Small Numbers Part 2

By Sean Reed - 

The next few sessions are some ideas for when you might have a small number of players. The focus is working in pairs, movement to receive the ball, angle of support, distances, body shape and combination play.

Objective: Session 1

Working on angles of support and distances to link the play.

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Set Up

  • Using the example above. Set up with an area of approx 25yd x 25yd, 4 players on the outside, with 2 players on the inside the area. 2 balls
  • The 2 players in the middle remain in the middle for a period of 20-30secs. Then rotate with the outside.
  • Balls start on the outside, the players in the middle working looking to receive the ball. The ball is played inside to Player 1 who then plays to Player 2 (inside) who then plays the ball out to a player without a ball.
  • As soon as the ball is played out, either player can receive the 1st pass, but must play to the 2nd player before the ball goes out again.
  • You can work for a period of time when the same player receives the 1st pass then alternate the next time. Or just let the players manage that
  • Players need to support the ball knowing where the next pass is going, therefore being aware of the spare player on the outside to avoid slowing the passing down
  • Encourage the 1st ball played into to go long as well as short.
  • Progressing – encourage the 1st player to come short for the 1st ball, they are missed out, the ball is played long and they spin to receive the 2nd pass to then play out.

Coaching Points

  • Awareness of where to receive the 1st and 2nd pass
  • Movement to receive the ball
  • Angles of support of the 2nd player
  • Body shape when receiving the ball
  • Quality of end product
  • Communication

Objective: Session 2

The 2 players in the middle combining to play out

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Set Up

  • The same set up as the previous session with the players on the inside and the outside.
  • This time the 2 players in the middle will look to combine before the ball is played to an outside players
  • Looking for players to play 1-2’s
  • Play round the corner to receive the ball (coming short and play on the angle)
  • Play into the furthest player to then link up combine with the 2nd player
  • Overlaps, where and when possible
  • Encourage the players to play with freedom and create
  • Encourage the players to take a lead with the tempo, movement, creativity

Coaching Points

  • As above within the previous session
  • Use the space don’t kill the space (create space through movement for the player to then come into)
  • Encourage rotation before receiving the ball between the 2 players
  • Quick play when combining

Objective: Session 3

ReedArticle 4-3

Set Up

  • As within the previous session. As you can see in diagram 3, mannequins have been included to give the players something to be aware of and work round. If you have additional numbers then you can have 2 pairs in the middle to encourage the players to work round each other.
  • In diagram 3 Player 1 receives from the outside, to then play back to the outside player who then plays into Player 2. Player 1 then supports the combination to receive the ball back from Player 2 and then plays the pass to a player who is spare on the outside.
  • Then both players make a movement to receive the next ball. As stated previously, encourage the players to switch / rotate and ensure they are giving themselves enough distance and space to work in.
  • To challenge the players the coach can reduce the size of area.
  • Encourage the players to be creative with movement, type of passing and combination play

Coaching Points

  • As with previous sessions
  • Working off each other 1 player coming short and the other player going long
  • Providing good distances. Leaving the space available for the player to move into
  • Speed and timing of movement to support the ball once it has been played to the furthest player
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Objective: Session 4

Encourage creating triangles, supporting the ball and movement to receive the ball

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Set Up

  • As with the previous sessions
  • Player 1 receives from the outside, combines with a 2nd Player on the outside, before combining with Player 2 to then play out to an outside
  • Player 1 and Player 2 then move to receive the next ball
  • Encourage players to be creative and come up with there own movements and combinations

Coaching Points

  • As in the previous sessions
  • Encourage the movement to support on the outside and inside of the area

Progressions / Options

• Please note that the above sessions are just a few initial ideas.
• They are there for you as the coach to develop and create new ideas with.
• Regardless of the number of players, the space available there is an opportunity to challenge players using these sessions
• Give the players freedom to create their own movements and combinations. As coaches we will often pick up ideas from what players show us in training and within games.

By Sean Reed
Former First Team Coach of Championship side Fulham FC. Sean is a UEFA A Coach with a Masters in Sport Coaching. He has over 15 years of experience working in professional football from Academy through to First team in the Premiership and Championship.

Linkedin -
Twitter - @SeanJReed

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