Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
watch listen BBC Sport BBC Sport
Low graphics|Help
Last Updated: Monday, 27 August 2007, 09:08 GMT 10:08 UK
Planning your pre-season
[an error occurred while processing this directive]

A good pre-season is a must for all professional players in the Premier League and Football League - but is also hugely valuable for all amateur and junior players.

Here Reading FC Academy manager Eamonn Dolan completes his five-session guide of how he would prepare a team for the new season.

This week Dolan explains how to put the finishing touches to pre-season as a team gears up for the imminent start of their new campaign.

Eamonn Dolan
Eamonn Dolan
Reading FC Academy manager


Regardless of the level at which I am coaching I would always sit the players down before the final training session and talk to them about the forthcoming season.

I'd explain what I wanted from the squad but also ask for their input, let them have some ownership of the conversation.

Defending drill

Check that they are happy and try to get their ideas. If the players believe in what they are doing they will enjoy their football more.

It might be a good time to run through some of your tactical ideas on a board. Do this before the final training session and you will have the opportunity to work on any problems the players might highlight.

I'd follow a warm up with passing and skills drills - areas that always need to be practised.

I'd then do some shape related work on defence. Perhaps a back four plus two central midfielders against two banks of four attacking them.

Then I'd turn to attacking principles. An important point to consider here is whether when your team passes the ball forward are you looking for them to keep the ball or penetrate into space.

Playing the ball into space is very exciting if you have a player like Thierry Henry running onto it but risky if you haven't. Playing the ball to feet might be a better option.


In terms of attacking shape, I would perhaps use two strikers, two wide men and two central midfielders and have them attack a back four. Encourage them to use their numerical advantage.

If your forwards are lacking confidence it might be a good idea to overload the attacking players so that the strikers have plenty of opportunity to practise their shooting skills.

If the attacking players are in good form you might want to have the same number of defenders.

I'd then have a game and at the end of the warm down sit the players down and ask them whether they have enjoyed the pre-season.

The players should be feeling a lot fitter and ready to start the new season.

  • Eamonn Dolan was talking to Paul Fletcher.

    Football drills: Control
    02 Jun 06 |  Academy
    Football drills: Turning
    05 Jun 06 |  Academy
    Football drills: Goalkeeping
    20 Jun 06 |  Academy


    The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

    Daily and weekly e-mails | Mobiles | Desktop Tools | News Feeds | Interactive Television | Downloads
    Sport Homepage | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League | Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Snooker | Horse Racing | Cycling | Disability sport | Olympics 2012 | Sport Relief | Other sport...

    Help | Privacy & Cookies Policy | News sources | About the BBC | Contact us