Session Plans

A collection of practical content including adaptable video session plans you can use at your next training session.

Self-organisation was a key process discussed at the Complex Systems in Sports Congress at Camp Nou in Barcelona. PDP co-founder James Vaughan discusses the importance of understanding and observing self-organisation with video and reflections from Barcelona and Sweden. It was the end of the day and that meant free play. However, this freedom felt very restricted, very one-directional, very narrow. It was almost as if the players had blinkers on; constrained to only see forwards. Dribble forward, tackle, loose ball, transition! Dribble forward, tackle, loose ball, transition! Dribble…

This blog contains two videos of a modified 3v3. In this session, PDP Lead Researcher & AIK Academy Coach, James Vaughan changes task constraints and encourages player reflection to create opportunities for learning with space for creative expression. A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to work with just 6 players for a whole session. This is something I really enjoy after years of coaching futsal. However, working with small numbers of players for a whole session can be daunting. In this blog, I want to…

In this Live Webinar replay, UEFA A licensed coaches Dan Wright and Dave Wright share some of their favourite small sided games for youth football. Dan and Dave present a number of practices, including lead in games, adaptations and reasons behind some of their top small sided games for discussion with coaches in the room. The practices presented are adaptable and the guys share ideas as to how they could be adjusted for various player numbers or ages, as well as tackling questions from guests…

In this PDP Live Session, AFC A licensed coach, Ric Marchioli leads his Brunswick City SC Men’s team in an 11 v 11 conditioning game. In this practice, Ric sets the players the task of playing out against varying levels of pressure with a focus on creating an overload in the build up, to progress to central areas – or the ‘control zone’ as it’s referred to. This was a pre season session for the team, so a conditioning element was factored in. This took…

In this PDP Live Session, we were delighted to collaborate with Brunswick City SC in Melbourne as their first team commence pre-season training. In this session, Co Coaches, Ric Marchioli and Ric Martinez deliver a session focussed on the Brunswick City SC first team style of play, namely playing forward. This is a great example of applying a playing principle in practice. You’ll see a 4v4+2 type practice which includes attacking, defending and transition, key elements to a good opposed practice. Watch how the two…

In this Live Session PDP Coaching Advisor, James Coutts builds on his previous work around forward passing, progressing his session with a group of U11 players to include a finishing component. This is the third part in a series of sessions focussed on playing through and around. This practice sees a continuation of the concept of the theme which allows players to find a pass to a player beyond lines who is tasked with scoring whilst defenders recover. The players have to choose the right moment to break lines…

In this PDP Live Session, PDP Coaching Advisor, James Coutts facilitates the second part of his session where the focus is on playing through and around opposition players. This session supports players understanding of space, utilising an 8 v 4 overload in favour of the possession team to find and exploit gaps. The defending team is incentivised with the opportunity to press or screen and subsequently score in the mini goals at each end. As with any PDP session, we strongly encourage you to take…

Ben Bartlett, Senior Youth Coach Educator at the Football Association, gives some fascinating real-life examples to explain the importance of aligning a team’s ideal model of performance with the capabilities and behaviours of its players and the practice of its coaching. There is a Japanese proverb, highlighted by James Kerr in his book ‘Legacy’, which states that “Vision without action is a day-dream; action without vision is a nightmare”. With this in mind, lecturer and coach developer Bob Muir proposed the model below, asking coaches…

Passing and receiving are fundamental skills for developing players. In this live session, PDP Coaching Advisor, James Coutts shares an interference passing practice warm up which leads in to a session focussed on split passes and some key principles. In this session, James gets this group of U11 players moving with an interference practice designed to give the players high repetition with some elements of traffic and decision-making. The focus of part one is to get the players switched on and working on a range…

In this article, PDP Coaching Advisor, James Coutts shares some of his favourite passing and possession practices which can be adapted for players across all age groups. Like many coaches I love using rondos or small-sided positional games consistently in my sessions. There are so many variations that can be used, each with a variety of outcomes. I have implemented all the sessions below with a range of age groups from six-years-old right up to senior players, adapting the practices to suit the group in…

This PDP Live Session is the final part of a practice focussed on transition with a group of grassroots U12 players. UEFA A licensed coach, Dave Wright presents an 8v8 Counter Attack & Transition game which is easily adapted for your environment. The focus of this session is to create a small sided game with a high level of repetition of counter attack (and defending counter attacks). Dave shares the session plan and some key constraints using thirds of a pitch which ensure opportunities for…

Coaches around the world are having to innovate with their session design as football training kicks off in some nations after the global pandemic. In this article, PDP Coaching Advisor, James Coutts shares some practical ideas for sessions that allow for social distancing. Like many coaches preparing to get back onto the grass I started designing my sessions for the various groups I’d be working with as football resumes with a whole new remit – social distancing. Most sessions I’d implemented prior to the Covid-19…

In this PDP Live Session, Brunswick City SC Head of Football, Ric Marchioli joins PDP Co-founder Dave Wright for a pitch side interview about his coaching approach and we observe a player-led warm up. This interview and live session provides insights into Ric Marchioli’s approach to coach and player development at Victorian NPL2 club, Brunswick City. Ric shares insights into the club’s methodology, coaching culture and the rationale for his approach as well as insights into a high tempo player-led warm up which focusses on…

In this full version of our Live Session with A League club, Melbourne Victory’s U20 squad, UEFA A licensed coach, Dave Wright delivers 3 practices with a defensive focus. Dave will deliver 3 parts to the session designed to keep a defensive theme throughout but allow all elements of the game to emerge in the form of attack, defence and transition. This is an example of taking a theme or topic and tying a range of practices together where the coach can observe outcomes from…

PDP Video Session Plans are adaptable sessions designed by academy coach, Dave Wright. All sessions show key focus points, set up, and progressions so you can use them in your next practice.

In the final part of our Melbourne Victory U20 sessions, UEFA A licensed coach, Dave Wright puts on a 10 vs. 10 phase of play. The theme of the session is defending deep in a 1-4-4-2 vs. a 1-3-5-2. Due to the number of players, the practice is executed in a 1-4-4-1 vs. a 3-5-2 with the goalkeeper playing as a keeper and centre back for the attacking team. The defensive team are tasked with staying compact and preventing split passes, trying to force play…

In this session UEFA A licensed coach, Dave Wright continues on his defensive work with the Melbourne Victory U20 group. The practice is designed to encourage players to collaborate and work together in units to block forward and split passes. Dave demonstrates some gradual progressions to allow attackers and defenders to move into opposition zones and create more chaos. The purpose of this practice ties in with the next session (a phase of play) which encourages players to be patient out of possession and choose…

In this practice, UEFA A licensed coach, Dave Wright gets out on the grass with a group of Melbourne Victory U20 players. Dave sets up three stations for the players to work on 1v1 defending in groups of four. The session is designed to recreate a turnover and get players thinking about defensive decisions, when to press and when to hold, whilst encouraging attackers to express themselves and be creative. Defenders are encouraged to work on character traits like persistence, and determination and you’ll see Dave…

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