The following is a guide to our session plan section of the website. Hopefully this helps all readers understand where we are coming from with our sessions. There are many different ways to coach the game and we are not professing to have a better way than anyone else. It is simply our way based on our experience and what has benefited the players we have had the pleasure of coaching. If it ends up helping you and your players then thats what this is all about here at Football Discovery.
1. Game related. Meaning most exercises will have 2 teams, 2 goals or targets and will quite literally mimic what you see actually happening in the game. The majority of activity in the session will be directional, where time and precision are valued see the below images to illustrate what we mean by this.
So the box on the left is your old fashioned 3v1. This is a great practice for many reasons not least as highlighted above it is great on the topic of time, if you don't do it fast you will lose the ball and be in the middle. If you don't work hard in the middle you may stay there! Therefore the activity has a respect for the game related theme of match pace. There is also precision, pass it to the man in the middle and you are in trouble, pass it outside the area you lose it. Again this replicates the game itself there is a consequence if you are not precise. Where the activity on the right differs is on the directional front. The 3v1 on the left is non directional as in the players have no concept of what a forward pass is. The box on the right below, is a 3v1 plus 1. The plus 1 aka the red on the far right is the target. Therefore the game has direction, players learn about being patient in possession, they learn the importance of how you receive the ball and the critical point that x amount of passes is not a goal, you must pass forward, quickly and precisely to score. Therefore the box on the right is closer to replicating a match day environment for our players whilst at the same time holds all the qualities of your traditional 3v1.
In a nutshell that subtle but important difference between the two boxes above is what we are about. Making sure each session is match related and as much as possible position specific as possible.
As you can see from above once you plan appropriately you can make most parts of training position specific too. The keeper is now part of the 3v1 with defenders and maybe a number 6 as the plus 1. The striker in the middle now tries to score in the goal if he wins the ball back. Over the course of time you will see our approach to this methodology and we hope you try it out and find it useful.
Finally, as the name of our webpage may suggest to you, we are advocates of guided discovery as a teaching method. There are many methods to coach.
1. Stop the session to demonstrate and/our ask the players about a situation (the word ask is key, do not tell)
2. Coach in the flow of the game, so without shouting instructions to the player in possession of the ball, pick moments to pass instruction or better again ask a question that will lead to a specific answer. We avoid coaching the player in possession as it normally means we end up making up the players mind for him/her. This approach hinders creativity and kills the players ability to make his/her own decisions.
3. Coach during natural stoppages, water breaks, throw in, when the player is waiting on the outside of an activity for whatever reason.
4. Conditions can be used to achieve an objective too. Just make sure you know why you are imposing the condition. For example playing 2 touch has the world of benefits but if we did it all the time the world would have no Messi. Also, running with the ball into space is a key component of the game 2 touch doesn't allow for this. So we are not saying don't do 2 touch. We are saying when you condition games it should fit in with the block plan. A balanced approach here is vital.
5. Our favourite method of coaching is simply to plan the session in a way that poses questions of the players and now they must solve the problem. See the image below to illustrate.
As you can see above is an 11v11 set up. Watch how guided discovery can work to help increase the game intelligence of your players.
Coach A takes the blues and tells them to play in a 1-4-4-2 with a diamond in midfield. coach B takes the reds separately and tells them to play in a 1-4-3-3 with a holding midfield.
Both coaches let the players play for 10 minutes before calling in their own team. Each coach asks his/her team what formation the opposition are playing, the result normally being that players argue over the answer. The players are now sent back out onto the pitch this time when they are asked the same question they have the same answer. Your questions now get more detailed. Where are our extra player or players? Where do they have numerical superiority? How should we attack to gain the best advantage? How should we defend to stifle their spare players?
We hope this article has painted a picture of our coaching methodology and in so doing such enhance your enjoyment and understanding of our content going forward.
Please feel free to comment below with requests or observations.