By Justin Cresser, Author of Total Soccer Conditioning: A Ball Orientated Approach
Turning away from your marker, while dribbling at speed, is an essential quality for both midfielders and attackers who have little time and space when in possession of the ball. Today’s activity teaches players three types of turns and focuses on being able to perform these turns while dribbling at a fast pace. The structure of the exercise also allows your players to develop their anaerobic endurance, a component of fitness that allows players to perform repeated high intensity actions throughout the duration of the game.
Set-up and Directions: Divide your players into groups of three (or four) and set up the following station for each group: Place two pylons 20 yards apart. Have two players stand at one pylon (one of these should have a ball) while the third player stands at the second pylon. Place two small cones in between the pylons so that the small cones are ten yards apart, but each cone is 5 yards away from the closest pylon (Figure 1).
Play is initiated by the player with the ball dribbling at speed towards the small cone that is 15yards away. As soon as they reach this cone, they must perform a turn and then dribble towards the small cone 10 yards away (Figures 2 and 3).
When they reach this cone, have them perform a second turn and then continue dribbling at speed until they reach the player at the other pylon (Figures 4, 5 and 6).
The player who receives the ball then does the same sequence. Have the players continue this pattern until all players have performed 5 sequences in a row (1 set) and then have the players rest for 2 minutes. Each sequence/repetition should take no more than 15 seconds and the recovery period until they perform the next sequence should be no more than 45 seconds. This gives a work to rest ratio of approximately 1:3.
Have the players perform a total of 3 sets. However, have the players perform a different type of turn for each set. For the first set, have the players use the inside of the foot to initiate the turn. The other foot should be placed directly beside the ball as contact with the ball is made.
For the second set, have the players use the outside of the foot to initiate the turn; and for the final set, have the players turn by drawing the ball backwards using the sole of the foot.
- The players must dribble as quickly as possible, but under control, using small touches.
- The turns must also be performed quickly. However, have the players perform them slower at first until they have mastered the technique for each.
- As soon as the players turn, have them dribble right away. There should be no hesitation between taking their touch in the opposite direction and the next touch to keep dribbling
- This exercise is meant to target the anaerobic system, so have the players perform each sequence at a high intensity
Best of Luck,
Justin Cresser has coached soccer at various levels both in North America and abroad (Hong Kong and Africa). He is currently the Assistant Technical Director at the Soccer Club of Toronto. He has his Advanced National Diploma from the NSCAA and is also a certified strength and conditioning coach. You can check out Justin's best-selling books here.