4v1
Which positioning game to use depends on the level of the players and ranges
from 4 v 1 (easiest), 3 v 1, 5 v 2 and 4 v 2 (most difficult).
The grid size also depends on the level and capabilities of the players with
15m x 15m as a starting point (15m x 20m for the 5 v 2).
The coach can make the exercise more challenging for the players by simply
decreasing the space or easier by making the grids bigger.
3v1
5.
Skill Acquisition Phase Model Sessions
First touch Model Session 1
Possible Coaches Remarks:
•“Move to support as the ball moves”
•“Make angles (do not stand in the corners)”
5v2
•“Keep your body open to the field”
•“Move the ball with your first touch away from the defender(s) “
•“Use body feints to disguise your intention”
•Competition: which defender(s) forces most mistakes in 1 minute
4v2
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First touch Model Session 1
3. Skill Game:
5 v 5 with the restriction that with every ball contact each player must take two
touches.
Disallowing direct play forces the players to have a good first touch in order to
move the ball away from the defender(s) and keep possession!
The coach can make the game more challenging by simply decreasing the space
or more easy by making the field bigger or creating a numerical advantage for the
team in possession of the ball by adding a ‘joker’.
5.
Skill Acquisition Phase Model Sessions
First touch Model Session 2
1. Skill introduction
•In and around the centre circle 3 groups of 4 (or more) players with different
colour bibs are positioned as follows:
a. The orange players outside the centre circle with a ball each
b. The blue players outside the centre circle without a ball
c. The yellow players inside the centre circle without a ball
•The yellow group moves around the circle calling for the ball and moving it with
their first touch to pass it with their second touch to a player outside the circle
who does not have a ball (anticipation, communication and awareness)
•Change roles after 1-2 min
•Only use left/right foot
•Only use inside/outside foot
•Serve out of hands to thigh/chest
•After passing the ball servers follow their pass to (passively) pressure the receiver
on their 1st touch
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First touch Model Session 2
Possible Coaches Remarks:
•“Know beforehand to whom you are going to play the ball”
•“Try to use 2 touches only, the 1st touch to receive the ball and the
2nd touch to pass it”
•“Do not just move the ball side-ways, try to make a full turn sometimes”
Concluding game:
•8 v 4 in centre circle, mandatory 2 touches to emphasise a quality 1st touch.
•Blue and orange try to keep possession with yellow defending
•Always position 1 or 2 ‘link’ players centrally
•How long does it take for yellow to make 5 or 10 interceptions? Now blue
defends and then orange
•Who is the winner?
5.
Skill Acquisition Phase Model Sessions
First touch Model Session 2
2. Skill training component
Positioning game 4 v 4 with 4 ‘wall’ players (8 v 4) in a 20m x 30m grid
(depending on player’s ability).
Mandatory 2 touches for all players including the ‘walls’ who must keep the
ball moving (i.e. not allowed to stop the ball with their 1st touch). This simple
restraint sees to it that each 1st touch must be perfect every time the
player receives the ball.
Possible Coaches Remarks:
•“Move the ball with your 1st touch away from the defender(s)”
•“Use body feints to disguise your intention”
•“Make an angle when asking for the ball”
•“Try to position yourself in such a way that you can see as much of the grid
as possible”
•“Scan your options before receiving the ball”
•“Walls: help the players in the grid by coaching them”
Step up
•Reduce grid size
Step down:
•Increase grid size or go back to an easier positioning game (4 v 1; 3 v 1 or 4 v 2)
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3. Skill game
•4 v 4 with 4 walls (8 v 4) in a 20m x 30m grid with two 2m goals and a 5m-7m
scoring zone at each end (see diagram)
Game rules:
•Mandatory 2 touches for every player (MUST touch the ball twice)
•Walls not allowed to stop the ball or play to each other
•Inside the scoring zone one touch finishes are allowed if the ball comes from the
wall player between the goals
•Change teams every 2-3 minutes or after a goal is scored
5.
Skill Acquisition Phase Model Sessions
First touch Model Session 3
1
1. Skill introduction
Players in threes, positioned as shown. Both players at the sides with a ball; the
player in the middle stands in a 2m x 2m grid without ball.
The exercise starts with a player on one side passing the ball to the player in the
grid. They must move the ball with their first touch side-ways out of the grid and
pass it back with their second touch.
2
Then they receive the next ball from the player at the opposite side, etc. (see
variation 1) Rotate positions after 10 repetitions. Use various techniques i.e. right/
left foot only; inside/outside foot only.
In variation 2, the central player receives the ball, turns in the grid (one touch)
and passes to the player at the opposite side with their 2nd touch. This player
receives the ball and passes it back again to the player in the grid, etc. (so here we
temporarily use one ball only!). Again: left and right; inside and outside foot.
3
In variation 3, the outside players follow their pass, sprinting to the left or right
cone of the grid. The player in the middle must now move the ball out of the grid in
the opposite direction with their 1st touch and dribble the ball to the empty cone.
The new middle player now receives the ball from the other end and the pattern is
repeated.
Concluding competition:
Use one of the 1st touch techniques for a relay:
“which group has concluded 10 perfect repetitions by all 3 players first”
“OK, one more time and now .....(other technique).
5m
10m
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First touch Model Session 3
2. Skill training component
•Positioning game 4 v 4 + 2 ‘rescue’ players (6 v 4) in a 30m x 30m grid
•The ‘rescue’ players of both teams are positioned opposite each other
(as shown in diagram)
•Mandatory 2 touches for all players, including the ‘rescue’ players (this simple
restraint sees to it that each 1st touch must be good!)
•If someone passes to a rescue player, both players (passer and ‘rescue’ player)
must immediately swap positions
Possible Coaches Remarks:
“Move the ball with your 1st touch away from the defender(s)”
“use body feints to disguise your intention”
“make an angle when asking for the ball”
“ try to position yourself in a way that you can see as much of the grid as possible”
“scan your options before receiving the ball”
“rescue players: help the players in the grid by coaching them”
Step up:
•Reduce grid size
•Game: one point for every successful interchange passer-rescue player (NB the
rescue player must continue possession)
Step down:
•Increase grid size
•Use a ‘joker’ or an easier positioning game
5.
Skill Acquisition Phase Model Sessions
First touch Model Session 3
3. Skill game
4 v 4 in a grid of approximately 35m x 35m with five 3m gates positioned as
shown.
The team in possession scores a goal when one of their players passes the ball to
a team-mate through one of the gates.
Mandatory 2 touches for all players
If the defending team wins the ball, the roles change without stopping the game.
“Which teams scores most?”
Step up:
•The attacking team must make an effort to score within 30 seconds, otherwise
the possession goes to the opponent
•Decrease the goal size
Step down:
•Increase the goal size
•Add another goal
•Introduce a ‘joker’
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Striking the ball Model Session 1 (short passing)
1. Skill introduction
In a grid of approximately 20m x 20m (dependent on group size) half of the
players position themselves outside the grid without a ball and the other half
with a ball inside.
The players inside the grid dribble freely until they can pass to a ‘free’ player
on the outside who then passes the ball back to the same player (see diagram A)
Change roles every two minutes, players must use left / right foot on coaches call
i.e. 2 min left foot only; then 2 min right foot only.
Possible Coaches Remarks:
•“Only pass the ball when the passing line is ‘open’ and make sure someone else
is not passing to that player at the same time”
•“Pass the ball precise and with the right speed”
•“Look where you run when asking for the ball back and make an angle for the
return pass”
A
5.
Skill Acquisition Phase Model Sessions
Striking the ball Model Session 1 (short passing)
•Next the players form pairs with one ball and position themselves at the edge of
the grid, 3m on either side of the line (see diagram B)
•The players move towards each other while playing one touch passes until
they have reduced the distance to 1m-2m. Then they move backwards again
continuing to pass until they have reached their starting position
•Right foot only
•Left foot only
•Right-left alternately
This exercise challenges the players to work on the ‘weight’ and accuracy of their
pass using both feet over varying distances
B
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Striking the ball Model Session 1 (short passing)
Concluding tagging game
•All players go into the same grid we used for the previous exercises. Half of
them have a ball at their feet, the others are without ball
•One player is appointed ‘tagger’ and carries a bib in their hand
•The tagger can only tag a player without ball. If the tagger succeeds in tagging
a player without ball, both swap roles
•The players with ball can help their team-mates without ball by passing a ball to
them when they are being chased by the tagger
•Any balls that roll out of the grid may not be fetched back, so the passes need
to be accurate.
Variations to make easier or more difficult:
•2 or more taggers
•More (or less) players with a ball
5.
Skill Acquisition Phase Model Sessions
Striking the ball Model Session 1 (short passing)
2. Skill training component - Positioning games
Depending on the ability of your players, choose any of the 3 ‘basic’ positioning
games i.e. 4 v 1; 3 v 1 and 4 v 2. All have similar objectives but with varying
degrees of resistance and complexity.
A
See diagrams on the right:
A. 4 v 1 (grid size 10m x 10m – 15m x 15m)
B. 3 v 1 (depending on the level of the players)
Possible Coaches Remarks:
“The player on the ball must always have a player to their left and right that they
can play to”
“But do not stand in the corners, your angle is much smaller if you do that””
With 3 v 1 this means that “you have to move each time the ball moves”
(see diagram B)
“Position yourself in a way that you can see the whole grid”
(“with your back to the line”)
“Play the ball to the proper foot of your team-mate (i.e. away from the
defender) and with the proper speed and precision”
Please note that 3 v 1 asks for a lot of running and is therefore quite exhausting for
players this age. Use regular drink breaks to allow for recovery
B
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Striking the ball Model Session 1 (short passing)
4 v 2 (diagram C) grid size 12m x 12m – 15m x 15m depending on level of players
Possible Coaches Remarks specifically for 4 v 2:
“Now the player on the ball must always have a player to their left, right and in
between that they can pass to”
“Especially look to pass through the 2 defenders, that’s the most important pass!
We call that the killer pass”
Step up:
Make the grid smaller
Step down:
Make the grid bigger
C
5.
Skill Acquisition Phase Model Sessions
Striking the ball Model Session 1 (short passing)
3. Skill game
•4 v 4 with 4 neutral players (walls) on a pitch of approximately 20m x 30m
•4 small goals placed as shown (2m wide)
•The team in possession of the ball can use the wall players (8 v 4)
•Rotate teams after 3 min or after each score: scorers stay on
•Depending on level of the players: 2-3 touches max in order to get an emphasis
on passing
Possible progressions:
•Wall players must play the ball direct
•Goals count as double if scored by a so-called 3rd man combination
(see diagram)
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Striking the ball Model Session 2 (the ‘killer’ pass)
1. Skill introduction
1
6 players are positioned as shown, distance between the cones 7m-8m.
The passing exercise starts with player #1 at cone A passing the ball to the feet of
the player at cone B (who moves away with a dummy run as if getting away from
an imaginary defender, then checks back to the ball to receive it).
C
B bounces back to A1 who plays the killer pass to the first player at cone C.
C1 moves the ball (1st touch) and passes to the player at cone D (2nd touch) and
the same pattern is repeated.
All players involved move to the next cone after completing their action/pass (from
cone A to B; B to C; C to D and D to A). Every 2-3 minutes: change the direction
(use other foot).
Variation for advanced players
B
D
•2 balls, starting with A1 and C1 at the same time
Possible Coaches Remarks:
“More accuracy, play the ball to your mate’s right/left foot”
“Play the ball with more speed”
“Communicate, time your action”
A
2
1
5.
Skill Acquisition Phase Model Sessions
Striking the ball Model Session 2 (the ‘killer’ pass)
Concluding Competition: positioning game 4 v 2
“Count how often you can play a successful killer pass (between the defenders)”
Every 2 minutes change of defenders and start again.
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Striking the ball Model Session 2 (the ‘killer’ pass)
2. Skill training component
3 v 1 killer pass positioning game with 9 players.
Organisation
A
Two grids of about 12m x 12m (A & C) separated by a grid of 12m x 5m (B).
Three teams of 3 players with different colour bibs, one team in each grid as shown.
The coach is positioned with the balls centrally, next to grid B.
The coach starts the game with a pass to a yellow player in grid A. At that moment
one orange player from grid B sprints into grid A to defend/win the ball:
3 v 1 in grid A.
Yellow must now look for the right moment to play a killer pass through grid B (with
the two remaining orange defenders) to a blue player in grid C. Then immediately
another orange player sprints into grid C to defend while the defender from grid A
returns to grid B.
If a defender wins the ball in grid A/C or the defenders intercept the killer pass in
grid B, they change grids with the team that lost the ball.
Step up or down:
•Make the grids bigger/smaller
•Free or limited touches (2-3) in 3 v 1
•Killer pass: only on the ground or lofted pass allowed as well
•Make easier: 6 players (2 per grid: 2 v 1) or harder: 12 players (4 per grid: 4 v 2).
B
C
5.
Skill Acquisition Phase Model Sessions
Striking the ball Model Session 2 (the ‘killer’ pass)
3. Skill game
5 v 5 (include goalkeepers) + 2 ‘neutral’ players on a 40m x 50m pitch with big goals,
divided in two grids (A & B) by a 5m ‘killer pass zone’ (see diagram). 2 defenders +
goalkeeper and 2 attackers in each half as well as a ‘neutral’ player (‘joker’). All players
must stay in their designated grids.
A
The game starts in grid B with yellow + the joker playing 4 v 2 against the 2 oranges.
They must try to play a ‘killer pass’ through/across the middle zone to a yellow player or
the joker in grid A. If the orange players intercept the ball they can score immediately.
The yellow players + joker in grid A try to score against the 2 orange defenders +
goalkeeper (3 v 3). If they score the game starts again in grid B. If they lose the ball to
orange, the game continues/re-starts in grid A with orange + joker playing 4 v 2 against
the 2 yellow players. Players to change roles/grids every 3-5 minutes.
