With pre-season just around the corner, we thought we would share some of the activities from the Members only area. Pre-season is a time when coaches can work with small groups on skill development and set the tone for the remainder of the season.
The goal of these activities is to maximise skill development and be more efficient when training.
The main philosophies with these activities are;
Small groups for maximal touch
Quality and efficient activities
Have a purpose
Have other coaches helping with the session, rather than just one main coach
The overall goal for our junior players is to make sure they are getting the most out of their time at footy training. We want players leaving their junior careers with fundamental skills good enough to convert into any level of senior competition. Regardless of talent level, every player should be given the maximum opportunity to achieve their highest amount of skills.
Take a look at the follow video’s, and maybe you could implement them into your training in the future. Our membership site already has over 150 activity video, and more are added each week. Click here to find out more!
Colour Grid. This activity ensures lots of touch and can be modified with a range of skills.
Handball Criss Cross. Great for warm-ups!
Kick Slide and Bounce
Multiple Grids. An example of running small groups within a big group
This article will go over some of the best activities to use when trying to develop your forwards. Furthermore, in doing these activities you will also be working on your defenders’ techniques and positions. Most of these activities require both attackers and defenders.
Remember to always rotate your players back and forth between being attackers and defenders as the overall development of the player is extremely important. A lot of AFL players get drafted to play certain position and are converted to another during their first few years.
Most of these activities have small numbers and can be implemented differently into your training times. You could have multiple groups doing the same activity all around the ground. You can use it as one of your rotations along with other activities in a circuit.
This week we will briefly talk about communication from your players. Communication from your players is important for many different reasons. We are going to break this down into two main areas:
Communication on the field to players
Communication to coaches
Helping your players improve in both these areas will not only help your players on the field, but also help your as a coach. At all levels of sport, players have different communication techniques and skills, so making your players aware of their own individual traits and personalities can help your team as a whole.
Communication from players on the field
Players on the field need to communicate well to each other in order to work as a well organised, successful team. Teaching your players to use their voice more in certain situations on the field will not only help themselves, but their teammates around them.
Two way talk – This is not a new concept, but not often used in junior footy. What we mean by two way talk is to have players not only calling for the ball, but also calling out the name of the player they are passing too. For example, if you have the ball, you will call out the players name you are wanting to pass to. This helps the receiving player understand the purpose and intention of the ball carrier.
Additionally, communication around stoppages and around general play will also help your players. Teaching players to always talk when the ball is close to them will help all their teammates around them. If a player gets a clearance, make sure players around them are telling him/her how much time they have or how much room they have before they need to distribute the ball.
Another great example of important communication is players who are around stoppages. There quickly needs to be verbal and non verbal communication about the where the ruck will try and tap the ball, and also communication about match-ups.
Communication from players to the coaches.
As many of you coaches are aware, to best help your players, you need their feedback so you can learn from them. Getting your players to communicate their ideas, concerns, positives and negatives to the coach can help the team as a whole.
Some ways in which to seek feedback from your players are to use surveys after each game, or throughout the season. These can be as simple as a one small sheet of paper handed out after the game which can be delivered back to the coach at the next training session. Reviewing the answers to these questions can help you build your knowledge of what your players want or what they are having concerns with.
This can then lead to face-to-face communication in which is important for your players to learn. Get your players to understand that feedback to the coach is welcome. Get them to tell you what they enjoy about the game or their position. Moreover, get them to tell you what they do not like. Again, you want to use this information to make you a better coach to ultimately help with the team’s success on-field and success in skill development.
These diagrams can assist with your set ups for boundary throw ins at almost all levels and age groups. Making your players aware of tactical differences in the game contributes significantly to their overall development.
Take a look through the diagrams below
With this boundary throw in set-up, we want to have all your players in front of their opponents on the ruck side of the opposition. This set-up would predominantly be used in the attacking half of the ground. The nominated on-baller would attack the ball whilst their team-mates would block for him/her. The wing would be behind the ruck and could be used as an outlet to transition the ball forward. It’s still important to keep distance amongst team-mates as to not clog up the contest.
Set-ups For Younger Players.
Again, like most of our other tactical set-ups, younger players should start thinking about their position on the field. Please remember to explain to your players the “why” of the set-ups so they understand the purpose.
