Use of Position Specific Drills in Football (2023)

Use of Position Specific Drills in Football: Implementing a working methodology

Written By: Norbert Banoocy MSc,CSCS, S&C Coach & Sport Scientist

Use of Position Specific Drills in Football (1)

Implementing a specific training methodology can enable coaches to provide clarity to their players whilst also creating a learning environment for the longer period across a range of levels in the game. Recent data collection in elite and sub-elite sport has grown exponentially, as an increase in the use of technology in sport, and the professionalisation of sport science in soccer.

Irrespective of the seasonal phase (pre-season; in-season; end of season), understanding how to maximise performance is fundamental, but the planning and execution process is key to maximising the outcomes.

As highlighted in the recent literature by Allen et al., (2023) the demand for modern football continues to rise. In addition, the ever-increasing congested fixture schedule results in few opportunities to train players. Hence, it is becoming more and more important for applied practitioners to find ways in which they can better prepare players to withstand these demands.

In a recent review article by Hostrup & Bangsbo (2022), the authors explored various ‘intensified conditioning modalities’ to enhance performance amongst elite footballers. The weekly microcyle can be highly variable depending on when the matches are scheduled.

It is the job of the coaching staff to find opportunities within the microcycle to expose players to these intensified conditioning modalities to keep them fit throughout the season.

Hostrup & Bangsbo (2022) refer to these intensified training (a form of High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT) as Speed Endurance Maintenance or Production (i.e., SEM or SEP) type training.

The distinction between these two types of training is based on the work:rest ratio and the intensity in which they are conducted in. The SEP type training is geared towards enhancement of repeated high-intensity training, while SEM is aimed at tolerance and sustainment of fatigue during training.

Both of these methods have high applicability in elite footballing context.

TypeIntensity (%Max Speed)Duration (sec)W:RSetsReps
SEM – Long Intervals50-80%15-901:1-1:31-26-12
SEM – Short Intervals60-100%5-151:2-1:81-210-25

*Adapted from Hostrup & Bangsbo (2022)

Use of Position Specific Drills in Football (2)

While the context of the team and match schedule and the resources available dictates what type of training can be done in-season, utilizing SEM and SEP training can be very beneficial in improving players’ fitness as well as keeping their fitness throughout a long competitive season.

By identifying the style of play in relation to the Game Model, practitioners can better understand the running demands that are required of their players. As an example, Bradley & Ade (2018) identified physical activities with tactical purposes such as, recovery runs, breaking into the box, over/underlapping, pushing up the pitch, and running in behind, just to name a few. These categories provide the basis of looking at the game in relation to an integrated approach of all 4 dimensions of the game model (i.e., physical, technical, tactical, psychological).

Once these movements are identified, practitioners can then design specific drills that will have high utility in the following contexts:

  • Late Stage Return-to-Play for players coming back from injury
  • Top Up Runs – As a complimentary/supplementary approach in relation to the load requirements of various days within the microcycle
  • Position Specific Runs – Providing technical and tactical context to what each position may be required to do in different scenarios based on high intensity movement profile of the team
  • Adapted to fit different game formats – SSG and Transition games
  • Keeping substitutes fit in-season – compensation training for players not playing a lot of minutes on a regular basis
  • Youth Development – specifically players that are in transition to 1st team environment.

Examples of drills to fit requirements of different position(s):


Example 1

Drill to combine multiple players – Best fitted for a MD+1/+2 Compensation session for substitutes.

Use of Position Specific Drills in Football (3)

Use of Position Specific Drills in Football (4)

Example 2

Full Back – Top-Up Position Specific Run – MD-3/-4 Or Late-Stage Rehab

Use of Position Specific Drills in Football (5)

Example 3

Small Sided Game

Use of Position Specific Drills in Football (6)

(Video) POSITION SPECIFIC | Full Session | Training121

Planning Considerations

When planning your coaching content, it is imperative that a number of variables are considered which informs the volume, intensity and density of your coaching content over the course of the week and on the given training day.

Use of Position Specific Drills in Football (7)

Taken from ISSPF online football science courses: Physical Training & Soccer Methodology, training taper or tapering has many definitions & understandings but if you look into the concept in detail and apply it to both individual or team sports, you will see not only the sense of it from an academic perspective, but also through performance & results.