KILLER PASS ZONE
Possible Coaches Remarks:
“Focus on properly playing 4 v 2 first”
“look for the right moment to play the killer pass”
“the right moment is when you are facing forward and make eye contact with the
player(s) you want to pass to”
Step up:
Step down:
•2 touches only in 4 v 2
•2 jokers per grid
•No jokers: 2 v 2 (or 3 v 3) + goalkeepers
•Make grids A & B bigger
B
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Striking the ball Model Session 3 (shooting)
1. Skill introduction
•6 orange players are positioned approximately 5m outside of the centre circle
with a ball each and act as ‘goalkeepers’
•6 yellow players are inside without a ball, in a smaller (7m-8m diameter) circle
shaped by 6 cones
•They receive a rolled ball off a ‘goalkeeper’ and with a controlled instep drive,
shoot it back into the goalkeeper’s hands
•After going back around the next cone they receive a ball from the next
‘goalkeeper’
•Change roles and direction every 2 minutes
•“When we move in the direction of the clock, only use your right foot”
•“When we move the other way around, only use left”
•“Now goalkeepers: throw the ball and players: volley it back in the goalkeeper’s
hands before it hits the ground”
•“It’s about accuracy, not power”
•“Now a half-volley”
5.
Skill Acquisition Phase Model Sessions
Striking the ball Model Session 3 (shooting)
1. Skill introduction - Concluding Competition
•“For every proper shot which the goalkeeper catches during one full round you
earn a point”
•“Now change roles”
•“Count your points, who wins individually?”
•“And which group wins when you add up all individual points”
•“Now we do it again but in the opposite direction with our other foot”
•“Now only proper volleys count”
•Etc
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Striking the ball Model Session 3 (shooting)
2. Skill training component
Organisation
One group focuses on right foot shooting, the other on left foot. Change groups
regularly.
#1 passes to #2 and runs to apply pressure; #2 moves the ball with the first touch
to prepare for a shot from the edge of the penalty area.
#1 then joins the shooting line (behind #6); #2 fetches the ball and joins the serving
line (behind #5). The same pattern takes place in the left foot group simultaneously.
The angle/distance from #1 to #2 is manipulated by the coach to ensure #2 can
shoot with the second touch without being tackled and without having to beat #1.
Step up/step down
•Increase the angle and/or distance from #1 to #2 to give #2 more or less time
(less or more chance of #1 applying real pressure)
•With younger players, the coach may move the cones closer towards the goals
so the shots are from shorter distance (ensure safety of players by not moving
too close to the GK)
5
3
7
1
8
2
6
4
10
12
9
11
5.
Skill Acquisition Phase Model Sessions
Striking the ball Model Session 3 (shooting)
Variations:
•#1 passes the ball square (along the edge of the penalty area) so #2 can run and
shoot with the first touch
•#1 starts on a cone to the side of #2 and plays the ball in front of him; the coach
selects the distances to encourage first-time shooting under pressure from a chasing
defender
5
3
7
1
8
2
6
4
10
12
9
11
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Striking the ball Model Session 3 (shooting)
3. Skill game
3 v 3 ‘shooting game’ in a grid of approximately 20m x 20m divided by
a halfway line.
In each half there is a goalkeeper + 2 outfield players from one team and 1 outfield
player from the other team (see diagram), all players must stay in their own grid.
Plenty of balls in/next to the goals.
The game starts with a 3 v 1 game in one grid. A team can only score by:
1. Shooting from their own half
2. A finish by the lone striker from a ball rebounding back from the goalkeeper;
a defender or the post/bar
Rotate the players regularly.
Possible Coaches Remarks:
“As soon as the line to the goal is open: SHOOT”
“move the ball quickly to open the line to the goal”
“don’t just boot it, precision is more important”
Step up:
•Limit the time or number of passes to take a shot
•Make the grids smaller
Step down:
•Make the grids bigger
5.
Skill Acquisition Phase Model Sessions
Striking the ball Model Session 3 (shooting)
Here is another option (with the emphasis on awareness and shooting
precision):
Field markings:
End zones 7m long, penalty box width.
Middle zone 20m long, penalty box width.
4 v 4 in the middle grid between the red cones. Players score by shooting in one of the
three goals (3m-5m wide).The goalkeepers try to defend all 3 goals.
The outfield players are not allowed to enter the ‘goalkeeper zones’.
If not enough shooting takes place: add 1 or 2 ‘jokers’.
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Running with the ball Model Session 1
2
1. Skill introduction
All players running with a ball freely in a grid of approximately 30m x 30m
to warm up.
First 2-3 minutes: “low speed/intensity”, “use both feet”.
Next 2-3 minutes: “accelerate when you see a free space in front of you; now only
use your right/left foot”.
Now split the players into 4 groups and number them 1 to 4 placing them on all 4
sides. When the coach calls a number, these players run with the ball as quickly as
they can across the area and back (opposite group will need to move back to give
the others room to turn!).
1
3
Now 2 groups at the same time: “take care; vision; if necessary slow down and
then accelerate again”.
Look out for collisions!
4
5.
Skill Acquisition Phase Model Sessions
Running with the ball Model Session 1
Concluding Competition
Relay. Grid: 30m x 20m; 4 small goals and a 5m-7m shooting line at each end.
Two equal teams (orange and yellow) positioned as shown in a 30m x 20m grid;
each player with a ball;
On the coach’s signal the first player from each team start running with the ball to
the opposite goal. When they enter the shooting zone they pass/shoot the ball into
the empty goal. As soon as the ball passes the goal line the next player can start
running with the ball in the opposite direction.
SHOOTING ZONE
If the ball DOES NOT go into the goal the player who took the shot MUST go and
touch the player waiting to run with the ball before they can start.
Which team can complete one full sequence first?
•Use right foot only
•Use left foot only
•Each player runs twice (first time right foot, second time with left)
SHOOTING
ZONE
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Running with the ball Model Session 1
2. Skill training component
•A grid of 30m x 20m; 4 small goals and a 5m-7m shooting line at each end
•Evenly split teams positioned as shown
•Minimum 4, maximum 8 players per grid; if the group is bigger then make
two grids
•The exercise starts with the first player of the yellow team running with the ball to
the opposite side and shooting the ball into the goal. They can only shoot once
they have crossed the line into the shooting zone
•As soon as the yellow player shoots at goal, the first orange player starts running
with the ball to the opposite side
•As soon as the yellow player has had their shot at goal, they turn and chase the
orange player to try and catch up with them and prevent them from scoring
•Count the goals! Which team scores the most goals?.
5.
Skill Acquisition Phase Model Sessions
Running with the ball Model Session 1
Possible Coaches Remarks:
“Push the ball forward every 3-4 steps”
“run as fast as you can but keep the ball under control”
“If the defender catches up with you, this is what you can do” (demonstrate!)
•Feint to turn and accelerate again
•Feint to stop and accelerate again
•Cut off the defenders line by crossing in front of them
•Take on the defender 1 v 1 if they manage to get in front of you (scoring in both
goals is allowed!)
Step up:
•Narrow the distance between the two goals on the byline
Step down:
•The chaser just races against the runner to beat him to the shooting line.
If the chaser reaches the shooting line first, the runner cannot shoot and score
anymore
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Running with the ball Model Session 1
3. Skill game
4 v 4 line football
Grid size approximately 30m wide by 20m long (pitch shape is short but wide)
Explanation of the game:
4 v 4 small sided game; to score a goal a player must run with the ball across the
opponent’s by-line (see diagram A).
Possible Coaches Remarks:
“Spread out; use the width of the grid”
“We must have a centre forward and 2 wingers”
“run with the ball whenever you see space in front of you”
“don’t be afraid to take on opponents”
“when a defender is chasing you use the feints you learned earlier”
A
5.
Skill Acquisition Phase Model Sessions
Running with the ball Model Session 1
Assess how the game goes: do all players run with the ball regularly and are goals
being scored? If the answer is no, make it easier:
•Make the pitch wider
•Add a neutral player (“joker”) who always plays with the team that has the ball
(numerical advantage of 1 player; see diagram B)
•If still too difficult: bigger numerical advantage (2 jokers)
If too easy:
•Make the field more narrow
•Scoring zones rather than the whole line
B
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Running with the ball Model Session 2
1. Skill introduction
In a 30m x 30m grid the players are divided into pairs with a ball each (for safety
reasons the grid should be rather too big than too small!).
One player dribbles in front, the other follows at short distance (change task of
leader-follower regularly). In the beginning the speed is low and steady.
The coach asks the players to “scan” the field and be careful to not run into
each other.
Next the coach instructs the players to gradually add the following variations:
•Accelerations (“when a space opens up in front of you”)
•Changes of direction and turns
•Stop-starts
•Feint stops followed by an acceleration
•Feint turns followed by an acceleration
•Etc
5.
Skill Acquisition Phase Model Sessions
Running with the ball Model Session 2
Concluding tagging game (using the same 30m x 30m grid)
The players line up with a ball each and facing the sideline (backs to each other).
Distance between the players is 3m-4m and is marked out with cones.
When the coach calls “ORANGE” the orange players run with ball to the sideline
chased (without ball) by the yellow players who try to tag them before they’ve
reached the line. Depending on outcome the runner or chaser earns a point and
we line up again.
When the coach calls “YELLOW” the reverse happens.
Since safety is extremely important, the players must only run in a straight line
(stay in their own ‘lane’).
“ORANGE”
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Running with the ball Model Session 2
2. Skill training component
Organisation: Outside the penalty box another grid of the same size has been
marked out.
A
D
B
C
Two teams (orange and yellow) are divided in 4 groups of equal numbers (A;B;C
and D) and positioned as shown in the diagram.
Groups orange A and D have a ball each, groups yellow C and B line up between
the cones on the byline of the grid.
The exercise starts with the first player of group A passing the ball to the first
player of group B (pass between the cones and with speed). Player B controls the
ball and runs with it at speed toward the goal.
Player A follows their pass, overlaps and then chases player B who tries to finish
(the shot can only be taken from inside the penalty box).
After the action has ended, the yellow player goes with the ball to position A; the
orange player goes to position B.
Now it’s group D and C’s turn. Groups change sides regularly (use of other foot!).
“Who scores most ?”
Possible Coaches Remarks:
•“Push the ball forward every 3-4 steps”
•“Run as fast as you can but keep the ball under
control”
•“If the defender catches up with you, this is what you
can do:” (demonstrate!)
- Feint to turn and accelerate again
- Feint to stop and accelerate again
- Cut off the defenders line by crossing in front
- Take on the defender 1 v 1 if they get in front
5.
Skill Acquisition Phase Model Sessions
Running with the ball Model Session 2
3. Skill game
4 v 4 in a grid of approximately 35m x 35m.
There are five gates of 3m positioned as shown.
The team in possession scores a goal when one of their players runs with the ball
through one of the gates.
If the defending team wins the ball, the roles change without stopping the game.
“Which teams scores most?”
Step up:
•The attacking team must make an effort within 30 seconds, otherwise the
possession goes to the opponent
•Decrease the gate size
Step down:
•Increase the gate size
•Add another gate
•Introduce a ‘joker’
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Running with the ball Model Session 3
1. Skill introduction
A grid of approximately 30m x 30m has 4 small 5m x 5m grids in all 4 corners.
The players are divided into 4 groups of 3 players and positioned in the corner
grids with a ball each as shown.
The 3 players in the corners wear different colour bibs or are numbered 1-3.
On the coaches signal all players of the same group (all orange or #1’s) run with
the ball to the next corner followed by the next group, again after the coaches
signal.
When everyone is back in the grid where they started; we start again but now in
the other direction using the other foot only. In the beginning the speed is low and
should be raised gradually.
Next we add the following variations (both with right as well as with left foot):
•Accelerations
•Stop-starts
•Feint stops followed by an acceleration
•Feint turns followed by an acceleration
5.
Skill Acquisition Phase Model Sessions
Running with the ball Model Session 3
Concluding tagging game
Use the set-up from the previous exercise.
One player with a ball in every corner grid; the rest of the players with a ball in the
centre grid. There are one or two ‘taggers’ without a ball who try to tag the players
with the ball. The players that get tagged, leave the grid and wait outside. A player
can ‘escape’ the tagger by running with the ball into a corner grid but then the
player that stands there must immediately leave the grid.
“How long does it take the taggers to tag all the players?”
After everyone has had a turn as taggers:
“Who are the winners?” (i.e. fastest time)
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Running with the ball Model Session 3
2. Skill training component
Organisation: 15m outside the penalty box, two lines of cones are placed as
shown in the diagram.
The players in pairs with one ball and positioned in grids A;B;C and D as shown.
The pairs pass the ball back and forward to each other while waiting for their turn.
The exercise starts with the pair in grid A when, at the coach’s whistle, player #2
passes the ball past #1 in the direction of the goal. Player #1 turns and runs with
the ball towards the goal and tries to score (inside the box). Player #2 gives chase
and tries to stop #1 from finishing.
15m
As soon as the action ends, pair A return to their grid and pair B starts; etc. after
every turn #1 and #2 change positions.
Regularly change the composition of the pairs as well.
1
1
1
2
2
2
2
C
B
A
5m
Possible Coaches Remarks:
•“Push the ball forward every 3-4 steps”
•“Run as fast as you can but keep the ball under control”
10m
D
•“If the defender catches up with you, this is what you can do:” (demonstrate!)
- Feint to turn and accelerate again
- Feint to stop and accelerate again
- Cut off the defenders line by crossing in front of him
- Take on the defender 1 v 1 if they get in front
1
Step up:
•Reduce the distance between the two lines of cones (4m-3m-2m)
Step down:
•Increase the distance between the two lines of cones (6m-7m-8m)
5.
Skill Acquisition Phase Model Sessions
Running with the ball Model Session 3
3. Skill game
4 v 4 + 4 ‘walls’ (8 v 4) on a long and narrow pitch with big goals and goalkeepers
(as shown).
3
All players choose (or get assigned) a direct opponent and can only take the ball
from that opponent.
3
4
The team in possession can use the wall players to combine with (walls: 1 or 2
touches only).
The offside rule applies
Change of teams when a goal is scored or after 2-3 minutes.
Variations:
•1 or 2 small goals without goalkeepers
• No goals but ‘line-football’
Step up:
•Teams can only use the walls in their own half
•Narrow the pitch
Step down:
•Widen the pitch
4
2
1
1
2
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1 v 1 Model Session 1
1. Skill introduction
4 markers placed 12-15m opposite of each other with 4 markers centrally
in a diamond 1m-1.5m apart (see diagram).
Max. 2 players with ball line up at the markers. On the coaches call two players
opposite each other start dribbling to the other side. In the middle they perform
a prescribed or free feint to go around the right side of the markers and
accelerate to the opposite marker. After 2 minutes: now go around the left side
of the markers.
Progression:
•Speed up tempo (maintain proper execution)
•Take out the markers (perception and communication)
5.
