How to plan a training session
If the purpose of training football is to improve your players and the quality of football your team will play how should you plan you session? Is it possible to reach this objective if the starting point for your session is random exercises? Of course not. Here’s a short and simplified ‘checklist’ for when you plan you session.
1. Identify the football ‘problem’ – This problem could be a real issue your team is having in games or in the case of youth football, something they do not yet know or should do better. Find this and define it in football language, i.e. “improving building up on own half against a 1-4-3-3”.
2. Identify the key players – When you know what you team needs to improve, ask yourself which players are the key actors. These are the players you need to focus on in training and improve more to reach your objective.
3. How does it look in the game? – Make sure you know how your ‘problem’ looks (in our example building up on own half against 1-4-3-3) in the game and what your players should do. Draw it up on a tactical board or a piece of paper and highlight the key players on both teams.
4. Develop exercises – When you have the what and drawn how it looks it’s time to break it down to exercises. The final exercise will always be the full game (or as close as possible) to check for learning effects. But before that it could be wise to do an exercise that is less complex and lets the key players get more reps of your wanted situation. Your warm-up or passing exercise could also be a simplification of your ‘football problem’.
5. Execute – You now have a session with exercises that are game realistic (team-mates and opponents) and focuses on improving the way your team plays. Now it’s time for your ‘art of coaching’…
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