Reading the short article here, you can appreciate continued need to educate yourself in all aspects of the game. The game never stops progressing, developing and professionalising, and ISSPF values the need to educate individuals within the context of the game.

As a result of this, high-level football performance education and the constant training or upgrading of coaches, medical, technical and performance staff and even administrative staff, is a proven fundamental building block in the modern footballing strategy.

Developing the training content across the microcycle or training week highlights the need to influence the key outcome variables that include, but are not limited to the messaged below:

1. The Overall Aims of the Plan

  • Begin with the end in mind, what is the overall aim of the training process, the weekly objective and consequently the daily training content.
  • Knowing such aims and objectives serves as a reference for performance and provides a level of objectivity to determine the level of overall success of the plan.

2. The Coaching Philosophy of those Involved

  • In order to clearly and effectively deliver the coaching content of the training process, it is imperative that each coaches philosophy is considered.
  • This helps maintain a level of consistency in the delivery of training and facilitates strong communication of the overall aims and objectives of the training process.

3. The Athlete’s Ability to Perform

  • When planning the content of the training process, the athletes ability should be the cornerstone for which all training methods are considered.
  • It is important that the coach understands the capacity of the athlete on a given day i.e. – their current physiological & psychological level of performance and also their capabilities i.e. – their ceiling of performance.
  • Knowing the athlete’s capacities and capabilities on a given day facilitates the training process to work towards the overall aims and objectives.
(Video) POSITION SPECIFIC TRAINING | Joner Football Elite Camps | Outstanding

4. Training Session Variables

  • Training variables are what are manipulated during the planning process on an ongoing basis in order to adapt to the considerations mentioned above with the overall goal of achieving the given standards of performance.

Use of Position Specific Drills in Football (8)

What Next?

The demand for training load management experts, performance & coaching specialists in football & team sports is growing year upon year. Thousands of students & coaches are leaving university with a sport science degree, however many of them asking the key question – What now? How do I get a job in football? What’s the next step? Which area of sport science or football science do I want to specialise in?

This is certainly an interesting question as progressing from completing a sport science degree to then working in professional football & trying to understanding all the key components, and soft skills that come with jobs in football or careers within sport.

The bespoke courses developed by ISSPF Elite Faculty members are a way of further exposing sport science students, individuals working within the game, coaches, physiotherapists, doctors, sport therapists & other football science enthusiasts with a thirst to develop further in this area.

Join Our Physical Training & Soccer MethodologyCourse….

The bespoke courses developed by ISSPF Faculty members are a way of further exposing sport science students, coaching individuals working within the game & other soccer science & performance coaching enthusiasts with a thirst to develop further.

The link belowwill take you to the hugely popular & expertly designed ISSPF University endorsed, quality assured & accreditedonline sport science course. This course has been described as one of the best online courses for further developing & adding to football coaching qualifications, where you will be exposed to football coaching research and practical examples used within the game by high level professionals.

How This Course Will Improve You

  • Provides most efficient training methods and detailed insights into developingplayer fitnessalongsidetactical strategies & developing a training methodology
  • Gain a better understanding how tomaximise development& preparation of players in a moreefficient & contemporary game modelapproach
  • Learn how tobalance key training elementsfrom atechnical, tactical & physical preparationin order to attain peak performance
  • Practitioners & coaches can only benefit themselves & their players further by a more in-depth knowledge of physical training & soccer methodology
  • Helpmaximise your decision makingthrough a better understanding & appreciation oftapering & soccer periodisation
(Video) Position-Specific Functional Passing Patterns for Soccer!

Who is this course for?

