Progressive Soccer Training - One Grid - MORPHING

This is the Introduction to our new book, Progressive Soccer Training in Grids by Dan Minutillo and Rich Rafloski


Too much time is wasted by a coach or staff setting up grid after grid before and during a training session to accommodate different exercises to be accomplished by a soccer team during the session. Morphing during soccer training allows a coach to set up just one grid with very minor modifications for an entire session, changing only the exercises during the session but not usually changing the grid size or shape. This is done by maintaining the same grid for an entire training session (except for the usual scrimmage at the end of the session) re-configuring players, adding target players, adding neutral players, adding wide players or moving goals in and about the grid, allowing variations in exercises by this reconfiguration based on a singular training theme during the session.

To add value to this book, soccer training themes are discussed, one theme per chapter, with the elements of that training theme broken down in detail and analyzed to help the novice or expert coach recognize those elements during the training session. Each technical and tactical training theme is explained in detail. Four small sided games per theme per chapter are provided and described in detail, including grid set up, player configuration, and rules and restrictions for each exercise. A diagram of each exercise is included in the book as a visual. Each diagram contains additional information which further explains each small sided game presented. Coaching points are provided in each chapter so that a coach can use “coaching in the game” at the right time, that is, “at coachable moments” to help imprint technical and tactical aspects of the game on players.

Morphing is set up so that a coach can have a clear and concise “one stop” resource no matter which formation or system of play within that formation is chosen. This book can be used for every training session, from the start to the end of the soccer season—training theme, technical and tactical elements related to that theme, training exercises/small sided games, coaching points, and detailed diagrams of each game with a further explanation of the exercises on each diagram, all in one book.

Morphing is a new concept in soccer coaching in which the coach still sets a theme for a training session as usual but then only uses one grid from the start to the end of the session, varying exercises by changing the position and movement of players within the chosen theme rather than using time modifying the grid. The exercises included in this book promote and were specifically chosen to ensure quick and deep imprinting on players.

For example, assume that the training theme for a soccer training session is wide play. The base grid might be a square grid of about 40 x 40 yards depending on the number of players at the session. This square 40 x 40 yard grid would not change during the entire 90 minute or two hour soccer training session but, every ten minutes or so, the configuration of the players, use of targets, wide players, or neutrals, and the use or placement of goals might change. The grid and player configuration morphs to suit the next exercise related to the training theme, quickly and easily.

The size of the base grid can be different than as suggested in each chapter and changed by the coach depending on the number of players participating or whether a coach wants to speed up play using a smaller grid or slow down play using a larger grid.

For the most part, all information needed to run a full training session related to a specific theme is included in every single chapter. The best training exercises, covering almost every soccer training theme, are part of this book revolving around this new concept, morphing, so that, with rare exception, you only set up once per training session using multiple exercises in that session. This will become obvious and clear after reading a few chapters of this book.

To ensure clarity, very detailed diagrams, drafted by soccer coach Rich Rafloski, are used to describe each exercise (small sided games) in every chapter of this book, relating to the theme of each chapter. An entire training session related to the chosen theme for that session is provided in each chapter of this book. A coach will merely need to choose a training theme before the training session begins and then follow the progressive diagrams explaining each exercise related to that theme in the sequence provided without having to change the size or configuration of the grid to allow a seamless movement from one exercise to the other for an entire training session. Morphing is a very efficient and all inclusive method to train soccer players of all ages and all levels of play with specific training sessions described and diagramed for clarity.

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Each diagram starts with the basic grid for that chapter’s theme and then the following diagrams in each chapter change to show and explain the next exercise for a session revolving around the theme for that session. This is done so the reader can merely determine the theme for a session, copy the diagrams for that session, bring those copies to the training session and set the one base grid for that session on the field, and then merely morph the grid based on the diagrams to accommodate each of the exercises to be used in the training session.

It is important to note that the lines representing off the ball player movement or ball movement in the diagrams do not represent specific movement of a player or the ball required for the exercise but are merely examples to help the reader understand the exercise. Therefore, the lines shown in the diagrams do not represent patterns.

The reader merely chooses a theme for the session, goes to that specific chapter in the book, and then follows the exercises described for the session in the applicable chapter. If a coach does not fully understand or needs a refresher about the technical and tactical points presented by a certain theme, then he merely needs to look to the breakdown of “elements” as related to that theme as provided in each chapter for each training theme, or take a quick look at the coaching points mentioned in that chapter. Again, each theme in each chapter is explained in detail whether that theme is a technical or tactical in nature.

Progressive Soccer Training in Grids by Dan Minutillo and Rich Rafloski


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