Improve soccer performance, confidence on the ball and increase overall skill

Small Ball Training: The Gauntelet

The Gauntlet

A very simple and effective drill.  I don’t see it being used much. I like it because it keeps the players active and thinking while working on skills.

Divide your players into three even groups, call them  A, B & C. If one group has 1 less player or one group has 1 more, no worries, it will get sorted out as they organize themselves.

Using cones, form 2 lines running parallel to designate where players serving the ball will stand. The two lines should be 20 yards apart with the cones in each line 15 yards apart. Group A forms one line Group B forms the other.  Ideally the players/cones should form a zig zag if you look at it from above.

x)            B1                           B2                           B3                           B4                           B5                           B6

 

A1                           A2                           A3                           A4                           A5                           A6

Phase 1) a) Players working at the cones have balls at their feet ready to feed the runners. Group C (the runners) starts at x. The first player (C1) runs (or shows) to A1 to receive a pass. C1 traps the ball and passes it back to A1 then shows (a short sprint) to B1, trap & pass back to B1, show to A2, trap & pass, show to B2…repeat process though the gauntlet and return to x. Have group C run the gauntlet two or three times before rotating groups. Phase 1a is a two touch drill, mandatory 2 touch,  part of the foundation and building blocks.

Phase 1) b) Same set up, players at the cones have balls, runners run the gauntlet, but this time the runners are playing 1 touch passes back to servers.

Phase 1)c) Same set up, players at the cones have balls, but this time they are serving the runners balls in the air using their hands. Runners will 1)c)1) trap and pass back to the server, 1)c)2) first time pass back to the server. This is a higher level exercise, great for building confidence and skill. Servers have to work hard to get the ball to the runner (there will be allot of missed passes at first so the server will be chasing). The obvious progression is thigh trap & pass, chest trap & pass. Then 1 touch using inside of the foot and moving on to headers.

Phase 2) a) Runners start with the ball. Servers will play passes back to the runner that played them the ball.   Runners will pass the ball to the player/cone and receive the ball back, pass to the next cone etc. Coaching points: work on accurate, well paced, well placed passes that are easy to handle. Runners need Play a good pass to feet and follow their pass and keep moving toward the ball to work on receiving and turning the ball while on the run. The turn is key as is moving to the ball until received. Good first touch to set up the second touch as a pass; efficiency! The players at the cone should play a well paced ball to the runner, like a check run pass, while considering the space the runner wants to take.

Phase 2)b) Same set up, runners start with the ball and will work on a creative way to turn the ball as though pressure is on. I often walk right down the middle of the gauntlet coaching while antagonizing and forcing players to pay attention lest I just kick their ball away. Fun for the coach!

Great way to work on check runs, receiving a ball, accurate passing on the run, turning the ball and even a little bit of fitness. Love this drill

Soccer Skills: Juggling – Two touch rhythm

Two touch rhythm

This juggling exercise works on touch, balance, agility and rhythm. It is a simple pattern that requires touching, or juggling, the ball twice using the same foot before allowing that foot to touch the ground. This means the juggler must balance on one foot while juggling with the other foot and then switching.  Use your laces. Try not to let the ball bounce (but do not stop your juggle if it does, just chase it down, keep it alive and continue),and  try not to let the foot touching the ball touch the ground between touches. This means you must balance on the non-juggling foot (the planted foot) for two touches, then switch. It is important to keep the ball in your sweet spot with every touch, knocking it knee to waist high consistently in order to accomplish this exercise. As you improve,  juggling the ball knee height or lower becomes the goal.

To start you may want to allow the ball to bounce as part of the switch from foot to foot. Try to eliminate the bounce over time and sessions.

You will find that you may need to bounce, shift and hop on the planted foot (the one you are standing on) in order to maintain balance and stay within reach of the ball. Also, the first touch in each cycle is ultimately important (First Touch!). The first touch sets up the second and the second touch sets up the transfer or switch. If you can get into a rhythm the whole exercise seems to make sense. (this is the sequence/rhythm; left-left- -right-right- -left-left- -right-right…remember don’t let the foot doing the juggling hit the ground between touches). Keeping the ball right around knee height is ideal for timing, ryythm and not having to balance for too long.

Great for balance, timing, rhythm and touch!! It’s all about Skill…

Soccer Skills Development: Juggling

Just go out and juggle for 20 minutes a day. 20 Minute! Really!

