Three Bayern Munich Training Sessions (2014)

The following training sessions were broadcast in full by FC Bayern Munich and are available on their YouTube channel.

1. Training session date: Wednesday, Oct 15, 2014.  This training session would represent the tougher session before the match on Oct. 18.

Previous match Saturday, Oct. 4 vs Hannover 96 (Bayern won 4-0).

Next match Saturday, Oct. 18 vs Werder Bremen (Bayern won 6-0).

2. Training session date:  Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014.  This training session is the day before the German National Team plays Gibraltar so most of the German Bayern players are away with the national team.

Next match Saturday, Nov. 22 vs Hoffenheim (Bayern won 4-0).

3. Training session date:  Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014.  This training session would represent the first full training day after the match Saturday, Nov. 29 vs Hertha Berlin.  Days immediately after a match are either OFF or focusing on recovery (light).

Previous match Saturday, Nov. 29 vs Hertha Berlin (Bayern won 1-0).

Next match Saturday, Nov. 6 vs Bayer Leverkusen (Bayern won 1-0).


AFC Ajax Amsterdam: Advanced Coaches Clinic, Part IV – Integrating the Goalkeeper into Team Play

The last part of the lecture at the clinic was a short presentation by Frans Hoek, legendary goalkeeper coach at Ajax and later Barcelona and the Dutch National Team, among others, on integrating the goalkeeper into team play. Hoek is a big proponent of the goalkeeper participating in team training. In fact, he was instrumental in changing the role of the goalkeeper in possession-based teams, requiring the goalkeeper to be as good with the ball at his feet as with his hands, and requiring that the goalkeeper play an integral role in each phase of play.  Of course the goalkeeper in this Ajax team was the great Edwin van der Sar.


In order for Hoek to accomplish his aims, the goalkeeper must be included in all aspects of team training.  This makes sense on many levels including technically and tactically, as well as from a team building and team chemistry point of view. The only difference that I feel is important, and I think one in which Hoek would agree, is in conditioning. The aerobic and, to some extent, the anaerobic conditioning requirements for a goalkeeper are very different from that of the field players.  Of course, certain sprinting, strength and SAQ training can and should be shared by the goalkeeper and the field players.

What follows is my notes (mostly in their original form) from Hoek’s discussion on Integrating the Goalkeeper into Team Play:

Job of the goalkeeper:

  1. They [the opposing team] have the ball → make scoring difficult
    1. Communicate/coach defense.
    2. Proper positioning.
    3. Technique – getting the ball.
  2. We have the ball [possession] → responsibilities
    1. Goalkeeper has the ball – begin transition play.
    2. Defense has the ball – support, be ready for back pass.
    3. Midfield/attack has the ball – move upwards to protect against long thru balls over the defense.
  3. Transition [transition to attack] → support the defense

The goalkeeper gets

  • Thru balls
  • Crosses
  • 1 v 1s
  • Shots

Training should be based on percent of each expected in the game, i.e. more crosses in the game then training to deal with crosses.

*Goalkeeper has crucial and active role in distributing/supporting in transition.

ImageFor more material on Frans Hoek and his goalkeeper training concepts:

UEFA Training Ground

Frans Hoek Revolutionizes Goalkeeping – Soccer Coaching International (PDF)


Pass Rebounder

A rebound wall for passing is a great addition to a teams training equipment.  They can be used to develop and improve passing ability and are helpful when numbers are low.  Apparently Kwik Goal is selling a new product called a V.A.T. Board.  V.A.T. stands for “variable angle training board.”  It sells for $385 + tax & shipping, which I think is vastly over-priced, just like most things sold by Kwik Goal.  It’s also on back-order.  Not wanting to pay the exorbitant price for such a simple training device, I designed my own, the Passing Rebounder.


The Passing Rebounder (VAT BOARD-ANSI-C) is made from 5/8″ or 3/4″ thick plywood and is designed to be easily constructed with minimal equipment and skill.  All of the equipment should be available at your local home improvement store (I sourced everything at my local Home Depot).  Also, it should cost no more than $50 to $60 in total – about one-seventh the cost of the V.A.T. Board from Kwik Goal.


  1. Cut the pieces from a single sheet of 4 ft x8 ft plywood (5/8″ or 3/4″ thickness).
  2. Cut two slots for hand-grips so you can more easily move the rebounder.  It will weight approximately 30-40 lbs, depending on which thickness plywood is used.
  3. If desired, drill large holes in the braces and/or board to help lower weight.  Be careful not to decrease weight too much as you want the rebounder to have some heft so it doesn’t move around too much during use.
  4. Attach the braces to the board first with construction adhesive, 90-degree angle brackets (90-deg bracket spec sheet).  The brackets are bolted to the board using 1/4″ carriage bolts and lockwashers.  The brackets are bolted to the braces using 1/4″ hex head bolts and lockwashers.
  5. Lastly, paint the entire rebounder so it can withstand the constant abuse and weather.

That’s all!!  If you make a rebounder I would love to see pictures of the finished product.  Also, if you have any suggestions for improvement, please share.

