The 18th installment in our series on the favorite exercises of college coaches comes from Trevor Gorman. This is the second contribution that Coach Gorman has given us. He is the men’s assistant coach at Dartmouth College and has attained the NSCAA Premier Diploma (we were roommates on the course). The following is one of his favorite exercises:
½ Line Pressing Game
Two even numbered teams are made. The numbers can be flexible and the dimensions of the field should be adjusted to reflect however many players there are. A halfway line is marked out so that players can clearly see which half they are in. The game is played to 2 regular sized goals with goalkeepers.
One team is designated a team in possession. Their goal is to keep the ball away from their opponents. They are told that 10 consecutive passes equals a goal (this number can be lessened depending upon the level of the players).
The other team is the defending team. Their goal is to win the ball, and upon winning it attack the goal in the opposite half from where they’ve won it. The focus is on the defending team working as a unit to squeeze the play in to a smaller area and eventually win possession. After winning possession, encourage the team to play out of pressure and attempt to score as quickly as possible : emphasizing the transition.
Teams will play for a set amount of time and then switch roles : allowing each team to experience both parts of the exercise. Coaches may also choose to switch multiple times. Score should be kept throughout.
The ball should be given to the possessing team whenever it crosses an end-line (no corner kicks) but throw ins may be played as normal.