By Daniel Severn
This exercise focuses on many key aspects of the game; first time passing, the volley pass, shielding the ball, aerial control, through balls and crossing and finishing. You can also incorporate your goalkeeper(s) into this practice very easily.
Before starting, ensure the players are thoroughly warmed up as this is a high tempo, continuous exercise.
I like to set the team targets to reach during this exercise (goals scored; successful passes; total number of circuits within the time etc). Or I may reward the ‘best performing pair’ with the captaincy for the scrimmage – something they will feel proud of.
Set-Up and Directions
Set up the six stations as shown in the diagram (station 6 uses the Penalty box, goal and a goal keeper – no cones needed). Stations 2 and 4 can also be set up using cones.
The players will start in two lines, approx’ 3 meters from either side of station one (as shown below). The players will stay in their pairs and progress around the circuit completing each station, finishing with a cross and finishing combination. Once one player has taken a shot, the pair must collect the ball and repeat the circuit with reversed roles. The exercise will continue for three minutes before allowing a rest.
Encourage the players to push themselves and work at a fast tempo.
Stations 1, 2 and 3 are shown in action below (Fig 2).
Station 1 – One Touch Passing
Lay out five-eight cones approx 2 meters apart in a straight line. The players pass the ball through each gate with their first touch. The players must progress through each gate with every pass – cannot go through the same gate twice. They must also keep a distance of 3-5 meters from the cones.
Station 2 – Soccer Tennis
You can use hurdles or tall cones to mark out the ‘net’. Players can take a maximum of two touches at a time to lift the ball over the net to their partner. Players will aim to get the ball over the net three times each, completing six aerial passes before moving to the next station.
Station 3 - 1v1 Shielding the Ball
Mark out a square 5x5 meters. Whichever player received the last pass on station 2 then dribbles into station 3. The player without the ball then enters and has eight seconds to win the ball from the possessing player. The player with the ball uses his/her body to shield and protect the ball whilst keeping the ball under control. After eight seconds, or when possession changes, move on to station 4.
Stations 4 and 5 are shown in action below (Fig 3).
Station 4 – First time Volleys
Set up two flags/cones marking out a distance of 20 meters. Whichever player has possession from station 3 then picks up the ball. The players then face each other around 3 meters apart. The feeder throws the ball for his/her partner to volley back with their first touch. After each volley, the feeder moves forward and the receiver move back. This process is repeated for ten or so volleys, until the players complete 20 meters.
Station 5 – Give and Go
Now the players perform a give and go. The player with the ball after station 4 will pass the ball to the opposite players feet who returns the ball to the space just in front of the first player. The second player then makes a run towards the cone near to the end of the field. The first player then plays a longer pass into space towards the cone near the end of the field for the second player to run on to.
Station 6 is shown in action below (Fig 4).
Station 6 – Cross and Finish
Player one from Station 5 makes a run towards the edge of the penalty box after playing the pass to the end of the field. Player two collects the pass, takes a touch to get the ball out of his/her feet and then plays a low, hard cross into the space just in front of the striker. The striker must score with only one touch.
Station 1 – Pass using the outside of the foot (quicker) // Control and then pass.
Station 2 – Vary the number of touches for each player.
Station 3 – 1v1 box. The player with the ball has to beat the defender and reach the opposite side of the box.
Station 4 – Different heights of the feed e.g. Thigh control and volley; Headers; Chest and Pass etc.
Station 5 – You could vary the pattern in which they pass the ball
Station 6 – Aerial Cross // Two or even three touches for the attacker.
Dan Severn, Program and Events Manager - BRASA Brazilian Soccer Academy