The focus of this exercise is on passing and receiving technique. However, there will be a lot of interference in the progressions, which will give the players plenty of decision making opportunities.
Set up the field as shown below with a cone in the middle of a bigger area (adjust depending on age and ability). Split your group into two, half of the players will have a ball on the outside to act as feeders and the other half will wait in the middle square.
The players in the middle run towards any feeder on the outside, receive a pass, control the ball and pass back to the same player using the inside of the foot. The middle players then head back into the middle before receiving another pass from a different feeder. After one minute, switch roles.
You can test the first touch of the players in the middle by having the feeders throw the ball in at different heights.
The exercise starts off in the same way with the players in the middle checking towards a feeder, but now they will receive the ball with an open body position and on their back foot, before passing out to a different player/feeder on the outside who does not have a ball. The middle player then heads back into the middle and looks to receive another ball from a different feeder.
The players in the middle will now start with the ball. Their job is to dribble and then pass the ball to an outside player. Once they have done this they then create an angle to receive the ball back on their back foot before dribbling and looking for another player to pass to.
With all of the variations above, the players in the middle will have a lot of decision making opportunities as the other players will be performing at the same time as them, so they will need to decide when to dribble, pass and where the space is, just as they would do in a match situation.
- Accuracy and weight of the pass into the correct foot
- Cushion the ball with the first touch using the inside of the foot
- Encourage controlling the ball using the back foot as much as possible, make sure that the body position is open and that the player has checked their shoulder to see where the space is before receiving the pass. This will allow the player receiving the ball to be able to see as much of the field as possible
- Decision making – where the space is to receive the ball, when to dribble and when to pass
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