Although every coach would love to have a specialist staff at their disposal, the reality is that the majority have restrictions with time and staffing. This week's MSC Breakdown focuses on ways that coaches can create and maximize additional practice opportunities which can offer players a little more exposure to specific situations that can occur in a game. In the video breakdown we talk about the starting point for designing these exercises. Often when you say 'finishing' or 'extra shooting practice' your mind goes to the edge of the box with a player shooting at goal with a supply of balls. However, in order to get as much from the time as possible, coaches have a responsibility to connect the training to the game. The stronger this connection, the better chance of the player understanding the 'why' behind the work and that can increase engagement, commitment and productivity.
In the breakdown we look at three ideas around different types of positional exercises. Here are some examples and you can watch the full breakdown here:
Again, it can be challenging for a coach to organize additional training when other players from other positions are potentially keen to get involved. This is where I would advise coaches to be quite deliberate in their session design and even modifying their warm-up to align with specific attacking situations that you would like to work on. For example, below is an exercise that works on the finishing ability of the center forwards from wide crosses, but also incorporates a passing exercise with other positions prior to the cross. The exercise has the midfielders/defenders in red and the forwards in blue. There is a switch of play in a specific pattern, followed by a cross into the box for the blue forwards to finish. As the red players re-organize themselves for the next set, the coach plays a second ball to the forwards to finish on goal. So there is a physical aspect to the exercise as well, which could be consistent with the demands of a warm-up. (See Below)
This example from Liverpool assistant coach Pepijn Lijnders is a way to work with positional units in specific situations. This exercise is designed for a front three in a 4-3-3 with an attacking midfielder involved as well. There are three balls in the exercise, which create different types of situations for the attackers to work on. In addition, the speed and intensity of the work will add a technical challenge for the players that also will be present during a game. (See below)
If you enjoyed the first two exercises and would like to see the conclusion of the breakdown with the final exercise, please watch the free YouTube video below. If the content was beneficial, please subscribe to our MSC YouTube page and check out more session resources here.