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Flipping the Field

February 14, 2013 in Coaching, Instruction, Theory

Some truely interesting ideas and concepts from NSCAA :

Vince Ganzberg, NSCAA Academy Staff Instructor, presents a unique concept coaches can implement into their practices.

Entitled “Flipping the Field,” Ganzberg recommends using technology to enhance a players ability to learn. “Flipping the Field” is based on a Khan Academy concept by flipping the classroom. The instructor (or in this case, the coach) sends the student a video to view online before the next session. Rather than using practice time to instruct the concept from scratch, that same amount of time is used for hands-on, enrichment-type activities. This then allows the student/player to learn at his or her own pace, as well as enhance matery learning (learning by practicing at home).

Ganzberg also covers several criticisms of this type of concept, including the increased amount of time the player is in front of a screen. However, he also points out that positives in “flipping the field,” such as:

- Inspiring players
- Educating players
- Increased one-on-one time at practice

Click below to view the presentation.

You can find additional presentations at the link below, as well as additional educational resources at our Online Resource Library. Articles available at the Resource Library include activities and full training sessions to use with your athletes.

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by Charlie

What are the Five P’s?

March 23, 2012 in Coaching, Instruction

When organising and leading my team into competition, I like to remind the players of  “The 6 P’s”, an adage used throughout the British military that is designed to help you remember it’s message.

Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Poor Performance

This ensures that all the players understand that they are preparing for something bigger and that there is something more to be aware of as they are training.

It will also help them (and me) to remember that there are 5 other P’s that are directly relevant to the team as a whole.

Passing, Possession, Position, Pace, Pressure.


The ball can move quicker than any player and the team that passes the ball quicker and more successfully will usually win the game.

The fact that football is played with your feet, means that passes on the ground are the easiest to control by your team mates and because there are 11 players on the pitch who are trying to reduce the amount of space you have to pass the ball, we can confidently say that the most likely distance for a successful pass is over (about) 10 yards (9.144 meters).

This is also a distance that everyone in our team should with practice and without opposition, be able to accurately and successfully complete 100% of the time.

I continually emphasize the point to my team, to keep passes short and to keep the ball moving as much as possible.


The ball is the most valuable item on the field, with it we can win the game, without it we cannot.

We need to ensure that when we have the ball, we make use of it to the best of our abilities and make decisions to use it in a way when factors on the field are in our favour.

It is important not to panic when we have possession and to keep the ball when we need to and move quickly to attack when the opportunity arises.

If we lose possession, we must work quickly and decisively to win possession back.


When we have the ball, we implement pressure on the opposition by taking the ball closer to the opponents goal.

When we have the ball, we create pressure on the opposition by implementing the attacking principles of play.

I advise my team that we should play football in the opponents half, to keep possession and pass around our opposition looking for openings to score in the opponents half is the safest place to play.

To do this, it is in our best interest to take the ball to the opponents goal line (the line that runs between both corner flags AND through the goal)  so that we take our opponents defenders as deep as possible, allowing us to play in even more space, in front of our opponents goal.

If the opposition does a good job of applying defensive pressure on our team, then we can release that pressure by playing back into our own half.

By doing this we are increasing the area of the pitch that we can play in. The more space there is on the field, the easier it is to keep possession.

Conversely, when we don’t have the ball, we work hard to regain posession and actively reduce the time and space that the opposition has to use the ball. If we have just lost possession to the opposition, we immediately press to win the ball back.



When our opponent has the ball, we are organized to fill space on the field as decided by our teams formation.

Often players are given a set position to fill, if your team is more fluid you may ask the players that are nearest to the empty spaces that need to be filled, to fill them as quickly as possible and ask players to communicate these difference from the default positions, so that all our players understand their situation.

When our team has the ball (remember our principles of play) we must understand where we are on the field and how our position and moving from one position to another, can benefit the man with the ball.  We might change our position to “create an angle” from which our team mate can pass to us.

We might also change our position to encourage the movement of a defensive player to come with us and create more space in an area of a pitch that we can exploit.


This is a requirement of individuals making passes and players timing their runs. When individuals make passes it is important that the pace and timing of the player to receive the pass is made such, that a player arrives as the ball arrives, or a has timed his run to beat the offside rule.

It is also relevant to the teams reaction as a whole, in a given situation.

For example, if our opponents have all eleven players between the ball (in our possession) and the goal, we should not as a team be too hasty to try to attack, but slow the pace of the ball in order to entice our opposition out of their defensive position.  When we have successfully created space by drawing an opponent out of their defensive position, we should be ready to see the opportunity and attack with pace at the weakness.

To see this in action, have a look at Brazil v Argentina in this futsal match below. Brazil keep possession, while Argentina efficiently defend. When one Argentina defender breaks ranks and weakens their structure, Brazil swiftly take advantage:

All of these ideas echo the ideas from Michel Bruyninckx, the Academy Director at Royal Standard Liege Football Club with whom I had the chance to discuss my ideas and philosophies.

Michel told me that he liked to sumarize his ideas for his team using the acronym MAT, which expanded stands for “Movement”, “Angles” and “Timing”.

An idea that is covered in “The 5 P’s”, but is much more specific to a key area of the attacking principles.

Michel was clear to point out that he encourages players to move the ball with their first touch. This has the effect of changing all the angles on the field of play, making options for the player on the ball and forcing the opposition to react.  This is one of the ways you can dictate the way your opposition plays.