Devote that amount of time to developing skills and you will see a major difference.

http://www.brasilianfutebol.com/juggling-program

Try some of these ideas mentioned in the link above. Start at the beginning or move on to the intermediate. After 8 days of working on these various exercises we are sure you will see improvment in your ability to handle a soccer ball. Juggling Excellence With the Brasilian Futebol

Juggling with Soul: Small ball training

Here is one to add to your repertoire. Juggling with the bottom of your foot;  tap dancing, toe tapping,, not sure what to call this. Using the bottom of your foot, the soul of your shoe, instead of keeping the futebol in the air trying dribbling it like basketball players dribbles a basketball, use the soul of your shoe to bounce it off the ground. This is best executed on a hard, flat surface like a tennis court, gym floor or cement driveway.

Begin by letting the ball bounce about 8 to 12 inches high, slightly in front of you. As the futebol is bouncing get your foot over the ball as it touches the ground and is beginning to rise. As it is rising use the bottom of your foot to push or slap it back down to the ground. It is easiest to use the ball of your foot to start. You will need to let it bounce twice after forcing it or slapping it to the ground before you can attempt the next touch. It is best to alternate feet for timing sake and rhythm.

It will take time to find the timing and rhythm of this exercise, but it is a wonderful way to develop timing, touch, rhythm, quick feet and maybe a new move or two.

Once you have it down try using your heal and the outside of your foot. If you let the ball bounce behind you try  using your laces to propel the ball to the ground (like you are kicking it into the ground with the ball behind you). A teammate of mine used to do this as a move to get past defenders; he would slap the ball hard into the ground as it was slightly behind him and bounce it over his shoulder while running past the defender….yup, it’s true.

Being comfortable on the ball is what enables players to deal with the many and various situations that happen in games. This is a different and unique way to develop skill and kinetic awareness. Besides that, it’s fun.

Small Ball Training

The improvemnt is measureable and the benefits are real.

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Small Ball Training: The Gauntlet

 The Gauntlet

A very simple and effective drill.  I don’t see it being used much. I like it because it keeps the players active and thinking while working on skills.

Divide your players into three even groups, call them  A, B & C – 6 per group or whatever you have. If one group has 1 less  player or one group has 1 more, no worries, it will get sorted out as they organize themselves.

Form 2 lines running parallel. Group A forms one line Group B forms the other. Players in line should space themselves 15 yards apart. The 2 lines should have 20 yards of distance between them.  I use cones to designate spots for players forming the lines. Ideally the players/cones should form a zig zag if you look at it from above.

x)            B1                           B2                           B3                           B4                           B5                           B6

 

A1                           A2                           A3                           A4                           A5                           A6

Phase 1) a) Players working at the cones have balls ready to feed the runners. Group C (the runners) starts at x. The first player (C1) runs (or shows) to A1 to receive a pass. C1 traps and passes back to A1 then shows (a short sprint) to B1, trap & pass back to B1, show to A2, trap & pass, show to B2…repeat process though the gauntlet and return to x. C2 follows C1, C3 follows C2 etc. Run the gauntlet two or three times and have Group C switch with Group A. Then Group A switches with Group B till all have run the gauntlet. Phase 1a is a two touch drill, part of the foundation and building blocks.

Phase 1) b) Same set up, players at the cones have balls, runners run the gauntlet, but this time the runners are playing 1 touch passes back to players/cones.

Phase 1)c) Same set up, players at the cones have balls, but this time they are serving the runners balls in the air using their hands. Runners will 1)c)1) trap and pass back to the server, 1)c)2) first time pass back to the server. This is a higher level exercise, great for building confidence and skill. Servers have to work hard to get the ball to the runner (there will be allot of missed passes at first so the server will be chasing). The obvious progression is thigh trap & pass, chest trap & pass. Then 1 touch using inside of the foot and moving on to headers.

Phase 2) a) Runners start with the ball (servers do not have a ball and will play passes back to the runner that played them the ball).   Runners will pass the ball to the player/cone and receive the ball back, pass to the next cone etc. The coaching points here are to work on accurate, well paced, well placed passes that are easy to handle. The runner should work on turning the ball with the first touch to set up the second touch as a pass; efficiency! The players at the cone should play a well paced ball to the runner, like a check run pass, while considering the space the runner wants to take.

