With snow in the forecast yet again, GPS staff met up at the Union Point Sports Complex in Weymouth to hold our weekly Professional Development sessions.
This week’s sessions were lead by Steve Schechter, who focused on changing the point of attack, and Matt Whittley, who focused on Goalkeeping.
Schechter’s session dealt with switching the point of attack and was geared towards the older age groups at GPS.
He opened his session with a quick activation activity where players would dribble diagonally from one cone to another before laying the ball off to the player waiting at said cone. The player at the very end of this dribbling ladder would then play a pass to a player approximately 20 yards away.
Steve addressed the coaches observing and pressed the concept of having an activation activity that can be tweaked in order to work in concepts that will be focused on during the session.
For example, rather than dribbling to the next cone, Steve had them pass it along the ground instead emphasizing each player have a quality touch around the cone before passing. The final player in the order still played a long pass to someone 20 or so yards away, but Steve made them hit a driven or chipped ball to the awaiting player, a technique that was key to the rest of his session.
The next drill saw a playing space created broken down into 3rds. Two teams would line up in both final thirds and play keep-away from the team in the middle third designated to defend. Players could not dribble out of their box, and passes along the ground were too risky so players had to pass the ball in the air to avoid the defensive team in the middle.
The final drill of the session pitted two teams of 6 against each other in a half field with 4 goals (two for each team to score on) spread out to the wide positions. The drill called for players to constantly switch the point of attack from side to side when they noticed certain cues, such as having a numerical advantage on one side of the field or seeing that the defense in front of them had been dragged out of position.
The other session, ran by Matt Whittley, focused on goalkeeping, specifically goalkeeping principles geared towards younger players.
The first exercise dealt with proper set positioning and making sure the players kept their heads high. Part two of the drill had players side step while catching a ball making sure to keep their body positioning in line with the ball and their head held up.
The second drill worked on diving and taking positive first steps towards the ball. It also went over the proper technique for getting behind the ball, with Whittley breaking down each move explaining why goalkeepers keep certain form when dealing with different balls.
The final drill of the session put all players in a 20x20 box with a 4x4 box in the middle defended by a goalkeeper. The object was for the players, divided into teams inside the 20x20, to move the ball around while trying to score in one of the 4 openings of the 4x4 box.
This session actually contained drills that will be part of a larger goalkeeping specific session that will be sent out to all GPS coaches in the near future where they will be required to use it with their respective teams.
We will be back next week with a recap of our next Professional Development, hopefully Mother Nature will be a bit more kind to us and we can get some fresh air while training, so make sure not to miss it!
If you would like to view/download the sessions used in Professional Development this week, you can find Steve Schechter's on changing the point of attack HERE and Matt Whittley's goalkeeping session HERE.