Here is an excellent session that focuses on the shadow striker. The shadow striker can be one of the two strikers in a twin striker set up, or it can be the #10 attacking midfielder that often finds himself making penetrating runs into the opponent’s back line. Customize and tweak this session to fit your personnel and formation.
50 Pass Challenge!
Take the 50 Pass Challenge! See if your players can connect 50 passes in a row in this 11V5 possession activity. 5V5+2 with four neutral bumpers on the outside. Increase the level of difficulty with three different variations: unlimited, two touch, and one touch.
North Carolina Courage: New Training Game
Thanks to Paul Riley and the rest of the staff at NWSL’s Carolina Courage, I was fortunate enough to see a training game that I had never seen before. It will be added to my training games library immediately as it ticks a number of necessary youth player development boxes.
Sideways-on: Check the Shoulder
Two of the most valuable techniques you can teach your young players are to receive the ball sideways-on facing the playing field and get them to check their shoulders at least once before they receive the ball. Work the non-dominant side: through the repetitions in these passing variations, challenge them to receive the ball with their weaker foot and make sure they are checking both shoulders at least once before receiving the ball.
7v7 Modrić & Rakitić
Inspired by Croatia’s journey to the WC Final and in particular by the play of their midfielders Luka Modrić and Ivan Rakitić, here is a simple 7V7 training game that will encourage your players to join into the attack from deeper positions.
Fast Attack 8V8+2
Try this functional version of an 8V8+2 counter attacking activity. Designated for high intensity, the coach will be able to dictate the amount and frequency of repetitions in order to reach the desired load for the day. Adjust the personnel or size to make it your own!
5v5+2 Possession Pierce The Circle
Here is a unique possession activity focusing on your two central midfielders’ ability to show for and possess the ball in congested central areas of the field. It also gives your players the opportunity to play sharp, piercing, penetrating balls on the ground into your central midfielders feet. Well timed runs, committed movements off the ball, and spreading out the opponent will help you possess through your midfield players.
Build Out, Press High
Here is an economical way to work on breaking pressure when building out of the back with your back four/holding midfielders as well as organize your front four attacking players to effectively defend and press high up the field. Your defensive minded players can focus on their attacking principles while your attacking players can sharpen their decision making skills while defending.
Primary & Secondary Defenders
Play and refine! Utilize these rondos and game related activities to teach your young players how to defend. Peel back the layers and challenge your players’ cognitive ability to recognize the appropriate moment to commit to winning the ball.
FC Barcelona Positional Rondo
Inspired by the inaugural TOVO Coaching Course in Sitges, Spain, the following activity was choreographed by Coach Oscar who is the Head Coach of Barcelona’s U-9 squad. Because of the quality of his players, both of these activities can be adjusted and used with much older players if your environment demands so. Enjoy!
Three Team Rondo
Three Team Rondo is a great transition activity for the younger ages 8-12, or simply use it as a warm up for the older ages, or perhaps the day before a match.
Here is a challenging but fun version of possession to try with your team. The objective is to possess the ball in all six grids without losing possession. Have some fun with your players and see how well they do!