What Should I Focus On During Winter Indoor Training?

By Mike Saif

Question - I have a 2 part question. I coach club U16's and U18's. We are beginning our indoor session next week. I treat this as an elongated preseason for our Spring outdoor season. This consists of time (2hrs) in a school gym - basketball court and down the road playing 8-10 games in an indoor league (turf). Practice time is limited. The majority of my team plays a winter high school sport so getting them to my single practice is still a challenge.

I coached in Kansas City for almost 20 years and we had the same issues. Our fall season ended in early November and the spring season started in mid March. From Nov to March, we played and practiced indoors. Although with teams of U13 and older, we would try to get an outdoor practice done on the weekend occasionally whenever the weather allowed and we also arranged to play friendly games outdoors as well. But other than that, everything was done indoors.

And my answer both of your questions at the same time. My thought was that it just wasn't a good situation to coach much tactically. When practicing indoors, there just isn't enough space to work on team shape, etc. Try working on the back four spacing and linking up with the midfield...all on a basketball court. It's just not ideal to say the least.

So I chose to work on technical stuff, 1v1s, 2v2s, shooting, etc. But I was even careful not to overdo that as it could sometimes get monotonous for the players. So I also used to do tons of small-sided games that were fun for the players.

Because of the limitations of only one practice per week and limitations of space, my goal for the winter period was to improve technical skills and make it fun for the players. It was the same for the indoor games. I would switch positions for the players and focus on them trying more 1vs, give-and-go's, overlaps, etc. just to change things up. For instance, if we work on give-and-go's for an indoor practice, I would set a challenge for the players to see how many give-and-go's they could attempt in the indoor game that weekend.

Hope that helps.

By Mike Saif
Founder and President of WORLD CLASS COACHING, Mike has coached 12 State Championship teams and coached the 87G Dynamos to a USYS National Championship.

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