Ose Aibangee – Session Report
DECISION MAKING & AWARENESS
Ose Aibangee is an old member of the LFCA. He has worked in Youth Development for 20 years, the last six at Brentford. Prior to that he was at Arsenal, Tottenham, Leyton Orient, Watford and the Beckham Academy.
Before commencing his session, Ose stated that there were two coaches who had been a major influence on the topic which he was about to coach. These were Steve Bould, now the Assistant Manager at Arsenal but previously the Youth Coach, and Eric Harrison in a similar youth coaching role at Manchester United, who was responsible for the so-called ‘class of ’92’, i.e. the group of home grown players at Old Trafford such as Giggs, Butt, Beckham, Neville Brothers, and Scholes, who brought so much success to the Old Trafford club. Both these coaches constantly reminded their young players that the majority of football decisions are based on what you see.
Ose said that whilst at Arsenal it had been an education for him to see Fabrigas up close in training. He never seemed to give the ball away and his decision making was impeccable. Ose said that the work he was about do taught players to look for space, team mates, opponents, the ball, the whole picture. In a nutshell, the main difference between a novice player and an advanced player is that the novice is fixated on the ball.
The first practice which Ose coached was about as simple as you can get. The players were in groups of 3s with one in the middle between two outside players. The ball was with an outside player and the middle player faced him. The other outside player had to constantly move, forcing the middle player to check his shoulder in a side-on stance, so as to keep in line with him. When the outside player in possession of the ball passed it, the middle player had to try and intercept it. The practice continued with the ball now coming from the other outside player. The practice was also physically demanding for the middle player as well as forcing him into the habit of constantly checking his shoulders and adopting the correct body shape.
The players next worked in groups of 8 in a square of about 20 yards. There were 4 players, one on each corner with one ball between them. Inside the square were four more players with a ball each. The outside players passed the ball from corner to corner and the players in the middle had to dribble with their ball to whichever corner the ball was passed to. Ose looked for the players in the middle to display tight control of their ball and to bring in clever turns and tricks. They had to regularly lift their eyes from their ball to observe where the outside ball had gone to, developing their vision and awareness.
The third practice took place in the same square which was performed with 4 players. There were now three players on the corners so there was one free corner. The 4th player was inside the square in the middle. Each corner player had a ball. One of the corner players started the practice by passing to the player inside the square and then ran to the empty corner. The middle player had to play a one-two pass to this player by opening his body as he dropped to receive the pass on an angle, thereby enabling himself to be able to see the player running for the empty corner after passing the ball. It was all about the middle player adopting the correct body shape so as to easily see the running player and to be also able to play his pass with one touch. The practice continued with the ball now coming from another corner player who, after passing, again ran for the empty corner. So the middle player was constantly checking where the empty corner was because he always knew that was the space to which the passing player would be running.
The next practice comprised 6 players with a ball each inside the square and 6 more spaced out around the outside of the square. To begin with there was one ball between the 6 outside players. The players in the middle had to move about inside the square, keeping their ball under control. The players on the outside had to pass their ball around and, when possible and they spotted a gap between dribbling players inside the square, they had to pass their ball through the gap to a player on the opposite side. The players inside the square had to maintain good control of the balls they were dribbling whilst making it difficult for the outside players to find gaps. Ose made it more difficult for the outside players by only passing to another player if he called for the ball or made eye contact. The a second ball was added to the outside players, increasing difficulty and intensity of the practice.
It was noticeable that even in a one hour session the players were showing signs of increased awareness and attempting to look for space and movements off the ball of colleagues and opponents. The practices were increasing in difficulty and demand but the players were accepting the challenges with great heart and diligence. Ose now introduced a practice where he set up two teams of 5 and on receiving the ball, a player must pass the ball to a player of the opposite team. Ose was particularly looking for one-twos. To increase the difficulty, two defenders were added.
The 6th practice had 3 players inside the square, one of whom was an attacker and the other two were defenders. Six players were spread around the outside of the square and with one ball between the outside players they had to try and pass into the attacker who had to lose the two defenders by clever movement and checking his shoulders. He could bounce the ball back from where it came and attempt to free himself with a ‘give and go’ movement or create a rotation with an outside player by swapping places and allowing the outside player to get free by making a sudden darting run. The outside players had to keep possession until the moment was right to play into the attacker inside the square.
The final practice comprised four lines of two players each in a diamond shape and using one ball. The ball was passed to any of the other three lines and the player passing the ball had to run to another line. However, he could not follow his pass to the line which he had passed to and he could not pass to a line where it would be left with nobody if he passed to it, i.e. a line comprising just one player. This may sound easy but it actually required keen observation from each player and quick decision making.
All the practices had been simple in setting up, requiring just basic equipment and possible in the most limited of facilities. Ose had clearly shown how players like Fabrigas and the Man Utd home grown players of 20 years ago had developed their awareness and vision. All members present had been given valuable ideas to take away with them and use at whatever level they may coach at.
Report by Steve Haslam