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Sunday, February 18, 2018

PRE-SEASON TRAINING DO'S #27 - TRAIN LIKE YOU PLAY PART 1


I know it's early but we had our first practice game against another club this past weekend as they were a thirds club that is moving into senior competition and wanted to see where they were at.

It also got me thinking about how to make training more game like but not in the obvious ways such as contested drills etc.

1 - CALLS/TALK

When the heat of an actual game is on, how you call for the ball and/or talk to a teammate can have huge implications. In training drills you are instructed to kick there and handball there so it just "works" but that soft 'smithy' call won't cut it on a Saturday. How you also call for the ball is also crucial because there is a lot of times where you need to get to the ball to a voice, not someone you can actually see, so instructional and directional talk is required. I suggest getting your players into the habit of doing this from now on to better prepare for practice games coming up in the next few weeks or so.

2 - SKILLS

Skills wins more games then anything else but I still don't think there is enough emphasis put on them at local/amateur level, where improvement an come far easier from varying degrees of low base skill levels. There a case of "training the game, not the player" in a lot of drills we perform at training where at around this time there is a lot of full ground drills which is fine, but if skill level is still inadequate, these drills quickly become a debacle so what you're trying to improve such as ball transition, forward entries etc, is barely even trained if the ball hits the ground too often. As a coach you really need to nail down your game plan and work those types of skills at training in planned and chaos situations.

3 - TRAIN TOWARDS GOALS

It might seem small but kicking towards goals should be a part of almost every drill you do. This gives players a chance to practice various sorts of kicks and handballs within the same dimensions that they will play on. It also gives the coach a chance to see how different players use the different parts of the ground and thus can put them in better positions come game time. This can also improve running patterns and provides some good opportunities to make game situations 'automatic' as the goals can be used as a 'trigger' of sorts.

4 - FINISH WITH GOALS

Now that you're training towards goals, you might go ahead and use them so put your forwards (and backs) in their rightful positions. As the ball comes in to the forward 50, have your forwards have actual shots at goals after a lead up mark or ground level gather. I have never seen the point in having a forward to mark the ball in a training drill then not actually kick for goal. Have 2 - 3 forwards so you can keep the balls moving so they're not overly rushed as you want them to actually improve their goal kicking, not just perform it.

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