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Ajax FC 8v4 Possession: From My Book “Train Like Ajax. Play Like Ajax.” – Release Date May 29th on Amazon.com

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This 8v4 possession game is played in a 20×20 yard grid.  Split the players into 3 teams of 4 and give each team a different color. .  In this example the black team and white/red team work together playing against the blue team of 4.  6 players are placed outside the grid and 2 in the middle vs. the 4 defending blue players. The objective is to have players in possession play quickly while receiving the ball using proper body positioning. Once the blue team intercepts the ball 4 times have them change with one of the other two teams.  The outside players should not go back from the line more than a couple feet but they can go up to 5 yards into the grid if needed.  The defenders can take the ball and pressure the 6 outside players fully.  For players at a higher skill level reduce the touches to 2 and than 1-touch per/player for a variation.  This exercise can actually be considered a variation of the popular training exercise called rondo. If you are interested in rondo’s be sure to get me book “The Science of Rondo” available on amazon.com


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Train Like Ajax. Play Like Ajax. Coming out early June on Amazon.com!

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This 7v7+2 (Keepers) is a very good possession game that also works on keeper distribution & dealing with incoming air balls. The objective is for the team in possession to keep the ball and work it into the far keeper – players can whip balls into the keepers just like regular crosses, shots or passes.  The keeper has to stay within the their designated box area.  Once the ball is played into the keeper the keeper will play the ball back to the same team that gave him the ball.  I suggest a grid of 45×35 yards with 10×10 yard keeper box areas.  Encourage quick play.  Variations: add touch restrictions, add a neutral player, adjust grid size.

Be sure to get the book “Play Like Ajax. Train Like Ajax.” Available early June on Amazon.com


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Barcelona Shooting Exercises: www.soccersmarttraining.com

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This game is not only challenging with lots of shooting repetitions it also requires strategy and combination play.  The middle teams play 6v6 + keepers.  Any team can use the outside players who are evenly placed around the grid to keep possession but the outside players (white in this case) only have 1-touch.  If for example the blue team scores – the red team will sprint to the outside and the white outside team will sprint inside to play blue.  The blue team will score on the opposite goal that they just scored on.  Teams stay on as long as they keep winning.  The game is fast paced and played in a tight area – 40 yards wide and 40 yards long.  Attacking transition and defensive transition are crucial in this game.


Bayern Munich FC : Compact Possession Training – www.soccersmarttraining.com

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Compact Possession

Bayern Munich

Grid: 50×45 yards

Players: 18 field players (3 teams of 6) & 2 keepers

Instructions & Key Points:

This training game reflects the style or game model of Bayern Munich perfectly. The field is dived in half with one major condition. The team in possession must stay in the opponents half and use the halfway line as their line of restraint or line where their team pushes up to. They will not drop behind the half line when in possession. In this example you can see the red team is pressed into the blue teams half, while the maintain possession. If the blue team wins the ball the red team is not allowed to drop. The red team must stay in the blue teams half and try to win the ball. If the blue team can break the press they will try to score on the red. The outcome of this game is possession in a condensed very tight area. Players must think and play extremely quick to handle the pressure they are put under. When the ball is given away the group must transition quickly and pressure the ball to win it back. This training exercise is a miniature version of the Bayern game plan on match days.


Bayern Munich FC : Training Ground Exercises Direct From Guardiola : New Book Coming Out May 25th, 2015

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I am exited to bring you the latest training ground exercises right from the Bayern Training Ground & Pep!

This first exercise is a great way to divide the field into 3 sections and work on finishing (3v2) and technical functional exercises to goal.  The wide channels are working on explosive leaping, bounding, 1-2 combination passing, dribbling and shooting.  The middle channel is working 3v2 to goal (can be done with 2 groups for a total of 10 players rotating every other repetition).  The two outside channels will different so each group can rotate after 12 minutes.  I ran this at training the other day and the players enjoyed it very much.  If you do not have mannequins, coaching poles, various sized cones, speed rings, numerous goals or speed ladders – you will just need to improvise in order run Guardiola like sessions! Just be creative and you will be fine! The book includes everything from rondo, possession, 9v9, 4v4v4 to many technical functional exercises, passing patterns and more.  A must read for sure.  However, Pep is a very strict tactical periodization coach so if you have not read up on that you should do so.  My book “Tactical Periodization: Made Simple – explains it in a quick simple way.

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