The North Carolina Way

I have always admired the University of North Carolina Women's Head Coach, Anson Dorrance. He has been the Head Coach at UNC since 1979 and has won a record 22 National Championships. More than 50 of his former players have represented their country on the National Team. He is also well known for promoting and developing creative dribblers and finishers.

I've read all of his books and watched any videos I could find. So I was very excited when Dorrance agreed to headline our 2008 WORLD CLASS COACHING International Seminar. More than six hundred coaches attended the three day seminar and were treated four excellent sessions. Fortunately, we recorded the complete sessions so now you can view every minute of his presentations.


The North Carolina Way video set comprises of 21 videos divided between developing the 1v1 artist, attacking with speed, German combination play and technique Olympics. Filmed in front of a live audience, in each video Dorrance explains the philosophies, training methods and drills he utilizes to train his UNC teams to gain such a decisive competitive edge over their rivals.

Here's an overview of the four sessions he presented along with a short clip from the series.

Developing the 1v1 Artist – 5 videos
Dorrance runs through a series of 1v1 drills which he considers to be the foundation of the game and the best investment of the coach’s time. The drills are designed to develop the skill, mentality and competitive fire players will need to beat opponents, one on one, in real game situations.

The drills include receiving flighted balls before beating the opposition and Dorrance’s patented ‘Bogeys in the Sky’ training drill. This harnesses progressive levels of difficulty and record keeping, and is one of Dorrance’s best tools for identifying his most valuable players and developing their ability to excel under pressure.

Attacking with Speed – 6 videos
Dorrance is a keen admirer of Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger and the attacking playing style he infuses into his teams. Many of the drills in these videos are those utilized by Arsenal to keep the ball moving up the pitch with speed. This includes drills for improving passing and movement, dragging the ball laterally around defenders, flick passes into space and how to beat closing defenders.

Along with the technical skills, Dorrance explains how these drills will develop the tactical awareness and decision making players need to always keep the ball moving forwards.

German Combinations and SSG – 4 videos
In this section Dorrance explains the fundamentals of using 5v2 mini games to improve ball control, movement off the ball, maintain possession and decision making. In addition, the drills harness playmakers to change the focus of attacks and develop the players’ understanding of when to use one or two touches on the ball.

A key part of Dorrance’s training philosophy is to develop the competitive edge in his players. He achieves this through dividing small games between his front seven and the ‘brick masons’ in defense who are encouraged to improve so they can play with the superior group. In these videos, Dorrance explains his philosophy behind this controversial approach and why coaches should consider implementing his ‘Competitive Cauldron’ in their own training sessions.

Technique Olympics – 6 videos
Dorrance is a passionate believer in the importance of quantifying performance to stimulate competition. This includes a fitness test players must pass at the start of the season if they want to be deemed worthy to play for the Tar Heels.

In this series of videos, Dorrance explains how to improve and measure technique with drills which include receiving the ball in the air, a dribbling drill learned from George Best and two touch passing with speed. In addition, Dorrance shares his research into what defines an elite player and explains his tests for measuring technique.

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All 21 videos in the 'North Carolina Way' are interesting and thought provoking. You are guaranteed to find many training ideas that will help you improve the teams that you coach whether they are boys, girls, youth, high school or college.

Have a great day!


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