Enthusiastic, organized, hands-on, and fully focused – it looked like business as usual for Pep Guardiola yesterday during his first session with Bayern Munich. Pre-season exercises are traditionally geared towards fitness with the ball nowhere in sight. In modern football, however, it is important that we see every element of the game included in a session at any stage of the season. Although we were fortunate to see his session streamed online, sometimes coaches hold back when training sessions are conducted in the public eye. Fortunately, Guardiola is not one of these coaches who holds anything back. His methods are there for all to see and replicate. The real question is whether all coaches can reproduce the energy, communication and focus on key points that Guardiola himself produces with players at the highest level.
Below is a multi-function exercise from yesterday that stood out for me. There is a technical element – both individually and as a team, tactical element, and a physical element. The mental aspect came in the form of slight problem solving and concentration as the exercise began. The organization of the exercise takes place on a full field. Four coaches are used as servers in all white – Guardiola in a central position closest to the players and the other three coaches as servers on the opposite end of the field. (See Below)
The beginning of the exercise was triggered by Guardiola started with three players in a tight triangle. The aim was for the other two players to adjust defensively when the third player was engaged on the ball. Not only was the direction the players moved into a key point, but also how they moved was important. Every action was performed by side stepping or back peddling, both of which were sharp and done at speed. As Guardiola played the ball into each player, they simply played a one touch pass back. After two or three passes, the group of three jogged on and performed quick footwork through the hurdles. (See Below)
After coming out of the hurdles, the three players then entered the opposite half of the field, where each player was tested technically and physically. Players 1 and 2 received the ball from a coach on the outside, played a give and go through the poles, and drove towards the mannequin at speed after receiving it back. When the players arrived at the mannequin, they slowed down and jogged with the ball back to the start of the exercise. Player 2 in the middle, exploded through the ladder with quick feet, and then received a ball from the coach in the middle to shoot on goal. After the shot, Player 2 simply jogged back on the outside to the start of the exercise. (See Below)
You can watch the exercise in action below: