By Justin Cresser
Pattern play involves rehearsing specific patterns to simulate situations that are likely to occur during the game. It does not usually incorporate opposition and can be integrated into phase of play training for a specific element of the game such as wing play or counter attacking. In addition to developing position-specific skills and role awareness, pattern play can also be used for conditioning.
Consider the following pattern play exercise to improve the anaerobic capacity of your central striker (number 9), the right or left wingers (numbers 7 and 11) as well as the central playmaker (number 10).
The starting positions are shown in Figure 1. Play is initiated by the number 10 who dribbles at speed for a few yards and then plays a pass into the feet of the number 9 who has faked a forward run, turned sharply and checked back diagonally into space.
The number 9 plays a 1-touch pass back to the number 10 who then plays a ball into the