How to create varied football coaching sessions
Planning your training shouldn’t be boring. Danny Fenner, an FA coach developer, explains how to mix things up.
Vary your practice design
There are loads of different types of practice. Examples include arrival activities, whole-part-whole sessions and constant, variable and random practices. But how many of these do you try in a season?
Using different practices helps to engage and motivate your players. And you don't have to change your entire session. Instead, experiment with a small section – and take it from there. Check out our FA coaching courses to learn more about practice design.
We all know that teams love to play games. Examples include line ball, parallel, target, two-goal and four-goal activities. Plus, small-sided games.
These activities are excellent ways to engage your players. But they must include a learning focus, for example, playing forward quickly. Once you're clear on this, try adding constraints – like playing with one touch. Finally, don't forget team and individual challenges to help achieve your goals.
Organise player-led tournaments
Using tournaments in training can hone your players' social skills. Ask them to lead the activity will maximise teamwork, leadership and communication.
Try other sports
Playing other sports in training is a great way to help your team improve their physical skills. Try including tag-rugby, basketball or netball in your sessions, especially during the summer. There are loads of transferable skills – and your players get to work on different movements too.
Switch positions and tactics
Encourage players to try different formations and positions, including being a keeper. This allows your team to experience a variety of roles and responsibilities. Plus, you may just be surprised by what you discover.
Play against different age groups
Could your team train with and play against different age groups? Done right, this experience has lots of social and physical benefits. It can also demonstrate club unity and support. Link up with your colleagues to get things organised.
Give your players the chance to swap a session for a social event – like bowling! This allows players to express themselves outside of football. It also helps develop life skills.
Move your session indoors
When the weather gets bad, consider moving indoors. This change of environment gives players a new challenge. It also provides the opportunity to try different formats – like futsal.
Remember to have fun
You don't have to be serious all the time. Used correctly, humour can add some fun and laughter to training sessions.
Content inspired by a presentation at the 2019 United Soccer Coaches Convention.