Whilst it is important to develop players individual skills and techniques and progress that work onto working in units, be them attacking, defending or midfield, eventually all that works needs bringing together into a realistic game situation.
Small sided games, be them 3 v 3, to 8 v 8 enable players to begin to work together on an individual basis: dribbling, turning etc. Playing in small units within the team: marking and covering, near and far post runs for strikers, to being able to work together as a team.
When coaching in small sided games a coach should concentrate on coaching a specific topic. These can be broken down into two distinct categories: Defending and attacking topics. By coaching a specific topic in a small sided game, the coach can give the players a better understanding of what is required from them to effectively improve as a team and individuals in the chosen topic. Coaching a specific topic in small sided games, also helps the coach to build upon previous individual and unit work they have done with the players in that topic.
For example, a coach may have worked with the players individually on defending, 1 v 1 show inside, prevent turning etc. This would have been progressed to working with units of players, 2 v 2 defending: Marking and Covering: Prevent Turning etc. This previous defending work can now be applied and developed in say a 6 v 6 small sided game, with the topic being: Defending as a team.
We have a number of animated small sided games that demonstrate this:
- Mini Soccer - Bounce off forward game
- Mini Soccer - Collective GK game
- Mini soccer - develop running with the ball
- Mini Soccer - Dribble and run with ball
- Mini soccer - pass through grids
- SSG - 6 v 6 Develop play in wide areas
- SSG 6 v 6 Develop play through midfield
In addition, we have used the coaches chalkboard and links to defending animated drills, to show how a coach can develop coaching a particular topic, in this case defending, through coaching individual players, units of 2, 3 and 4 players through to coaching a team in a 6 v 6 small sided game.
As the site progresses we will add new content to this area to encompass other specific topics, such as running with the ball: creating space: develop shooting opportunities: forward passing:forward runs: switching play: supporting the attack: defending from the front:
The first topic is: Defending as a team in a small sided game