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Barcelona Crossing & Finishing Training Session

Barcelona Crossing & Finishing

Grid: Set-up on edge of the penalty box extending to the edge of the attacking 1/3

Players: 13 Players

Key Points and Instructions:

This three-part attacking movement involves position specific crossing and finishing. The ball starts from wide with the blue teams right wingback playing the ball into the striker checking back. The striker lays the ball off to the attacking center mid who plays it wide to the winger. The winger is pulling away and back from the outside cone. The cones represent the defensive team’s back four. The winger will push the ball to the end line and look to play a cross in on the ground to the near post. The pair of strikers will make their runs into the box. The far striker runs across the box to cover the near post. The other striker stays back on an angle covering the far post. If the near post striker misses the ball or lets it run by the far post striker will finish. The attacking center mid will also make a run central into the box offering another option for the near post runner to flick the ball onto. As soon as the blue team finishes their attacking movement the red team will begin theirs.   There should be a rhythm to the pattern with proper timing of runs, firm passing, eye contact and correct foot passing.

Barcelona Crossing & Finishing 1:

brca1

 

Barcelona Crossing & Finishing 2: 

 

Grid: Set-up on edge of the penalty box extending to the edge of the attacking 1/3

Players: 13 Players

 Key Points and Instructions:

The ball starts from wide with the blue teams right wingback playing the ball into the striker checking back. The striker lays the ball off to the attacking center mid who plays it into the winger who is now running inside. The winger will play the ball back to the attacking center mid who will play it out wide to the overlapping outside right wingback.   The wingback will take the ball to the end line and whip in the cross to the near post. The pair of strikers will make their runs into the box. The far striker runs across the box to cover the near post. The other striker stays back on an angle covering the far post. If the near post striker misses the ball or lets it run by the far post striker will finish. The attacking center mid will also make a central run into the box offering another option for the near post runner to flick the ball onto. As soon as the blue team finishes their attacking movement the red team will begin theirs.   There should be a rhythm to the pattern with proper timing of runs, firm passing, eye contact and correct foot passing.

brca2  

 Barcelona Crossing & Finishing Pattern 3:

Grid: Set-up on edge of the penalty box extending to the edge of the attacking 1/3

Players: 13 Players

 Key Points and Instructions:

The third progression is combination of the first two. The movement pattern is same as the last pattern with the winger making his run inside. The attacking center mid will now have the option to play the ball to the inside running winger or play it out wide to the overlapping right wingback. If the attacking mid plays the ball inside to the inside running winger will allow the ball to run through the back four (cones) and attack goal. The forwards will run into the box and look for winger to pass the ball square for them to finish.

The set-up is the same as #2 but the center mid decides to play the pass to the wingback overlapping or to the winger cutting inside.  The forwards read the play based on the pass that is made. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Two Great Exercises For Teaching The 4-4-2 Diamond Formation

rotationmidMidfield Diamond 4v3 Overload

442diamondrealFunctional Diamond Training Exercise

Exercise#1) Midfield Diamond:4v3 Overload: The grid size can be anywhere from 20×20 to 30×30 yards.  The side goals are 2ft high by 3 feet wide.  The red team has the diamond formed and works the ball back and forth to the endline players on red (4 players – 2 on each side).  If the blue team wins possession they try and score on the two small side goals.  Add your own conditions and rules – 2-touch, 1-touch for outside players, unlimited touch for blue team etc.  I like this exercise because it works the diamond in a 4v3 situation that is most likely found in the real game.

Exercise #2) Functional Diamond Training Exercise: This exercise features the players right down the middle of the field. The blue team simulates the 4-4-2 Diamond in midfield plus the center backs and two forwards. Vary the rules so 1 player  in the diamond is allowed to leave their zone and move  into the attack following the pass, add touch restrictions to speed up play as a variation.   If the red team gains possession they have 5 passes or less to get a shot off.  The grid can be 60 yards long and the 45 yards wide.

Be sure to check out my book “Coaching The Modern 4-4-2 Diamond Soccer Formation” – due out by the end of August” – All my other books available on Amazon and link is under “Purchase Books”!

 

 

 


Training Attacking Patterns of Play In Specific Formations Using Two Team Shadow Play

2team442shadowTwoTeam Shadow Play

This is a fun warm up exercise when teaching attacking patterns of play in a specific formation.  In this example I show two teams both in a 4-4-2 Diamond Formation attacking opposite goals.  The teams must be aware of each other so not to run into each other during the exercise.  This exercise will force players to be aware of the space around them.  Feel free to add conditions and variables to the two team shadow play.  It usually works better if you have teams make a mandatory of 10 passes before shooting on goal.  The coach or coaches can also direct where they want the attack to go.  After scoring both teams will jog back to their original starting positions and start the exercise again.  Hope you like the drill and try it out this pre-season!

