The general quality of football has made an enormous leap in recent years. Thanks to the good work of many associations and a constructive exchange on many coaching platforms, many responsible persons were able to get valuable tips on possible training design.
The days when only isolated goal-kicking drills and 11 vs. 11 matches were the order of the day for many youth teams and amateur clubs therefore seem to be numbered.
Many principles and restrictions have also been hotly debated in recent years, for example, the question of whether or not contact restriction makes sense.
In today’s episode, I would like to make some suggestions about possible constraints that still receive little attention in today’s training theory and show them using three training exercises as examples.
Of course, many modern teams and coaches already work with these constraints. Moreover, some of the constraints are not always useful, but can only be used in a targeted way.
This contribution should therefore once again not be understood as an incontrovertible statement, but rather as an impulse in new directions of thinking.
Training Idea 1: 3+3 vs. 3
The first exercise I would like to present is quite simple. In 3 zones, teams of 3 players play ball retention. In the first zone, a 3 vs. 1 is formed, as one player of the shorthanded team is always allowed to push forward into the opponent’s zone. The other two players of the shorthanded team try to stop the passes into the other zone by clever positioning. If they manage to do this, they can secure possession by dribbling to the outside and the team that caused the ball loss becomes the defensive team in the next sequence. However, they can prevent this by successful counter-pressing in the 6 vs. 3.
Now here is exactly the point. Many coaches have drills of this type played in such a way that the team in possession of the ball can play a zone pass after a certain number of successful passes (e.g. 5 passes).
When I watched the first session of Roger Schmidts campaign at PSV I saw that he did a small change.
He did not place a maximum of 5 passes here as a constraint. He placed a limit of 5 passes before the ball must be played in the opposite end zone. What seems like just a simple change means a lot to how your players think and act on the field. A simple constraint, but one that subconsciously trains verticality into the practice — he wants his players to play forward as often and quickly as possible.
This relates to Schmidt’s desire to play quick vertical football, with a reference for playing risky, forward line-breaking passes through the smallest of gaps. If you want to more learn more about Schmidt’s training sessions, click here or here.
Training idea 2: „Wave Game“
The „Wave Game“ is a personal adaptation of an exercise that Moritz Kossmann presented on Twitter a few months ago.
Team White attacks against Team Red in a 3 vs. 3. The yellow players make it a 5 vs. 3. When the attack ends Team Red attacks against Team Blue and Team White takes over the position of Team Red, etc., etc.
So far so good. This is also a game form that is neither particularly complex nor requires a special number of players.
The special feature here is the task variability of the yellow players. In principle, counterattack situations in 5 vs. 3, 3 vs. 2 are not uncommon. In fact, they offer a great chance of getting one of the players into a good finishing position.
However, many of them fizzle out relatively quickly. Why is that? For example, players decide to make wrong or premature passes or move uncleanly in space.
For this exercise we now use a small constraint that automatically causes movement and mutual exchange between the players.
When receiving the ball out wide the yellow players are either allowed to make a 1-touch serve back inside or dribble into a different zone
This automatically creates either a fast passing game or the outside players dribble towards the defenders (and the inside players then fill the outside zone again)
Again, this is a simple but effective constraint.
Try –> Reflect –> Try –> Reflect.
Even if it does not immediately have the desired outcome, it is essential to constantly question one’s principles and forms of play. Do my restrictions match my playing principles? What do I want to achieve and how do I achieve it?
It also helps to take unconventional paths. For example, why should a game always start with the goalkeeper? Why not start with a throw-in?
What sounds like little things are often decisive things that turn a good training into a really good training.