“This is one of my last training sessions with the U16 team before I had to change and take charge of the older players of the U17 team last December 2019.”

I was alone, with 19 players (1 goalkeeper), and this was the last weekly training session before the usual Sunday morning match.

I am always used to divide the players into two groups to be sure my assistant has his role in every training session. To carry out an entire session all alone is not easy for me; maybe it’s a limit of mine, but I like to work with 10/ 12 players and then switch the groups with him. This way, all boys can carry out different practices throughout the session, and I think they can have more fun.

The first risk, when a coach must manage a session like this, is to create queues working on technical skills or to let them play without a specific objective.

I fixed these issues, getting into the pitch much more earlier than usual to set it up, creating different stations for general fitness at the beginning, technical warm-up, and final speed exercises.

The main part of the session was an 11 v 8 dynamic game with different objectives to keep the players’ awareness as much high as possible.

We may consider this session old styled, but I consider it one of the best run with my U16 team before I had to take in charge of the older boys; I remember how they worked, how they played and how they were involved in the goals of the dynamic game. Sometimes, old style doesn’t mean useless.

This training session was divided into four phases:

  1. Fitness exercises without the ball (3’ circuit in each station at the beginning).
  2. Technical warm-up (4’ circuit in each station).
  3. Dynamic game: 11 v 8 for in behind passes and depth coverage (45′ total time – 7′ working time for each variation – 2′ rest). 11 players team  shaped with the 1-4-3-3 and the 8 players team the 4-3-1. The size of the field can be varied; “my pitch” was 60 x 40 m.
  4. Speed exercises: 3 repetitions on each station (same stations of the first session’s phase).
  • 11 v 8 Dynamic game info:

The main pressing team’s (11 players) objectives were:

  • To press the opponents, being sure to be balanced behind the ball line.
  • To play a safe pass as first option as the team recovered the possession.
  • To play in behind the last defense line to finish in the mini-goal.
  • To shape a 3+1 defense line while the team had the possession

The main objectives of the 8 players’ team were:

  • To try to keep the possession, overcoming the pressure with few passes.
  • To finish in a regular goal as soon as possible.
  • To counter-attack when the ball was recovered.



19 players (1 goalkeeper)


Player general technical skills (warm-up phase)

PLAYER TACTIC: move off the ball in behind the opposition’s lines / control the ball under pressure

TEAM TACTICS: pressure, save the possession, in behind passing, counter-pressing

SECONDARY OBJECTIVES: exploit the numerical advantage / manage the numerical disadvantage

CONDITIONING OBJECTIVES: quickness and speed with an without the ball with short distances

EQUIPMENT: see the pdf file

PLAYING AREA: 60 x 40 m for 11 v 8 dynamic game (see the pdf file for all the other set-ups)

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