Grassroots Coaching

Using “Conditions” in football training sessions

Using “conditions” in football training sessions is a very effective way of making sure that players, without impacting on their enjoyment or the realism of playing, are forced to focus and work on specific technical or physical aspects of the game.

For example, the squad have two or three very good players. What generally happens is that these players dominate games and training sessions. They tend to be either far quicker players, better technicians or bigger, quicker, more physically developed players. So as a result, they will tend to dominate football training sessions, have more of the ball, dribble more, run with the ball more, shoot and tackle more than other players.

Does this situation benefit and improve either the better players or the other players? Not really.

So one way to help develop the better players and to enable other players to have more of the ball in football training sessions, is to place “conditions” for part of the football training session on these better players.

A very simple, but effective way of doing this is to play a game and make these better players floating players, who can play for whatever team is in possession, but can’t score, can’t tackle and are restricted to a maximum of two touches only. Condition the game, so that before a team can score, they must pass at least once through one of the floating players. It wouldn’t be fair or enjoyable for the players to place these conditions for the whole of a football training session, but you can for say 15 minutes of a game.

The result is that the better players can no longer dominate the game, with their superior ability, pace, strength and technical skills. These skills that make them better players are now taken away from them. So they have to use and develop other football skills, such as a greater awareness, the ability to link play up and support play with team mates, using a maximum of two touches. They become better team players and start to develop other football skills that previously they haven’t had to use.

The results for the rest of the players in the team are more opportunities to pass the ball, to run, dribble and shoot. They will have more time on the ball, more confidence, but they will still have to pass to these floating players, so it generates a greater team working and the better players can appreciate the abilities of their team mates, which maybe they hadn’t previously.

  • Condition players – floating players who play for whatever team is in possession. The floating players can’t tackle, can’t score and are restricted to a maximum of two touches. The team in possession can’t score unless at least one pass has been made with a floating player.
  • Another condition is to restrict certain players to play in one area of the pitch only. This can also help the better players and develop a greater team spirit and understanding. For example, the team have an outstanding midfield player, who is a better athlete than the other players and dominates the training session from their midfield position. Condition that player to playing in their own defensive half only and restrict them to a maximum of two touches. The result is they have to develop a different range of skills and involve other players with their passing and support. If there is an outstanding, quick dribbler, then condition them to play in the middle of the third of the pitch only and restrict them to two touches. Again, you are restricting their strengths and helping them develop other football skills and a greater understanding of the game.
  • Condition games to increase fitness and compactness as a team. A simple condition on the game that can have a real impact on how hard the teams work in the game and to get players to understand how they work up and down the pitch as a team, is to place a condition on both teams that players from both teams have to be over the halfway line when a goal is scored. Failure of the attacking team to adhere to the condition means the goal is disallowed. Failure for the defending team to recover as a team and get back in their own half, mans that the goal counts double. It is a very effective condition that encourages players to concentrate, recover as a defending team, squeeze up and compact play when attacking and also means the players have to work harder and run faster, resulting in a better physical work out for the players.
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Attacking Tips Defending Tips FA Level 1 FA Level 2