Small sided games and soccer drills can be varied greatly by adding a few extra rules to condition the players. Conditions can be used to make the drills harder or easier depending what you want the outcome to be.
However, if you want to condition your players differently it’s important to have a variety of rules that you can implement.
Here are five of the ten variations we prefer that you can use in your next training session.
Quite simply, players only have one touch. Do not allow your players to trap the ball or control then pass. They must play the ball first time.
This means they must be constantly aware of where their team mates are, move their feet quickly to get in line with the ball flight and they must decide where they are going to play the ball before they receive it.
This rule forces players to think quickly and anticipate the ball. When using this condition reiterate the key coaching points of thinking ahead, sound decision making, head up & vision, quick movement and communication.
Here the condition limits the players to a maximum of two touches.
A player is allowed to control the ball with their first touch but they must play the ball with their second touch.
The extra time that they are allowed on the ball, even though brief, allows them to evaluate their options and focus more on anticipation. Supporting team mates also need to think ahead and use good movement to create space and be available for the ball.
When using this condition, specifically watch and give feedback on the player’s first touch as this will determine to a great extent what options they have thereafter.
Three (or a Specified Number of Touches)
Giving players more touches doesn’t necessarily make the games or drills easier. For example, we might condition our players to five touches. That means they must be able to control the ball, get their head up, look for space, dribble, shield and bring other players into the game.
Ball Height – Below Knee Height
I like the quote from Brian Clough…”If God had meant football to be played in the air he’d have put goals in the sky!” This condition focuses the players to keep the ball on the ground.
That means they must look for passing channels along the floor and minimizes the “hoof” football that is so prevalent!
Coach players on creating space, good movement and offering support.
Ball Height – Head Height
Allowing the players a little more flexibility and some more ball manoeuvrability allows them to lift the ball but still discourages the “hoof” or “long ball all the time” soccer.
Again, creating space, movement and offering support should all be key components when imposing this condition.