  • Coaches, trainers, and other serious individuals tasked with the responsibility for thetraining, preparation, rehabilitation & coachingaspects of both individual athletes or team sports
  • Individuals with an interest indeveloping knowledge in the preparation, training & developmentof footballers or soccer players

Course Outline

Outline of the Physical Training & Football Methodology course:

Module 1:The appliance of science – tapering & periodisation in team sports
Lecturer:Dr. Adam Owen

Module 2:Soccer specific monitoring: Weekly microcycle, planning and performance
Lecturer:Dr. Dawid Golinski

Module 3:Game model building & development: Reinterpreting Tactical Periodisation
Lecturer:Dr. Alejandro Romero-Caballero (La Liga)

Module 4:Individualised Periodization in a Soccer Team: A working model
Lecturer:Jarred Marsh

Module 5:An integrated approach to soccer training: Developing a working model
Lecturer:Efthymios Kyprianou

Module 6:Carbohydrate requirements of soccer players: Implications for periodisation
Lecturer:Dr. Liam Anderson

Module 7:Integrating Physical & Tactical Periodisation in Soccer: Senior & Youth levels
Lecturer:Hamish Munro

Module 8:Maximal intensity conditioning periods in soccer: Physical vs. Tactical strategies
Lecturer:Dr. Miguel Angel Campos Vazquez (La Liga)

Module 9:Preparing the modern soccer player: Training session design
Lecturer:Dr. Adam Owen

Module 10:Competitive soccer training microcycle: Structure & justification
Lecturer:Dr. Manuel Segovia


Allen, T., Taberner, M., Zhilkin, M., & Rhodes, D. (2023). Running more than before? the evolution of running load demands in the English premier league. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 174795412311645.

Bradley, P. S., & Ade, J. D. (2018). Are current physical match performance metrics in elite soccer fit for purpose or is the adoption of an integrated approach needed? International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 13(5), 656–664.

(Video) Full Training Session With a Teammate | Technical and Position Specific Drills For Footballers

Hostrup, M., & Bangsbo, J. (2022). Performance adaptations to intensified training in top-level football. Sports Medicine, 53(3), 577–594.


Why is co ordination important in football? ›

The appropriate level of coordination motor skills (CMS) in a football player is one of the factors determining the effectiveness of their actions. Adaptability and complex reaction time are of particular importance in models of coordination requirements in football.

How can I improve my coordination in football? ›

So, how can you train and improve your balance and coordination?
  1. Squats (essentials)
  2. Lunges/ Alternating lunges.
  3. Single leg russian deadlift.
  4. Pistol squat/Assisted pistol squat.
Jun 14, 2022

Why is coordination exercises important? ›

Coordination training helps with many aspects of athletes' health and wellbeing. It improves their technique and form, enhances their mood and mental health, and combats the risk of injury down the line. As a foundation for many sports activities, coordination exercises can: Help to build more muscle.

What are the three importance of coordination? ›

Coordination minimizes the conflicts, rivalries are ended, wastages, delays, indifferences and other organizational problems. It ensures smooth function of the organization. Hence, with the help of coordination an organization can fulfil its objectives promptly.

What training methods improve balance? ›

Examples of balance exercises include:
  • Standing with your weight on one leg and raising the other leg to the side or behind you.
  • Putting your heel right in front of your toe, like walking a tightrope.
  • Standing up and sitting down from a chair without using your hands.
  • Walking while alternating knee lifts with each step.
Mar 20, 2023

How do I become a better DB in football? ›

For a DB, the proper stance will put them in a good position to react. The DB should have his feet shoulder width apart with his outside foot slightly back. He should be bent forward slightly at the waist hiding the numbers on his chest with his eyes up facing the WR.

What is the best way to practice football? ›

Football Speed Drills
  1. Lunges (30 seconds)
  2. Lunge Jumps (30 seconds)
  3. Squats (30 seconds)
  4. Wall Drives (30 seconds)
  5. Mountain climbers (30 seconds)
  6. Squat Jumps (30 seconds)
  7. Lateral Lunges (30 seconds)
  8. Lateral Sprints (30 seconds)

What is a technical drill in football? ›

This is a broad training session that enables players to practise a range of skills across multiple exercises. It rehearses ball skills in terms of tidy, quick and intelligent passing, plus finishing in and around the box. It's also excellent for movement, closing down and positional awareness.

What is the best way to train coordination? ›

What can I do to improve my coordination? Activities such as: dancing, swimming, racquet sports, Taiichi, Pilates, yoga, and balanced board are a great way to improve your coordination and performance.

