Objective and Outcome
by Victor Satei
They are the two most important aspects of your training session, aiming for an objective and evaluation of the outcome. Every part of your session should include objectives and outcomes, or you're simply wasting your time. Here I will explain.
First your session needs to have a main objective that you are looking to achieve, for example, your main objective may be to increase the speed of pressure in order to press higher up the pitch. In order to reach your main objective you will now have to create what I like to call sub-objectives. The sub-objectives are a number of objectives that need to be reached in order to achieve a positive outcome with your main objective.
What will you need in order to reach your main objective (to increase the speed of pressure in order to press higher up the pitch)?
- Immediate pressure on the ball from the closest defender (first defender).
- Immediate support from a second defender, preferably one closest to the first defender.
- Balance offered by a third defender, preferably the one closest to the second defender.
- Team compactness. Provided by condensing the lines.
- Immediate closure of all passing lanes. Provided by players positioning themselves quickly between any possible passing lanes.
- A higher defensive line. Starting with the goalkeeper who steps forward, followed by your back line.
Below is a visual of what we are looking for in our final objective if we were to bring it to the 11v11 match.
- Immediate pressure is offered.
- Support arrives.
- Balance is provided.
- The team becomes compact.
- All passing lanes are shut off.
- The defensive line moves forward beginning with the goalkeeper.
Now our aim is to transfer this knowledge to our players so they can execute it in the match. We design our session now using sub-objectives. Beginning with simple to complex, we provide the first objectives.
In a 4v4 match (both teams using a 2-2 formation), execute the following:
- Closest player provides pressure on the ball.
- Second closest player provides support.
- Provide balance and become compact.
Guide your players to successfully executing the first sub-objectives. Once they have reached a successful outcome, analyze and explain why the outcome was attained.
In a 7v7 match (both teams using a 1-3-3 formation), execute the following:
- Closest player provides pressure on the ball.
- Second closest provides support.
- Make certain there is balance in the team.
- Shut off any possible passing lanes.
- Push the defensive line forward beginning with the goalkeeper.
*remember to use offsides here.
If you are able to have your players reach these objectives in the 7v7 match, you can then look to progress on to a 9v9 situation and then possibly an 11v11 game. Of course there will be different factors that will decide the outcome and how you choose to move forward.
- Age - The age group you are working with will determine how to structure your training. If we are dealing with younger players here (ages 10 and under) I would look to keep it in the simplest form, 4v4 with possibility of 7v7 at the age of 10, 11 and 12. If you are working with ages 12 to 14, I would suggest going no further than 9v9. If we are dealing with the older ages than we can look to progress to 11v11.
- Level of group - You must keep your objectives realistic according to the level of your group. If you push them too far they will become frustrated and disinterested, if it is too easy they will become bored and complacent. Make sure you set reachable targets and progress them to become more difficult once your players have demonstrated a thorough understanding.
- Players must relate what you do to the real game - If you want your players to become better at playing the game, they will need to deal with REAL game situations and exercises that are relative to the game. Explain to players why they are doing what they are doing, set clear objectives, and analyze all of your outcomes. After analyzing outcomes, make sure to have a clear understanding of why the outcome was either positive/negative. If negative - how can you fix it? If positive - what made it work? And how can we achieve the same objective in the full match?
Please note that each training session you do may require you to make adjustments. There are a variety of conditions you can implement in order to increase/decrease the difficulty of reaching the desired outcome, such as: Increasing/decreasing the size of an area, overloading of players on one team, limit touches on the ball, include support players, introduce one or more neutral players, etc. There has to be a 'flow' to the session, if you don't feel the players are gaining opportunities to learn and/or there lacks a sense of 'flow' it means you probably need to adjust something.
I cannot stress enough the importance of objectives and outcomes in training. It is imperative that coaches set objectives in training so players can continue to progress and learn. Please remember, that although I've decided on the topic of increasing the speed of pressure in order to press higher up the pitch, to demonstrate the points I am trying to get across, the same principles apply for any topic and every training session you deliver. Bottom line is, the objectives (and sub-objectives) that we set, allow us to reach our goals and the outcomes of trying to reach these objectives are what will in turn decide our fate.