Skill Acquisition Phase Model Sessions
1 v 1 Model Session 1
Concluding tagging game:
All players move with a ball inside a 15m x 15m grid while 1 or 2 “taggers”
(holding a bib in their hands) chase the other players and try to “tag” them.
All players (taggers and runners) MUST keep their ball under control at all times.
A player who is tagged or loses control over the ball or runs out of the grid must
change roles with the tagger.
The same rules apply for the tagger(s): they cannot tag someone unless they have
the ball under control.
To make it easier/more difficult (for taggers):
•More/less taggers
•Smaller/bigger grid
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1 v 1 Model Session 1
2. Skill training component:
In a grid of approximately 20m x 30m two small goals are placed on each byline
with markers on the corners and on the sideline at 5m from the corners to mark
the ‘scoring zone’.
Two teams of 6 players maximum line up behind the markers on the sideline as
shown. The coach is positioned with the balls between the two goals on one side
of the pitch.
On a signal from the coach orange #1 and yellow #1 sprint around the corner
marker and the nearest goal. The coach serves in favor of the orange player who
take on the yellow player at maximum speed. The attacker can finish in either of
the 2 goals but must finish from INSIDE the 5m ‘scoring zone’. If the defender
wins the ball they can score in one of the opposite goals (one attempt max. each).
When the action has ended the players line up on the opposite side.
The coach can manipulate the 1 v 1 through the angle with which they
serve the ball.
Possible Coaches Remarks:
Attacker
Defender
“Go at the defender with speed”
“Show the attacker one way”
“Use a feint to put the defender off
balance”
“Bend your knees and stand on your
toes so you’re able to change direction
quickly”
“Threaten to go to one side then
suddenly attack the other”
“The best moment to commit is when
the attacker takes a heavy touch or
slows down”
1
1
5.
Skill Acquisition Phase Model Sessions
1 v 1 Model Session 1
3. Skill game
3 v 3 on a pitch (20m wide x 40m long) with big goals and goalkeepers. Placed on
the halfway line are 3 equal sized ‘gates’ as shown in the diagram. Each player
(orange or yellow) must defend their ‘own’ designated gate when the opponent
has the ball (i.e. player #1 defends gate 1, player #2 defends gate 2 etc).
The orange goalkeeper starts the game with all outfield players of both teams in
grid A. The orange team combines till one orange player beats their opponent
1 v 1 and moves through one of the gates into grid B and tries to score.
3
1
2
1
A
3
2
If orange scores the game starts again in grid A.
If yellow wins the ball in grid A they can immediately score. If yellow scores,
the game restarts in grid B with possession for yellow.
1
2
3
If the yellow goalkeeper wins the ball in grid B, the game restarts in grid B
with possession for the yellow team.
Step up:
•The attacking team must make a 1 v 1 effort within 30 seconds otherwise
the possession goes to the opponent
•Narrow the pitch (smaller gates)
Step down:
•Introduce a ‘joker’
•Widen the pitch (bigger gates)
B
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1 v 1 Model Session 2
1. Skill introduction
•Set up the organisation as shown in the diagram. Grids A and C 20m x 10m,
grid B 20m x 15m, with two 2m goals on each byline
A
•All players dribble with a ball in grid B
•Avoid collisions (balls and players)
•Make feints (free choice)
•Accelerate after a feint into grid A or C
Progression:
•Number all players 1-4. On the call of a specific number these players ( i.e. all
#1’s) feint and accelerate out of grid B and finish in separate goals (awareness;
communication and decision-making!), then get their ball and return to grid.
1
4
3
1
2
1
2
2
4
4
3
B
3
C
5.
Skill Acquisition Phase Model Sessions
1 v 1 Model Session 2
Concluding Game:
‘Cross the canal’ to free zone on other side.
One group (yellow) position themselves in grid B and are the ‘defenders’. All other
players with a ball each in grid A. On the coaches signal they must all dribble to
grid C.
A
The defenders must eliminate runners by kicking the runners balls out of grid B.
When a defender kicks your ball out of the grid, you have to get it and start to
juggle on the side until a new game starts.
“Who wins?” (fastest time by defenders or last runner standing).
B
C
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1 v 1 Model Session 2
2. Skill training component
Organisation:
Outside the penalty box is a 15m x 15m grid with 6 cones placed as shown in the
diagram.
Two teams (orange and yellow) are divided into 2 groups of equal numbers and
positioned as shown.
Groups orange A and yellow C have a ball each. The exercise starts with A1
passing the ball to B1. A1 then runs around the central cone to receive the ball
back from B1. At the moment A1 starts their run around the cone, D1 also starts
to run around the opposite central cone.
3
3
2 1
B
D
A1 must now try to beat D1 in a 1 v 1 to enter the penalty box and finish on goal.
D1 can only defend in the grid and is not allowed to enter the penalty box.
The action stops when A1 has finished on goal; D1 captures the ball from A1
or the ball goes out of the grid.
After the action has finished the players involved move as follows:
•A1 to group B (bring back the ball)
•B1 to group A (bring ball from A1)
•D1 goes back to group D (line up at the back)
•Next sequence is C1 passing to D2 with B2 defending
“Which team can score the most?”
1 2
1
1
2
2
3
3
C
A
5.
Skill Acquisition Phase Model Sessions
1 v 1 Model Session 2
Step down:
‘Passive’ defending by the defenders
Step up:
After passing to A1, B1 now ‘overlaps’ A1 to make it 2 v 1 (see diagram).
Possible Coaches Remarks:
Attacker
Defender
“Go at the defender with speed”
“Show the attacker one way”
“Use a feint to put the defender off
balance”
“Bend your knees and stand on your
toes so you’re able to change direction
quickly”
“Threaten to pass to the overlapping
player but accelerate past the defender
instead”
“The best moment to commit is when
the attacker takes a heavy touch or
slows down”
‘Don’t forget to coach the defenders’
3
3
2 v 1 (‘overlapping’ player)
2
1
1
2
B
D
1
1
2
2
3
3
C
A
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1 v 1 Model Session 2
3. Skill game
Organisation:
A grid of 40m x 30m (depending on ability) divided in 2 grids of 20m x 30m by
a halfway line of 4 cones (see diagram). Two small (2m) goals on each byline and a
5m-7m shooting line at each end.
Two teams of 4 players each. The game starts in grid A with the orange team in
possession and one yellow defender (4 v 1). The 3 other yellow players position
themselves as shown (one between the goals and the other 2 at the shooting line
cones).
A
The orange team must get a player running with the ball across the halfway line
into grid B and score in one of the goals (inside the scoring zone).
At the moment the orange player crosses the halfway line one of the yellow players
enters the grid to attack the orange player (1 v 1).
Which defender commits depends on the ‘gate’ through which the attacker enters
grid B (see diagram).
•If orange scores: restart in grid A
•If the yellow defender captures the ball in grid B: restart in grid B with yellow in
possession
•If the defender wins the ball in the 4 v 1, they can score immediately in
1 of the 2 goals (from any distance)
B
5.
Skill Acquisition Phase Model Sessions
1 v 1 Model Session 2
Variations:
No goals but the attacker must run with the ball across the byline
Step up:
•The attacking team must cross over the halfway line within 15 seconds
otherwise the possession goes to the opponent
•Decrease the grid size
A
Step down:
•Increase the grid size
B
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1 v 1 Model Session 3
1. Skill introduction
Positioned inside a large grid of approximately 40m x 40m are a number of 5m x
5m x 5m triangular grids. The players are split into 2 groups (orange and yellow) of
equal numbers, orange with ball and yellow without.
The number of triangular grids equals the number of players per group.
Of the group without the ball, each player must stand inside a triangular grid
(see diagram).
The orange players dribble around the area and ‘attack’ the triangles from any
possible side. Only one player can attack a triangle at the same time (awareness;
communication).
The yellow players have to ‘defend’ the borders of their triangles
(passively at the beginning).
Change roles of groups regularly.
5.
Skill Acquisition Phase Model Sessions
1 v 1 Model Session 3
Player Actions/Tasks to encourage:
“Make feints” (free choice or prescribed)
“Now only use your weaker foot”
“Now increase the tempo but avoid collisions” (“heads up”)
“Defenders, gradually raise the resistance”
“Defenders now full resistance, try to stop the attackers entering your grid”
Concluding Game:
Each player individually counts the number of times they are able to beat
a defender and dribble through their triangle.
“You have 2 minutes”
“What is the group’s total?”
“OK, now change roles and see if your group can beat that number”
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1 v 1 Model Session 3
1
2. Skill training component
•A grid of approximately 15m x 15m with a halfway line and three gates of 5m at
each byline
•Two groups (yellow and orange) of 4 players positioned opposite one another in
the middle gate (see diagram A)
•Yellow group with a ball each; orange without a ball
•#1 yellow passes to #1 orange and immediately sprints to the halfway line
(yellow must start defending on or over the halfway line, waiting in own half is not
allowed)
•Orange #1 receives the ball and takes on yellow #1 at speed, trying to get past
them and score by dribbling through the left or right gate
•The action stops when orange scores or yellow wins the ball
1
1
•Orange #1 now takes the ball and joins the yellow line while yellow #1 joins the
orange line
•After everyone’s had a turn, the oranges now become the defenders and yellow
the attackers
•“Count the number of goals: who scored most?”
1
A
5.
Skill Acquisition Phase Model Sessions
1 v 1 Model Session 3
Possible Coaches Remarks:
Attacker
Defender
“Go at the defender with speed”
“Show the attacker one way”
“Use a feint to put the defender off
balance”
“Bend your knees and stand on your
toes so you’re able to change direction
quickly”
“Threaten to pass to the overlapping
player but accelerate past the defender
instead”
“The best moment to commit is when
the attacker takes a heavy touch or
slows down”
‘Don’t forget to coach the defenders’
2
1
2
1
1
Progression:
•Defenders can score too when they win the ball
1
•2 v 1
•2 v 2
2 v 1 organisation (see diagram B):
•Pairs of yellow and orange players
•#1 yellow passes to #1 orange and engage in 1 v 1
•#2 orange first runs around one of the corner cones before entering the grid to
make it 2 v 1
•#2 yellow skips a turn and jogs around the grid to join the orange line
B
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1 v 1 Model Session 3
3. Skill game
4 v 4 in a grid of approximately 35m x 35m.
There are four gates of 5m-7m positioned as shown, each protected by
a defender (gates should be too wide rather than too narrow).
The team in possession of the ball scores a goal when one of their players can
beat a defender and run with the ball through one of the gates (from either side).
If the defending team wins the ball, the roles change without stopping the game.
“Which team scores most?”
Step up:
•The attacking team must make a 1 v 1 effort within 15-30 seconds, otherwise
the possession goes to the opponent
•Decrease the gate size
Step down:
•Increase the gate size
•Introduce a ‘joker’
5.
Game Training Phase Model Sessions
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3.
Game Training Phase
Model Sessions
Similar to the sessions of the Skill Acquisition Phase, the sessions of the Game
Training Phase are also ‘themes based’. During the Skill Acquisition Phase the
‘theme’ of a session focuses on one of the four ‘Core Skills’ (first touch; running
with the ball; 1 v 1; striking the ball)
In the Game Training Phase the ‘theme’ of a session focuses on one of the ‘Main
Moments’ and the Team Tasks (as well as the individual player tasks) within that
‘Main Moment’.
To arrange the Game Training Phase Model Sessions more practically, we have
subdivided the Main Moments into ‘trainable’ themes.
These themes are:
1. In possession of the ball (BP):
•
•
•
Playing out from the back
Midfield play
Attacking
2. When the opponent is in possession of the ball (BPO):
•
•
Disturbing/pressuring
Defending/recapturing the ball
3. Transitioning (BP>BPO and BPO>BP)
•
•
Team and player actions when we lose the ball
Team and player actions when we win the ball
Since Game Training Phase sessions should strive for game realistic scenarios,
the practices must include game specific resistances such as opponents,
team-mates, direction, rules and appropriate dimensions. As a consequence,
in Game Training Phase sessions often all three Main Moments take place
continuously, but the focus is on one of them.
Game Training Phase sessions consist of 4 components:
1. Warm Up:
Starting points for the Warm Up are:
•
•
Preferably with ball (e.g. passing practices);
If possible ‘theme related’ including a level of decision-making;
Avoid warm-ups that are more like conditioning sessions!
2. Positioning games:
The main conditions for quality positioning play are:
•
•
•
•
Maximal use of space in order to create more time on the ball
(stretching the opponent)
Triangles (no players in straight lines)
Support play to create options for the player on the ball
Anticipation and communication (verbal and non-verbal).
These basic principles form the foundation for proactive possession
based football and this explains the importance of the positioning games
in training practices.
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Through positioning games young players:
•Learn to always create at least 3 options for the
player on the ball (through proper positioning)
•Improve their decision-making (by learning to
choose the right option)
•Increase their handling speed (less space and time
forces quicker thinking and acting)
3. The Game Training Component:
This is the part of the session where conscious
teaching and learning of the designated Team Task
takes place. For a proper Game Training practice
the coach must therefore:
•Create the proper scenario (organize the practice
in such a way that the focus is on the designated
Team Task);
•Improve their technique (passing and first touch are
essential technical skills)
•Organize the practice in the right area of the field
(where this particular situation takes place during the
real game) and with the appropriate dimensions
•Learn to communicate both verbally (e.g. calling for
the ball) and non-verbally (e.g. through ball speed
and ball direction).
•Create the proper level of resistance (too easy = no
development; too difficult = no success)
This is the reason why positioning games are
on the menu of every Game Training Phase and
Performance Phase session.
•Make effective interventions and provide quality
(specific) feedback
•Ask smart questions to develop player
understanding and enhance learning
4. Training Game:
This is the traditional game at the end of a session.
In our approach however it should not just be a
‘free’ game. The definition of a Training Game in the
context of a Game Training Phase session is:
A game at the end of the session that contains all
the elements of the real game but with rules and
restraints that see to it that the designated Team
Task is emphasised.
During a Training Game the players are playing
and the coach is observing if learning has taken
place (little or no stop-start coaching but preferably
coaching ‘on the run’).
Clearly, quality coaching is not as easy as
it may look!
3.
Game Training Phase
As explained earlier, the coach must be mindful of the Growth Spurt. Players going
through this stage of maturation will have varying energy levels and are injuryprone. Proper managing of training loads to avoid over-training is essential.
