Small Group Training Session – Spatial Awareness & Scanning

With all the restrictions going on in the world of COVID-19 right now, small group training sessions are becoming more and more common-place, as coaches are forced to split their groups into smaller numbers. Here is a session plan all about scanning & spatial awareness for 4 players.


Setup/Execution: Players start at the white cone performing a ball control move at their feet (e.g. v-push, roll-over-touch, roll-cut, scissors-cut, push-pull, etc.). Every once in a while, coach calls set of colour cones (e.g. “orange, blue, blue”). Players must race to get there before their opposition, turn and go back to white to perform returning to a ball control move.

Coaching Points:
– Scan for colours to get there quickly
– Quickness of the reaction
– Quickness of the turn and accelerate after
– Crucial steps to execute various skill moves.

activity: find the open cone

Setup/Execution: Each of the four players starts at one cone. There are six cones total for four players. This can be increased or decreased depending on challenge or number of players. Players pass to a player, then move right away to find the open cone. As players pass and move, the open cone constantly changes. Several progressions to make it increasingly more difficult.

1) Add coach as defender who walks around and makes sure players receive the ball in front of the player and avoid passing where pressure is being applied.
2) Just two touches per player, then just 1 touch per player. How many consecutive 1 touch passes can they do in a row without slipping up?
3) Players can now move at any time, making the open cone constantly change even more.
4) How many perfect 1 touch passes can the group do in a row with the previous progression still in place? Can they beat their previous record?

Coaching Points:
– Scan for open cone
– Scan for defender
– Always be in a position ready to receive
– Open body shape to receive on the half-turn
– Know your next pass before even receiving
– How to move off the ball (open body shape, don’t turn back to ball)

activity: timing of the movement & pass

Setup/Execution: Player 1 starts at the bottom of the grid at the blue cone. All other players start at the blue cone on their respective “line”. Player 1 kicks things off by running with the ball to either cone in front of them. Player 2 then reads that decision and moves off the ball at the right moment to create a diagonal passing option at the opposite end cone. Player 3 then times their run to create a diagonal pass and so on. After Player 4 receives the ball, they go back up the line to try and beat all three players 1v1 by getting across each line. Whether they complete the task or not, they become Player 1 as the other players rotate accordingly.

1) Add coach as defender who walks around and makes sure players receive the ball in front of the defender and takes first touch away from defender.

Coaching Points:
– Timing of the pass, timing of the movement to match.
– Scanning for open to space to create diagonal passing option.
– Reading of the game to move to the correct place based on positioning of teammates.
– Communication to demand the ball.

game: colour scan

Setup/Execution: Small-sided game w/ 4 different coloured gates. Coach calls colour to have players change direction at random moments. That colour is where they must score by running with the ball. Change colours often.

Progression: Add cones as obstacles in random places on the field. Players must avoid those cones. If they hit the cone with either their foot or the ball, the other team gets a point. Now scanning of the field has to increase even more.

Coaching Points:   
– Quick reactions based on colour change. React quicker than the opposition.
– Scan for teammate, opposition, ball and space.
– Use of space to take full advantage of a colour change.
– Quick changes of direction + types of direction.

game: 2v2 with 2 goals per side

Setup/Execution: 2V2 game with 2 mini goals to score on per team. This will hopefully increase changes of direction and scanning of the field for open space.

Coaching Points:
– Let the players play. Minimal stoppages/interventions. Now is the time for players to test their learning on what they learned over the session

Coach is looking for:
– Scanning of ball, opposition, teammates, space.
– Quickness of reactions based on scanning
– Timing of decisions such as passes and movements
– Body position based on scanning.

So there it is! A group training session plan all about scanning & spatial awareness for four players. Be sure to check out more of our session plans and share your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter @mastermindsite. Thanks for reading and see you soon!

You might also enjoy…
-> Playing Out From The Back – Session Plan & Coaching Points
-> Switching Play – Session Plan & Coaching Points


2 thoughts on “Small Group Training Session – Spatial Awareness & Scanning

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