by Greg Maas
ACTIVITY #1
Set up: Begin with two goalkeepers positioned in the penalty
box, and two target players (i.e., outside backs) positioned outside
the penalty box near the touch-lines. The coach is positioned
centrally approximately 40 yards away as shown.
BackPass1
Instructions: Play begins with the coach passing the ball back to
the goalkeeper. The goalkeeper must then play to ball to one of
the wide players. Vary the service allowing one touch or forcing
two touch decisions on the ball, in addition, flight or chip long
balls in the air that the goalkeeper must control first. Rotate
goalkeepers every 2-4 repetitions.
Coaching Points: Decision to use one or two touch; Weight and
accuracy of the pass; Communication between the goalkeeper and
defenders; Playing the ball away from pressure to the opposite
side.
ACTIVITY #2
Set up: Begin with two goalkeepers positioned in the penalty
box, and two target players (i.e., outside midfielders) positioned at
midfield near the touch-lines. Attacking players (in Green) are
added to the exercise to pressure the ball from the corners of the
penalty box as shown. The coach is positioned centrally
approximately 40 yards away as shown.
BackPass2
Instructions: Play begins with the coach varying his service (i.e.,
on the ground or in the air) to the goalkeeper who receives and
controls the ball, and then distributes a long ball to one of the
outside midfielders. Once the goalkeeper is comfortable with the
longer distribution, add attacking pressure to the goalkeeper as
shown (one at a time). Rotate goalkeepers every 2-4 repetitions.
Coaching Points: Communication between goalkeepers and
outside midfielders (verbal and visual); Assess the back pass — if
the ball is played back very fast, the goalkeeper can drop to create
time and space to play the ball; If it is slow or short, the
goalkeeper must come forward to meet the ball; Decision to play
one or two touch based on pressure; Quality of first touch;
Distance and accuracy.
ACTIVITY #3
Set up: Begin with two goalkeepers positioned in the penalty
box, and three target players (i.e., outside midfielders and a
central forward) positioned at midfield and near the touch-lines.
Attacking players (in Green) are added to the exercise to pressure
the ball from central attacking positions as shown. The coach is
positioned in a deep, wide position approximately 30 yards away
as shown.
BackPass3
Instructions: Play begins with the coach taking one touch and
then playing the second touch back to the goalkeeper who
immediately plays a long, flighted ball to one of the three target
players. The attacking players may pursue and pressure the ball
once the coach takes the first touch. Rotate goalkeepers every 2-4
repetitions.
Coaching Points: Communicating and supporting the play by
adjusting supporting angles to the ball; Taking a good supporting
position based on pressure, passing angle, and distance from the
ball; Adjusting body position to receive and strike the ball
correctly; Clearing the ball “up and out” safely up-field or out-ofbounds
when under pressure.
ACTIVITY #4
Set up: Half field and full width. Two goalkeepers, two attackers
(1 and 2), three defenders (A, B, and C), and two target
midfielders (D and E). Target midfielders are restricted to the
midfield line, and the attackers begin in the central midfield and
may pursue and pressure the ball once the ball is served in.
BackPass4
Instructions: Play begins with the coach passing to either
defender C or B, who then plays a through ball behind defender A
and attacker 1. The goalkeeper must make a decision to come out
and clear the through ball or drop and support a back pass and
shown. The goalkeeper must use defenders A, B, or C to keep
possession, or can play a long ball to the midfield target players D
and E. If the attackers win the ball, they immediately attack the
goal. Add players to both sides as the exercise progresses. Rotate
goalkeepers every 2-4 repetitions.
Coaching Points: Communicating effectively with defenders and
midfielders; Organizing the opposite “weak” side of the field;
Assess the pressure to keep possession or to break pressure;
Safety first — “up and out” if there is every a question.
ACTIVITY #5
Set up: 44 x 50 area or as needed. With goalkeepers, create a 5 v
5 + 1 neutral player. Divide the field into thirds as shown.
BackPass5
Instructions: Begin by restricting players to their assigned third
of the field (2 v 1, 2 v 2 + 1, and 2 v 1). Play begins with one of
the goalkeepers, if the defending team wins possession, they must
quickly play the ball back to their goalkeeper before they are
allowed to go forward and attack. Progress to 2 v 2, 3 v 3, and 2 v
2 in each third. The goalkeeper is allowed to bypass the middle
third of the field if that is the best option to maintain possession
and/or attack effectively. Rotate players accordingly.
Coaching Points: Using good supporting positions and
communication with teammates to affect play positively;
Recognizing when to support play by moving up to join the
defenders both vertically and horizontally; Assessing when to
drop-off to create time and space so the defender can play the ball
effectively; Playing away from pressure and looking to maintain
possession, above all, playing safely; All of the above.
ACTIVITY #6
Set up: Cool down. 20 x 30 area or as needed. Create 3 lines
with players equally distributed in each line as shown.
BackPass6
Instructions: Designated a “Team Captain” for the cool down
exercises. Players begin by jogging back and forth between the
cones. Players progress by performing various dynamic exercises,
flexibility movements to include, but aren’t limited to: skipping,
lunge walks, squats, toe touches, leg swings, side-stepping,
grapevine, gate (groin) movements, knee hugs, heel kicks, etc.
Reduce heart-rate. Final stretch.
Coaching Points: Reinforce the importance of the back pass;
Review the session; Remind players of upcoming training, games,
or events.

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