Therefore we consider 3 sessions of 75-90 minutes and one game a maximum
safe weekly work load, with the following session planning guidelines:
•Welcome/explanation: 5 minutes
•Warm Up: 15-20 minutes
•Positioning Games: 20 minutes
•Game Training component: 25-30 minutes
Game Training
Phase
CYCLE 1
Tuesday
Thursday
Saturday
WEEK 1
Playing out from the
Midfield play
back
Model Session 1
Model Session 1
game
WEEK 2
Attacking
Disturbing/pressuring
Model Session 1 Model Session 1
game
WEEK 3
Defending/
Transitioning
recapturing
Model Session 1
Model Session 1
game
WEEK 4
Playing out from the
Midfield play
back
Model Session 2
Model Session 2
game
On the next pages you will find 12 Game Training Phase Model Sessions and two
examples of how you can implement the sessions in 6-week cycles.
WEEK 5
Attacking
Disturbing/pressuring
Model Session 2 Model Session 2
game
The 6-week cycles are based on the assumption that the weekly training sessions
are on Tuesdays and Thursdays with the weekly game on Saturday.
WEEK 6
Defending/
Transitioning
recapturing
Model Session 2
Model Session 2
game
•Training Game: 20-25 minutes
•Warm Down/wrap up 5-10 minutes
In this cycle the ‘trainable themes’ appear in a sequential order.
As a consequence, more time is allocated to the main moment Ball Possession
(3 consecutive sessions) compared to Ball Possession Opponent (2 consecutive
sessions) and Transitioning (1 session).
The same sequence is continued in the next cycle with Model Sessions 3. When
the coach has exhausted the 12 Model Sessions then repeat them using the ‘step
up’ options outlined in the Model Sessions (but only if the players are ready!)
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Here is another option:
Game Training
Phase
CYCLE 1
WEEK 1 (BP)
WEEK 2 (BPO)
Tuesday
Thursday
Saturday
Playing out from the
Midfield play
back
Model Session 1
Model Session 1
game
Disturbing/pressuring
Model Session 1
game
Defending/
recapturing
Model Session 1
WEEK 3 (TR)
Transitioning
Transitioning
(BP > BPO)
(BPO > BP)
Model Session 1 Model Session 2
game
WEEK 4 (BP)
Attacking
Model Session 1
game
WEEK 5 (BPO)
Disturbing/pressuring
Model Session 2
WEEK 6 (TR)
Playing out from the
back
Model Session 2
Defending/
recapturing
Model Session 2
Transitioning
Transitioning
(BP > BPO)
(BPO > BP)
Model Session 1 Model Session 2
game
game
In this example, every week the focus is on one Main Moment. In week one the
focus is on Ball Possession, in week two on Ball Possession Opponent and week
three on Transitioning.
Creative coaches who understand the methodology will be able to design 6-week
cycles and a season plan that suits their team best. Maybe your team has to
improve in possession of the ball and are already sufficiently proficient defensively
and in transition. You could then choose to spend a whole 6-week cycle focused
on Ball Possession.
When you have 3 sessions per week, our advice is to limit the duration of the
sessions to 75 minutes and rest the players the day before as well as the day
after the game. If the game is on Saturday this would mean training on Mondays,
Tuesdays and Thursdays.
4 sessions per week would only be acceptable in a first class environment,
such as a National Training Centre program, where there is a full-time,
professional coach and qualified support staff. Player welfare is paramount.
In the wrong setting, 4 sessions per week could be harmful.
The best advice for a coach in this age-group would be to attend the FFA Youth
C Licence course. This will provide you with more ideas and insight on session,
cycle and season planning and developing your team.
5.
Game Training Phase Model Sessions
Playing out from the back Model Session 1
A
1. Warm-up: passing exercise
•Players in game positions #2; 3/4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9/10; 11 as shown in diagram A
•If the number of players allows/requires: a similar organisation on the other half
of the pitch
1
•Players #3 & #4 as well as the goalkeeper(s) at the starting position
4
•The players pass the ball around in a ‘logical’ sequence (1-8)
Possible Coaches Remarks:
8
•“Follow your pass to the next position”
1
2
5
•“Pass precision and ball speed”
8
6
•“Now we go in the opposite direction” (to the right)
•“Gradually increase your running speed”
3
2
7
7
6
5
9
4
10
3
11
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Playing out from the back Model Session 1
B
•“Here is another variation” (see diagram B)
•“Now just improvise but use a logical order and every player must touch the ball”
Progression:
1
•A 2nd ball can be introduced when the first ball reaches the #9 position.
3
4
1
10
2
9
5
2
8
6
3
8
7
7
6
9
5
10
4
11
5.
Game Training Phase Model Sessions
Playing out from the back Model Session 1
1
2. Positioning game: 7 v 4
•2 grids of approximately 30m x 30m (A & C) separated by a grid of 10m x 30m (B)
•2 groups of 4 outfield players
•Yellow consisting of the players #2-3-4-5
C
•Orange consisting of the players #7-8-10-11
•#9 and #6 are neutral players who always play with the team in possession; #9
in grid B; #6 in the grid where the positioning game takes place (see diagram)
•2 goalkeepers positioned on each back line
•Players #3-4-6 as much as possible in their game positions with #2 and #5
positioned on the edge of the grid
•#1 yellow starts the game and yellow must try to get the ball to #9 but only #3;
4 or 6 can pass to #9
•If yellow succeeds: start again with #1 yellow
•If orange wins the ball in grid A, they must try to pass to #9 in grid B or their
goalkeeper at the far end. All players then cross over to grid B where the game
restarts with orange in possession and yellow defending
B
A
9
10
8
7
5
2
6
4
11
1
3
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Playing out from the back Model Session 1
•Now the orange team in prescribed positions (see diagram)
Steps up or down:
1
•Make grids bigger/smaller
•Free/limited touches
•Stop-start change of grids/‘flying’ change of grids
6
7
5
11
10
2
3
•#9 must pass the ball back in to the hands of #1
Remark:
8
4
9
•Position the grids in ‘game realistic’ areas of the field (see diagram)
1
5.
Game Training Phase Model Sessions
Playing out from the back Model Session 1
Yellow defence (#1-2-3-4-5) playing out from the back against orange attack
(#7-9-11)
9
11
2
•The objective for the yellow defenders (#2, #3, #4, #5) is to dribble the ball
through one of the three gates (see yellow lines in diagram A)
•Yellow team can also use #6, 8 and 10 as bouncers (see blue lines in diagram A)
7
6
8
8
•Every restart is from yellow goalkeeper
•Yellow #10 joins the orange team as a direct opponent of yellow #6 in the field
5
10
•If orange wins the ball, attack the goal and try to score (one attempt only)
if orange loses the ball, the action has ended
•Yellow #6 comes in as a player to help the yellow achieve their objective
4
3
•Goalkeeper (yellow #1) starts by serving the ball to one of the defenders
Progression (see diagram B):
A
1
3. Game training component:
10
5
2
6
11
7
9
4
3
•This leaves yellow #8 as the only ‘bouncer’
1
B
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Playing out from the back Model Session 1
•Yellow defends the big goal; orange defends the three gates on the halfway line
3
•Orange: try to score in big goal
•Yellow: try to score in one of the gates
•Offside rule applies
•Maintain the organisation/formations
C
1
4. Training Game: 5 v 5 + goalkeeper
2
4
9
11
7
6
8
10
5
5.
Game Training Phase Model Sessions
Playing out from the back Model Session 2
1. Warm-up: passing exercise
1
•Players in game positions as shown in diagram A
•The passing sequence starts with the two goalkeepers (can be simultaneous):
one to the right side; the other to the left side
•The players pass the ball in a ‘logical’ order (1-7) while staying in their positions
•“Pass precision and ball speed”
•“Now follow your pass to the next position” (NB: #10 goes to position #3/4)
•“Gradually increase your running speed”
A
1
1
7
3
4
2
2
8
6
3
4
7
6
5
9
5
20
10
11
19
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Playing out from the back Model Session 2
•“Here is another variation” (see diagram B)
•“Now just improvise but use a logical order and every player must touch the ball”
B
1
1
3
1
4
7
2
2
8
6
20
10
6
7
9
19
5
5
3
4
11
5.
Game Training Phase Model Sessions
Playing out from the back Model Session 2
2. Positioning game: 5 v 4 + 2 (7 v 4)
•A grid of approximately 40m wide x 30m long
1
•2 groups of 4 outfield players (orange + yellow)
•Yellow consisting of the players #2-3-4-5
•Orange consisting of the players #7-9-10-11
•#6 is a neutral player who always plays with the team in possession
5
7
•The 2 goalkeepers are neutral players who always play with the team in
possession and are positioned just behind each back line
•The players as far as the game allows in ‘logical’ positions
4
•If orange wins the ball, they must try to pass the ball to orange #1 who restarts
the game with orange in possession and yellow defending
2
6
3
9
•Yellow #1 starts the game for the yellow team, who must try to pass the ball to
orange #1 on the opposite side (see diagram)
•If they succeed, orange #1 must now pass the ball across the grid back to
yellow #1 on the opposite side, who must catch the ball and start again
11
10
1
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Playing out from the back Model Session 2
Steps up or down:
•Make grid bigger/smaller
•Free/limited touches
•Free/minimum number of passes before you can pass to #1
•1 point for every successful pass from goalkeeper to goalkeeper
Remark:
•Position the grids in ‘game realistic’ areas of the field (see diagram on the right)
1
11
10
5
7
2
6
9
3
4
1
5.
Game Training Phase Model Sessions
Playing out from the back Model Session 2
•Two teams of 8 players each consisting of a full defence line (#1-2-3-4-5)
and attack line (#7-9-11)
3
•2 grids approximately the width of a full pitch and 45m long as shown in
diagram A
•In both grids the defenders of one team play against the attackers of the
other team
A
1
3. Game training component:
4
9
11
2
7
5
•The goalkeepers start by serving the ball to one of the defenders
(enough balls next to both goals)
•“Get the ball to the ‘free’ player who must run with the ball across the end line”
•If the attackers win the ball, attack the goal and try to score (one attempt only).
If the defenders win the ball back, the action has ended
•Every restart from the goalkeeper
7
5
11
9
4
3
1
2
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Playing out from the back Model Session 2
3
Progression:
B
1
•Now we ‘connect’ both grids (see diagram B)
•Yellow starts playing out from the back and tries to get one defender across to
the other grid
•They can now also use the yellow attackers in the other grid as bouncers
(offside applies)
4
11
9
2
5
7
•One orange defender waits next to the goal
•So yellow has a numerical advantage (4 v 3) and tries to score
•If the yellow team loses the ball in their defensive grid, orange can try to score
(1 attempt only)
•If yellow loses the ball in the attacking grid, orange play back to their goalkeeper
and the action has ended
5
11
7
9
4
3
1
2
5.
Game Training Phase Model Sessions
Playing out from the back Model Session 2
3
•Now the orange defender (#3), who was waiting next to the goal, comes on to
the pitch and the yellow defender (#3) that had joined the attack steps out and
jogs back to wait next to the goal
•The same action starts again but now with orange playing out and attacking
while the yellow team defends (see diagram C)
C
1
4
9
2
•The next step up would be to decrease the size of the grids, with portable goals
on the edge of each box and narrowing the pitch 5m each side. The halfway line
now divides the attacking and defensive halves
7
11
5
3
7
5
4
9
1
11
2
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Playing out from the back Model Session 2
D
4. Training Game: 8 v 8
•Formation of both teams 1-4-3
•All players can move across the whole field
1
•Normal rules, offside applies
•Pitch size depends on player’s ability (see diagram D)
3
11
5
4
9
2
5
11
7
9
4
1
3
7
2
5.
Game Training Phase Model Sessions
Midfield play Model Session 1
A
1. Warm-up: passing exercise (see diagram A)
•Players in game positions as shown
19
•At least 2 players in positions #3/#4, #10 and #9
9
3
•#6 checks off and asks for the ball; #3 passes to #6 and coaches “turn” (1)
•#6 receives & turns (2) and passes to #9 (3)
•#9 bounces the ball to supporting #10 (4)
4
8
10
6
20
5
•#10 turns away (5) and dribbles to the starting position of #3 (6)
•All players move to the next position (“follow your ball”)
6
•Now the same via the left side starting with #4 passing to #8
4
3
2
1
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Midfield play Model Session 1
B
Variation 1 (see diagram B)
•#8 checks off and asks for the ball; #4 passes to #8 and coaches “man on” (1)
•#8 bounces the ball back to #4 (2)
9
•#4 passes to #9 (3) who bounces to the supporting #10 (4)
•#10 receives and turns (5) and dribbles to the starting position of #3 (6)
8
•Player rotations are as follows: #4 then goes to where #8 was, #8 goes to #9,
#9 to #10, and #10 ends up at the beginning where the sequence was started
•Early cue from #3 and #4 is now essential
Coaching points of attention:
•Pass precision and pass direction (to proper foot; proper ball speed)
•Tuning of actions
•Anticipation & movement without ball
•Verbal and non-verbal communication
10
3
2
Variation 2
•Choice of two options for #6 and #8 depending on whether number 3
and 4 say “turn” or “man on”
6
4
5
6
1
4
3
5.
Game Training Phase Model Sessions
Midfield play Model Session 1
2. Positioning game: 6 v 3
•Grid of approximately 30m x 30m (dependent on level of players)
•3 groups of 3; one group consisting of the midfield players #6-8-10
•6 players (orange and blue) keep possession against 3 defenders (yellow)
9
•Always one ‘link’ player in the centre (preferably a midfielder)
•Provide 4 options (left; right; central and far) for the player on the ball through
proper positioning
•When the group of 6 loses possession, the whole team of the player that turned
over the ball must now defend
3
4
7
8
10
11
Steps up or down:
•Make grid bigger/smaller
•Free/limited touches
•Stop-start change of defenders
•‘Flying’ change of defenders
6
2
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Midfield play Model Session 1
3. Game training component:
•Starting situation: 3 grids (A;B;C) players must stay in their designated area
•Every attack starts with a pass from orange #3 in grid A to one of the midfielders
C
•Orange midfielders #6-8-10 play in grid B against 2 opponents (3 v 2) and can
use orange #9 in grid C as a ‘bouncer’
•When one of the midfield players is free on the ball facing forward, they try to
pass through one of the gates in grid C
10
B
•When the yellow midfielders #16 or #18 win the ball, they try to pass through
one of the gates in grid A
Progression 1:
•Add another yellow player in grid B (3 v 3)
•3 v 3 in grid B. #3 orange is now allowed to dribble into grid B and create
a numerical advantage (4 v 3)
9
8
18
16
6
3
A
5.
