MBP Coordination Circuits

Hello everyone, and welcome back to Barcelona, Spain.

As I mentioned in the previous post, we have completed the 168 tactical fundamentals pertaining to the individual, line, and team as a whole (starting game zone, building game zone, and finishing zone).

Okay, so now we have all of this information on the optimal responses for given situations that occur over and over in matches, which is great but we (coaches) must now create an optimal learning environment for the players (training sessions).

Dr. Rude explained to us that a training method is the choice of a path to follow in order to reach a particular objective. He continued by explaining that a method allows the coach to take the team towards objectives without “running in circles, stopping, or getting lost in the process”.

One thing that Dr. Rude told us really stood out in my mind. After explaining the importance of a training methodology, he said, “If we represent the method correctly, that is, if we design training drills, we can guarantee an optimal training process”. He continued on by saying, “In reality, the coach cannot teach anything, the training drills will teach everything.”

The reason why Dr. Rude’s statement regarding the ‘training drills teaching everything’ stood out in my mind is because it is very different from the popular saying ‘the game is the best teacher’. I think there is a strong difference between simply setting up a ‘game’ verse creating an environment that teaches specific contents through playing the game. By using training drills to recreate scenarios that happen repeatedly throughout the course of matches, the players and team can become consciously aware of the situations in training, leading to intuitive (meta-cognition) executions during competition.

With regards to the specific training drills that the MBP Methodology teaches, I want to pay particular attention to the ‘coordination circuits’. The reason why is because there are many coordination circuits that are being released online by professional clubs and I think it is important to gain a better understanding of this type of training exercise.

Dr. Rude explained to us that if a coordination circuit is going to be utilized, the ideal placement of the exercise is in the ‘activation phase’. More specifically, the circuits could be with (basic) or without (specific) the ball. If the circuit is based around ‘specific motor skills’, the idea is for the players to activate individual basic fundamentals with the ball, essentially ‘activating’ those techniques before the main phases of the training session.

Since I am a better visual learner, let’s examine some of the content that is out there.

Below you will see a video of a AC Milan training session from 2013. In particular, I want to focus until the 8:42 mark. What are some of the details that you notice?

When I first analyzed the video clip, the first thing I noticed was that the ball was not included, meaning the circuit is focused on basic motor skills. As you can see, each group of players are executing different basic motor skills such as coordinating steps of hurdles or in/out of boxes, in different planes of motion. More importantly, the coach decided to utilize competition in the circuit, most likely in an effort to increase effort and physical gains (I will come back to this).

Now, in the next video clip, you will find another coordination circuit by AC Milan. Specifically, pay attention from the 1:29 mark until the end. What are some of the differences between this video and the previous one?

The biggest difference from the first video is the fact that the ball is involved, meaning the circuit is focusing on specific motor skills. As you can see, the players are working on dribbling actions with the ball, accuracy on passes, shooting, and other specific motor skills. With that being said, the coaches at AC Milan decided to create a circuit combining specific and basic motor skills, and as Dr. Rude explained to us, that decision is up to the coaching staff.

I previously mentioned that coaches can utilize coordination circuits to increase the physical (fitness) levels of the players. Dr. Rude explained to us that a clear understanding between the head coach and fitness coach must exist in order to appropriately train (prepare) the players for the demands of the games. The idea is that the ‘activation’ phase of the training session is a great time for the fitness coach to work on specific physical components that is difficult to improve within the context of a game-related exercise.

If we look back to the first training video of AC Milan, one could say that the fitness coach wanted the players to improve their repeated sprint ability within the context of lateral motor skills. With regards to the second training video, an assumption could be made that the coach wanted to improve the player’s aerobic fitness base within the confines of a specific motor skill circuit.

There is no question that I developed a stronger appreciation for the complexity of coordination circuits and training exercises as a whole after Dr. Rude’s lesson. One of the biggest takeaways from the lesson is the idea that the coach must be consciously aware of each training exercise prescribed. The reason I say that is because often times, the internet can be mislead coaches towards using exercises that do not have any contextual meaning in relation to their game model. Dr. Rude explained to us that the exercise design must be directly related to the tactical fundamentals within the coach’s game model. By utilizing tactical components as the building blocks for training exercises, the players and team will be able to transfer the knowledge from the training field to the match with fluidity.

Well, there you have it. After 11 weeks, I can finally share information regarding the MBP training methodology. Next week, I will be able to provide more insight as we will be attending live training sessions, in addition to the lesson by our next guest coach.

Thanks for reading.

Twitter: @BrettUttley & @TOGSoccer

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