Working with Positional Groups
Field size: half field
Number of players: full team; split into positional groups
Age range: 14-16
Description: Split the team into two even groups with equal number of defenders, midfielders, and forwards on each team. Setup three zones in the field with defenders, midfielders and forwards facing one another in each zone. Forwards play against forwards, midfielders against midfielders, and defenders against defenders.
Don't let other players move into another zone. Players most stay in their zone. Use the zones to work on different styles or aspects of play - rotating the ball from one side of the other in defense, quick short passes amongst the midfielders, and players upfront making quick turns or playing one and two touch soccer. If you want to work on getting the ball forward, defenders can bypass the midfield and play the ball directly into forwards.
Setup different rules, where forwards have unlimited touches and defenders have only two touches. One team might play passively for a period of time to work on patterns of play, for example. Where you want your players to play the ball in a certain direction or to a certain player when they receive it. Forwards might let the ball run to the other forward and then turn to get it. Midfielders might play a one two with another midfielder or do a dribble exchange. Players have to do a certain type of combination play before making the pass into the next zone.
This drill also setups up duels between the forwards, midfielders, and the defenders of opposing teams. In many ways, you want to get players used to challenging the player who is starting ahead of them, so have the starting team play against a second team. This fosters competition and gets players ready for what it's going to be like in college and the pros. Where there's always a player who's ready to take another players position.
Equipment needed: Cones and practice vests.