ACADEMY WINTER SESSION 3

SESSION - PLAYING THROUGH MIDFIELD

WARM UP - 1v1 (10 MINS)

IN POSSESSION

PROTECTING THE BALL • Players are encouraged to use their body to protect the ball from the defender. Use of the arm or hand can help keep the defender away from the ball. 

SPINNING THE DEFENDER • When under tight pressure, the player on the ball should look for opportunities to spin the defender, who may have committed to attempting to steal the ball one way. 

TRICKS & TURNS • Players are encouraged to use a range of tricks and turns to beat the defender. 

CONTROL WHEN DRIBBLING • Good ball control is key when dribbling into space. Players should recognise opportunities to take bigger touches if there is space in front of them. 

CHANCES TO DRIBBLE • Identifying space to dribble into is key to this practice. Players can create space by using tricks and turns. 

EXPLOITING SPACE • Ensure the players are direct and committed to their action when attacking in order to exploit the space. 

OUT OF POSSESSION AGGRESSIVE DEFENDING • Players should ensure they are aggressive when tackling and attempting to steal the ball. This will help disrupt the opposing attacker. 

PRESSURE ON THE BALL • Applying pressure on the ball at all times will help prevent the attacker have success. Players should recognise opportunities to steal the ball and when to delay and force play against the touch line

TECHNICAL PRACTICE - (20 MINS)

IN POSSESSION MOVEMENT OFF THE BALL • As the outside player makes the initial square pass, the attacking player looking to receive the ball should be thinking about their movement to get in a position to receive in as much space as possible. 

PENETRATING PASSES • Players are encouraged to dribble or pass forward as often as possible. This includes penetrative passes into the other middle player, but also to the outside players. 

RECEIVING OFF THE SHOULDER • Players should attempt to receive the ball off the shoulder of their defender. This will increase the chance of taking them out of the game with their first touch. 

CREATING SPACE • Staying away from the ball before making a check movement away from the defender will help create space for the attacking players to receive. 

COMBINATION PLAY • Challenge the players to combine quickly using one or two touches, to move the ball away from defenders and into target players. Passes should come with good ball speed and accuracy. 

OUT OF POSSESSION COMMUNICATION • Defenders are encouraged to communicate with each other to help prevent any attacking threat. This could include where to show the attacker, encouragement to steal possession when possible, and any other threats they may see.

 MAKING PLAY PREDICTABLE • They should work to make play predictable, using good body shape to show play into wide areas that restrict space

CONDITIONED GAME (25 MINS)

STRETCHING PLAY AS A NUMBER 9 • The number 9 should recognise opportunities to stretch the pitch without being offside, to allow space for the midfielder in central areas

SUPPORTING FROM BENEATH • As forward passes are played, midfield players should offer support from beneath the ball to create up, back and through opportunities. This will be evident when forward players have tight pressure from behind. 

PATIENCE IN POSSESSION • Challenge the players to be patient in possession and look for opportunities to switch play. This may involve using the goalkeeper to open up forward passing lanes. 

AWARENESS • When looking to receive, players should be aware of where the pressure might come from. This awareness will give them more chance of retaining possession or creating goalscoring opportunities. 

BALL SPEED • Players are challenged to move the ball at a quick tempo. This will help when trying to move defenders around to open up forward passes or dribbling opportunities. 

POSITIVE IN POSSESSION • Players should be encouraged to be positive in possession, and take on 1v1 attacking situations as often as possible

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