We realted this little topic to the principles of attack, pointing out that “Movement”, creating “Angles” and “Timing” runs effectively as a team, encouraged Penetration, Depth, Width and Mobility (our principles of attack) , which leaves us with improvisation (effectively 1v1′s).

Michel then said something that was brilliant in it’s simplicity and will change the way I coach my players in 1v1 situations.

In a 1v1 you dribble to space, NOT to “take someone on”.

The point being made was simply this. When you are “locked down” in a 1v1 situation, you move, then your opponent must move. As a result you now have new space with which you can attack by either passing or dribbling.

The traditional idea of creating players that can do moves to “take someone on”, is flawed and ignores the simple principles of the game that have gone before a player got to his/her situation in the first place.

The game is an evolution of space and time and not a battle of one against another.

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by Charlie

“Go and get a drink!”

February 23, 2012 in Coaching, Fitness, Instruction, Theory

I coach 7 years old to adults and I like to keep the intensity high. I watch my players as they train and I like to make sure that they are pushing themselves and not just “going through the motions”.

At the end of a segment of the coaching session, after I have given the players some feedback on their activity, I usually shout “go and get a drink”. Too often I hear from some of the players, “I don’t need a drink!”

When I hear these words, to me it says “I do not want to play at my peak and I am happy with mediocrity!”

I think half of my players (of all ages) think this is just a time for me to put out some more cones and set up something new for them to play.

Well now I’m going to set the record straight courtesy of information from Peak Performance and “sports medicine” on

I’ll do the technical stuff later, but this is basic need to know.

When we perform in a game we want to perform at the highest level, when we train, we should try to do so at the highest level also. If our performance drops, we are not going to improve at the highest possible level.

Even low levels of dehydration have physiological consequences. A loss of 2% body weight (just 1kg for a 50kg person) causes an increase in perceived effort and is claimed to reduce performance by 10-20% A fluid loss exceeding 3-5% body weight reduces aerobic exercise performance noticeably and impairs reaction time, judgement, concentration and decision making. All things, I think we can agree, are required of us as players at our peak.

The Rules of Fluid Intake according to Peak Performance :

RULE NO. 1: The rate of passage of water from your stomach into your small intestine depends on HOW MUCH fluid is actually in your stomach. If there’s lots of water there, fluid flow from stomach to intestine is like a springtime flood; if there’s little water, the movement resembles a lightly dripping tap. Therefore, to increase stomach-intestinal flow (and overall absorption of water) you need to deposit a fair amount of liquid in your stomach just before you begin your exercise. In fact, 10-12 ounces of fluid is a good start. This will feel uncomfortable at first, so practise funnelling this amount of beverage into your ‘tank’ several times before an actual competition.

RULE NO. 2: To sustain a rapid movement of fluid into your small intestine during your exertions, take three to four sips of beverage every 10 minutes if possible, or five to six swallows every 15 minutes.

RULE NO. 3: If you’re going to be exercising for less than 60 minutes, don’t worry about including carbohydrate in your drink; plain water is fine. For more prolonged efforts, however, you will want the carbohydrate.

RULE NO. 4: Years of research have suggested that the correct concentration of carbohydrate in your drink is about 5-7 per cent. Most commercial sports drinks fall within this range, and you can make your own 6-per cent drink by mixing five tablespoons of table sugar with each litre of water that you use. A bit of sodium boosts absorption; one-third teaspoon of salt per litre of water is about right. Although 5-7 per cent carbohydrate solutions seem to work best for most individuals, there is evidence that some endurance athletes can fare better with higher concentrations. In research carried out recently at Liverpool John Moores University, for example, cyclists who ingested a 15-per cent maltodextrin solution improved their endurance by 30 per cent compared to individuals who used a 5-percent glucose drink. The 15-per cent drink also drained from the stomach as quickly as the 5-per cent one, though many other studies have linked such concentrated drinks with a slowdown in water movement.

RULE NO. 5: A 6- per cent ‘simple sugar’ drink will empty from your stomach at about the same rate as a fancy, 6-per cent ‘glucose polymer’ beverage, so don’t fall for the idea that the latter can boost water absorption or enhance your performance more than the former, and don’t pay more for the glucose-polymer concoction.

RULE NO 6: Contrary to what you’ve heard, cold drinks aren’t absorbed into your body more quickly than warm ones. However, cold drinks are often more palatable than warm ones during exercise, so if coldness helps you to drink large quantities of fluid while you exert yourself, then keep your drinks cool.

RULE NO. 7: Swilling drinks during exercise does NOT increase your risk of digestive-system problems. In actuality, most gut disorders that arise during exercise are caused by dehydration, not from taking in fluid. Dehydration induces nausea and discomfort by reducing blood flow to the digestive system, so by all means keep drinking!
So what is actually happening to us ?

Exercise produces heat. Prevention of overheating occurs by transfer of heat to the skin by vasodilation of the cutaneous circulation, and by the cooling effect of evaporation of sweat.

Although sweat rates are highest under conditions of high-intensity exercise in heat and high humidity, total fluid losses can be appreciable in very prolonged events, whatever the conditions. Unless fluid losses are replaced by drinks, sweating causes progressive depletion of circulating blood volume, leading to hypohydration (commonly called dehydration) and a thickening of blood. This places a strain on the cardiovascular system, with a rise in heart rate in order to maintain adequate blood flow to exercising muscles and vital organs. As blood volume depletes, blood flow to the skin is reduced. As a result, sweating decreases and heat dissipation from the skin is impaired, causing body core temperature to rise, potentially leading to heat stress, collapse and even death.

So now you know!



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