Where To Run Winter Training Sessions
As nights draw in and the weather turns bad, many coaches are unable to run their training sessions in the evenings without a change of facility. I have trained on many different iterations of astro-turf in many different types of facility, but my recently my preference has leant more and more towards indoor facilities. Indoor soccer is a great option for a couple of reasons:
Firstly – and very obviously – it’s dry and therefore players can stay warm. And whilst this is a very obvious thing to say, there are all kinds of knock on effects to your training sessions. You will have much better attendance, there’s no risk of postponed or abandoned sessions, players will be much more motivated and you can offer more technical information or allow time for discussions because you aren’t constantly having to keep players moving to stay warm (although you should try to keep things moving at a good pace regardless of the weather).
The second benefit comes from the style of play that indoor football encourages.
Because the surface is usually conducive to quick passing this is the type of game your players tend to play. Couple in the roof which can sometimes restrict elements of the aerial game, plus the fact that the pitch is often smaller than full-size, and some of the effective strategies in outdoor 11-a-side football become unavailable indoors. This forces players to improve their quickness, touch and movement. It also encourages more innovative play and experimentation.
I should add the caveat that 3G turf is massively preferable to hard floors because the movement of the ball is much more realistic on turf. There are a huge number of indoor turf facilities so I feel confident that you will be able to find one within your area. If, however, there isn’t this type of pitch, I still believe that the benefits of playing indoors are sufficient to consider hiring out a hard-floor court (if you do, buy a heavier futsal ball).
Small-sided games work in the same way; pairing down the game to it’s essential core to provide players with many times more touches of the ball, more 1v1 opportunities and more key goalscoring or saving chances than full-size football in the same amount of time.
Another essential benefit is that the skills required to be successful in a SSG of soccer are the same as the skills required for success in the larger game. Therefore technique and insight developed in small-sides games is transferable to 7 or 11-a-side football.
Have your players benefited from playing indoors? Or do you disagree and prefer training out in the open? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.