Coaching Soccer Blog

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ELASTIC BAND DEFENSIVE TRAINING: Soccer Smart Training Online Cognitive Coaching Course

6v4elastic 6v8elastic

This is a unique way to train team defensive units.  The back “4” are all connected with long elastic bands that are held in each players hands.  The back “4” unit must move together in coordination to be effective.  The players are not allowed to let go of the band at any time.  The exercise starts 6v4 and progresses to 8v6 (2 center mids added).  Eventually the exercise can build up to 10v8 and then finish 10v11.  There are a number of progressions that can be used- when the ball is intercepted by the red defensive team, they can drop the bands and play the ball out into either goal located at 1/2 field in 6 passes or less. Another progression is to have the back 4 can use the band while the midfield unit 4 will be free.

This is a fun exercise for the players and at the same time it re-enforces the point that group must work as a unit.  If you are relating this to the 4 phases of the game – it would be defensive organization working into attacking transition when the ball is re-gained.

Be sure to check out my cognitive soccer development website and coaching courses at

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10 Second Vision Scanning Cognitive Possession:

10 Second Vision Scanning Possession

Grid: 35×25 yard field with 6 small sided goals

Players: 7v7


This possession game can be played with many variations. The game is a small-sided game in which each team has 3 small-sided goals to score on. The only condition to start is that the scorer must be able to name 3 of the sides players color cards that were being held up. The outside players change the card in their hand every 10 seconds on the coaches command. This forces all players on the field to constantly be scanning the field. Once a goal is scored – instantly the outside players must lower the card – so the players can’t look over for a quick answer! The next progression would be for the scorer to identify all four outside players cards that were held up.


Be sure to visit my website – online cognitive soccer coaching diploma course offered every month.  It is a unique course with information that will make you re-think the way you view coaching soccer.

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Cognitive Zonal Possession: Check out – 1st ever “Online Cognitive Development Coaching Course” starts March 15th

This exercise splits the field into 6 equal zones. Start with 1-touch in 3 of the boxes and unlimited touches in the other boxes. You can set it up like checker board or in rows. The idea is to make the players adjust their game based upon their location on the field. This requires intense focus, concentration and spacial awareness as well as great vision and strategy.  Keep changing the rules or building the complexity of the activity in order to challenge the players.  This example uses 6 goals (3 each team) – this gives the team in possession more attacking options and more decisions to make per/player.  Creating more decisions and options is ideal for cognitive soccer development training.  7v7+1 – scoring on small sided goals.


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Odd & Even Cognitive Possession Training: Cognitive Soccer Online Coaching Course at

oddevenOdd & Even Cognitive Possession Exercise 

Players: 14

Grid: 40×40 yards

Instructions and key Points: 

This simple cognitive possession game is another way to challenge player’s visual recognition and decision-making abilities under pressure. The game requires two teams of six players and two neutral players. The neutrals always play on the team in possession of the ball. Both teams wear the same color training bib/vest. The bibs will have a white sheet of paper pinned onto the front and back (can use magic marker on the bibs/vest). One team will have even numbers and one team will have odd numbers. The neutrals will wear “N” on their jersey. All the numbers will be printed in the same color. To increase the complexity add numbers and take out the neutral players. Playing 9v9 will be harder because players will not be able to memorize who is on their team. They will be forced to read the number. Make sure the numbers are written very large so they can be seen from far away. Players head movement will be increased – they will have to scan the field more often because the visual cues and pattern recognition will be much harder.  This is a good habit for players to get into!

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Pressure Possession Into Cognitive Possession: Cognitive Soccer Online Coaching Course At



This high pressure pressing and possession game is turned into a exercise in witch players must focus and associate who is on who’s team immediately.  The pressing group of 3 players are black, white and orange.  The possession team of 6 is made up of red, blue and green (jerseys).  Notice example #2 where the two possession teams of 6 are just red and blue and the defending group is white.  The exercise has now completely changed as players must recognize 3-6 different colors and make the correct instant decisions.  You can do this with most exercises to challenge players and keep them focused and interested.  The 3 defenders press 1 team in possession – if they win the ball the possession team of 6 in the other box get the ball and the 3 outside defenders go inside to pressure as the previous defenders have a rest.  Rotate teams every 3 minutes – the defenders will become a possession team and a possession team will become the defenders etc.  You can make the drill even harder and more unpredictable by placing the outside defenders all around the box ready to come inside from different positions.  This will force possession players to use more head movement because they will need to be aware where the defenders are entering the box. This is seen in the 3rd example.

Possession Pressure Training & Pressing Training:


Possession Pressure Training:  This is a simple but very effective exercise to run with your team.  The team of 3 pressing white defenders try and win the ball from the blue team.  When the blue team loses possession, the next ball starts with the red team as the other set of 3 white players (located outside the grid ) enter and press the red team.  Have the white team work hard for 3 minutes and then switch out with another team.  The focus can be on the pressing or on the ball circulation under pressure or both.

Tactical Periodization: (Game Minus -1) or The Day Before A Game Exercise


This is a position specific possession exercise done in a very small grid using 2-touch maximum.  The players do not cover much ground at all, I put in a no contact rule as well.  The goal is to work the ball from the center backs through the midfield to the striker and back.  Players enjoy this exercise – it keeps them sharp and in rhythm using small amounts of bursts.  I would suggest using this type of exercise for 10-15 minutes the day before games.  Be sure to pick up my book “Tactical Periodization Made Simple” on – Also my Online Cognitive Development Course will begin on March 15th – sign-up at


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