 


Two Innovative Cognitive Soccer Training Ground Exercises:

overtheline #1) Over The Line4v4can#2) 4v4+2N – Can Scoring

These unique cognitive soccer training exercises are fun for players. The exercises force players to come up with solutions and strategies to best solve the problems each game presents.  First exercise #1 “Over The Line” – Players are not allowed to break any of the black lines with a pass on the ground, each time the ball crosses over a line into a new square the ball must be played in the air over the line.  The rule forces players to think about their positioning on the field and they must be aware of the location of teammates.  Teams each have two small goals they can score on.  To build the exercise from simple to complex – add variables such as: touch restrictions, add another goal, require the goals to be taken first time out of the air,  add neutral player, play 1-touch over the line only, all back passes 1-touch only etc.  The idea is work from simple to complex creating a cognitive overload that players must handle.  

Exercise #2 “4v4+2N – in this game scoring must be from outside the middle zone.  The team in possession is 6v4 (2N) – the objective is to create space to chip the ball into a container located in the middle zone of the grid.  If the ball travels to the opposite grid the 2 neutral players will follow the ball and join the next grid (playing for whatever team is in possession of the ball).  Teams can also play a ball across to the same color team in the opposite grid who can first time finish into a container.  This is a fast moving game that can get very creative.  Create variables so the game goes simple to complex.  Variables can be anything from touch restrictions, making it mandatory to use a neutral player first, make the first two touches mandatory 1 touch etc. 

 

Feel free to make adjustments to these exercises as you see fit.  The idea is to make your players better problem solvers and thinkers while playing out of tight situations with limited space and time.  If you try the exercises feel free to send me an email with you feedback! 

 

 

 


Creative Cognitive Training: Try This Exercise With Your Team

makeupgame

I was away at player identification camp this past week and had the chance to watch, train and offer some mentoring to some of the young players.  The other nice thing about the camp is it gives me the opportunity to re-connect with some top level coaches from around the country who are at the camp.  I had the chance to discuss with my friend and highly respected Coach Giovanni Pacini a number of interesting topics, while watching the identification games.  I told him about my work in cognitive soccer training and he offered me a few great bits of insights of his own.  I wanted to share with you one of Giovanni’s ideas.  The exercise consists of gathering together an assortment of props including a soccer ball.  Players are told to make up their own game that involves soccer using all the props.  They can make whatever rules and conditions up they like.  Giovanni  said he is always amazed with what the players come up. It forces players to think outside the box while still keeping soccer as a theme (you could have them just create a game that does not involve soccer as a progression).  How many times do we really allow our players the chance to be that creative in training?  Do we consistently challenge their brains? Thanks Gio for the great idea.  For detailed information on cognitive soccer training be sure to check out my books!


Coaching The 4-4-2 Diamond Formation

442diamondformation442 Diamond

 

442diamondindefense“Defensive Shape”

 

442diamondinattack“Attacking Shape”

 

 

My next book coming out early in September will focus on the 4-4-2 Diamond formation.  The 4-4-2 Diamond is a formation that focuses on creating a midfield overload while controlling possession.  Two forwards are located up top putting more pressure on the opposing teams back 4 while giving the diamond midfield plenty of forward passing options.  I will be focusing on a diamond that is played narrow in the central midfield (opens up the channels).  The width will be created by wing backs that must get up and down the sideline from box to box.  The keys to success in this formation are as follows: wing backs must be able to cover lots of ground and provide width in the attack – the four center midfielders must all be technically sound and carry out their individual duties and responsibilities – the defensive center mid must swing the ball quickly from side to side and sit deeper close to the two center backs (wing backs getting forward will make the team vulnerable to a counter attack so the def center mid needs to sit deeper). The attacking center mid should be dynamic and able to penetrate off the dribble and hit penetrating balls to runners. The two center-mids must pick and choose their times to surge forward into attack – the center backs should have pace to run down any quick counter attacks when the wing backs can not recover.  The forwards operate as a partnership  always knowing where the other is and looking to combine with each other.  In the defensive phase the four midfielders must understand their individual roles and responsibilities against varying formations.  Adjustments in defensive responsibilities can easily be made by bringing a forward back into the midfield to defend.  Any formation can be adjusted to play a different way, but in general the 4-4-2 diamond is an attack oriented formation.  The opponent, surface, weather and size of the field will all be factors that will need to be considered when using the 4-4-2 diamond.  I personally like the system because teaching the  4-4-2 diamond is similar to teaching the 4-2-3-1.  The back four and defensive midfield role in both systems are virtually the same.  It is important that players are able to understand the differences and similarities between formations and be able to explain player roles and responsibilities in each.  It is true that soccer is a free flowing game, but each formation requires slightly varied movement patterns and player responsibilities in order to be successful.  The book “Coaching The Modern 4-4-2 Diamond” will break down the 4-4-2 diamond on attack, defense and in transition.  It will cover specific training ground exercises that make teaching the system to your team easy and effective.  Look for the book on Amazon in early September!

 


Rondo Transitions, Passing Patterns & Fitness

Drill8 copy

Drill8b copy

 

When Training Rondo try setting up either a passing pattern or fitness exercise or both.  Have players play Rondo for 2 minutes and than switch immediately to the passing pattern or fitness exercise.  Continue the rotation for 15-20 minutes.  Adjust the time frames of each exercise to focus on what you would like to work on more. By training in this way players get used to playing while fatigued and must keep their concentration high going from exercise to exercise.  I recommend using many variations of rondo.  Be sure to check out my book “The Science of Rondo” available on amazon.com – Also be sure to check out my other books as well.

 

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