How quick a player recognizes a situation and reacts accordingly is frequently the difference between the good player and the great player.
One way to work on a players vision, decision making and reactions is a simple dribbling exercise. If you have 14 players in your training session have them start around a 30 yard in diameter circle. Half have a ball and the other half don’t. There is a 10 x 10 square in the middle.
The players with the balls dribble to the center square and once they get into the square, they do a move with the ball and then must pass to a player on the outside without the ball. The passer then must sprint to an open space on the outside and prepare for another ball
This is a very simple activity but works on a number of different decisions.
- Which move to make?
- Where is there space in the middle so as not to run into another player?
- Who is open on the outside to pass to?
- What pace should the pass be hit with to avoid hitting other balls?
- Where is there space on the outside to run to?
Players on the outside have to be looking to see who might be passing to them and whether they need to shift to an open space if they are being crowded.
There is a lot of communication in this activity (calling for the ball, calling to the receiver etc) and lots of quick decisions being made.
If the players are struggling with finding open players you can make an adjustment and only have 4-5 balls for the group to start till they get accustomed to the activity.
To make this even more difficult you could add some passive defenders inside the 10 x 10 square who apply some pressure to the dribbler to make it more difficult to find open space and players.
This simple activity is a great way to make players think, communicate, and move accordingly.
There are some other wonderful activities to work on quick thinking in the DVD Play Quicker - Drills & Exercises for Possession and Combination Play by David Williams
Have a great day!