Small Ball: Skills Development ~ Windows
Executing the fundamentals of passing & receiving under control with an idea of the next move is critical to a successful passing game. Emphasizing good passing & receiving discipline in practice will help players develop and compete at higher levels.
Developing the passing game in increments is the best way to create solid fundamentals. Emphasize good technique, well placed and well paced passes that lead a player away from pressure or into an opportune space that enable a good trap under pressure or on the run.
Below is an exercise that gives players an opportunity to execute the necessary skills in traffic with no pressure. We like to offer players the opportunity large quantities of quality touches in our sessions.
Set up: Build a grid large enough to accommodate the players involved. For 16 players we like 30 yrd x 30 yrd grid.
Using cones create windows 8 – 10 yards wide along each sideline to accommodate half the players. 16/2 = 8 windows, so 2 windows on each sideline. Half the players are stationed in the windows, the other half work inside the grid. Each player inside the grid needs a ball.
Phase 1: Players inside the grid pass their ball to a player in a window and follow their pass to receive the ball back from the player/window they passed it to , trap – turn and find a new window. Players must make sure not to pass to a window that already has or is receiving a ball, this is equal to making a pass to a player that is marked = turnover. If the window the player chooses is engaged, simply look for another window. Maybe execute a move to buy time or change direction… pass, follow, receive repeat..
Rotate players from grid to windows every 3 to 4 minutes to keep work rate high. Emphasize crisp technically sound passes, tight traps, fluid and tight turns with the ball and most of all good communication. Passers will need to call names of window players as windows will be scanning the grid for balls coming their way.
Penalty options; if a ball leaves the grid due to an errant pass or a missed trap then player(s) involved does push ups.
The beauty of this drill is that the players will begin to see alleys to pass through, channels opening and closing etc. The confluence of players moving through the grid doing their own thing adds a complication to the drill that players will have to decipher in order to complete their passes.