How do you overcome lack of coordination? ›

How to improve team coordination as a manager of an overseas team...
  1. Have A Roadmap Of The Team's Goals. ...
  2. Define Individual Roles Within The Team. ...
  3. Planning & Communication. ...
  4. Invest In Project Management Tools. ...
  5. Communicate Openly With Your Teams. ...
  6. Make Work More Fun. ...
  7. Give Feedback & Rewards.
Jun 29, 2022

What are the four main points to learning better coordination? ›

4 Training Tips to Improve Balance and Coordination
  • Close your eyes while you perform exercises. ...
  • Perform balance exercises to improve your coordination. ...
  • Incorporate strength training into your workout. ...
  • Use plyometric exercises to improve your sense of self.
Jul 18, 2017

What is the key to good coordination? ›

Take time to get to know individuals and organizations that are critical for your coordination. Use your active listening skills, always and more than you would like. Let others talk while you identify opportunities and incentives and effectively coordinate.

What is the key to effective coordination? ›

Effective Communication: In achieving coordination, effective communication plays a vital role. Communication greatly helps in coordination. The purpose of communication is to promote deep understanding among members by bringing and maintaining coordination in order to achieve the ultimate goals.

What is effective coordination? ›

An effective Coordination activities and structures can bring a sense of order to the resulting chaos. Coordination in general may be defined as intentional actions to harmonize individual responses to maximize impact and achieve synergy. a situation where the overall effect is greater than the sum of the parts.

Can poor balance be improved? ›

A combination of activities such as walking, strength training, and specific workouts can improve balance and prevent falls, especially in older adults. Walking helps build lower-body strength, an important element of good balance.

What activities improve balance? ›

Walking, biking, and climbing stairs strengthen muscles in your lower body. A recumbent bike or stair stepper is a safe way to start if your balance needs a lot of work. Stretching loosens tight muscles, which can affect posture and balance.

What muscles are most important for balance? ›

For better balance and stability, focus on strengthening the upper back, shoulders, and triceps. You can do these with exercises such as standing rows, shoulder presses, and tricep kickbacks.

How can I improve my football resistance? ›

How to Increase Stamina for Football?
  1. Football cardio conditioning workouts. ...
  2. Football strength training. ...
  3. High-intensity football interval training. ...
  4. Work on your mental strength. ...
  5. Proper breathing technique for running. ...
  6. Football nutrition. ...
  7. Drink & stay hydrated. ...
  8. Never underestimate the value of sleep and rest.
Jul 4, 2022

What banned football tackling drills? ›

The Oklahoma drill, along with other full-contact drills, was officially banned from NFL team practices in May 2019 following years of declining use and increasing concerns for player safety. Veterans and high-profile NFL players rarely participate in pit drills owing to the higher risk of injury.

What is 7 shots football drill? ›

Is this the only drill the Steelers practice at camp? I ask this because that's what Twitter tells me on a daily basis (multiple times each day, in fact). True to its name, the drill consists of seven plays from the two-yard line. Whichever side—offense or defense—winds up with the most “wins” is declared the victor.

Is football the toughest sport? ›

Based on their rankings, the top 10 hardest sports in the world are as follows: Boxing (hardest), ice hockey, football, basketball, wrestling, mixed martial arts, tennis, gymnastics, baseball/softball, and soccer.

How do you train like an NFL player? ›

Usually, NFL players don't go for 10-mile runs every day. But they do still run. There's a twist thought: NFL players make lots of runs and sprints in short bursts followed by rest intervals. This is to build their endurance for matchdays (after all, there are four 15-minute quarters for them to make it through).

How do you not get tired in football practice? ›

You should restrict any physical activity to low-intensity workouts that won't deplete precious energy stores.
  1. Eat a carb-rich meal the evening before a match. ...
  2. Always eat breakfast on match day. ...
  3. Prepare some snacks for the match. ...
  4. Drink water! ...
  5. Use energy drinks.
Aug 11, 2015

What is a Thud drill in football? ›

Rationale: By definition, “Thud” involves initiation of contact at full speed with no predetermined winner, but no take-down to the ground.

What is a 9 vs 7 football drill? ›

' A 9-on-7 drill is an old school, smash-mouth exercise run by football teams at many levels, all across the country. The offense lines up with five offensive linemen, two tight ends, one running back and a quarterback, while the defense counters with its front seven.