Game Training Phase Model Sessions
Midfield play Model Session 1
1
Progression 2:
•Remove the gates from grid C
•Add a yellow defender (#13 yellow) in grid C against #9 orange.
C
13
9
•One player from grid B can now enter into grid C to create a 2 v 1 situation
•Finish on goal against a goalkeeper
Progression 3:
B
10
20
16
18
8
6
•Place the gates in grid A on back line
•Add #4 orange and #19 yellow in grid A (2 v 1)
•Every new action starts with the coach now serving the ball to orange #3 or #4
(see diagram)
•If yellow recaptures the ball in grid A or B, #19 can score through the gates
Progression 4:
•Narrow the grids (width of the box)
4
A
19
3
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Midfield play Model Session 1
1
4. Training game - 7 v 7 (6 v 6 with goalkeepers):
•Field long and narrow to emphasise midfield play through central axis
•Both teams in a 1 (GK)-2-3-1 formation
3
9
•Offside rule applies
•Coaching ‘on the run’
4
6
10
8
8
10
4
9
1
3
6
5.
Game Training Phase Model Sessions
Midfield play Model Session 2
A
1. Warm-up: passing exercise
4
•Cones and players positioned as shown in diagram A.
3
•If the number of players allows/requires: 2 players per position or a similar
organisation on the other half of the pitch
•At least 2 players at the starting position and 2 at the central cone
7/8m
•The players pass the ball around in a ‘logical’ sequence (1-6)
•Players follow their pass to the next position
1
6
•Now go the other way around and players #6 and #8 adjust accordingly
20
10
8
2
5m
Possible Coaches Remarks:
•“Pass precision and ball speed”
•“Check off before asking/receiving the ball”
•“Now we go in the opposite direction”
•“Gradually increase your running speed”
6
5
3
4
9
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Midfield play Model Session 2
B
•“Here is another variation” (see diagram B)
•Player rotations are now as follows: #3 goes to #8, #8 to #9, #9 to #6 and #6
back to #1 (then recommence)
4
3
•#10 and #20 stay in the middle
•“Now just improvise but use a logical order and every player must touch the ball”
Remark:
•Position the exercise in a ‘realistic’ area of the field
1
8
7
6
20
10
8
2
3
6
5
4
9
5.
Game Training Phase Model Sessions
Midfield play Model Session 2
C
2. Positioning game: 3 v 3 + 2 (5 v 3)
•A grid of approximately 30m x 25m, positioned in ‘game realistic’ area of the
field (see diagram C)
•Two groups of 3 outfield players
9
•One team consisting of the midfield players #6-8 and #10 (yellow in diagram)
16
•#3 and #9 are neutral players, positioned on each back line
•The players, as far as the game allows, in ‘logical’ positions
•#3 starts the game for yellow who must try to pass the ball on the ground to #9
on the opposite side
10
18
8
20
6
•#9 must now pass the ball back across the grid to #3, who starts again
•If orange wins the ball, they must try to pass to #9 who restarts the game with
orange in possession and yellow defending
•If the pass across the grid is intercepted (or #3 is not able to properly control it),
the game restarts with #9 and possession for orange
Steps up or down:
•Make grids bigger/smaller
•Free/limited touches
•Free/minimum number of passes before you can play to #3 or #9
•1 point for every completed sequence
3
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Midfield play Model Session 2
D
3. Game training component:
•Position a second 25m-50m grid adjacent to the one of the positioning game,
as shown in diagram D
•Inside this grid are the defenders #2; 3; 4 and 5 of the yellow team
•Goalkeeper #1 serves them a ball and they combine amongst each other till
there is a good situation to pass to one of the midfielders in the adjacent grid
9
•The midfielders try to pass into one of the two small goals, using #9 as a
bouncer
16
•If the orange team intercepts the ball, they try to pass the ball into the hands
of #1
8
10
20
18
6
•After every successful/unsuccessful attempt: #1 restarts again
•Next step is to introduce 1 or more opponent(s) in the grid of the defenders
5
4
3
This organisation is aimed at practicing midfield play in relation to building-up
1
2
5.
Game Training Phase Model Sessions
Midfield play Model Session 2
•The midfielders must create/use the right opportunity to pass to one of the 3
attackers in the adjacent grid, who must try to score against 1, 2 or 3 defenders
E
1
•We can also apply the same principle to practice midfield play in relation to
attacking by placing the adjacent grid at the opposite end of the midfield grid
(see diagram E)
13
11
7
9
Progression:
•One midfielder can join the attack (with or without the ball)
16
10
18
8
20
6
3
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Midfield play Model Session 2
F
4. Training game
•8 v 8, normal rules apply (diagram F)
•Formation yellow: 1-4-3-1
1
•Formation orange: 1-2-3-3
•If our training aim is to improve midfield play in relation to building-up we focus
on the execution of the yellow team
4
3
•If our training aim is to improve midfield play in relation to attacking we focus on
the execution of the orange team
9
6
10
8
5
10
8
6
7
9
4
3
1
11
2
5.
Game Training Phase Model Sessions
Attacking Model Session 1 (central areas)
A
1
1. Warm-up: passing exercise (diagram A)
5
•Players in game positions as shown in diagram A
4
9
•At least 2 players on positions #3, #4 and #10 (also possible on the other
positions)
3
•#6 checks off and asks for the ball; #3 passes to #6 and coaches “turn” (1)
•#6 receives and turns (2) followed by a pass to #9 (3)
•#9 bounces with ‘3rd man’ #10 (4) who shoots at goal (5)
10
8
•Now repeat the same with #4 passing to #8, etc
•Gradually increase the shooting power (it’s still warming-up!)
6
6
•Players move to the next positions: #3 to #6; #6 to #10; #10 to #9; #9 jogs back
to position #3
•At the beginning the shot must be aimed towards the hands of the goalkeeper
who rolls the ball back to #9, who dribbles it back to the starting position (6).
10
1
4
3
4
3
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Attacking Model Session 1 (central areas)
•Introduce a variation (see diagram B)
•Give #9 the option to bounce with #10 (4a/5a) or turn away and finish
themselves (4b/5b)
5a
5b
Coaches focus points
9
4a
4b
•Pass precision and pass direction (to proper foot; proper ball speed)
•Tuning of actions
•Anticipation & movement without ball
B
1
10
8
3
10
6
2
•Verbal and non-verbal communication
1
4
3
4
3
5.
Game Training Phase Model Sessions
Attacking Model Session 1 (central areas)
2. Positioning game: 5 v 4
•A grid of approximately 30m x 30m (dependent on level of players)
1
•2 groups of 4 outfield players; one group consisting of the players #6-8-9-10
•2 goalkeepers positioned behind each back line
9
•5 (yellow) keep possession against 4 (orange)
•Players as much as possible in their game positions, with #10 in the middle
(see diagram)
10
8
6
•Provide 4 options (left; right; central and far) for the player on the ball through
proper positioning
•When orange wins the ball, they must try to pass to their goalkeeper, the game
continues with orange in possession and yellow defending
•If a yellow player passes the ball out of the grid, the coach immediately serves a
new ball to the orange goalkeeper
1
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Attacking Model Session 1 (central areas)
Steps up or down:
•Make grid bigger/smaller
•Free/limited touches
Remark:
•Position the grid in a ‘game realistic’ area of the field (see diagram on the right)
5.
Game Training Phase Model Sessions
Attacking Model Session 1 (central areas)
3. Game training component:
•Starting situation: two grids A & B with the players positioned as shown
in diagram on the right
1
B
4
9
•The players must stay in their designated areas
•An attack starts with a pass from #3 to one of the yellow midfield players
#6-8-10
•They play in grid A against 2 orange opponents (3 v 2) and must try to get one
player into grid B
•In grid B stands yellow striker #9 and one orange defender
•The yellow midfielders can dribble into grid B (when free) or use #9 as a bouncer
•In grid B yellow must utilise the 2 v 1 numerical advantage and score
•Offside applies in grid B
•When the defenders win the ball in grid A, they can score in two small goals
(one counter attack only, then restart)
Progression:
•Add 3rd orange player in grid A, #3 yellow now either passes or dribbles with
ball into grid A to create a 4 v 3 situation
A
10
8
18
6
16
3
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Attacking Model Session 1 (central areas)
1
4. Training game: 5 v 5 + goalkeeper
•Yellow team attacks the big goal, orange can score in the small goals
•Normal rules, including offside
4
13
9
•Yellow team in 1(DF)-3(MF)-1(FW) formation
•Orange team in GK-2(DF)-3(MF) formation
16
•Coaching ‘on the run’
10
20
18
6
8
3
5.
Game Training Phase Model Sessions
Attacking Model Session 2 (wide areas)
1. Warm-up: passing exercise
•Players in their game positions (see diagram)
3
•Right side players (yellow) and left side players (orange) opposite of one another
but not interfering with each other
3
1
•Minimum 2 players in the positions #3 & #4
•In case of bigger numbers: set up a similar organisation on the other wing
2
11
•Yellow works from top down; orange from bottom up (#7 yellow passes to #4
orange who starts the same combination in the opposite direction till #11 orange
passes the ball again to yellow #3)
•All players follow their pass to the next position but only on their own team
•i.e. After pass 5 to orange #4, yellow #7 goes to the position of yellow #3
(same for orange #11: to position #4).
•Start with prescribed pattern (as shown)
•Introduce a 2nd (3rd?) pattern
Progression:
•Now yellow passes with passive resistance of orange: choose the right option
depending on the defensive positioning of the opposing players (this option is for
advanced players only)
10
6
2
4
8
3
7
5
5
6
9
4
4
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Attacking Model Session 2 (wide areas)
1
2. Positioning game: 7 v 4
•2 grids of approximately 30m x 30m (A & C) separated by a grid of 5m x 30m (B)
•2 groups of 4 outfield players
•Yellow consisting of the players #2-3-6-7
C
•Orange consisting of the players #4-5-8-11
•#9 and #10 are neutral players who always play with the team in possession;
one in grid B the other in the grid where the positioning game takes place
(see diagram)
•2 goalkeepers positioned on each back line
B
10
•#7 (yellow) keep possession against #4 (orange)
•Players as much as possible in their game positions (especially the team in BP)
•Provide 4 options (left; right; central and far) for the player on the ball through
proper positioning
•When orange wins the ball in grid A, they must try to pass to #9 in grid B or their
goalkeeper at the far end
•If they succeed, all players cross over to grid C where the game continues with
orange in possession and yellow defending
•If a yellow player passes the ball out of the grid, the coach immediately serves
a new ball to the orange goalkeeper and the game restarts in grid C with
possession for orange
9
7
4
A
8
6
3
11
1
5
2
5.
Game Training Phase Model Sessions
Attacking Model Session 2 (wide areas)
Steps up or down:
•Make grids bigger/smaller
1
•Free/limited touches
•Stop-start change of grids
•‘Flying’ change of grids
Remark:
•Position the grids in ‘game realistic’ areas of the field (see diagram on the right)
9
10
8
7
4
6
5
11
3
2
1
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Attacking Model Session 2 (wide areas)
1
3. Game training component:
•Three grids A, B and C as shown in diagram on the right
•In grid A, #11 yellow and an orange defender (#12); #5 yellow is positioned
outside the grid with plenty of balls
•In grid B, #9 & #10 yellow and an orange defender (#3) plus a goalkeeper
•In grid C, #7 yellow and an orange defender (#15) with yellow #2 outside the grid
•#2 & #5 yellow alternately serve a ball to respectively #7 & #11
•#2-7 and #5-11 must beat the orange defenders in their respective grids
through effective wing play and deliver a cross to #9 & #10 in grid B who try to
finish 2 v 1
•The defenders in grids A & C cannot defend beyond the red dotted line
Wing play options:
•The winger beats the defender 1 v 1 (situation 1)
•The winger plays a wall pass with #9 or #10 (situation 2)
10
2
3
9
15
12
11
A
5
B
C
2
7
1
5.
Game Training Phase Model Sessions
Attacking Model Session 2 (wide areas)
1
More wing play options:
•The full-back overlaps the winger to create a 2 v 1 (situation 3)
•The winger bounces with the full-back and becomes the 3rd man via
a combination with #9 or #10 (situation 4)
The option selected by the attacking player often depends on the action of the
defender. The coach may need to help the players develop their awareness and
insight to select the most effective option.
Communication between the players is essential.
Also pay attention to the positioning and finishing of #9 & #10
4
10
3
4
9
3
12
11
7
5
A
B
C
2
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Attacking Model Session 2 (wide areas)
4. Training game: 5 v 5 + goalkeepers
•The field is positioned in a wide area of the full pitch (see diagram)
1
•Pitch length: box to box (70m)
•Pitch width: central axis to sideline (35m), divided by the halfway line
•Two portable goals (or poles) placed as shown (balls next to the goals)
•The coach with balls on the halfway line
•Offside rule applies!
4
5
9
•Players in their usual ‘game positions’
•In this particular game, it means that the right side of the team (#2-3-6-7)
+ striker #9 plays against the left side of the team (#4-5-8-11)
+ central midfielder #10. It is essential that the coach maintains realistic positions
relative to a full field game (this explains the positions of the goals)
•#9 and #10 to change teams halfway through the game
•By setting the game up this way, wing play will automatically be
emphasised
7
8
6
11
2
3
10
1
5.
Game Training Phase Model Sessions
Disturbing and Pressuring Model Session 1
A
1. Warm-up: passing exercise
•Players #2; 3; 4; 5; 6 & 8 yellow and #7; 9; 10 & 11 orange position themselves
as shown in diagram A
3
•At least two players at the starting position (yellow #3)
•At the coach’s signal, #3 starts the passing drill as shown (1-6) with the yellow
players following their pass to the next position/cone
•As the ball moves the orange attackers must move as a unit too, keeping their
relative distances the same
•After pass 1 they must be in the positions indicated by the dotted arrows
in diagram A
•Orange #7 must be in a position where they can pressure both #4 and #8 yellow
when the ball is on the opposite side (e.g. with yellow #2)
•Every new pass all four orange players shift and adjust their positions
4
1
2
4
9
7
11
2
6
6
3
10
8
5
5
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Disturbing and Pressuring Model Session 1
B
•At pass 4 the positions of the orange players are as shown in diagram B
Progression:
4
3
•Increase passing and running speed
9
•Sudden change of pass direction on coach’s call (#3 yellow to #4; #4 to #5 etc)
•Introduce a second passing sequence
2
11
7
•Free instead of prescribed passing sequence
Remark:
•Rotate the four attackers regularly with another group of attackers
6
10
8
5
5.
