Football/Soccer Session (Academy Sessions): Mid-block defending

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Pro-Club: Glasgow Clyde College

Ciaran Carmichael

Profile Summary

Ciaran Carmichael
Name: Ciaran Carmichael
City: Glasgow
Country: United Kingdom
Membership: Adult Member
Sport: Football/Soccer
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Description

This session works on defending in a mid-block. Core principles:

  • Protect the middle: we are compact horizontally and vertically. Teams go around not through
  • Set traps and look for triggers: we look to make play predictable and look out for certain conditions to press aggressively
  • Patience and discipline: we need to be comfortable surrendering possession at times, staying compact and looking to engage at the right time

Ideally, the session should start with SAQs to get team to work on the sharp forward, backward and lateral movements needed for effective mid-block defending. We can then move into basic shape without the ball before game-related practices and conditioned games.


Football/Soccer Session Plan Drill (Colour): SAQs lateral movement

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Football/Soccer Session Plan Drill (Colour): SAQs lateral movement
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SAQs lateral movement (10 mins)

Set up

  • As shown above 

Instructions

  • Run through cones in order as shown
  • Hips facing forward at all times with exception of 'turn and run' in T-test and Y-drill

Coaching points

  • Explosive speed
  • Short strides 
  • Balls of feet 
  • Low centre of gravity / get low
  • Arms out for balance

Football/Soccer Session Plan Drill (Colour): 2 vs 2s mini goal game

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Football/Soccer Session Plan Drill (Colour): 2 vs 2s mini goal game
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2 vs 2s mini goal game (15 mins)

Set up

  • Two areas of roughly 20 x 30 yards
  • Mini goals at either side (or large cones or poles)
  • Teams split into four team diagonally opposite as shown
  • Balls loaded at one corner of each area

Instructions 

  • Red team plays diagonal pass to blue team
  • Blue team aim to score into opposite mini goal
  • Red team out to press and prevent blue team from scoring
  • One point for goal
  • One point for winning possession and putting out of play
  • Two points for winning possession and scoring in opposite goal  

Coaching points

  • Delay
  • Deny
  • Divert
  • Pressure and cover
  • Protect the middle / goal

Progressions / adaptations

  • Make area larger 
  • Limit touches
  • Go to 3 vs 3 if needed


Football/Soccer Session Plan Drill (Colour): Shape principles

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Football/Soccer Session Plan Drill (Colour): Shape principles
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Shape principles (5 mins)

Set up

  • Four different coloured cones across the width of the park
  • Red cones approximately 20 yards away from coloured cones

Instructions

  • Players start on red cones
  • Shout colour of cone
  • Players run out to defend against cone taking up a compact horizontal structure as shown
  • Remind players of principles of pressure and cover
  • Continue to shout different coloured cones to get players to shuffle across
  • Shout 'squeeze' to get players to sprint forward as a unit and allow next group of four to go

Coaching points

  • Communication and key words
  • Pressure and cover
  • Moving as a unit

Progressions / adaptations

  • Start two groups at the same time, getting them to mimic defensive and midfield units

Football/Soccer Session Plan Drill (Colour): Three zone possession transfer game

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Football/Soccer Session Plan Drill (Colour): Three zone possession transfer game
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Three zone possession transfer game (15 mins)

Set up

  • 30 x 40 yard area split into 2 x 30 x 16 yard areas on outside with 30 x 8 yard area in middle. Mark out using flat markers
  • Split teams equally

Instructions

  • In possession (blue) complete set number of passes (3-5) before transferring to opposite zone (to greens)
  • If those pressing win possession (yellow), they transfer to opposite side (greens) and blues are now team out of possession
  • Limit number of players that can press in blue zone
  • Can alter total players and playing area

Coaching points

Out of possession

  • Discipline and patience
  • Move as a unit
  • Compact
  • Speed and intensity of press
  • Set traps
  • Look for triggers to press (e.g., poor pass, hesitation, weak foot)
  • Scanning and awareness
  • Communication and key words
  • Discipline and patience

In possession:

  • Create overloads
  • Third man combinations
  • Ball control 
  • Aggressive defensive transition
  • Receiving skills
  • Ball speed, back foot, body shape, break lines
  • Opposites
  • Communication and awareness

Progressions / adaptations

  • Remove pass restrictions
  • Remove limits on how many can press
  • Limit touches

Football/Soccer Session Plan Drill (Colour): Mid-block to counter game-related practice

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Football/Soccer Session Plan Drill (Colour): Mid-block to counter game-related practice
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Mid-block to counter game-related practice (15 mins)

Set up

  • Three equal teams plus GK
  • Mark out area using markers / cones, creating middle section

Instructions

  • Ball starts with GK who passes to blue teammate
  • Blues attempt to pass ball to green team and then to green team GK for one point
  • Yellow team shuffle across and send 1-2 players in to press
  • If yellow team wins possession, they quickly counter and try to score
  • If the yellow team score, the team they score against is now out of possession and play will restart from opposite end

Coaching points

Out of possession

  • Move as a unit
  • Compact
  • Speed and intensity of press
  • Set traps
  • Look for triggers to press (e.g., poor pass, hesitation)
  • Scanning and awareness
  • Communication and key words
  • Discipline and patience

In possession:

  • Create overloads
  • Third man combinations
  • Ball control
  • Aggressive defensive transition
  • Receiving skills
  • Ball speed, back foot, body shape, break lines
  • Opposites
  • Communication and awareness

Progressions / adaptations

  • Remove limits on how many can press
  • Limit touches
  • Must score within ten seconds of winning possession

Football/Soccer Session Plan Drill (Colour): Mid-block SSCG

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Football/Soccer Session Plan Drill (Colour): Mid-block SSCG
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Mid-block SSCG (20 mins)

Set up

  • Mark out area using cones / flat markers as shown
  • Split playing area into a middle zone (horizontally) as used in previous drills and roughly three equal sized vertical zones

Instructions

  • Normal game rules
  • Encourage team out of possession to occupy two vertical zones (i.e., staying compact) and move as a unit to block

Coaching points 

Out of possession

  • Move as a unit
  • Compact
  • Speed and intensity of press
  • Set traps
  • Look for triggers to press (e.g., poor pass, hesitation)
  • Scanning and awareness
  • Communication and key words
  • Discipline and patience

In possession:

  • Create overloads
  • Third man combinations
  • Ball control
  • Aggressive defensive transition
  • Receiving skills
  • Ball speed, back foot, body shape, break lines
  • Opposites
  • Communication and awareness

Progressions / adaptations

  • Limit touches
  • Ball stays below head height to ensure build through the thirds

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