“Close control is fundamental to this game and to master the technique you have to train with the ball every day. A good training method is to stand in front of a wall and kick the ball against it, using different parts of the your foot and varying the power and curl you put on it. Do this with either foot. Then, when you prepare to control the ball, try to vary the part of your body you control the ball with. This will help to prepare your touch for all situations.”
More after the break
“A lot of players make the mistake of just shooting at the target without any thought. When I train to improve my shooting technique I make sure that when I get in front of goal, I get my head up, look where the goalkeeper is, relax and always try to hit a specific part of the goal. Visualise yourself scoring before you shoot.”
“The two key elements to passing in small-sided football are speed and the firmness of the pass. When you’re waiting to receive the ball look around to see where the opposition is, where your team-mates are and where the open space is, so that when you get the ball you know what you’re going to do with it. This will speed up the movement and release of the ball. Then make sure your pass is firm because space is tight and defenders will be close."
“Ideally the best talker in your team will play in defence. From this position he can see the whole game – they can tell players when to pass, when they have a man on and where to move. This helps the other players to concentrate on attacking because they are receiving instructions from a team-mate who can see everything.”
“From a defensive perspective, the less you move, the harder you will be to break down. The best way to defend in small-sided football is zonally. You use a lot of energy so don’t waste it chasing the ball into areas where the opposition can’t hurt you. Defend your zone.”
“There’s no better way to improve your fitness for small-sided football than playing the game. But I’d also recommend interval training: sprint hard for a few minutes, then slow the pace for a couple, and then sprint hard again. Repeat this for the same amount of time as your games last. Train as though you’re always on the move.”