Training is developing a playing style. In short, it is the coach’s job to create such a style. No matter whom you coach, youth players or adults, the main objective for you as a coach is to develop the players ability offensively, defensively and the transition between the two. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. The starting point (ability) of the player is of greater essence.
The coach must think about the quality of the players, where are they in their development (youth or adult), the culture and the vision of the club, etc. Besides that, the coach must think about the offered training exercises to realize the objected effect.
The coach has the responsibility to organize training activities in such a way that a team and its players can improve. One can compare it to the “overload principle” used in fitness training, in which a fitness training stimulus is sent out that disturbs the physiological balance of a
player. The body will adjust during the recovery to the higher burdening in such a way that soccer actions can be executed at a higher level. These soccer actions can also be done more often, a player can keep the pace up longer and the execution of the soccer actions can be done better. This is the so-called “super compensation.”
A coach has the same objective when talking about improving the overall soccer actions. The training impulse must be adjusted to the level of the team and its players. The impulse must lie just above the level of the team/players (compare to “overload”). The team/players must work
at their best, to be able to realize the objective of the training exercises. All those result in better offense, defense and the better transition from one to the other (“over compensation”). The training impulses are the complexity/resistances that a player must overcome. The coach
manipulates these training impulses and resistances to realize the playing style.
The resistances can be subdivided into:
A. The role of the opposition; what is the role of the opposition? (low pressure, high pressure, counter attack, etc.)
B. Where is the field? (own half, half of the opposition, etc.)
C. Moment; when does it happen? (When the goal keeper has the ball, the second ball, etc.)
D. Space and numbers; how much space is needed and what number of players are involved? (big/small space, many/few players, etc.)
E. Instruction; what instructions did the players receive? (Example: play deep immediately, use the switch pass, etc., but also game situations like to score in one minute, there are still X-minutes to play and you are behind 1-0).
The Role of the Opposition
No matter how much time you spend in developing your players, ultimately there always is an opponent; the team you are playing against during the game. Therefore, one must always practice with an opponent. In this case it doesn’t matter if we are working with youth players or
adults. When we execute a training exercise without opposition (a team) or an opponent (a player), an essential part of the game is missing. This doesn’t mean that you can never create a training situation without any opposition. The coach then must realize what is being trained and that the situation isn’t complete. This brings us to the core of training; to improve a player’s ability: the transfer of what is being learned.
When talking about “transfer” we mean the application of what was learned during practices to the real game. To make the transfer from the practice field to the game as smooth as possible, it helps if both situations are equivalent. This means that the characteristics of the game must be
found back in the practice.
To Play Deep (Forward)
One of the striking points in attack and build up is: playing forward has preference over playing sideways. One can create several trainings exercises in which the build up in general, and the principal of deep before width, are central. Many passing exercises can be created to practice the above. There are coaches that have their team play hand-ball (with or without opposition) to improve the build up. If we think about the transfer from practice to game, then a few question marks can be placed by the choice of that training exercise.
We offer a few training exercises in which the opponent play a certain role. One can discuss the choice and the order of the exercises. There should be no discussion about the fact that these exercises are closer to the “real” game than the above mentioned example.