Waltham, MA, May 2nd, 2018: On what is hopefully the final cold and dreary Monday of the season, GPS Staff gathered at Veterans Field in Waltham to participate ins our weekly Professional Development sessions.
As usual, there were two sessions on the day, each being led by a fellow GPS coach. The opening session dealt with progressive possession aimed at the U15 and above age groups. The session emphasized how to move through the 3rds together, breaking lines by either dribbling or passing. The session also can be given a defensive perspective as well, highlighting how a team in possession can prevent counter attacks.
The opening drill was a 4v1 rondo drill in a small box which required the players in possession to complete 5 successive passes before advancing to the next box, there were 3 in total. Players earned points for each time they reached the end of the ladder of boxes and came back.
The defending player in the middle would attempt to win the ball back but needed take the ball out of the box in order to become part of the possession team.
Progressions for the drill could see each box having a specific rule, such as forcing players to one touch the ball in one box etc.
The second drill was a micro-possession drill with the aim for players to advance the ball from one side to the other via balls that break the line. The drill was set up in a large box divided by a line going down the middle, which had lines of cones randomly put along it in order to hinder passing lanes.
Two neutrals were positioned at either end of the box to assist the team in possession. Advancing across the middle line and into the next box is what earned teams a point, however the two neutral players could not pass to each other and a player could not pass from one half to the neutral in the other half to score. All points needed to be scored via passes into the next box to a teammate.
Progressions on this drill can see players forced to advance from one half to the other via dribbling or require a certain amount of passes before breaking.
The final drill was played on an entire half of the field. A team of 5 defenders, plus a GK, were forced to build out from the back while being pressured by 3 strikers. They were required to complete 5 passes before finding the attacking mids behind the pressing line. The attacking mids would then pass back to the oppositions #6 forcing the team of 5 defenders to quickly transition into defense, while the opposing team attempted to score.
Some progressions for this drill would be to add players in certain areas of the pitch to create more pressure on the team of defenders passing out from the back or to have the oppositions #6 sit back deeper to provide a different scenario for the defenders stepping up.
The second session of the day was geared towards the younger players at GPS and was focused on attacking at speed.
The opening warmup required players to work in a team of 3 to complete various technical challenges. There were 4 stations, each one requiring a different technique or set of moves to be completed. Players needed to successfully complete the technical challenges a designated amount of times without dropping the ball in order to advance to the next stage, which progressively got more and more difficult.
The next drill saw players set up at each corner of a large box. Both players on the ball would drive through the center of the box to the player in the corner opposite of them. When they reached the cone they would leave the ball for that player to then quickly pass down the side of the square where the process would begin again. The drill encouraged players to have a positive first touch that helped them accelerate through the box. Throughout the drill, the passing/dribbling direction would be randomly changed, with the players left to their own devices to all get on the same page. Various moves were also added into the drill.
The session ended with a 3v3, plus 2, small sided game. The field was split into two halves with players locked into their zones. The section of the team in the defensive half could not dribble into the next half instead being forced to pass to their attacking players to advance. There were two offensive players on either team that could only enter play when their defense won the ball back. This was done in order to create instant overloads.
The drill focused on speed, with the goalkeeper being integral in starting movements quickly. Various progressions for the drill include allowing defenders on the ball to drive into the attacking half, creating even more of an overload or limiting the time the attacking team has to score once they enter the attacking half.
GPS staff participate in Professional Development sessions every week, with every session being run by fellow GPS coaches. Staff use these professional development sessions to exchange ideas and to grow closer as a group, ensuring that everyone is in-line with the club's identity.
Also who doesn't like to start the week with a bit of time out on the field?