Coaching Day 22: “Combining To Score With One Touch”

I’d decided to use a session which I’d seen on Dan Wright‘s blog recently tonight because I felt it provided a training exercise which was game realistic, which (as Dan describes) provided the players with lots of decisions to make and which works on some of their core footballing skills (pass, dribble, control, find space).

The session as Dan described can be found here. I altered the session slightly and used an end zone instead of goals which meant players needed to stop the ball in the zone rather than shoot. We play on a multi-pitch all weather surface so the area I used was actually a tennis court with the zone being the service line to the base line (and the singles sideline) which actually provided a good playing area.

I had 2 groups of 8 players and spent 10-12 minutes with each which realistically only provided enough opportunity to give each player a go as a defender (approx 3 each) whilst allowing time for tears, tantrums and a couple of opportunities for me to talk to the players where they did something very good or I felt the need to explore a decision they’d made.

The session actually works very well as it forces the players to frequently decide whether to pass or dribble, they need to find space, they need to be able to control the ball to score a point and the defenders HAD to get the ball to me on the side in order to score a point so there was lots going on and lots for them to take on board.

In addition to the attacking/possession aspect to the session it also provides the defenders with good practice. They have to defend 1v1, 2v1 and 3v1 and once they get the ball they HAVE to do some with it in order to score a point which gives them a focus.

Definitely a session I’ll use again and there are progressions which can be added if I have more time in the future. I’d certainly like to use this and then progress to a 4v4 game to see how it compares to a conventional 4v4 game at an Under 8 age group.


Opinion: Did his celebration show a lack of respect?

CelebrationIt’s Saturday morning and our striker’s just scored a goal which completed his hat-trick and put us 5-0 up. To celebrate he cupped his hand behind his ear and ran along the side of the pitch which had both home (our) and away fans along it.

Two minutes later and the final whistle blows, the kids shake hands and their manager walks over to our manager and asks, “Is your striker your son?”. “Yes”, replies our manager. “Well you ought to teach him some respect because that celebration showed a lack of respect”. “He does it every time he scores”, said our manager. At which point their manager grumbled snarled again about the celebration and walked over to his team.

There are a couple of ways I look at this:

  • As a good judge of character and based on the way in which he came across, I think this was just sour grapes because of the score
  • It’s a 7 year old boy enjoying scoring a goal / hat-trick by celebrating as he see’s players do on TV and on computer games
  • However, as a celebration it IS usually one senior players use to wind up opposition fans

Personally I felt the celebration could be taken with a pinch of salt. If I saw an opposition player do it with a great big smile I wouldn’t have a problem with it, he’s 7 years old. The unfortunate matter was that our striker caught what was said and it took the shine off his hat-trick (although I don’t expect this would have lasted long).

What’s your opinion fellow coaches? An opposition manager who needs to see the celebration for what it was or a goal celebration which is a bit over the top at U8 level?