1 v 1 Session Design – Why & how it went

Today I have decided that the blog will simply be me describing a session I did this week and my thoughts behind how and why I designed it this way. You are more than welcome to provide any feedback you can for me.

The session was about 1 v 1s specifically getting past your immediate opponent. The training group is from a variety of clubs comprised of players aged 9/10 years old and are quite new to me. This is only their 6th session with me and they are better than average players.

The four things I told the players that they needed to do to have a good session were

  1. Be positive & take players on.
  2. Beat the defender on both sides.
  3. Be unpredictable/do different things.
  4. Create passing options for player on the ball.

1st Exercise

1st exerciseWe had 3 x (20 x 10m) pitches going at same time playing 2 v 2. The goals (I used portable foldup net goals) were about 1.5m wide and 5m in from the end of the pitch and they faced backwards towards the ends of pitch not the middle.

Two conditions

1 – The ball had to be run past the goals. It couldn’t be passed into the area.

2 – Nobody could go past the goals before the ball went past.

The design of this exercise was largely influenced by the fact I expected that this group would be reluctant to attempt to take players on 1 v 1. Both of the conditions are trying to encourage the players to attempt a 1 v 1 and not simply pass past the defender.

This is also the reason why the pitch is only 10m wide so that players didn’t have the space to get over the end line without a tackle from a defender.

I felt the players would be quite rigid in how they played with one players being on left and one on the right. I was pleasantly surprised that the players moved around the pitch intelligently and this meant that there were far more 1 v 1 opportunities than I expected right from the start and there was more variety not simply a defender in front. Often both attackers were on the same side of the pitch providing the defenders with real decisions to make.

My first progression was the ball could only remain in scoring area for 3 seconds and then to keep possession the ball would have to be played out and run back in. I was hoping this would encourage further 1 v 1 attempts plus even more variety of 1 v 1 situations but it didn’t work. In the end it encouraged the players to shoot at goal as quickly as possible and lead to some poor decisions to go for goal. I let this slide as the topic of session was 1 v 1 s and the players were doing lots of them to my surprise.

My main objective with this exercise was for the players to take each other on so often that defenders would see what the attackers liked to do. I encouraged the players to watch for players doing the same trick or move so they could defend against it.

2nd Exercise

2nd exerciseWe had 2 x (30 x20m) pitches going side by side. We played Line Football were to score a goal the players simply have to run the ball over the other team’s endline.

Two conditions

1 – There was offside.

2 – If the defender TAGGED you as you went over the endline the goal didn’t count.

Again these conditions were included as I thought players would be reluctant to go 1 v 1. Offside was there to stop players simply standing up the pitch and scoring unchallenged. With the TAGGING I introduced it as I have found it encourages the defenders to never give up.

My first progression was that now when you score a goal you moved to the next pitch therefore changing the games to an underload and overload. I did this to constantly change the dynamics on each pitch which then strongly affected the types of 1 v 1s happening. Now we had more of the chaotic feel of a game with 1 v 1s happening with defenders coming in from different angles.

After 4 mins the players had to add up how many goals each player scored from each pitch to see which colour had won.

My next progression was to counter exactly what often happens in these situations i.e. the same players score the majority of the goals. The next progression was to win every player in your colour had to score plus players still had to move to other pitch after scoring.

This worked well but it was a little too quick and the players who didn’t score many only got to score one before the game was over. When I reflected on the session I think next time I will say that every player has to score before any player can score their second goal or possibly the opposition has to choose two players who can only assist in scoring a goal cannot score it themselves.

3rd Exercise

3rd exerciseWe used the 2 x (30 x 20m) pitches we had been working on and made 1 x (50 x 30m) pitch with goals and goalkeepers. The players then had to choose a partner from the other team who they felt was similar to them physically.

Now the two teams were to play a game were the score was kept but also each pair was to have a personal battle. If you beat (got the ball past your opponent) in a 1 v 1 you got 1 point if they got it off you in a tackle and had possession they got 1 point. At the end of 10 mins you were to meet with your partner to figure out who had won the personal battle then you had to meet with your team to add together the player points and the goals scored to find out which team had won.

Again the idea behind the personal battle was influenced by me thinking the players would be reluctant to go 1 v 1 so needed that incentive of a personal battle.

This was a roaring success and on reflection I think including the point for winning the ball meant players were more prepared to go for a tackle so there was less players endlessly backing off because they didn’t want to get done. The players seemed to really enjoy it and were honest with how many points they got but that might have been as they had to meet up with their partner.

My overall impression was that the session was a success. I have no way of really gauging whether the design of the session encouraged the players to go 1 v 1 or I was wrong in my initial evaluation that they would be reluctant. No matter the players go lots of practice at beating a player which was the main objective at this stage.

For my next session with this topic I will include some decision making about when is the right time to go 1 v 1 but like I said at the start my design was influenced by me thinking the players would be reluctant to go 1 v 1.

Love to hear your thoughts

As always please leave a comment or email me seanthecoach@icloud.com

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Till next time