26th Training Session – “Next Level” – 19/12/2016

Hi guys,

Before I get in to the session it self I just want to say thanks to the group of players that showed up to the session. I can’t say that none of you have not improved, you all improve in your own way and my job is just to be there as a guide. Thanks for trusting me and thanks for respecting me in how I coach and how I believe football should be played! Its truly been a joy to get to know you. If we weren’t an Academy, I can honestly say that our “team spirit” is excellent, not only does this Academy introduce new friendships but also a bond as a group and as a team! You all deserve this time off to spend time with family and loved ones, make sure to enjoy it!

This was my last session of the year so I wanted to step it up a notch, we focused a lot of ball control and ball technique. I had done a lot of research for this particular session and it turned out to be a success! In the past we have been doing basic drills so I as a coach really can see how good you are and how good you can be. I believe that after that well executed session we will step up all sessions to a more advance level. I do believe that most of you are ready, and if you aren’t then this will be good opportunity for you to push yourself.

I do think we made a record with 18 players! Which is great, because of the great amount of players we managed to play a 9 vs 9 game at the very end! And WOW did it turn out to be good. As some may know I like to say that you do things on the pitch that we have been practicing without even knowing it, I guess that’s what practice is all about! The way you pass the ball, the way you control the flow of the game, counter attack, defend and communicate is excellent! You ALL have improved so much over the last few months. It takes time guys, but its hard for you as a player to really see your own improvement, but very easy for me! Well done all of you!! I am very proud!

Enjoy the holidays and I’ll hopefully see all of you next year, take care! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Albert Baumgartner

24th Training Session – “Foot Tennis” – 12/12/2016

Last session we focused on keeping the ball in the air, in the sense of keeping it on the volley. This session was not a session about juggling but more about control and how to control the ball in the air. We started off with some simple yet very beneficial drills. The players did very good and had a high concentration.

For the first drill I set it up as a competition. “Juggling” the ball around in a group can be a lot of fun, and the concentration of the session can very easily fade. The competition was which group to keep the ball on the volley longest, the losers had a horrible punishment of muscle fitness, the second worst faced the same fate but not as severe and even the winners had some sort of punishment, but a very easy one 🙂

The highlight of the session was by far the real competition. The players had to pair up and compete in a Foot Tennis game which consisted of 3 leagues (Bottom league being the A-League, middle league was the English Premier League and the top league was the Champions League). The players competed against others where winners get to advance to the next league with the objective to stay at the top! It was a good way so finish of the volley session in a fun and compatible way. We then finished the session with a full field game and everyone did great!

Make sure to show up for the next session which will be highly advanced. Since we are coming to an end of the year I will now test the players to my full extent of advanced football drills to really test them out. The drills next session will be on dribbles, ball control and short quick passing! Make sure to show up to really test your own ability!!

Albert Baumgartner

23rd Training Session – “Hands down, crazy shooting” – 8/12/2016

This session was focusing on shooting again. We had some players that missed the previous shooting session and really wanted to do another one. We at AoF always want our players to feel happy and motivated, so with the high demand we decided that we would do one more session focusing on shooting.

However, I wanted to move away from all the basics now. I feel that the players are skilled enough to move in to some more advanced drills. The drills we did during this session was just the tip of the iceberg and we are slowly moving in the right direction with the pace of the drills and session as a whole. The shooting drills we did was a step higher in sense of concentration and dedication to becoming a better player.

We didn’t have that many players that showed up, nonetheless I want to thank all of those who did come, the number of attendance doesn’t matter to me, and it shouldn’t for you either. We had a great session and so much improvement was shown from the whole group. I want to give a special shout out to Bart who had an extraordinary session. Wearing only running shoes his shots were spot on. In the beginning I could see the struggle, but as the session went on, Bart pulled off some amazing shots! Even a volley shot that threw off me completely off guard. So WELL DONE Bart!!

An overall great session, we talked a lot about detailed things when shooting while running or after a dribble, what to think about and how to execute correctly. Again, I always say that I am impressed with the players, and I’ll never stop! I believe in a high motivational approach in a sense that I will push you to your very limit until you are the future player you want to become!! Well done all so far! Only a few more sessions, so make sure to show up for all of them! Cya next week guys and gals! 🙂

Albert Baumgartner

22nd Training Session – “Lets NOT attack” – 5/12/2016

A few weeks ago I jumped in and played a few minutes with the players in the full field game and realized that there are some aspects of the game that I want to focus on. One of the bigger ones were to maintain the ball and not always go for the attacking play, but instead controlling the flow of the game by passing the ball around the team.

The drill had a lot of running to it which was good, something that really helps with fitness and stamina! The first drill we did was very simple with players forming a circle, one defender in the middle trying to get the ball. I did this just to warm everybody up.

The second drill was more of a “game changer” where we set up a big boundary to contain 11 players (like if it was a game). The drill was simple; pass it around. I set up a few defenders just to put some pressure on the players. The idea of the drill was just to maintain the ball within the team, without losing it and without playing that attacking ball (until I said so). On paper and in action this is a great and beneficial drill. Participation in the drill can be a bit dull and boring, but from the sidelines the improvement of maintaining the ball and not stressing was great!