Game Training Phase Model Sessions
Disturbing and Pressuring Model Session 1
1
2. Positioning game: 7 v 4
•A grid of approximately 40m x 40m
•Goalkeeper #1 in the goal; #22 positioned on the opposite back line (see
diagram on the right)
•Players as much as possible in their game positions
•#1 yellow starts the game and yellow must try to pass the ball on the
ground to #22
•#22 must pass the ball back to #1 who must catch the ball inside the 6 yard box
•If they succeed, #1 starts again (1 point for yellow)
•If orange wins the ball they try to score (2 or 3 points for a goal)
•If #1 yellow doesn’t catch the ball inside the 6 yard box, the coach immediately
serves a ball to orange
Steps up or down:
•Make the grid bigger/smaller
•Free/limited touches for the yellow outfield players
•Free/limited touches (1/2) for yellow #22
9
11
•2 teams, orange and yellow
•Yellow consisting of the outfield players #2-3-4-5-6 and the goalkeepers
#1 and #22. Orange consisting of the players #7-9-10-11
4
3
7
2
6
10
22
5
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Disturbing and Pressuring Model Session 1
A
1
3. Game training component: 5 v 3
•A grid of approximately 50m x 50m divided by a halfway line (see diagram A)
•Yellow defence (#1-2-3-4-5) playing out from the back, orange attack (#7-9-11)
must disrupt and pressure yellow’s possession
4
3
5
•Goalkeeper (yellow #1) starts every action by serving the ball to #2-3-4 or #5
•The defenders combine till one player can run with the ball across the back line
2
11
9
•The orange team must prevent this and try to win the ball
7
•If orange wins the ball “attack the goal and try to score” (one attempt only).
If orange loses the ball the action has ended
•The offside rule applies
Possible Coaches Remarks:
•“Work as a unit, keeping your relative distances short”
•“Press the player with the ball”
•“Mark/pressure the players closest to the ball and leave the ones which are the
furthest away free”
•“You must stay in your positions and keep your formation”
Step up/down (for orange!)
•Make the pitch wider/narrower
•Free/limited touches (2/3) for yellow
•Free/limited time for yellow to get the ball across the back line
Remark:
•Yellow is not allowed to go back once the ball has crossed the halfway line of the grid
5.
Game Training Phase Model Sessions
Disturbing and Pressuring Model Session 1
B
1
Progression:
•When the ball has crossed the halfway line of the grid, yellow can now score by
passing through one of the two gate(s) positioned on the back line
3
Option 1 (diagram B):
4
9
2
•Two 5m gates on the wings: this invites yellow to play out using their full-backs.
The coach focuses on coaching orange how to prevent/disrupt this
5
11
7
Option 2 (diagram C):
•One central 5m-7m gate (diagram C): this invites yellow to play out using their
central defenders. The coach focuses on coaching orange how to prevent/
disrupt this
C
1
3
4
9
7
2
11
5
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Disturbing and Pressuring Model Session 1
1
4. Training Game: 6 v 6 + goalkeepers (see diagram)
•Orange is the team the coach focuses on with regards to disrupting/pressuring.
It consists of a GK and the MF’s #6, 8 and 10 and the FW’s #7, #9, and #11
(formation 1-3-3)
•Yellow consists of a GK and the DF’s #2, 3, 4 and 5 plus a holding MF #16 and
the FW #19 (formation 1-4-1-1)
•It is important that the coach sees to it that the formations stay intact
3
4
9
2
5
11
•Offside rule applies
10
16
Variation:
•Orange defends two small goals in wide areas instead of the big goal
7
8
19
6
1
5.
Game Training Phase Model Sessions
Disturbing and Pressuring Model Session 2
1. Warm-up: passing exercise
•Two groups of 8 players position themselves in a grid of approximately
35m x 50m as shown in diagram on the right
•Yellow #3 starts the passing exercise
•Yellow players pass the ball in a prescribed order as shown (1-8)
•Although the players stay in their positions, they must not be ‘static’ but check
off and anticipate; etc
•The orange players ‘pressure’ the ball as a unit without intercepting the ball
or disrupting the passing sequence
Progression:
•To the left and to the right
•Change the role of the yellow and orange team
•Include intervals with dynamic stretches
•Increase the passing and ball speed
•Introduce a second passing sequence
•Free instead of prescribed passing sequence
4
3
1
9
8
6
11
2
2
10
4
5
8
8
3
10
4
7
6
3
5
7
6
9
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Disturbing and Pressuring Model Session 2
2. Positioning game: 8 v 8 + goalkeepers
•Use the grid from the passing exercise
1
•2 goalkeepers on each back line in a 10m x 10m grid
•The GK starts the game for yellow team who must try to pass the ball into the
hands of the GK on the opposite side
•Orange must prevent this by pressuring the ball
3
2
4
9
10
16
11
•Change of roles if orange wins the ball
Steps up or down:
•Make the grid(s) bigger/smaller
7
6
20
14
13
•Free/limited touches
•1 point for every successful pass into the hands of the goalkeeper
5
18
8
22
19
5.
Game Training Phase Model Sessions
Disturbing and Pressuring Model Session 2
3. Game training component:
•A grid of 50m (length) x 60m (width), with two 5m gates on one byline and
10m x 10m box on the other byline (as shown in the diagram)
•Yellow team consists of the DF’s #2, 3, 4 and 5, MF’s #16, 18 and 20, and FW
#19 (formation 4-3-1)
•Orange team consists of FW’s #11, 9 and 7, MF’s #10, 8 and 6 and
DF’s #13 & 14 (formation 2-3-3)
3
2
11
•The coach starts by serving the ball to one of the yellow defenders
18
16
8
•The yellow team must try to pass the ball into the hands of the goalkeeper who
is standing on the opposite side in the 10m x 10m box
4
9
5
10
20
6
19
14
•The orange team must prevent this by collective, coordinated pressure
7
13
•Offside rule applies
1
•If orange wins the ball they try to score in one of the two goals (one attempt
only). If the defenders win the ball back the action has ended
•Every restart from the coach
Possible Coaches Remarks:
•“Immediately press the player with the ball”
•“Do not allow time and space to pass to the goalkeeper”
•“Mark/pressure the opponents close to the ball”
•“Work as a unit and keep your relative distances short”
Step up/Step down:
•Free/limited touches for yellow
•Free/minimum number of passes before yellow can play to #1
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Disturbing and Pressuring Model Session 2
4. Training Game (Option 1):
•Continuing from the game training exercise on the previous page:
•Yellow team gets 1 point for every successful pass into the hands
of the goalkeeper
•Orange gets 2 points for every pass through one of the two gates
3
2
4
9
11
18
16
8
10
20
6
19
14
1
13
7
5
5.
Game Training Phase Model Sessions
Disturbing and Pressuring Model Session 2
4. Training Game (Option 2):
•8 v 8 + goalkeepers on ¾ of a full pitch (box to box) divided by the halfway line
1
•The coach’s focus is on the orange team with regards to disrupting/
pressuring the yellow team’s ability to play out from the back
•The orange team must pressure yellow as early as possible and try to win
the ball back in the yellow team’s half. Every time they succeed in winning
possession in the opposition half they will receive one bonus point
•The offside rule applies
3
4
9
11
7
2
5
10
16
18
20
8
6
14
19
1
13
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Defending/recapturing Model Session 1
(zone defending)
1. Warm-up:
•Two grids (A and B) are positioned as shown in the diagram
•Grid A is 10m -15m long and pitch wide. Grid B is approximately 20m long and
also pitch wide
•Grids A and B are divided by a line of 3 x 2 cones of different colours positioned
across the width of the pitch
•The position of the cones must be exactly as shown in the diagram
2
A
B
3
4
5
9
11
8
7
6
1. Blue cones; width of the penalty box
2. Red and yellow cones; sideline-central axis
•Four yellow defenders #2, 3, 4 and 5 position themselves in grid A, spread
between the blue cones at an equal distance
•Five (or more) orange players are positioned in grid B, spread across the width
of the pitch
•At the coaches signal, the orange players start passing the ball in a random
order/direction
•As the ball moves, the yellow defenders must move as a unit too, keeping their
relative distances the same
•When the ball goes to #7 orange, they must all be between the yellow cones
•When the ball goes to #9 orange, they must all be between the blue cones
•When the ball goes to #11 orange, they must all be between the red cones
•When the ball is played backwards (to #6 or #8), they must also move
slightly forward
Points of attention for Orange:
•High ball speed
•Accurate passing
•Quick change of direction
Change defenders regularly.
5.
Game Training Phase Model Sessions
Defending/recapturing Model Session 1
(zone defending)
2. Positioning game:
•2 grids of approximately 15m wide and 10m long (A & C) separated by a grid of
15m x 5m (B)
•3 groups of 4 outfield players in each grid
•Yellow, consisting of the defenders #2-3-4-5, in grid B
C
•The coach starts the game by passing the ball to an orange player in grid A
•One yellow defender (who is closest) sprints into grid A and chases the ball
(4 v 1)
•Orange combines and must try to pass through grid B to a blue player
in grid C (ground pass only!)
•The 3 yellow defenders in grid B must work as a unit and adjust their positions
depending on the position of the ball
Steps up or down:
•Make grids wider/narrower (if too easy/difficult for the defenders)
•Make grids A & C shorter/longer (if too easy/difficult for the attackers)
•Free/limited touches for the attackers
Remark:
•Encourage attackers to play the killer pass into the opposite zone as often
as possible
B
A
2
3
4
5
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Defending/recapturing Model Session 1
(zone defending)
1
3. Game training component: 7 v 5
Organisation: 1/2 of a full pitch
•Yellow team consists of (#1-2-3-4-5) defends zonally against orange team
(#1-6-7-8-9-10 & 11)
•The orange must try to score by beating yellow’s zonal defensive line through
combination play; individual actions and/or runs off the ball
2
3
•The offside rule applies
Possible Coaches Remarks (with focus on yellow):
•“Keep your relative distances”
•“Cover each other”
•“Press the ball if you can get close to it”
•“Drop as a unit if you see orange is going to play a ball behind the defensive line”
•“Move up if the attackers play the ball backwards”
•“Communicate and coach each other”
7
11
10
•They can use #1 to change the point of attack
•Yellow must stop them by moving as a unit in the direction of the ball
(‘ball-oriented defending’) and pressuring the ball carrier
5
4
9
6
8
1
5.
Game Training Phase Model Sessions
Defending/recapturing Model Session 1
(zone defending)
1
•If yellow wins the ball: try to pass it into the hands of the orange goalkeeper who
must stand in the front half of the centre circle (one attempt only: if yellow loses
the ball the action has ended)
•Every restart from the orange goalkeeper
Step down: (too difficult for the defenders)
•Narrow the pitch
2
3
•8 v 6/9 v 7
7
11
10
•Limited touches for the attackers
Progression:
5
4
9
6
8
1
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Defending/recapturing Model Session 1
(zone defending)
1
4. Training game: 6 v 6
Organisation: 1/2 of a full pitch
•Formation yellow:1-4-1
2
3
5
4
9
7
11
•Formation orange: 1-2-3
10
•The orange goalkeeper has a dual role (‘joker’)
6
8
1
•Offside rule applies
•The orange team must score in the goal defended by yellow #1
•The yellow team scores by passing into the hands of the orange goalkeeper who
must catch the ball inside the front half of the centre circle
1
•The coach must focus on the zonal defending of the yellow team
If it turns out to be easier for yellow to score than it is for the orange team:
3
4
9
•Limit the number of touches for yellow
2
7
11
5
10
6
8
1
5.
Game Training Phase Model Sessions
Defending/recapturing Model Session 2
(long ball - 2nd ball)
A
1. Warm-up: passing exercise A
•Players in the positions as shown in diagram A
•Three or more players at the starting position (a) and two players at the next
position (b). At least one player at the other positions (c & d)
c
c
b
d
b
•The players pass the ball in the order 1-4 and move to the next position
(a-b-c-d)
2
1
d
4
3
5
a
•The player who receives pass 4 dribbles back to the starting position (5)
a
a
•Alternate from left to right
Possible Coaches Remarks:
B
•“Pass precision and ball speed”
•“Gradually increase your running speed”
c
c
Progression:
•The next step is moving back the players/cones of positions (c) (see diagram B)
b
d
3
b
4
d
2
•Pass 3 now becomes a lofted pass that player (c) must head or volley
to player (d)
5
1
a
a
a
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Defending/recapturing Model Session 2
(long ball - 2nd ball)
2. Positioning game: 4 v 2 with 12 players
Organisation (see diagram):
•3 adjacent squares (A-B-C) of 15m x 15m/20m x 20m
(depending on player’s ability)
A
•3 groups of 4 players with different colour bibs position themselves in one
of the grids
•The coach with sufficient balls next to grid B
•The coach starts the game with a pass to the orange team in grid C
(or blue in A)
4
B
•At that moment players #1 and 2 from the yellow team in grid B immediately
start defending in grid C: 4 v 2
•Orange must try to play a pass across grid B to the blue team in grid A.
Then yellow players #3 and 4 start defending in grid A and yellow #1 and 2 go
back to grid B
•If the orange or blue team makes a mistake (lose possession or a pass out of
the grid) they must change with yellow and defend
If too easy or difficult:
•Bigger/smaller grids
•Free/limited touches
•3 v 1 (9 players); 2 v 1 (6 players)
C
3
2
1
1
2
5.
Game Training Phase Model Sessions
Defending/recapturing Model Session 2
(long ball - 2nd ball)
1
3. Game training component:
3
2
Organisation:
5
4
9
•A 50m x 50m pitch divided by a ‘halfway line’
•Two teams of 6 outfield players plus a goalkeeper each
11
6
•Plenty of balls on the edge of the far end of the centre circle
10
•The yellow team consists of the defenders (#1-2-3-4-5) plus the midfielders
(#6-8)
18
•The orange team is made up of the attackers (#7-9 & 11) and midfielders
(#10-16-18)
16
1
•The orange goalkeeper has a ‘dual’ role
•Orange #1 starts the exercise with a long aerial pass to the attackers (the pass
must go across the ‘halfway line’)
The coaching focuses on the yellow team:
•Orange tries to win possession (1st and 2nd ball) and score.
