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In modern soccer game the integrated physical conditioning methods are increasingly spreading, that means that exercises without ball are being phased out to promote exercises in which physiological parameters and technical-tactical issues are involved together. In this frame Small-sided Games are widely used in weekly training programming. Small-sided Games are small training matches in a reduced field with a variable number of players and specific rules designed to make the exercise useful from both the physical and technical-tactical perspectives. These kind of exercises allow the athlete to practice in terms of physical conditioning of aerobic power, but the introduction of a ball and technical-tactical requests make it possible to act also on their motivational factor, thus maximizing dedication and, at the same time, reducing the perception of effort so that the training session is perceived as less hard. Small-sided Games are matches with reduced ranks and spaces in order to achieve improvements both in physical training and technique of the athletes, optimizing training times and developing tactic knowledge. Using a different number of players, changing the field size, the number of allowed ball touches, game duration and other variables, make it possible to pursue diversified objectives and, furthermore, to modify the training intensity. The starting type of Small-sided Games (SSG) consists in performing a 2 vs 2 game, which showed that the percentage compared to the maximum Heart Rate, is higher than in 3 vs 3 and 4 vs 4 games, as well as the number of ball touches, the number of successful dribblings, the number of efficient passes and shots on goal. Also the number of failed passes is lower compared to SSG performed 3 vs 3 or 4 vs 4. These results are included in the study Effects of Exercise Duration and Number of Players in Heart Rate Responses and Technical Skills During Futsal Small-sided Games and have been obtained by a scientific study on SSG played in four minutes, that is the minimum standard duration of this kind of training. This study, like many others, allows us to understand that by changing the field size, the number of involved players, the presence or absence of the goalkeeper, the number of ball touches, it is possible to influence both conditional aspects such as HR and haematic lactate, and technical aspects such as the number of passes, ball touches, tackles, scores, dribbling and other important parameters.

Small-sided Games / 7


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12 / Athletic training



Small-sided Game

DURATION 24 minutes

OBJECTIVES • Ball possession • Width and depth in possession • Oriented control • Defensive cover and balance


4 cones or markers 2 vests 1 goal Sufficient balls to ensure continuity

PREPARATION Playing area: 22×27 / 27×33 yards (20×25 / 25×30 meters) Players: 5 + 1 goalkeeper Series: 4 of 4 minutes with a 2 minutes pause of recovery between series


Create a playing area with the markers. Place a goal in the middle of one of the short sides. The team gets divided into two groups, one of three players and the other with two players wearing vests, the goalkeeper goes to the goal, while one of the players from the team in numerical superiority goes outside of the short side, on the opposite side to the goal. The game starts with the goalkeeper passing the ball to the outer player.


• The team in numerical superiority must try to score in the goal • The team in numerical inferiority must try to recover the ball and pass it to the keeper • Each of the balls that get recovered by the defenders and then passed to the keeper are worth one point 16 /Athletic training

• After a goal defenders start the game all over again with a throw in from the keeper towards one of the players belonging to the team in numerical superiority and who is outside the square • The player from the team in numerical superiority who passes the ball to the supporting player has to take their position • The supporting player who receives the ball has to start playing with an oriented control A possible development of the action: the outer player after passing the ball to a teammate, performs an overlapping run and liberates himself to shoot then at goal, they are served by a teammate in order to end the action.


1. The goal is valid only after the team in numerical superiority performs a combination decided by the coach: • Wall pass • Overlapping run • Cut • Pass • Feint or tricks • High pass 2. Limit the number of touches to three for all players 3. Limit the number of touches to three for the team in numerical superiority


• Ball possession: • Let players make their own decisions to perform a 1 vs 1 game • Rotate the positions of players on each series • Without the ball: • Ask for pressing to win back the ball as soon as possible • Defend the goal in a balanced way, following the collective defending standards • Strikers ready for positive transition • Goalkeepers cooperate with the team giving directions Small-sided Games / 17

Small-Sided games