Midfield receiving and speed of play session – David Robertson

DOTD# 73 is a session looking at midfield receiving and speed of play from David Robertson. Today I tried this session out with a good group of players. There was some disparity of talent and physical stature to deal with but I was confident this session would incorporate everyone effectively.

Due to the timing, logistics and numbers of the particular camp I am working at I opted for a different beginning practice. As a warm-up had already taken place I set up a 6V6 + 2 with 2 balls with the target of ‘can you get and keep both balls for 10 seconds?’ which we ran for 10 minutes.
I did this to get these players into the mindset of possession and to introduce some of the content of this session without much instruction at least to begin with.

Following that, I ran two sets of 4V2 on either side of the ‘river’ and 2 neutral players in the middle area. Still running with 2 balls the practice objective here is to win the ball back in the ‘2’ and transfer through the middle area to the ‘4’. 1 pt was awarded for doing this using the neutral in the middle, 2 pts if the switch ball was played directly to the ‘4’. Games were played, first to 20 points.
I allowed defenders to make their own choices as to when to switch with any of the ‘4’ from their team to keep the tempo up and the attacking players working. The neutrals were asked to make sure that they were consistently an option for the defenders, upon winning the ball, to be able to clearly get a pass into them.

As there were often moments where 2 balls were with either of the ‘4’s, I introduced another condition where a third defender could enter to make it 4V3 until at least 1 ball had been recovered. This kept things moving quickly.

To progress this on after a natural end to a game, I now said that players could go anywhere within the area. Points would still be gained the same way but in both directions. Neutrals were given the challenge of transferring the ball on as quickly as possible with a point system of their own and were competing against eachother.

Though this began chaotic enough it soon settled down and interestingly enough the two neutral players enjoyed a lot of freedom in the middle section as before. Once one or two players realised that they could challenge/intercept the neutrals then the game became a different animal. There was some good fluidity and quick exchanges of passes but equally some moments where I was able to speak to individuals about their positioning in order to receive the ball and/or the length of time spent before releasing the ball.

With this group of players it was I think important to offer up a less directed session as it gave the top players of my group a chance to express themselves and those who aren’t of the same ability plenty of opportunities to touch the ball and experience the game.

As a result my session today is a little removed from David Robertson’s above but the content was inspired by it. I look forward trying David’s session out again closer to the real thing when I again work with teams rather than individuals on summer camp.

Any questions please do ask, I’d love to hear thoughts, suggestions etc

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