•Marking/duelling (1st ball)
•Yellow must defend their goal and, when they win the ball, pass it into the hands
of the orange goalkeeper who must stand in the back half of the centre circle
(one attempt only: if yellow loses the ball the action has ended, and orange #1
restarts)
•Offside rule applies
•Positioning/timing (2nd ball)
•Communication (covering/offside)
•Transitioning (BPO>BP)
7
8
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Defending/recapturing Model Session 2
(long ball - 2nd ball)
4. Training game: 8 v 8
1
Organisation:
•A pitch of approximately 70m x 50m with two big goals and divided by a halfway
line (see diagram)
•Two teams of 7 outfield players plus a goalkeeper
2
3
•Offside rule applies
4
11
5
7
6
•Orange consists of GK #22, DF #14, MF’s #16-18-20 and FW’s #7-9-11
(formation 1-1-3-3)
•Yellow consists of GK #1, DF’s #2-3-4-5, MF’s #6-8-10 (formation 1-4-3)
9
20
8
10
16
18
14
Special rule:
•Every time the orange GK #22 gets the ball (also in open play), they must
start with a long ball to the strikers (across the halfway line)
•For the rest it’s a normal 8 v 8 game, but the coaching focuses on defending
the long ball and 2nd ball by the yellow team
22
5.
Game Training Phase Model Sessions
Transitioning Model Session 1 (BP>BPO)
A
1. Warm-up: passing exercise
•4 cones placed in a 15m x 15m square
•6 players divided in 3 pairs (different colours) and positioned as shown
in the diagram
•Players pass the ball in sequence (1-4). Players only run to their opposite side
(as indicated by the dotted lines) after passing
2
4
•Change direction regularly (pass in opposite directions)
•“Precision and ball speed”
1
3
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Transitioning Model Session 1 (BP>BPO)
•Next step 4 players perform the passing drill while 2 players (one pair) defend
passively (see diagram B)
•The players now stay in the same position
•On the coach’s call (colour) the pair that are ‘defenders’ change with the pair
that’s been called by the coach:
•‘Flying’ change over; no/minimal stop
Possible Coaches Remarks:
•“Immediately focus on your new task”
•“Know where you have to pass”
•“Which pair makes the least mistakes”
Progression (advanced only):
•Regularly change the direction on the run (orientation)
•Players run to opposite cone after passing
•Faster change of defenders
Are the players able to transition and adjust immediately?
BLUE
B
5.
Game Training Phase Model Sessions
Transitioning Model Session 1 (BP>BPO)
2. Positioning game 4 v 2 with 8 players
• 8 players divided in two groups of four (yellow and orange)
•Two adjacent squares of 10m x 10m/15m x 15m
(dependent on ability of players)
•4 (orange) v 2 (yellow) in one grid; 2 yellow waiting with a ball at the end of the
adjacent grid (situation A)
4
A
3
1
2
2
4
3
1
•As soon as orange makes a mistake (interception yellow or ball out of grid) the
game moves to the adjacent grid (situation B) using the ball that the two spare
players have
•Orange #3 & #4 can immediately pressure yellow #1 & #2; this forces yellow
#3 & #4 to also make a quick transition to BP
•If orange makes a mistake everyone goes back to their initial starting positions in
situation A
•#3 & #4 (of both teams) are the ‘shifting’ defenders; swap with
#1 & #2 (of both teams) every two minutes
3
2
B
4
1
4
2
3
1
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Transitioning Model Session 1 (BP>BPO)
1
3. Game training component:
Transitioning BP > BPO for attackers (yellow) and BPO > BP for
defenders (orange)
•6 attackers/midfielders (yellow) against 6 defenders/midfielders + goalkeeper
(orange) on one half of a full pitch, everyone in their usual ‘game positions’
•The blue goalkeeper on the halfway line has a dual role of playing for both teams
in BP
•The ‘neutral’ goalkeeper starts an attack for yellow by playing to one of the
yellow players. As long as the yellow team is in possession, the goalkeeper can
stay involved as an outfield player but positioned in/around the centre circle
(see diagram)
•Yellow tries to build a successful attack and score in the goal defended by the
orange goalkeeper
3
2
9
4
5
11
16
10
8
18
6
1
7
5.
Game Training Phase Model Sessions
Transitioning Model Session 1 (BP>BPO)
1
•When orange wins the ball, they must immediately open up, move into proper
BP positions and try to pass into the hands of the neutral goalkeeper who must
catch the ball inside the centre circle
•The yellow team must try to avoid this by quick transitioning and pressing the
ball (see diagram)
4. Training game
9
11
•After every sequence (attack yellow; counter attack orange) there is a new
restart from the neutral goalkeeper
•The coaching focuses on the speed of transitioning from both teams but
yellow in particular (BP>BPO)
4
3
7
18
16
10
5
2
8
6
•The same organisation but now as a non-stop game with ‘coaching on the run’
•3 points for every goal scored by yellow; 1 point for every time orange succeeds
in passing the ball into the hands of the neutral goalkeeper
•Offside rule applies
If too easy for orange:
•Limited touches (2-3) only for orange
•Decrease the area where the neutral goalkeeper can catch the ball
(i.e. only the back half of the centre circle)
1
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Transitioning Model Session 2 (BPO>BP)
A
1. Warm-up: passing exercise
•Cones positioned as shown in diagram. Distance between the cones 5m-10m
depending on ability
•9 players divided in 3 groups of three (different colours)
•Each group with a ball, 3-5 min random passing and moving in the area
between the cones
4
•Next they perform the passing drill shown in the diagram
•Players move to the next cone after each pass
3
5
2
•Change direction regularly (to left/right)
6
1
5.
Game Training Phase Model Sessions
Transitioning Model Session 2 (BPO>BP)
Progression:
•6 players perform the passing drill without following their ball, while 3 players
(one group) defend passively (yellow in diagram B)
•On the coach’s call (colour) the group that are defenders change with the group
that’s been called by the coach:
•‘Flying’ change over; no/minimal stop
Possible Coaches Remarks:
•“Immediately focus on your new task”
•“Know where you have to pass”
•“Which group makes the least mistakes”
Progression (advanced only):
•Regularly change the pass direction on the run (orientation)
•Change defenders roles at random intervals
Are the players able to transition and adjust immediately?
ORANGE
B
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Transitioning Model Session 2 (BPO>BP)
A
2. Positioning game: 6 v 3
• 9 players divided in three groups of 3
•A grid of 30m x 30m (dependent on ability of players)
•Orange and blue (6) keep possession while yellow (3) tries to win the ball
(diagram A)
•6 v 3 always requires a ‘link’ player in the centre (orange #10 in diagram
as an example)
•As soon as an orange or blue player makes a mistake (interception by yellow
defender or ball out of grid) the defenders swap roles with the team of the player
that made the mistake (blue in diagram A)
10
5.
Game Training Phase Model Sessions
Transitioning Model Session 2 (BPO>BP)
•Blue must immediately start defending which forces yellow to also make a quick
transition to BP (see diagram B)
•Play in series of 3-4 minutes
Step down (too difficult)
•Allow a stop to change roles when the 6 players in BP make a mistake and
gradually reduce the duration of the stop
•Make the grid bigger
Step up (too easy)
•Reduce the size of the grid
•Limit the number of touches (2-3)
B
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Transitioning Model Session 2 (BPO>BP)
3. Game training component:
3 v 1 with 9 players
•Emphasis on quick transitioning
Organisation:
A
•Two grids of about 12m x 12m (A & C) separated by a grid of 12m x 5m (B)
•Three teams of 3 players with different colour bibs, one team in each grid as
shown
•The coach is positioned with the balls centrally, next to grid B
B
C
5.
Game Training Phase Model Sessions
Transitioning Model Session 2 (BPO>BP)
Exercise development:
•The coach starts the game with a pass to a yellow player in grid A
•At that moment one orange player from grid B sprints into grid A to defend:
3 v 1 in grid A
A
•Yellow must now look for the right moment to play a killer pass through grid B
(with the two remaining orange defenders) to a blue player in grid C
•Then immediately another orange player sprints into grid C to defend while the
defender from grid A returns to grid B
•If:
- either team in BP passes the ball out of the grid, or
- the defender wins the ball, or
- the defenders in grid B intercept the killer pass
then the team that lost possession immediately changes grids/roles with the
defending team (emphasis on transitioning)
Step up or down:
•Make easier: 6 players (2 per grid: 2 v 1), or more difficult: 12 players
(4 per grid: 4 v 2)
•Make the grids bigger/smaller
•Limited (2/3) or free touches
•Killer pass: only on the ground or lofted pass allowed as well.
B
C
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Transitioning Model Session 2 (BPO>BP)
4. Training game
‘Transitioning game’ 6 v 6 + 1 goalkeeper (smaller/bigger teams: adjust pitch size)
3
•Pitch 40m x 40m divided in two equal halves (see diagram on the right)
•The coach with plenty of balls on the halfway line between the gates
•The coach serves a ball to the yellow team who try to score in the goal
with the goalkeeper
5
4
2
7
10
•A ‘neutral’ goalkeeper in the goal with plenty of balls next to the goal
•Two 5m -7m ‘gates’ on the back line
9
11
16
8
18
6
5.
Game Training Phase Model Sessions
Transitioning Model Session 2 (BPO>BP)
•If orange wins the ball they must pass the ball through one of the gates
•If yellow scores, the score is 1-0 and the coach restarts the game by serving the
next ball to yellow
•If orange passes the ball through one of the gates, the score remains
0-0 but the teams change sides on the run with the coach immediately
serving a ball to orange (transitioning)
•Now orange attacks the goal and defends the 2 gates (players must get back in
their proper positions ASAP)
If too difficult (not enough transitioning happening):
•Make the gates wider
If too easy:
•Make the gates narrower
•Limited touches (2/3) for one team or both
3
4
9
10
2
7
5
11
16
8
18
6
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5.
Performance Phase Model Sessions
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5.
Performance Phase Model Sessions
Model Sessions
The concept of rotating through pre-determined themes, which serves us well in
the Skill Acquisition and Game Training phases, will not apply now. However, the
basic structure of the ideal training session is almost identical to those in the Game
Training phase:
•Welcome/explanation: 5 minutes
•Warm Up: 15-20 minutes
•Positioning Games: 20 minutes
•Game Training component: 25-30 minutes
•Training Game: 20-25 minutes
•Warm Down/wrap up 5-10 minutes
The differences are:
1. The session themes are based largely on recent match performance,
with a view to improvement in the next match.
• This requires from a coach the ability to properly analyse a game,
define the ‘football problems’ and design sessions to improve the
team’s ability to solve these football problems.
2. The Training Game can now be used as a Football Conditioning game.
•Football Conditioning Games are part of the Football Periodisation Model,
developed by exercise physiologist Raymond Verheijen, which has
been adopted by FFA.
The Football Periodisation Model is based on the principle that it’s totally
possible to get your players fit for playing football by playing football. This aligns
perfectly with our vision that a holistic approach to coaching is not only the most
educationally effective way but also the most time effective way. If done in the
proper way, football training automatically becomes conditioning and therefore it’s
unnecessary and unwise to separate fitness training from football training.
In the Football Periodisation Model there are three types of conditioning games:
•The big games (8 v 8 or 9 v 9 or 10 v 10 or 11 v 11)
•The medium games (5 v 5 or 6 v 6 or 7 v 7)
•The small games (3 v 3 or 4 v 4)
Put simply, if these games are conducted in the right way, they develop the
qualities of aerobic capacity and aerobic power specific to football players.
However, a real understanding of this conditioning method, including football
sprints, can only be gained by attending FFA’s Advanced Coaching Courses.
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Regarding the 6-week cycles in the Performance Phase the following points are
essential:
•The session with the Football Conditioning Games must always be planned for the
beginning of the week to avoid players still being fatigued on the day of the next
game
•We consider 4 sessions of 75-90 minutes and one game a maximum safe weekly
workload for the Performance Phase (Advanced level only)
•The planning and progression of the Football Conditioning Games requires expert
knowledge of the Football Periodisation Model. It is dangerous to experiment
with Football Conditioning without having the necessary knowledge
•To give coaches a basic grasp of the concepts, we provide three sample
Performance Phase sessions, based on hypothetical ‘football problems’ that a
team might have. Each sample session shows how the Training Game can be
changed to a Conditioning Game (one ‘big’, one ‘medium’ and one ‘small’ game),
gaining a football fitness benefit while still working on the team’s ‘football problem’.
Click on the links below to go to specific sections withing the Performance Phase
Model Sessions:
•Model Session 1 - Football Conditioning (Big games)
•Model Session 2 - Football Conditioning (Middle games)
•Model Session 3 - Football Conditioning (Small games)
5.
Performance Phase Model Sessions
Performance Phase – Model Session 1
Football Conditioning (Big games)
1
Football problem:
“Our team struggles with playing out from the back. Too often we play
a senseless ball forward that is easily intercepted by the opponent.
The players do not recognise the right moments to play a forward pass or see
the solutions too late.
They are also hesitant to break the line and create a numerical advantage by
moving forward with the ball at their feet”.
1. Warm-up: passing exercise
•Players in game positions as shown in diagram A
•The passing sequence starts with the two goalkeepers (can be simultaneous):
one to the right side; the other to the left side
•The players pass the ball in a ‘logical’ order (1-7) while staying in their positions
•“Pass precision and ball speed”
•“Now follow your pass to the next position” (NB: #10 goes to position #3/4)
•“Gradually increase your running speed”
A
1
1
7
3
4
2
2
8
6
3
4
7
6
5
9
5
20
10
11
19
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Performance Phase – Model Session 1
Football Conditioning (Big games)
•“Here is another variation” (see diagram B)
B
1
1
3
1
4
•“Now just improvise but use a logical order and every player must touch the ball”
7
2
2
8
6
20
10
6
7
9
19
5
5
3
4
11
5.
