We all know the importance of warming up the body in the proper ways, but many novice (or dinosaur) coaches fail to adequately know how to warm up the body in the proper ways specific to the sport. As a young gun in the soccer world, I can recall running laps around the field, static stretching, and even hill sprints prior to practice sessions and games. None of these are particularly helpful, even if they can work 1-3% of times in specific contexts (hill sprints aside of course). With that, I present the elements of an effective warm-up and how coaches can structure the warm-up to fit into the grander scheme of their session plans.
Tag: Session Plans
Train of Thought – The value of playing with touch restrictions
The mental side of the beautiful game is at least as important as the physical side, but is often neglected by coaches in training sessions. In this series, Travis Norsen, author of Play With Your Brain, will discuss small tweaks to standard training exercises and the large positive effects they can have on players’ decision-making and soccer intelligence. This week, Travis explores the value of using one-touch restrictions in your sessions.
Train of Thought – Situating training exercises in their appropriate place on the pitch
The mental side of the beautiful game is at least as important as the physical side, but is often neglected by coaches in training sessions. In this series, Travis Norsen, author of Play With Your Brain, will discuss small tweaks to standard training exercises and the large positive effects they can have on players’ decision-making and soccer intelligence. This week, Travis explores why you should situate your training exercises in their appropriate place on the pitch.
Session Plan – Spatial Awareness & Switching Play
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!
How to make football graphics with Planet Training
As football content creators, we want to create stunning images that resonate with our viewers and stand out on the page. One of the best websites that allows us to do so is Planet Training, a tool that is more typically used for coaches and club directors to design session plans and club curriculums. Here is a video all about how to make stunning graphics using Planet Training, whatever your purpose.
13 Shooting & Finishing Activity Ideas
I've never been a big fan of shooting & finishing session plans, as they often involve activities with loads of wait time, and take up too much time for something that happens actually relatively infrequently in games. Instead, I've preferred to work on shooting & finishing with players in 1on1 or small-group training sessions, where the repetition can still be high and the waiting time low. That said, players love shooting & finishing sessions. Who doesn't like to shoot the ball and score goals? All players enjoy these sessions, even goalkeepers and defenders as it means they get opportunities to do what they love too. So with that, here is a variety of shooting & finishing activities to help you design your own shooting & finishing session with individuals or groups. The activities are separated between the amount of repetition and wait time, helping you make a distinction between which might be useful for smaller numbers and which can be done in team training.
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.
13 Warm-Up Activities with the Ball
It's seen less and less often today, but back in time warm-ups were hardly ever done with a ball and incorporated things like running laps and static stretching. Luckily, coaches of today have realized that warm-up activities can incorporate the ball, whether it be gradually or right away, and achieve the same outcomes of "warming-up". In fact, these activities not only get players moving and hypothetically help to decrease the risk of injury as a good warm-up should; but they also get players to practice their technical and tactical skills. This allows players to warm-up not just their muscles, but their brains as well. Here are 13 warm-up activities for young players, aged 6-14.
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 Playing Forwards vs. Backwards – Session Plan & Coaching Points
Progressive Possession – Full Session Plan & Key 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
Switching Play – Full Session Plan & Coaching Points
The popularity of switching play as a tactical concept has long been a dominating strategy in the world of football. Its popularity is exemplified by the many different forms and names it has taken on over the years such as changing the point of attack or playing across the direct game channels. Even at the younger ages, switching play can be an essential tactic to deploy with any team. Concepts like maintaining width, crossing, and shifting the ball from left to right are universal to the sport, regardless of age. Here is an updated session plan all about one of the most essential session topics in youth soccer/football – Switching Play.
Quick Transitions – Full Session Plan & Key Coaching Points
Transitional moments are an understated, underrated and under-coached part of the modern game. How a team sets up after winning or losing the ball can make or break a team. As a result, today we share this full session plan on 'Quick Transitions' with a variety of activities guided towards both attacking and defensive transitions.
Playing Out From The Back – Session Plan & Coaching Points (2020 Edition)
Playing out from the back is one of the most important elements of the modern game. Not only is it better for development than kicking it long, it is also easier and allows a team fewer risks at losing the ball. As a result, coaches of any age group should be looking to teach players young and old the necessary steps of playing out from the back. In order to help guide these coaches, we introduce a brand new session all about playing out from the back, for youth teams of any age.