I have mentioned before about how over the last year or so I have started to use small sided games (SSGs) throughout my sessions from start to finish. Lately I have added another variation to working this way that I am still evaluating but so far it has worked well.
I have started having an additional constant condition on all SSGs played throughout a number of sessions to encourage a certain style of play. For example recently I wanted to encourage more attacking combination play in the sessions so for 3 weeks every SSG we played had an additional constant condition that you could not pass back to the player who passed to you.
Each session had a different core skill as its topic so we played different SSGs but there was an overall theme to each session of combination play.
As always there was still a time in each session when the players had free play and all conditions were removed.
NB – By the way this condition is an excellent stand-alone condition too because it provoked players to move off the ball because they knew were more likely to get the ball plus it encouraged players to scan more because they couldn’t just give the ball straight back if getting closed down.
A previous constant condition I have used was that every player had to have a minimum two touches whenever they got the ball. The overall theme was building the play up from our own half so I was trying to encourage players to plan their 1st Touch. I felt this condition was successful too.
Like I said I have only recently begun having this constant condition from session to session in the last 4/5 months so it is too early to tell how successful it has been but there are some things I have noticed.
– the sessions are more obviously linked so I feel this is helping the players understand the connection between the sessions and the core skills.
– easier for players to revisit or bed in or build upon the learning from previous sessions.
– the players ‘almost forget’ the additional constant condition and simply play in the style the condition encourages focusing more on the topic of that particular session. It feels like it is practice for following a game plan.
– easier for me to plan session as overall theme is taken care of.
As previously mentioned I have just begun working in this way and I would be very interested to hear from other Coaches who have done something similar or from any Coach who has read the blog to get their thoughts on the positives and negatives of working this way for the players.
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