With our harsh Midwest winters we are forced to do most of our training indoor. This usually means training in school gymnasiums. They vary in size but most are much smaller than the spaces we use outdoor and severely limit what training topics can be covered.
We do a lot of technical dribbling and passing work during this time because the players get a lot of touches, the sessions are easily scaled to the number of players at training and small spaces actually help to increase the pressure on the players. It requires them to keep closer control and be more aware of open space.
While these sessions are great for technical development, they are not very exciting for the players. I change the format of the drills add competition to engage the players but sometimes they just need a change of pace.
Playing games is a great way to change things up and make a training session interesting. If you design the game well you can get a lot of technical training done while motivating the players with a fun environment. The game above involves having two teams, one on each side of the court or area. One defender is chosen from each team to go into the opponents side of the field and try to kick their soccer balls out of the area. The team that lasts the longest wins.
You can add a passing element by having the players who lose their ball stay inside the area and provide a passing option to the players who still have a ball. So this game goes from a dribbling and shielding game to a passing and possession game.
Team possession games were the pressure gradual increases give the players a lot of opportunities for success but still challenge them because once they've completed a set number of passes another defender is added. This type of possession game also works well indoor because there isn't enough room to have all of the players involved. The pressure would be too great in such a small space.
Playing scrimmage games is obviously fun for the players but they can also be good coaching opportunities if you modify the rules to get what you want out of them. For example, last night we worked on give-and-goes. So next week we may scrimmage a good majority of the session but the teams will get one point for each goal and two points for each successful give-and-go.
Another way to do this is to play with three different colors of soccer balls. Each ball has it's own set of rules that go with it. For example, if the blue ball is in play then the game is played two-touch. If the red ball is being used then you have possess the ball for 20 seconds before you can go to goal. If they are playing with the orange ball then goals can only be score one-touch.[wpsharely][/wpsharely]
Keeping session fresh during the long winter indoor season can be a challenge but if your creative the players will make a lot of improvement technically and also look forward to what you have planned next week.
How do you keep your sessions fresh and motivational for the players.
Have a great day!