During the month of June I am highlighting my four favorite 1 v 1 training methods. This week's 1 v 1 exercise is 1 v 1 Rotation.
The previous exercises in this series were very controlled. Soccer is not a linear or controlled game. Once the players have an understanding of the basic methods and coaching points, the next step is to challenge those skills in a more complex and less predictable environment. The 1 v 1 Rotation game introduces this type of chaos into practice.
The players are put into pairs with one ball for each group. All of the groups play at the same time on the same field. The size of the field varies based on the age of the players and what you're trying to accomplish. A larger field will put an emphasis on fitness while a smaller field reqiures more skill to create space to beat the defender.
Each time a goal is scored the other player starts with the ball and attacks the other goal.The first player to score three goals wins the match-up. The players then come to the side of the field and wait for another match-up to finish their game. The winner from one game plays the winner from the other. The same goes for the losing players. The first player to win three match-ups wins the game.
This format may seem overly chaotic at first but the other match-ups playing at the same time create more pressure for the attacker to deal with. Just as in the game when you beat one defender but another player or even a teammate is in the space you want to attack.
As a variation, the defender starts with the ball and passes it to the attacker. The defender can pass the ball hard as long as it's to the attacker and on the ground. You can also have the defender throw the ball in to the attacker so that they have to receive the ball out of the air. This changes make the 1 v 1 even more realistic to actual game situations.
You can use many different scoring methods depending on what you want the focus to be. As one example, two sets of cones at each end provide goals for the players to dribble through. You can also play with end zones, targets to pass to, small goals or multiple goals spread around the field.
What variations or changes do you use with your teams? Please leave your ideas as a comment to this post.