Activities to encourage quicker play

The following is a summation of coach Schellas Hyndman’s “Speed of Play” session held at the NSCAA annual convention on January 17, 2002 in Philadelphia.
When speaking of speed of play coach Hyndman said that speed of play deals with several areas including technical speed and efficiency, tactical speed, physical speed, and speed of thought and execution (decision making), but most simply stated speed of play emphasizes playing quicker. Coach Hyndman reminded coaches that the goal of speed of play in training is to replicate game speed; that is, place the players in an environment in which the execution of skills and decision making is that of the pressure of a game.

1. Possession 6(3+3)v.3

In the first activity, nine players are divided into three teams of three (Red, Yellow and Blue). Two of the teams combine for six attackers (R1-3 & Y 1-3) who attempt to keep possession from the other team of three defenders (B1-3).
Instructions to players: Keep the ball. If you or your teammate (same colour) makes a mistake to lose possession then your team defends and the other two teams keep the ball.
At first just let them play with minimal coaching.
Then make everything 2 touch- no more, no less. Requiring two touches emphasizes the importance of the prep touch. 2 touch requires the players to be thinking ahead of game because they must make decision about where they want to play with first touch (and eventually with pass) before receiving the ball.
Restrict players from passing ball back to player they received ball from- can’t play ball back to same player.
1 touch only.
Coaching points:
•Body Position
•Prep touch
• Technique and Quality of pass (accuracy of pass- including particular foot or side of player; weight of pass)
• Supporting runs off the ball
• Vision and communication

2. Possess to Penetrate: 3v3 to Targets

In the next activity three attackers (red) possess the ball against three defenders (yellow) while attempting to play ball to target on same team one situated at both ends (Red & Yellow). The targets can move from side to side but cannot defend each other. Targets can be used for support but cannot play to other targets.
Instructions to Players: Play the ball from end to end as quick as possible while keeping possession. The sooner you get the ball to a teammate the more difficult it will be for the opposition to get the ball.
a. Play
b. Targets play 1 touch
c. Person who passes ball to target then switches with the target who now plays on field. This forces player coming on the field to immediately think about playing ball forward.
Coaching points:
• Body Position when receiving ball (open up to field of play, or combinations like up, back and through when not facing forward)
• Emphasis quick play- efficiency of touches
• Team Shape- Diamond
• Vision
• Support runs off the ball

3. Possess to Score with Targets: 3v3 plus 2 Targets

Play three versus three to goal with two targets at attacking goal (the two targets at either side of the goal being attacked). Targets are limited to 1 touch. Eventually add flank players (one either side who play one touch for team in possession.
Instructions to players: Play quick with good vision.
                        a. Play
                        b. Score then keep it, start with own GK
                        c. Flank player for each team on each side added who cannot defend each other
                        d. Flank players defend each other
                        e. Flank players live on field making it 5v5 plus 2 targets
                        f. Targets players live on field making it 7v7
                        g. Two Touch restriction
Coaching Points:
• Same as above- emphasizing quick play
• Player with the ball should have options wide and long
• Receive ball in position so next pass is easy
• First touch must be to position so next pass is easy
• Look to play the ball early and long if it is on
• Keep ball moving- keep flow moving
• Build up Rhythm in until can go forward then play fast