One of the best ways to plan a quality session is by planning out the entire season.
Training sessions are the most critical part of any soccer program, without efficient sessions aligned to tactical goals then the games are just a mess. Training sessions are the most important aspect that our coaches must master. A coach has a very limited ability to influence the game of soccer. There are no timeouts, the field is huge, plays are not scripted, and the crowd is loud. This is why soccer is called a players game and why decision making must be taught. This means that training sessions represent the most impact that a coach may have tactically and technically on a player. One of the best ways to plan a quality session is by planning out the entire season.
A training session does not stand alone. Each session builds off of the previous one, and each builds towards becoming a more unified squad, and a more decisive and creative player. We ask all of our coaches to submit a season training plan to us at the start of the season. These plans indicate the tactical goals that the coach wishes to pursue, and the way in which each topic advances during the course of the season. If a coach is focused on building through the back with the back line and midfielders then his/her season plan will show how topics advance to achieve his/her objectives. Thus the entire topic for week 1 might be teaching outside backs how to move to be an option for central players when building out of the attack. The topic for week 2 will build off of this topic and may focus on a layer of nuance or adding in positions. So for week 2 the topic might be: Lateral support movement from Cb’s and weak side positioning of outside backs.
Creating a Season Plan
In creating a season plan ahead of the season the coach essentially creates benchmarks and ideas on how to achieve them. The next step is to plan sessions based on the topics for each week. These sessions will focus on different ways to approach the topic. So if we take our week 1 topic of width from outside backs when building out of the back then we might find the following:
A session that focuses on some of the technical skills needed to achieve this topic and the coach might run a set of small sided games.
It will be important for the coach to continue to build off of the work done on the previous day, so he/she might run an expanded games session, where they use bigger numbers.
It would be important for the coach to see how players put these concepts into play in a big game, and so scrimmaging for the majority of the session might be the plan.
Sessions themselves may be similar or identical but the coaching points advance.
In creating a season plan a coach creates his/her own mini curriculum that is based off of the club curriculum. This provides them with a guide to refer to throughout the season and the opportunity to change and adapt the plan based on player understanding.
Coaches are teachers and it is important for each and every teacher to plan his lessons carefully and with an eye always toward the future.
For more information on how we can begin to structure our
sessions, curriculum and season plan in a progressive manor
check out this video that makes tactical periodization easy to digest.
Kyle Bakas ~ Executive Director