Phase 2)b) Same set up, runners start with the ball and will work on a creative way to turn the ball as though pressure is on. I often walk right down the middle of the gauntlet coaching while antagonizing and forcing players to pay attention lest I just kick their ball away. Fun for the coach!

Great way to work on check runs, receiving a ball, accurate passing on the run, turning the ball and even a little bit of fitness. Love this drill

Soccer Training; a fun way to run

Marbles

Great game for fitness and working on passing accuracy and technique.

1v1, both players must have a ball and a big field to play on, preferably a full soccer field. Players start side by side. The object is to hit your opponents ball with your own ball.

Player 1 (P1) rolls the ball into play, approximately 15 to 20 yards away. Player 2 (P2) tries to hit player 1’s ball using proper passing skills.* Once P2’s ball passes or as ball two passes ball 1, P1 can then attempt to hit P2′s ball. Repeat. A hit of the other players ball scores a point. Play games to 10.

It is a great running and passing game as players can gain an advantage by running to their ball so they are in position to attempt the to hit the other players ball as it passes by (if it misses) and or before it gets too far away.

Players work on hitting a moving target, gauging the path of the moving ball and trying to lead it into space just like leading a runner into open space. Passers must use proper pace to hit target and must make accurate passes which requires good technique.

*Proper passing skills include in inside of the foot pass, instep drive, outside of the foot pass.

Advanced Marbles: Players can only score by hitting a moving ball. Requires more running and more skillful passing. If a players ball comes to a stop it is proper to give a 10 to 15 yd push to give the opposing player a chance to score.

Small Ball Training

Mad Soccer Skills

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Skills Development; Soccer – small ball training

Juggling Sessions. Juggling to develop touch.

Three players are required.

Two players set themselves 20 to 30 yards apart with the third players positioned between them.

The ball starts with one of the outside players (A) and is played into the middle player (X) who plays it back to (A). (A) plays the ball to the other outside player (B) who plays it to (X). (X) plays it back to (B) and (B) plays the ball to (A). A to X to A – to B to X – to B to A etc etc.

This is a great drill to work on short passes and long passes, short-short-long, to work on first touch and to work on one touch passing. Players can start with two-touch, a trap and a pass. The player in the middle will always be playing short balls and trying to set up the outside players with easily playable passes; correct side of the body, into space, well paced etc.  The outside players will play both short and long balls, short to the player in the middle and long to the other outside player. For long passes players can work on driven balls, chips (with perfect backspin) and bending balls. The player in the middle will work hard so should switched out often.

Turn this into a semi juggling exercise where the players attempt to play the ball in the air and trap/receive the ball. Use one to three touches to control the ball and execute a good pass. Allow a bounce or two to create success.  It takes time to acquire the skill to execute this without the ball touching the ground, but eventually it can be done. To start, play balls off the bounce or bounces and work on receiving (trapping) the ball with a good first touch and making an accurate well paced pass back to the target (either X or A/B). Start with smaller distances and gradually increase and/or decrease into tight spaces

Work on fundamentals and proper technique using the inside of the foot to make well weighted passes to the target. Passes should have a reasonable trajectory, meaning don’t just kick the ball in the air and hope it gets there.

Eventually players will be able to execute this drill using just 1 touch, two touches when necessary and should be able to play most balls out of the air allowing for a bounce or two now and then.

Then change it up. A plays to X, X turns the ball (with 1 to 3 touches) and plays to B. B plays to X, X turns the ball and plays to A.

Excellent for touch; developing passing and receiving skills and well as communication amongst players. Really focuses on the first touch as players must control the ball in their space and use the first touch to set up the second touch which could be/should be a pass.

If there are 4 players build a triangle around the player in the middle. A to X to A to B to X to B to C to X to C to A etc…or A to X to B to X to C to X to A etc.

Individual Training

Becoming a proficient juggler with a soccer ball can help improve soccer performance. Juggling with a soccer ball using feet, thighs and all parts legal in the game of soccer is a fun way to practice and hone skills through repetition. Juggling consistently and with the intent to master the ball will improve focus, concentration, balance, agility and ultimately eye/foot coordination and touch.

Using a practice ball like the brasilian futebol a tennis ball helps accelerate thhe improvement and will refine all the qualities mentioned above developing a higher level of skill.

Check out the juggling program at http://brasilianfutebol.com/applications/juggling.asp.

It has some good ideas for beginners as well as top level players.

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