What are the 3 types of coordination skills? ›

Types of Coordination
  • Fine Motor Skills. Require coordinated movement of small muscles (hands, face). ...
  • Gross Motor Skills. Require coordinated movement of large muscles or groups of muscles (trunk, extremities). ...
  • Hand-eye Skills. The ability of the visual system to coordinate visual information.

What drills help coordination? ›

Running in place, one foot multiple hops, and crisscrossing are all options you can play with. Keep the rope moving at a steady pace while you get fancy in your footwork, and jumping rope can be an incredible coordination drill that teaches you how to maintain rhythm and control while fatigued.

What are the 5 techniques of coordination? ›

The main techniques for effective coordination are as follows:
  • Sound Planning. ...
  • Sound Organizational Structure. ...
  • Clearly defined Objectives. ...
  • Formation of Committees. ...
  • Comprehensive Policies and Programs. ...
  • Voluntary Cooperation. ...
  • Effective Communication. ...
  • Simplified Organization.

Why is coordination important as a leader? ›

Coordination is one of the most important things a leader must do. Unlike cooperation (working with other people to achieve one's own goal) or collaboration (working with other people toward a common goal), Coordination is aligning all those efforts to achieve a greater community/group goal.

Why does ordination matter? ›

In most Protestant churches, ordination is the rite by which their various churches: recognize and confirm that an individual has been called by God to ministry, acknowledge that the individual has gone through a period of discernment and training related to this call (e.g. having graduated from a seminary), and.

What plays an important role in coordination? ›

The cerebellum is most directly involved in coordinating voluntary movements. It is also responsible for a number of functions including motor skills such as balance, coordination, and posture.

What do you mean by coordination What is the importance of coordination for a player? ›

The definition of coordination is the ability to execute smooth, accurate, controlled motor responses (optimal interaction of muscle function). Coordination is the ability to select the right muscle at the right time with proper intensity to achieve proper action.

What makes a good coordinator? ›

A good leader and coordinator is someone who is aware of deadlines and enforces them. They know how long it will take their team members to complete a task, and they can encourage them to do quality work within an appropriate time frame. Communication. Communication is key to coordination.

How do you effectively coordinate? ›

Take time to get to know individuals and organizations that are critical for your coordination. Use your active listening skills, always and more than you would like. Let others talk while you identify opportunities and incentives and effectively coordinate.

What are the three types of ordination? ›

There are three different kinds of ordination: bishop, priest and deacon. In the Roman Catholic church, bishops and priests are obliged to celibacy, to remain unmarried. Married men may be ordained as deacons. In the Eastern Catholic churches, married men may become priests, but may not become bishops.

What are the 3 levels of ordination? ›

Ordination is the sacramental ceremony in which a man becomes a deacon, priest, or bishop and enabled to minister in Christ's name and that of the Church. There are three ordinations in the Sacrament of Holy Orders: diaconate; priesthood; and episcopal.

What are the advantages of ordination? ›

Two very important advantages of ordination is that 1) we can determine the relative importance of different gradients and 2) the graphical results from most techniques often lead to ready and intuitive interpretations of species-environment relationships.

What skills require coordination? ›

Here are some of the most common coordination skills:
  • Communication. ...
  • Time management. ...
  • Flexibility. ...
  • Organization. ...
  • Teamwork. ...
  • Download productivity tools. ...
  • Maintain a detailed planner. ...
  • Seek a mentor.
Jan 10, 2023

What causes lack of coordination and balance? ›

Ataxia usually results from damage to the part of the brain that controls muscle coordination (cerebellum) or its connections. Many conditions can cause ataxia, including alcohol misuse, stroke, tumor, brain degeneration, multiple sclerosis, certain medications and genetic disorders.

What are the four characteristics of coordination? ›

Characteristics of coordination are as follows:
  • Coordination assimilates group efforts.
  • Coordination assures unity of action.
  • Coordination is a perpetual process.
  • Coordination is an all extensive operation.
  • Coordination is an obligation of all the fellow managers.
  • Coordination is an intentional (deliberate) function.

How can I improve my coordination skills at work? ›

Steps to strengthen coordination abilities
  1. Get an internship. Working as an intern enables you to learn from expert coordinators and improve multiple skills. ...
  2. Use an organiser. ...
  3. Use productivity tools. ...
  4. Maintain a to-do list. ...
  5. Communicate your concerns.
Sep 30, 2022


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