“Today, I want to let them play. I want them to have as much fun as possible.”

This is what I had in my mind before planning the second training session of the last week for my U9 team.

On the other side, every single training session must include useful objectives. Young players must grow up every day; so I can’t let them play just for the sake of it.

I tried to create a one set-up training session to let them playing hiding technical skills coaching key factors and player tactical stuff with and without the ball together with cognitive requirements.

It was a sort of experiment, as I was sure they were able to carry out a part of the session, but asking myself if they could had been able to fix issues like move off the ball and play with peripheral vision while dribbling, passing and receiving.

Who is the player everybody of us recognizes as the best “move off the ball and peripheral vision midfielder“? Xavi Hernandez had come to mind.

I must say that the result was excellent; they had much fun, despite finding difficulties in some part, from a pace point of view; but I saw them giving all their best to carry out all the variations at the highest level possible.

12 players were divided into 2 groups of 6 and paired in numbers from 2 to 7, with a ball each.

In the first part, as warm-up phase, they had to dribble the ball in many ways (inside, outside, right foot, left foot, sole, etc.), just as essential ball mastery and technical skills.

Then they had to look at the team-mates, while dribbling the ball, adding a principle of peripheral vision awareness.

A third step saw the players involved in a high cognitive load exercise as they had to decide the right action after a signal.

The second part of the training session was focused on passing, moving off the ball to be passing options, receiving with the right body shape and combinations.

By the way, my main objective was to link basic tehcnical skills, that too much aften are considered as seprated from player tactical principles, with moving off the ball and peripheral vision that sometimes it is not considered as an important young player skills, but it can be added as a sort of game and fun requirement.


U11 – U13

12 field players


Dribbling, passing and receiving

PLAYER TACTIC: move off the ball / peripheral vision

TEAM TACTICS: passing and receiving combinations

SECONDARY OBJECTIVES: to escape the marker and passing in behind the pressure lines

EQUIPMENT: cones, balls, bibs

PLAYING AREA: 45 x 30 m (divided into 3 parts 15 x 30 m)

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