Pre-Season Update

Those who’re involved in football from a “backroom” or managerial position will know that pre-season is a hugely busy time and it’s actually quite nice when the season starts and all you need to think about is training & playing matches, which is exactly where we are at the moment!

I’ve not had any youth coaching for a couple of months as the boys have had a break and I couldn’t make our last few sessions due to a new job and therefore the summer has been spent preparing our adult team for a new season in a higher division. It’s been non-stop as we’ve trained twice a week, we’ve been investigating options for improving our pitch for the step up, trying to identify funding to buy a new kit, finding a new kit, organising friendlies and doing all the other administrative chores such as signing players on etc – and all this was after the work it took to get accepted in to the new league in May!

From a coaching point of view it’s been a case of preparing sessions which worked on fitness, possession and getting ready for the season without directly coaching. The players have worked hard from when we started training at the beginning of July – there were sessions where the running was quite intense but as we got toward the start of the season we moved across to sessions which worked on our shape, especially at the back.

The early sessions featured a mixture of running and ball-based fitness sessions which are obviously more enjoyable because footballers want to play football, not run circuits! We didn’t do any long runs, any running we did was circuit-based and the players worked in intervals – there was some moaning, but our fitness during our pre-season friendlies has been excellent and therefore I think it’s now seen as valid!

We want to pass it well and play out from the back so we’ve used a lot of possession games in the last 4-6 weeks and we’ve also had 2-3 sessions where we’ve worked on playing out from the back, getting the back four to drop off when in possession and trying to avoid going route one if we have to. Again, our performances in pre-season thus far have shown an improvement in how we pass it and it’s something we want to continue to work on.

We’ve got our final pre-season game tomorrow night and then the league starts on Saturday – we’re fit and in a great position to start the season well so our challenge will soon move to keeping a high level of fitness (in comparison with other teams) when we’re restricted to a smaller playing area once a week when the light goes!

We’re playing in the Oxfordshire Senior League this season so you can follow our form here (Chalgrove FC):

As for youth coaching, well our now U9s start their new season in two weeks time and I’ll be looking to blog regularly again about sessions & the usual thoughts on the kids game!