We later moved a similar drill but with 7-7 and the defender being passive, just to really work on the keeping the ball as a team and not attacking all the time. It looked really good! We finished off with a game!

– To become a good team and to become a good player you need to know how to control your own stress and to control the pace of the game and the pace of your own ability. Know when to pass that cross ball and knowing when to pass it back to a defender to restart the game and try and find a new opening. The players for AoF always impress me with skill, dedication, motivation and improvement. Every single session so far has been a small glimpse of improvement, and with more repetition and hard work, you will become the player that you have set yourself to become!

Keep it up!

Albert Baumgartner

21st Training Session – “Shooting” – 01/12/2016

A shame that not to many could make it to Thursdays session. However, it was a blessing in disguise as we did have a good number for a really good shooting session! After the warm up we focused on shooting from distance. We focused on 3 different types of shooting.

1. Normal / Regular shooting
2. Power shooting
3. Finesse / Curve shooting

I can honestly say that I was very impressed with how the players improved. Since everybody has their own techniques of shooting its hard to learn otherwise. But I did my best to teach the players on how I shoot the ball and when the three different shooting techniques are necessary.

We later moved to volleys! Now, with volleys this is something that is hard to teach, learn and master. Volleys are very hard in a way that if you want to hit a good volley shot then it needs to hit the perfect “sweet spot” and have a decent amount of power. I still struggle with volleys and I knew this was going to be hard to introduce. We managed to have fun with it and just work on the basic technique. Instead of going for “full power” we talked and did more of a accuracy and vision type of volleys. Worked out great, and some players improved a lot in the area.

The last drill we did was not very advance, but a good drill to work on shooting when running. The drill worked our well and I will be doing it again. When we have more players I will introduce it and add some more steps to it as I do believe that one of the ways to improve your shooting is to do it while moving in FULL speed and after a dribble of a move. Overall a great session.

Now, I rarely pick out a “Player of the Night” for own personal reasons, but this one particular player stood out from the rest. Steven. Steven has always had decent shooting in my opinion but after only 20-30min of shooting under my supervision and tips, he became a pro. Not all shoots were spot on, but the ones that were… Wow.. They were truly pure perfection.

See you next week guys!

Albert Baumgartner

20th Training Session – “Follow Thru” – 28/11/2016

A great amount of people showed up which meant a more fun and active session for the players! This session was focused on defensive runs, how to backpedal correctly as a defender and how to use the correct body language. The players already know this stuff so I did not focus all to much on it but nevertheless we had a few drills that introduce how to run as defenders! These drills turned out to be really good and all the players did well.

We later on moved over to some more running, attacking and defending drills. I know from personal experience that defensive sessions can be seen as “easy” and not very exhausting, however, I was glad to see that nearly all of my players crawled for air during these different drills. The drills we did was focused on vision, tackles in the air, pace and location. The drills are fun and beneficial and many ways for both defending and attacking.

Lastly we did a 3v2 and 4v3 attacking and defending plays. I did this to see how the defenders work together. My mind was very little on the attacking players and more on the defensive parts!

We finished of with a big field game (even I got to play some which was awesome! 😀 ), the game was even and they all played good. Thanks to me jumping in I realized really quick what the next week’s focus is going to be 😉

See you next week!

Albert Baumgartner

19th Training Session – “Repetition, Repetition, Repetition” – 24/11/2016

Once again we hit a high number of players which is always fun. The aim for this session was to work on air balls, from long and short distance. I had noticed that we do lack somewhat in this area and because a lot of drills that I as a coach introduce do include those long or short air balls.

After a lot of thinking I finally decided that an air ball session was needed, might not be the must of fun, but as I said, it was needed!

The first drill we did was more for me to see how good the players are and what techniques they were lacking. Oddly enough, the players did great and I did not have that much to say about their technique or how the play the ball in the air. The drill was a “two group drill” which meant that we had two “zones” of different ways to play that air ball. The first zone was a simple two partner drill where the players face each other and play 2-3 different types of air balls. While the other one was more of a high and long air ball aiming to hit the goal around 25m away. The goal of that second zone was just to work on vision and to get the technique right. While the first zone was more of a “skillful” air ball pass.

The second drill we did was very basic where they players partnered up and played that cross ball to each other. We did not do it for to long because I had a few other drills set up, but here I got to see the long air ball aiming for a smaller object (a player) instead of a goal. This drill set up nicely to the second drill we did which was a big box game with no goals and two teams. Basically it is a good drill to work on to air balls and to change “zones” within the box. Both teams did very well and did some great air passes. Although we do need to work on the stress. When the players did the air balls during the session thinking I got all the time in the world, nearly all the air balls were spot on, while playing this big field game the stress had it’s saying and effected some players vision and accuracy.