Performance Phase Model Sessions
Performance Phase – Model Session 1
Football Conditioning (Big games)
2. Positioning game: 5 v 4 + 2 (7 v 4)
1
•A grid of approximately 40m wide x 30m long
•2 groups of 4 outfield players (orange + yellow)
•Orange consisting of the players #7-9-10-11
5
7
•#6 is a neutral player who always plays with the team in possession
•The 2 goalkeepers are neutral players who always play with the team in
possession and are positioned just behind each back line
4
3
9
•Yellow #1 starts the game for the yellow team, who must try to pass the ball to
orange #1 on the opposite side (see diagram)
•If orange wins the ball, they must try to pass the ball to orange #1 who restarts
the game with orange in possession and yellow defending
2
6
•The players as far as the game allows in ‘logical’ positions
•If they succeed, orange #1 must now pass the ball across the grid back to
yellow #1 on the opposite side, who must catch the ball and start again
11
10
•Yellow consisting of the players #2-3-4-5
1
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Performance Phase – Model Session 1
Football Conditioning (Big games)
Steps up or down:
•Make grid bigger/smaller
•Free/limited touches
•Free/minimum number of passes before you can pass to #1
•1 point for every successful pass from goalkeeper to goalkeeper
Remark:
•Position the grids in ‘game realistic’ areas of the field (see diagram on the right)
1
11
10
5
7
2
6
9
3
4
1
5.
Performance Phase Model Sessions
Performance Phase – Model Session 1
Football Conditioning (Big games)
A
1
3. Game training component:
•Two teams of 8 players each consisting of a full defence line (#1-2-3-4-5)
and attack line (#7-9-11)
•2 grids approximately the width of a full pitch and 45m long as shown in
diagram A
3
4
9
11
2
7
5
•In both grids the defenders of one team play against the attackers of the
other team
•The goalkeepers start by serving the ball to one of the defenders
(enough balls next to both goals)
•“Get the ball to the ‘free’ player who must run with the ball across the end line”
•If the attackers win the ball, attack the goal and try to score (one attempt only).
If the defenders win the ball back, the action has ended
•Every restart from the goalkeeper
7
5
11
9
4
3
1
2
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Performance Phase – Model Session 1
Football Conditioning (Big games)
3
B
1
Progression:
•Now we ‘connect’ both grids (see diagram B)
•Yellow starts playing out from the back and tries to get one defender across to
the other grid
•They can now also use the yellow attackers in the other grid as bouncers
(offside applies)
4
11
9
2
5
7
•One orange defender waits next to the goal
•So yellow has a numerical advantage (4 v 3) and tries to score
•If the yellow team loses the ball in their defensive grid, orange can try to score
(1 attempt only)
•If yellow loses the ball in the attacking grid, orange play back to their goalkeeper
and the action has ended
5
11
7
9
4
3
1
2
5.
Performance Phase Model Sessions
Performance Phase – Model Session 1
Football Conditioning (Big games)
3
C
1
•Now the orange defender (#3), who was waiting next to the goal, comes on to
the pitch and the yellow defender (#3) that had joined the attack steps out and
jogs back to wait next to the goal
•The same action starts again but now with orange playing out and attacking
while the yellow team defends (see diagram C)
4
9
2
7
11
•The next step up would be to decrease the size of the grids, with portable goals
on the edge of each box and narrowing the pitch 5m each side. The halfway line
now divides the attacking and defensive halves
5
3
7
5
4
9
1
11
2
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Performance Phase – Model Session 1
Football Conditioning (Big games)
D
4. Conditioning Game: 8 v 8 (7 v 7 + goalkeepers, see diagram D)
•Formation of both teams 1-4-3
1
•All players can move across the whole field
•Normal rules, offside applies
•Pitch size depends on player’s ability (see diagram D)
•Since it’s a conditioning game the intensity must be high. Therefore
there are no stops for throw-ins; corners; free kicks or goal kicks. The
goalkeeper of the team that should have had the throw-in, corner or free kick
immediately serves a new ball (within 3 seconds otherwise the coach serves
a ball to the other team)
3
11
5
4
9
2
5
11
7
9
4
•Play 2 games of 10 minutes with two minutes rest between the games
1
3
7
2
5.
Performance Phase Model Sessions
Performance Phase – Model Session 2
Football Conditioning (Middle games)
Football problem:
3
“Our team is not very effective when we attack in wide areas. The wingers,
in combination with the full-backs, too often make wrong choices.
3
1
The awareness and decision-making of our wingers and the cooperation with
the full-backs must improve to make our wing play more effective”.
10
2
11
1. Warm-up: passing exercise
4
•Players in their game positions (see diagram)
•Right side players (yellow) and left side players (orange) opposite of one another
but not interfering with each other
•Minimum 2 players in the positions #3 & #4
•In case of bigger numbers: set up a similar organisation on the other wing
•Yellow works from top down; orange from bottom up (#7 yellow passes to #4
orange who starts the same combination in the opposite direction till #11 orange
passes the ball again to yellow #3)
•All players follow their pass to the next position but only on their own team
6
2
8
3
7
5
5
6
9
4
4
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Performance Phase – Model Session 2
Football Conditioning (Middle games)
•i.e. After pass 5 to orange #4, yellow #7 goes to the position of yellow #3
(same for orange #11: to position #4).
3
3
•Start with prescribed pattern (as shown)
1
•Introduce a 2nd (3rd?) pattern
Progression:
10
2
11
•Now yellow passes with passive resistance of orange: choose the right option
depending on the defensive positioning of the opposing players (this option is for
advanced players only)
6
2
4
8
3
7
5
5
6
9
4
4
5.
Performance Phase Model Sessions
Performance Phase – Model Session 2
Football Conditioning (Middle games)
1
2. Positioning game: 7 v 4
•2 grids of approximately 30m x 30m (A & C) separated by a grid of 5m x 30m (B)
•2 groups of 4 outfield players
•Yellow consisting of the players #2-3-6-7
C
•Orange consisting of the players #4-5-8-11
•#9 and #10 are neutral players who always play with the team in possession;
one in grid B the other in the grid where the positioning game takes place
(see diagram)
•2 goalkeepers positioned on each back line
•#7 (yellow) keep possession against #4 (orange)
B
10
•Players as much as possible in their game positions (especially the team in BP)
•Provide 4 options (left; right; central and far) for the player on the ball through
proper positioning
•When orange wins the ball in grid A, they must try to pass to #9 in grid B or their
goalkeeper at the far end
•If they succeed, all players cross over to grid C where the game continues with
orange in possession and yellow defending
•If a yellow player passes the ball out of the grid, the coach immediately serves
a new ball to the orange goalkeeper and the game restarts in grid C with
possession for orange
9
7
4
A
8
6
3
11
1
5
2
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Performance Phase – Model Session 2
Football Conditioning (Middle games)
Steps up or down:
1
•Make grids bigger/smaller
•Free/limited touches
•Stop-start change of grids
•‘Flying’ change of grids
Remark:
9
•Position the grids in ‘game realistic’ areas of the field (see diagram on the right)
10
8
7
4
6
5
11
3
2
1
5.
Performance Phase Model Sessions
Performance Phase – Model Session 2
Football Conditioning (Middle games)
1
3. Game training component:
•Three grids A, B and C as shown in diagram on the right
•In grid A, #11 yellow and an orange defender (#12); #5 yellow is positioned
outside the grid with plenty of balls
•In grid B, #9 & #10 yellow and an orange defender (#3) plus a goalkeeper
•In grid C, #7 yellow and an orange defender (#15) with yellow #2 outside the grid
•#2 & #5 yellow alternately serve a ball to respectively #7 & #11
•#2-7 and #5-11 must beat the orange defenders in their respective grids
through effective wing play and deliver a cross to #9 & #10 in grid B who try to
finish 2 v 1
•The defenders in grids A & C cannot defend beyond the red dotted line
Wing play options:
•The winger beats the defender 1 v 1 (situation 1)
•The winger plays a wall pass with #9 or #10 (situation 2)
10
2
3
9
15
12
11
A
5
B
C
2
7
1
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Performance Phase – Model Session 2
Football Conditioning (Middle games)
1
More wing play options:
•The full-back overlaps the winger to create a 2 v 1 (situation 3)
•The winger bounces with the full-back and becomes the 3rd man via
a combination with #9 or #10 (situation 4)
The option selected by the attacking player often depends on the action of the
defender. The coach may need to help the players develop their awareness and
insight to select the most effective option.
Communication between the players is essential.
Also pay attention to the positioning and finishing of #9 & #10
4
10
3
4
9
3
12
11
7
5
A
B
C
2
5.
Performance Phase Model Sessions
Performance Phase – Model Session 2
Football Conditioning (Middle games)
4. Conditioning game: 5 v 5 + goalkeepers
•The field is positioned in a wide area of the full pitch (see diagram)
1
•Pitch length: box to box (70m)
•Pitch width: central axis to sideline (35m), divided by the halfway line
•Two portable goals (or poles) placed as shown (balls next to the goals)
•The coach with balls on the halfway line
•Offside rule applies!
•Players in their usual ‘game positions’
4
•By setting the game up this way, wing play will automatically be
emphasised
•Since it’s a conditioning game the intensity must be high. Therefore
there are no stops for throw-ins; corners; free kicks or goal kicks. The
goalkeeper of the team that should have had the throw-in, corner or free kick
immediately serves a new ball (within 3 seconds otherwise the coach serves
a ball to the other team)
•Play four games of 4 minutes with 2 minutes rest between the games
7
8
•In this particular game, it means that the right side of the team (#2-3-6-7)
+ striker #9 plays against the left side of the team (#4-5-8-11)
+ central midfielder #10. It is essential that the coach maintains realistic positions
relative to a full field game (this explains the positions of the goals)
•#9 and #10 to change teams halfway through the game
5
9
6
11
2
3
10
1
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Performance Phase – Model Session 3
Football Conditioning (Small games)
Football problem:
“Our team is not good at regaining the ball from the opponent. Our players are
generally too passive and give their opponents too much time and space to
receive, pass, shoot or run with the ball. We must improve our ability to defend
more aggressively as a team as well as individually”.
1. Warm-up: passing exercise
•Two groups of 6 players position themselves in a grid of approximately
40m x 40m as shown in diagram
•The yellow players move freely in the grid while passing a ball in
an un-prescribed order
•The yellow players must actively ask for the ball, check off, anticipate, etc
•The orange players ‘pressure’ the ball without intercepting it or disrupting the
passing sequence
Progression:
•Change the role of the yellow and orange team regularly
•Dynamic stretches possible in the intervals
•Increase the passing and running speed
•Introduce a 2nd (3rd) ball
5.
Performance Phase Model Sessions
Performance Phase – Model Session 3
Football Conditioning (Small games)
2. Positioning game: 6 v 6
•Use the grid from the passing exercise
•One team keeps possession of the ball while the other team tries to win it back
•Series of 3-4 minutes max with 2 minutes rest in between
Steps up or down:
•Make the grid bigger/smaller
•Free/limited touches
•Zonal marking/man-marking
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Performance Phase – Model Session 3
Football Conditioning (Small games)
3. Game training component: duel 1 v 1
Organisation:
Outside the penalty box is a 15m x 15m grid with 6 cones placed as shown in the
diagram.
3
3
2
1
1
2
B
D
Two teams (orange and yellow) are divided into 2 groups of equal numbers and
positioned as shown.
Groups orange A and yellow C have a ball each. The exercise starts with A1
passing the ball to B1. A1 then runs around the central cone to receive the ball
back from B1. At the moment A1 starts their run around the cone, D1 also starts
to run around the opposite central cone.
A1 must now try to beat D1 in a 1 v 1 to enter the penalty box and finish on goal.
D1 can only defend in the grid and is not allowed to enter the penalty box.
The action stops when A1 has finished on goal; D1 captures the ball from A1
or the ball goes out of the grid.
After the action has finished the players involved move as follows:
•A1 to group B (bring back the ball)
•B1 to group A (bring ball from A1)
•D1 goes back to group D (line up at the back)
•Next sequence is C1 passing to D2 with B2 defending
“Which team can score the most?”
1
1
2
2
3
3
C
A
5.
Performance Phase Model Sessions
Performance Phase – Model Session 3
Football Conditioning (Small games)
Remember the coaching must focus on the defenders:
“Make contact and force the attacker to one side”
“Use feint attacks to slow the attacker down”
“Attack the ball aggressively when the opponent loses control of the ball or stops”
3
3
2
1
1
2
B
D
1
1
2
2
3
3
C
A
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Performance Phase – Model Session 3
Football Conditioning (Small games)
4. Conditioning game: 3 v 3 games + goalkeepers
•A field of approximately 30m x 25m with two big goals and plenty of balls next to
the goals
•The coach with balls on the sideline
•The team in possession must keep a diamond shape to make combination
play possible
•The attackers can score from any position on the pitch, therefore the defenders
must mark closely and defend aggressively everywhere
•Since it’s a conditioning game the intensity must be high. Therefore
there are no stops for throw-ins, corners, free kicks or goal kicks. The
goalkeeper of the team that should have had the throw-in, corner or free kick
immediately serves a new ball (within 3 seconds otherwise the coach serves
a ball to the other team)
•Play 12 games of 1 minute with 3 minutes rest between the games and
a longer (6 minutes) break after the 6th repetition
5.
Performance Phase Model Sessions
•The rest periods must be a so-called ‘active rest’. This is a low intensity activity
like juggling individually or as a group
•This can be done while another group of players is working (see diagram)
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References
Acknowledgements
•Chris Sulley: ‘Youth Development - Best Practice in European Professional Football’,
Leaders in Performance
•Alfred Galustian – former Technical Skills Consultant
to FFA
•‘The Future Game – The Football Association Technical Guide For Young Player Development’,
The Football Association
•Raymond Verheijen - provider of Football Conditioning
expertise to FFA
•2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa – Technical Report and Statistics
•Professor A. Mark Williams - regular adviser to FFA on
Decision-Making and Skill Acquisition
•UEFA Euro 2012 Poland-Ukraine – Technical report
•Daniel Coyle – ‘The Talent Code’
•Malcolm Gladwell – ‘Outliers’
•Mathew Syed – ‘Bounce’
•Anders Ericsson – ‘The Road to Excellence’
•Geoff Colvin – ‘Talent is Overrated’
•Professor Carol Dweck – ‘Mindset – The New Psychology of Success’
•EPL statistics – Data of 2012/13 season, as at February, 2013 (Prozone)
•Paul S.A. Mairs & Richard E. Shaw –
‘Coaching Outside the Box: Changing the Mindset in Youth Soccer’
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