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How to structure the perfect training session


The drill Have the players form a circle, with one player in the middle. The player in the middle has to break up the play, while the players stationed on the perimeter have to keep possession. The player who concedes possession swaps places with the player in the middle. To progress the drill, add more players in the middle and impose conditions, such as one or two-touch passing.

What this works on For the players on the outside, this works on touch, awareness, communication and passing. For defenders it works on closing down, mobility, agility and intercepting passes. This warm-up will increase the players’ heart rate and prepare them for the fitness phase of the session.

For how long 10 minutes


The drill Set out a box at 10 x 10 yards, with five attackers occupying it. In pairs, defenders have to enter the box and try to win the ball off the attackers.

What this works on Defensively this drill focuses on communication and teamwork. The defenders have to keep the right distance between one another, and as a team show the attackers one way, to make the pass predictable. The ball players must work as a unit, passing and moving and supporting angles once a pass is played. It helps if you set goals in the session: 10 passes equals a goal, as does a defender winning the ball back three times quickly.

For how long 20 minutes


The drill Set up a back four on the edge of the 18-yard box, with two holding midfielders sitting in front. In the same half of the pitch, have four attacking midfielders and two strikers set up to attack. The aim of the attacking team is to score, and the defensive team to defend.

What this works on This encourages the attacking team to get the ball out wide so their winger can isolate the full-back and try to beat him.

For how long 20 minutes


The drill Mark out a 60 x 44-yard pitch with two goals at each end, positioned in the corners of the pitch. Two teams of seven play against each other, aiming to score in either of the two goals at the opposing end. To stop the defending team sitting back and protecting their goals, introduce the condition that 10 consecutive passes will equal a goal.

What this works on With two goals to attack, this drill encourages switching play and develops decision-making and an awareness of what pass is on. It will also force both teams to keep their shape and counter at speed.

For how long 30 minutes. Change the rules of the game to make it easier or harder depending on the players’ level. For example, make one area smaller or limit the touches of one or both teams.

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