Having a theme will give players both focus and clarity of what you want to teach and what they will learn. 

Carefully observe your team in action and determine: What is their major weakness?carefully observe

Key on this one topic or theme to be discussed, developed, and improved at the next practice.

Attack theme

Points to cover:

  • At the moment your team gains possession of the ball, players must consciously see what is happening on the total field.

  • “Ball in flight, look left and right.”

  • All players must be mentally prepared to become attackers at any time.

Points to cover:

  • Run without expecting to receive the ball.

  • Players should position themselves to help teammates and hinder the opponent.

  • Confuse opponent by changing direction quickly and unexpectedly.

  • Learn to conserve your energy.

Points to cover:

  • Consciously see what is happening in the immediate area. Put yourself in a position to receive/control the ball with minimum hindrance.

  • Mentally prepare your next movement according to the position of opponents and teammates.

  • Always step towards the ball. Do not wait for the ball to reach you.

  • Control and play the ball in one motion.

Points to cover:

  • An effective attacking player knows how and where to dribble.

  • Peek from the ball to opponents and teammates. Scan immediate area to find freeways made available.

  • Avoid keeping your head down, seeing only the ball.

  • Make controlled movements to deceive the opponent.

Points to cover:

  • An effective attacking player knows how and when to shoot.

  • Focus on finding open portions of the goal.

  • Distinguish between attempts that have a chance to score and those which do not.

  • Remember to pass the ball if a teammate is in a better position to shoot.

Points to cover:

  • At the moment the team loses possession of the ball, players must consciously see what is happening on the total field.

  • Find your goal to defend, then seek the ball.

  • All players must be mentally prepared to go on defense at any time.

  • Direct attention to the flow of the game and ignore distractions from on and off the field.

Points to cover:

  • Move to block the goal through proper positioning.

  • Prevent first attacker from moving directly at the goal with or without the ball.

  • Defending Third: Apply the greatest amount of pressure on the ball with the least amount of risk. No fouls!

  • Mid-Field Third: Apply greatest amount of pressure on the ball with a minimum amount of risk. Make play predictable!

  • Attacking Third: Apply the greatest amount of pressure on the ball with the most amount of risk. Take chances!

Points to cover:

  • All defensive moves are initiated from the Ready Stance. This position should be instinctively assumed whenever the opponent gains ball possession.

  • Mentally prepare to defend movement according to the position of the opponent and teammates.

  • If you are able to intercept the ball, do so!

  • The player nearest the attacker controlling the ball always becomes the first defender.

  • If the opponent has gained control of the ball, an effective defender prevents the opponent from turning toward their goal.

Points to cover:

  • Stop a dribbler from gaining superior positioning by “Shepherding.” Force the dribbler to move toward a less dangerous area or toward a teammate, just like a sheep dog does with sheep.

  • Peek: Glance from the ball to the goal. Scan the immediate area to find teammates, goal, or touchlines.

  • Keep eyes on the ball. Avoid looking at the opponent’s foot or body movements.

  • Take advantage of your peripheral vision to see what is happening around you.

Points to cover:

  • Stop a dribbler from gaining superior positioning by “Poking.” Make attempts at the ball with the front foot, similar to the jab in boxing.

  • Entice the attacker into making a mistake.

  • Mentally prepare your tackling movement according to the position of the opponent and the position of your covering teammates.

  • Ask yourself: Can/should I aggressively tackle the ball or wait for help to arrive. Make aggressive tackles only when you have a covering teammate.

  • Effective defensive players know how to shoulder charge. Lean on your opponent’s shoulder as you attempt to play the ball.

Next – 9 Step Practice