A suggestion for a boundary throw in set-up is to have your players standing around the contest with at least two meters between them on the closest team-mate. Then you could make a team rule that the closest player to the ball goes for it, whilst the other players either block or receive the ball.
These skills can be worked on in simulated contests at training in two or three small groups with assistant coaches helping. Moreover, small and medium handball grids would also work well in working on creating space, blocking, handballing on 45’s and working as a team.
Our resident kicking specialist, Sav Rocca had an article published by the Herald Sun by reporter Jay Clark talking about the importance of specialized skills training in footy. At Vida footy, we belive in doing the extra work in making sure skills are developed at a young age. When Sav came on board, we continued our weekly Skills Sessions with great results.
Despite the increased professionalism in the game, Champion Data statistics reveal set shot goal kicking accuracy has got worse over the last decade.
But Rocca, currently working at the Blues this year, is adamant proper goal kicking coaching would improve a team’s scoring by about two goals a game.
“It’s only a couple of little things you need to tweak here and there and you can really get a huge benefit out of it,” Rocca told the Herald Sun.
“But it’s getting someone who can really pinpoint what’s going on when players are missing goals and really fine tune.
There are many ways to coach. Different techniques, visions, goals, values and communication methods. The end results of whatever coaching methods we use is usually measured in the success of the pre determined goal at the start of the season. In senior footy this is usually measured in a Premiership Flag, for juniors it should be about development.
So how do we try and develop junior players so they can move into senior footy, whatever level that may be, so that they can help bring success to their club. Well according to an article written in the In Daily, an independent newspaper in Adelaide, it’s about creating players who think more.
Creating players that think more drastically improves a players ability to impact a game of footy. We need to create thinking players throughout junior footy by mixing games based decision making activities throughout training sessions. The following articles explains this theory.
“The development of ‘thinking’ players will create better team performances and ultimately make Australian Rules football a much safer and enjoyable game for juniors, according to sport experts at Flinders University.
Game-based coaching and game-play practice sessions give junior and senior players alike the chance to be more tactical, to play with purpose and respond more adeptly to the dynamics – and hazards – of the game, says Flinders University coaching analyst Associate Professor Shane Pill, who advises AFL and other leagues around the country.
“Compared to traditional training, which focuses on repetitive drill-based practice, the game sense approach gives players the skills to make better moment-to-moment decisions in a complex and dynamic sport,” says Associate Professor Pill, co-editor of Advances in Australian Football, a new in-depth look at the Great Australian Game.
“Drill based ‘off the line’ training can develop inattention ‘blindness’ that limits players’ perception decision-making and ability to play according to the realities of the game,” says Associate Professor Pill from the Sport, Health and Physical Education (SHAPE) Research Centre at Flinders University.
Now acknowledged as the preferred approach of the AFL coach development department, he says Hawthorn’s award-winning senior coach Alastair Clarkson is a great supporter of the game-sense approach.
“The view of the three-time premiership coach is that young footballers right down to under-10s are being subjected to far too many training drills and not enough football. As a result, young footballers being drafted into AFL clubs not having adequate decision-making skills.
“But the game at the elite level is not the only concern.
“Teenagers should be learning how to play the game by playing it – and learning to enjoy it,” Associate Professor Pill says.
These tactics, along with advances in player selection, player movement, sport medicine and nutrition, are adding to the evolution of the great Australian game, says SHAPE Research Centre director Professor Murray Drummond, co-editor ofAdvances in Australian Football.
“Over time, the game of elite Australian football evolved from a community-based sport to what is now – entirely professional amidst a billion-dollar industry that has enormous social and cultural influence,” Professor Drummond says.
“This book is unique in that it delves into the social, scientific and coaching aspects of Australian football, from elite player level to community ‘grassroots’ engagement and junior player, Indigenous and women player development.
“It explores, challenges and highlights the significance of Australian football in Australian society, as well as the enormous changes that have occurred within the sport since the early 1900s when clubs were starting to emerge.”
The role of elite football in defining masculinity and football club culture is examined in another chapter by fellow Flinders University Sport, Health and Physical Activity lecturer Dr Deb Agnew.
“My chapter, ‘Becoming a star: life as an elite Australian footballer, identity construction and withdrawal from the spotlight,’ is based on research with 20 retired footballers,” Dr Agnew says.
“There is strong evidence to support the influence of Australian football in the development of masculine identity.