I hope all is well as the season has officially shifted to fall. As we approach the half way point of our regular season, I wanted to continue to share some of the training ideas we are currently implementing within our program.
Due to some significant injuries including Ugo Okoli (All-American winger), Robert Maze (11 goals as a freshman), and Alex Bilodeau (3-year starting deep holder), we have had to not only adjust our style to fit other players, but also how we train the guys who are taking their place on the pitch. The loss of Ugo and Rob has changed how we have to attack, while the loss of Alex has effected both how we possess and defend. Regardless, we find ourselves in a good position in the conference standings as we look to position ourselves for a post-season run.
The next few emails I plan to send will be position specific. In other words, I want to share with you what we are doing with our forwards, midfielders, and defenders as separate units. This email will focus on our forwards.
Training Our Forwards:
With the loss of our left wing and target forward, we have shifted our attacking style from isolating players to take on defenders, to getting our forwards to both move off the ball and to get into good positions to finish balls. As I watch forwards in the recruiting process, I find that some guys seem to have a “knack” for getting open in the 18 and finishing crosses or finding ways to free themselves to receive a ball on the ground and turn to hit a shot. However, we believe this can also be trained through a two-step process described below.
- Drill: We have one player serving a ball from a flank position. This service can be on the ground or in the air. The forward looking to finish the ball has to get open using one of two methods. First, they can show to the near post and reverse their run for a far post finish in the air. Second, they can show to the far post and reverse their run for a near post ball on the ground. The key is to get the defender going one way with the intention of freeing yourself to finish in a different direction. We always start by doing it without defenders and then inputting defenders to make it more game realistic.
- Competition/Game: We believe that all training sessions are best implemented when competition is involved. In this situation we will then progress into making this a game with the following rules:
- Field Dimensions are 50 wide by 60 long with two goals and two keepers
- Each team has two flank players that must stay wide in channels but have unlimited touches and cannot be defended
- Each team has two interior players that must stay in the middle of the field and can only be one touch
- The game starts with a keeper playing a ball to his team, preferably to a flank player
- The flank player’s job is serve a ball, similar to the way we did in the game to one of his two interior players who must finish it one-touch or play it one-touch to his teammate or wide to one of his flank players for a re-service
- The defending team is looking to defend and get it wide to their flank players and transition to the other end to finish a service of their own
- This can becoming tiring for the interior players so having subs that rotate in every 3-5 minutes keeps the game competitive and game realistic
- When a ball is kicked out of bounds, the team who did not kick it out starts again with their keeper
- Typically games are played to a point total but can also be played to a set time