We then moved to Matt’s Book which is one of my favorite drills that we have been doing a few times. 3 teams and 3 squares, the aim is to play it over the middle square to the other team while having 1-2 defenders trying to get the ball. As always this drill worked out smooth and I can see a lot of improvement all the time. And when speaking of stress, this is a very stressful drill but once you get the stress out of the way and work as a team, that’s when you’ll be successful in the drill.

The last thing we did was the game with goals. I wanted to have the wide field because I wanted to see the cross passing or some air balls at least, which I did. I was very satisfied with how the players played that game and the individual skill keeps improving! Well done all!

See you next week!

Albert Baumgartner

18th Training Session – “Lucky Seventeen!” – 21/11/2016

Wow guys, 17 players! What an accomplishment! I was so happy that we had so many. Lets hope we can keep that number for all of our sessions! If you have any friends that want to tag along, give us a holla at AoF or just drag them out to the field for a killer session!!

We started off as always with the warm ups! We later moved on to a familiar drill that we have done in the past. We used the mid-circle to set up a drill that focused on take downs. This is very familiar to the players and they all did very good. I can not say I am impressed because the skill they show now is what I expect of them.

I had done my homework and studied some top football club’s academy drills. Newcastle is famous for their great academy and their way of developing drills. So we did two drills that were both from the Newcastle Young Academy group. It was set off with quick passes two and two, then a long cross pass. Now, the cross passing is something that we really need to work on as players. We continue to do this in the future, so the drill did go well, but because that long cross pass is essential for the drill to fully work, sometimes a bad pass can “destroy” the whole exercise. Nevertheless, we continued for the players to practice crossing with both feet.

We later moved on to a similar drill but instead of being a group of 2 I wanted to have it with more players where the player crossing the ball had players to pick/aim for. This turned out to be a good drill and since we were so many we were able to have two groups.

We then finished off with a BIG game, 8 on 8. This was a great opportunity for all the players to really play as if they were in an actual game. Unfortunately I was not able to watch the game as I was holding Individual Sessions with Kelsey and Anuj (who both did absolutely great and was just as good coaching them as if I was watching the full field game). I hope the players really enjoyed playing with some more players on the field.

Overall a good session with a great set of players and great atmosphere!! Keep it up guys!

Albert Baumgartner

17th Training Session – “Guess who’s back” – 17/11/2016

Welcome Home, Josh!!

Its the first session after the earthquake that cancelled Monday’s session. It seemed like everybody was doing alright which was a major relief!

In today’s session we all welcomed Josh (the founder) back from his trip to Indonesia with open arms and was very happy to see him again. He spreads such a joy around him that it easily effects others. I could really see how happy the players were seeing him again.

We got straight into the session that focused on easy short and long passes along the ground as well as “set-up” passing. We started off with a simple 3 man pass drill. It was good in a way that not only is it exhausting but also warms up the feet and vision to get ready for the upcoming drills.

I had in mind of a particular drill that consisted of more layers and the more layers you add the harder it gets. It started off really good and I was excited to show Josh how much the players have improved. At first they did great but slowly and steadily the concentration fell, passing was bad and it almost felt like the players didn’t listen to my instructions of where and when to run. It might have been some communication barriers, but after a few interruptions and clarifications the players were back in their original pace again and performed the last few minutes of the harder drills with class and style. I was really happy at that time.

We finished the session with full field game. Surprisingly the players did excellent and performed so many set up passes and quick once touch passes. These were the things that we had been practicing during the session, and again, they do it without even knowing where it looks so natural. So I was really happy to see some shed of magic from the players during the game.

Make sure to always concentrate in a drill, sometimes communication barriers can effect how well you perform, but there are no stupid questions and no stupid criticism. We at AoF want YOU to improve so always do your hardest and always push yourself to the max! In time you’ll realise how good you can actually be! Anything is possible if you believe and fight for it!

See you next week! 🙂

Albert Baumgartner

15th Training Session – “Fake left, Go right” – 10/11/2016

After warming up we moved straight into the dribble and shooting drills. The session we did on Monday really covered the basics about some easy to learn dribbles and how to master them as well as static shooting. Mondays session was a good “learners” but this session I really wanted to put the players to the test.

The two drills I introduced was fairly straight forward and the players got to shooting practice and to dribble with both the left foot and right foot. For some this took some time to learn, but after a few tries everybody did really good. The two drills that was introduced to the group had a focus on “dribble the defender”, I wanted to make this very clear that there was a defender that they NEEDED to dribble off. It was not only important for me to see how well they can dribble of some cones (in this case the cones were the defenders), but also for them to learn how to time their dribbles.

The two drills also covered shooting. From Mondays session we did some very basic stuff when it comes to shooting. But here the players once again were put to the test. I wanted them to get the sense of how it feels to look up and “spot the goal” while dribbling before the finish, all in one movement. The player’s did really good with the shooting. And got to use the left and right foot.

We finished of with a full game, and it was so fun to see that the players actually tested the dribbles out. And the majority of them actually worked and were very successful. I was very happy standing on the sidelines watching how much they have improved.

Albert Baumgartner