As I've written in previous posts, I enjoy incorporating diamond drills into my sessions because they provide all of the principles of attacking in a dynamic format that keeps the players moving and engaged. In one post on 'Diamond Passing' I shared some progressions on the diamond passing drills that I've used in the past. Over the last two months I've introduce these to my players during a number of practices. They've done a great job with them and I can change the pattern on the fly just by saying, "Layoff-and-Go", "Overlap" or "Play the Forward". I've also seen the movements from these exercises occur in scrimmages and games so the players have made the transition between practice and practical application.
During the winter my club participates in Futsal since the Midwest winter makes it tough to stay outdoor year-round. For those not familiar with Futsal, it's played with four field players and a goalkeeper. Most teams set up in either a diamond or a box shape but when it's played well, there's a lot of player movement and exchange. I prefer to set up in a diamond because I like the fact that the wing players are required to transition between attack and defense. A box formation can become too static and end up being played as 2v2 in each half if both teams play this way. The diamond passing and support exercises fit perfectly with many of the movements in Futsal.
I've started to incorporate some decision making into the diamond drills to make them even more game-like. Instead of always laying the ball off and turning for the through ball, the receiving player has the choice to dribble inside so that the passer can overlap into the open space outside. Once you give the players one or two ideas for variations, they will start to come up with more on their own and the exercise will look much more like a game.
I've found more ideas for variations and progressions from, "Professional Youth Academy Training Sessions".
In another post on 'Creating Movement and Combination Play' I focused on progressing these diamond drills into game related exercises. A progression of these exercises that I've used during recent indoor practice is a 4v2 game that keeps the players rotating between attackers and defenders.
Four players are arranged in a diamond with a target, two wide players and a defender. Two defenders and a goalkeeper try to keep the four attacking players from moving the ball down the field to score. The attacking team is encouraged to use passing combinations from the diamond drills. Two players from the attacking team stay on the field to defend against the next group of four attackers. The defenders from the previous game join the remaining two attackers and return to the start of the exercise. To make the rotation occur more quickly, have the defenders hold a colored shirt rather than put it on. If you have 12, 16 or 20 field players, the two players who aren't defending can wait
Add a third defender
We end the session with a 4v4 game to see if the players can apply what they've learned in a game environment.
As always, leave your comments and suggestions in the section below.
Have a Great Day!