This article is the description of the field sessions of two courses for coaches that I recently presented as relator, in Italy.

I proposed some ideas for youth training sessions which I believe they can be useful to create good technical and tactical skills for young players.

The final goal is to make them think with attacking mentality, even when they are not in possession of the ball.

The session is organized as follows:

  • Warm-up game and variations to coach how to escape from the marker and how to mark the man on
  • 1 v 1 duels where the forwards must finish under pressure with different timings (the defender is marking on, the defender is positioning , the defender is recovering the space)
  • 1 v 2 duels where the forwards must finish under pressure with different timings of two defenders  (defenders marking and doubling the mark, defenders already in position and on late, defenders while recovering the spaces)
  • Surprise 2 v 2 or 3 v 2 final game

I think football is a very concrete event, that should be interpreted like “here and now” on the field.

All the players (and coaches) face unexpected situations and moments, even nowadays and even if the technology is applied to the training sessions and to match analysis.

To create a young, confident, positive player, even without the possession of the ball, must be the main goal.

He has to be open minded, he must understand the moves, the teammates and the opponents too;

all this with is own vision, which remains unique and unrepeatable. This must be another ultimate goal of the youth academy seasons.

All these exercises are some basic ideas I try to run on the field with my players.

Image credits:

Youth Academy (U14-U18)

11 (1 goalkeeper)


Passing, Receiving

Feints, Free from the marker, Mark the man on, Defense placement, Tackle

Pattern of play

Finishing, Recovery of the ball

cones, balls, bibs, mini goals, regular goal

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