How We Train
Themes and Sessions
“The pain you feel today is the strength you’ll feel tomorrow”
As a club we will be working in themes from week to week. We should not jump between themes within sessions this will lead to confusion and minimal development. I will direct the themes and be available to all coaches should anyone wish to discuss the theme or drills for each week. We should limit “drills” to no more than 12-15 minutes and only run 2 “drills” per session. In terms of time this allows for drinks, explanations and questions from players within the session. You should be left with 20-25 minutes for a coached scrimmage at the end of the session. Within the scrimmage we should continue the theme if possible. When performing drills where a line is required we should aim for the 1 work 2 rest formula, for example, when players perform a dribbling drill when one must finish before the next player begins lines should be no more than 3 players deep. When players are waiting to work is when we see a lack of concentration and issues in behaviour. Another reason for keeping lines short and sessions at a high tempo is that we up the anaerobic capacity, lung capacity and prepare players muscles for games.
“If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”
Players should aim to get to the training pitch 15 minutes before their session is due to start. We will then start our warm up on the track no later than 10 minutes before the session is to begin. We must ensure as coaches that this warm up is supervised and all players respect the other people on the track. A broad outline for this warm up would be 2 laps of the track then stretch each muscle in their legs starting from bottom to top i.e Calves, Hamstrings, Quads and Groins. 2 more laps then stretch Upper body and any other muscles they feel needs additional stretching. While players are finishing stretching coaches should be setting up their first exercise on the pitch so that players are able to get straight in to the session when the “buzzer” sounds. As mentioned in the Themes and Sessions section we should aim for 2 drills per session within the set theme for that week then allow 20-25 minutes for a coached scrimmage. We should also aim to coach this scrimmage through the first 10-15 minutes then allow free play for the final 5-10 minutes with no coach input. We have to allow players the opportunity to put your coaching in to practice without constant prompting. Given time you will see a marked improvement in players’ adaptability and creativity. Drinks breaks should be limited to 2, maximum 3, throughout the session and should be no more than 45 seconds. Ideally the 2 drills you are running in your session run simultaneously with the Head Coach taking one and the assistant(s) taking the other, then switching after the advised 12-15 minute timeframe. If a team has 2 assistants then the assitants can run the exercises with the Head Coach floating and overseeing both.
“The More You Sweat In Training, The Less You Bleed In Combat.”
From session 1 we must ensure we start how mean to go on. While training we should enforce a high work ethic, listening to instruction and should always encourage questions when players do not understand drills or instruction. We must enforce our desire for this work ethic and desired attitude in the correct manner. We do not need to raise our voice or use demeaning language to get the correct behaviours from our players. A clear understanding from the outset will help all players realize when they have not achieved these behaviours that coaches and players have previously agreed upon. Training is not a social activity, it is work time. Players can have their social interactions as a team in the changing room before and after their session. While on the pitch we must help them to understand that this is their time to develop, learn and grow as soccer players. This will be a club wide directive and will be enforced by myself at all times.
“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.”
There is a constant complaint from teams/ parents and coaches in relation to a players attendance. I would, however, characterize this more in terms of what players do while they are in attendance. Do they work hard, do they buy in to what the coach is teaching and are they helping their team mates achieve their goals. Players are not only chiefly in charge of their own development but they play a huge role in the development of their team mates and we should help them realise this. We must push players beyond what they think they are capable of and constantly stretch the limits of their ability to new heights. We must be balanced in this approach as we do not wish to push players to a breaking point. We should be cognizant of what our players can cope with in terms of coaching information and tempo of sessions (age specific). You will find out very early who is there to work and learn and who may need more work to help them understand that we are now looking for more from them.
“The pain of discipline is nothing like the pain of disappointment”
This will play a huge factor in how we develop this year. I have found that while this is tough on the kids in the beginning it pays huge dividends throughout the year. When disciplining our players we should be aware of age, character, gender and general mindset of players. The words we use should not be demeaning, our actions should be non threatening and remember that the overall reason behind the discipline is to get the best out of each and every player.