Recently I have heard much in the way of what I would classify as "misinformation" regarding the readiness of youth players to learn tactical concepts like switching play. Switching play as a tactical concept ultimately comes down to recognizing space and making decisions based on that spatial awareness. Switching play doesn't mean crossing a long-ball forty/fifty yards from one side of the field to the other. It is about recognizing the space to see the opportunity of when space is condensed, versus when space is available and what to do in both of those situations. It is therefore an essential concept that can be taught to players of just about any age. Here is a session plan and key coaching points to match, all about spatial awareness and switching play!
Despite losing by a horrific 5-1 scoreline to VFB Stuttgart, Lucien Favre's sacking from the helm of Borussia Dortmund came at a strange time, with the club topping their UEFA Champions League group and no new manager in sight. Assistant coach Edin Terzic was given the interim role and unfortunately for the Black & Yellows, things could not have gotten off to a rockier start under the German coach. Terzic won just six of his opening thirteen matches in charge, forcing Dortmund into a difficult situation heading into the final third of the season with so much work to do in the quest to reclaim a place in the UEFA Champions League for next season. But after switching formations against Sevilla, Dortmund have found form again and have now won three on the spin, against big-hitters Sevilla, arch-nemeses Schalke 04, and relatively small-hitters Arminia Bielefield, who troubled Bayern Munich just weeks before. This recent run of form has culminated at the same time as two key decisions - Terzic's formational change away from the 4-2-3-1, and the announcement of Marco Rose as the club's future manager. The announcement gave Dortmund a massive lift and allowed them to regain confidence and focus. But Terzic and co also deserve some credit for the team's recent performances, posing some smart tactical tweaks along the way. Here is a tactical analysis of Edin Terzic's Borussia Dortmund, and whether or not they can make the top four this season.
After missing out on Champions League football on the final day of the 2019-20 season, many might have thought Leicester City's early season form of last year might just have been a stroke of good fortune and nothing more. But their stellar play has continued at the start of 2020-21 and other than a few disappointing losses to West Ham and Aston Villa, the Foxes have been flying high to start this campaign. After eight matches, Brendan Rodgers' side sit top of the table, with six wins so far. Significantly, they've experimented with different formations and a host of different, less luxurious players in the absence of talents like Ricardo Pereira, Wilfred Ndidi, James Maddison and of course Ben Chilwell, who left for Chelsea. Their impressive form after missing out on Champions League football last year definitely deserves further examination, so here is our early season tactical analysis of Brendan Rodgers' Leicester City in 2020-21.
Many young and inexperienced players have the bad habit of kicking the ball away without looking. Sometimes it comes off, but most of the time these players are only playing into the hands of their opposition, as the opposition recovers the ball without having to do any defending. Players of any age need to learn … Continue reading Playing Forwards vs. Backwards – Session Plan & Coaching Points
Many young and inexperienced players have the bad habit of kicking the ball away without looking. Sometimes it comes off, but most of the time these players are only playing into the hands of their opposition, as the opposition recovers the ball without having to do any defending. Players of any age need to learn … Continue reading Progressive Possession – Full Session Plan & Key Coaching Points
Although they should be considered completely different topics, coaches often link passing and moving together as items that need to be improved together. As every youth coach of ages 4-10 has found out, players in the initial stages of their soccer development often have trouble "spreading out" and understanding basic concepts of passing and moving. So with that, here is a session plan from The Mastermind Site all about passing and moving for ages 6-10!
All of the best professional clubs in the world have some clearly defined method of combination play in the final-third of the pitch. Although our youth teams might never be able to achieve the attacking flair of Borussia Dortmund or Liverpool, working hard on the training ground on Combination Play can still be tremendously helpful in the quest for greater attacking prowess.