Planning a Training Session

As we have mentioned before, planning a training session is very important.  There is no worse feeling than standing in front of a group of players and having no idea how to proceed because we haven't prepared properly.  It makes us look pretty stupid and also wastes the time of the players who have turned up for training.  So what do we need to do to prepare?

The first things we need to consider are:

- When and where is the training session?

- What is the age group and the standard of the players with whom I will be working?

- What is the focus of the session?  (i.e. is it based around a skill like passing, is it preparation for a match and mainly tactical training, etc.)

- What equipment will I need?

- How many coaches will be present?  How many players am I expecting?

- Do I know on what kind of surface we will be training?

- How long will the session last?

- Are there any health or child protection issues to take into consideration?

- Is a risk assessment required? (Further information on Risk Assessments will be provided later in the course)

After we have taken these things into account we then need to prepare a session plan.  At Onside Soccer in the U.K. we produce new session plans for every training session based on the factors listed above.  Sessions are prepared online and distributed to each coach attending the session a few days in advance.  It is then their responsibility to learn the structure of the session and then deliver it as closely as possible.  Variations can occur as sessions progress but we have a main focus each day and we try to adhere to the plan as much as possible.  So what does a regular session plan look like?  We have included a sample below:

Basic Diagrams to illustrate visually each drill.  This immediately creates a picture in the Coach's head as to roughly what the drill will look like.

Basic description of how to split up the group, set up the equipment and a description of what the players need to do.

Coaching points (what are we looking for as coaches) and Progressions (how can we advance the drill from simple to more complex?)

We appreciate that, of course, it may not be possible to produce computer generated plans.  The sample above is for illustration purposes only and to give an idea of what should be included.  In reality plans can be handwritten on a piece of paper and used only as an aide memoire for the Coach, and this is equally fine.  The point we want to make is that, whatever format you use to, it is important to have a plan that is age and ability appropriate, that follows a clear structure and pathway, that is challenging and pushes players but is not impossibly difficult and that achieves the targets you have set out to achieve.