The Barrier

Stage 1 Layout – your starting 4 defenders on matchday.


Stage 2 Action – Your starting 4 defenders form a barrier like so, should get a set of 4 players to try and make their way to the other side of the pitch, the 4 defenders have the job of stopping them, using the barrier to do so.

Stage 3 – Nice and simple routine to get your defence into the idea of keeping a shape and a line.

T Zone Test

Create a sizable T shape with four markers.

It is a race, the starting player sprints to the middle cone, touch the middle cone then side stepping to the left cone then continue the side stepping right cone then back to the middle again, the going as fast as possible moving backwards to the starting point. Then the next player in the group sets off.

Make sure you divide the team into two groups.

Ensure the players touch each cone throughout the race or they start again.

Coaching points.

  • Quick Feet
  • Movement
  • Coordination

Keeping everyone fit…

This is a fitness exercise that works with adults only, DO NOT use this in any youth development environment whatsoever.
A line of markers at the edge of the box, setup something similar at the half way line. Distance should work our approximately 35 yards, line of your players starting one of the markers and they have 7 seconds to make it to the other, when reached they have 7 seconds to rest then ready themselves to start again, and the running begins to bring the group back to the original starting point. That would be considered done twice, this routine is to be completed 8 times. Once a set of 8 is completed, the players get 120 seconds rest and subsequently start again.
75% speed.
6 sets of 8 is the usual philosophy but this can be adjusted based on your teams fitness levels and your own judgement.

Technique + Fun


This isn’t a staged drill this is simply used for a bit of fun…

Split the group of players into two groups.

Set the first group into a circle, they are challenged to complete as many of the set task without the ball touching the ground.

(header, knee, thigh volley) Keep note on how many are completed.

The second group of players job is to better that score.

Progressions – Add more challenging technique based touches.


Fitness is something that is very important in football, as you know if you aren’t fit enough you wont be able make enough of a difference, and that is a guarantee.
What you have to do is keep it in perspective though.
If it is entirely required for your squad to focus fully on fitness improvement, keep in mind something called the fatigue factor, your players body will indeed do its job in terms of performance when fit, but it needs time to recover during a fitness routine.
Maintain the philosophy of short and sharp, do not let any fitness session last for more than an hour. Minimum breaks allowed and maintain a high intensity level. Including these protocols (you will be hated for it) will see an excellent result.

Triangular Passing


4 players, 4 markers.



Lay out a square, each marker about 10 yards apart. 3 (red) players on 3 of the the markers to form an L shape. The 4th player in the middle of the square.


The 3 players pass it between themselves, passing to the left the remaining player must move to the other marker thus maintaining the L shape. The 3 players jobs are to work together to maintain the L shape, in order to make sure the player in possession always have the option to the left or to the right. The fourth players task is to put them under pressure.


Coaching Points

  • Accuracy of pass
  • Triangular shape
  • Concentration and Intensity.
  • If carried out well enough the player in the middle should have no chance of getting the ball.


Raymond Verheijen

Raymond Verheijen is considered a pioneer of fitness. His methods and philosophy is something that I like and want to use on so many levels, have a look at some more of his stuff @raymondverheije – the philosophy of “short and sharp” is something he follows closely and has a clear view of the science of fitness.

Control the possession

Not sure if this is an original or not, but I couldn’t sleep one night and I came up with the below. As it turns out there is a similar routine included in the Coerver Diploma.

Split your group of players into 2 teams, team A and B.  Team A starts with a pool of 5 balls, their job is to keep possession as long as possible. Lose possession and they move onto the next ball until the team run out. The whole thing is timed, and at the end the time recorded is used as a benchmark against Team B.

The two groups swap roles once recovery is completed and the process starts again.

Coaching Points.

  • Movement of players to create space
  • Communication
  • Ball retention

Keeping warm during football

One of the most important aspects of the match day is the warm up, ideally the routine should be uniform and regular each fixture, this ensures that each player knows the process and can focus on the muscle warming and preparation.

Reduce the time spent on warming up on a summer day, as the warmth will help the process. Spend more time on it on a cold day. Another aspect is to blend muscle stretching and football together, ensure your players get a good touch of a ball whilst gradually warming up all of the body.

Favourite Position

Always remain open minded to the potential versatility of a player, have a look at what the player can and can’t do. Maintaining that state of mind may work to your advantage, what is your problem, what alternative’s do you have at your disposal, think what alternatives do you have and what further alternatives are your afraid to use. Take the risk as there will be the reward. At what point does this disallow you from adding the player to the potential position?