AFC Ajax Amsterdam: Advanced Coaches Clinic, Part III

Van der Lem and Hoek’s explanation and discussion of the Ajax system of play now turn to the two remaining moments of play:  Transition and Attack.  In this case, the Transition phase of play that the coaches are referring to is Transition to Attack.  Nowadays, we typically speak of four phases of play:  Defense, Transition to Defense, Attack, and Transition to Attack (some coaches even refer to the five phases of play by adding Set Pieces as a separate phase).  However, in the Ajax System of Play, as described by Gerard van der Lem and Franz Hoek, the Defensive phase and Transition to Defense phase are considered as one.

Transition:  Immediately upon winning the ball back in the defensive half of the field.

  • Build-up on the right side – #2 and #4 (midfielder in formation vs 3 strikers) move wide, #6 and #8 move inside.
  • Build-up on the left side – #5 and #4 move wide, #6 and #8 move inside.
  • Build-up on one side.
  • Patient build-up.
  • Wing attackers are wide (touchline).
  • If forward passing is impossible, pass back and start again.
  • Use goalkeeper (only unmarked player).

Attack:  Attacking half

  • Play to side quickly through #3, #4, and #10.
  • #4 always supporting behind the ball.
  • Can skip stations with passes – long balls to wings.


  • Look for free man.
  • #6 and #8 move inside.
  • Make triangles.
  • Look for #7 and #11 on the wings.
  • Always look for the “killer” pass to #9.
  • Give back support immediately.
  • Only #7, #9, #10, and #11 can dribble to take-on defender.

Positions in front of goal (cross from left side)


  • Front post – #9
  • Far post – top of 6 yd box – #10 (behind #9)
  • Top of penalty box – #6
  • Back post – #7
  • Ball support – #8
  • Cross support – #4
  • Ball support and cross support are more defensive in trying to keep the ball in the attack.
  • Cross from right side – same assignments, opposite side.

Guardiola’s Ideas

A couple of days ago, @migerucb made a series of tweets concerning a video that he posted earlier on Twitter.  The video showed a young Pep Guardiola discussing several coaching points at what looks like a coaching seminar.  In the video, Guardiola outlined his 5 ideas for playing.  @Migerucb translated the 5 ideas for the twitter-sphere.  I really appreciate the translation because there is often so much outstanding content that is frankly beyond the reach of the “unilingual.”  Guardiola’s 5 ideas are shown below, as translated by @migerucb.

So watch the video and contemplate the 5 ideas.  And thank @migerucb for doing a nice thing for those of us coaches that are “unilingual.”

Guardiola’s Ideas:

  1. Most teams are reactive. They wait for you to give the ball away to attack.  Defense and offence can’t be separated.
  2. The “free man” concept.  Find the players who make the difference unmarked via ball circulation.
  3. The importance of the “third man”.  Try to play long first and if you can’t, play short. Key to avoid counter attacks.
  4. Move the opponent, not the ball.  Invite the opponent to press.  You have the ball on one side, to finish on the other.
  5. Don’t mark a player; cover the space between two players. The opponent thinks he’s unmarked, making pressing easier.

P.S. Point 3 is ironic because of what people say about Martino.  He talks about profundidad (depth), but I don’t know how to translate that.

AFC Ajax Amsterdam: Advanced Coaches Clinic, Part II

It’s is interesting as I transcribe my notes the unprecedented access and tactical information that Hoek and van der Lem bestowed upon us.  I dare say that this type of presentation would not be possible today.

Part II concerns the description of the team roles and responsibilities during the first of three moments of play, defending.

Please note that what I am sharing is very nearly verbatim my notes from the clinic.  I’m trying not to add any extra information as I want the transcription to be historically accurate and whole.

Ajax System of Play

  • Positional system of play
    • 4:3:3 -> 3:4:3 -> 3:3:4
    • Depends on situation & opponent
    • May change during game


    • Use numbers to describe positions
      • Allows players to understand all positions & their role when/if they move during a game.
    • Attacking soccer
  •  Main Moments




  1. Defense:
    1. Usually man-to-man against opposing attackers
    2. All players press immediately after turnover
      1. Win possession back quickly
    3. Occupy space in middle
      1. Pinch in on wings
    4. Most important is #4
      1. Controls defensive play
      2. Communicator/organizer
    5. Play at half line
      1. Stay in opposing half and press
    6. #3 predicts attacking movements – reads the game
    7. Press as a team
      1. DO NOT press if #4 and #10 out of position
      2. #4 signals for press/no press
    8. GK does not stay on line
      1. Moves out to cutoff long through pass
    9. Double-team press in attack
      1. i.e. when #7 presses wing defender with ball, #11 moves into middle & leaves far defender alone (and vice-versa)

Line-up vs 3 opposing strikers (3:4:3)


Line-up vs 2 strikers (3:4:3)


  • Note above:  #4 and #3 switch places.  Danny Blind was too slow and short to play in this formation.  Reverse roles.
  • More defensive space in back vs 2 strikers so use incidental pressure determined by #3.

AFC Ajax Amsterdam: Advanced Coaches Clinic, Part I


In 1995 AFC Ajax captivated the world by beating the previous champions AC Milan 1-0 to win the UEFA Champions League with a young, relatively unknown squad playing an energetic, attractive, attacking, possession-oriented style of soccer.  They had a visionary coach, Louis van Gaal, who helped to revitalize the vision of Ajax soccer made famous by such legendary figures as Johan Cruyff and Rinus Michels.  In 1996 Ajax returned to the UEFA Champions League final but eventually lost to Juventus in penalties.  In the summer of 1996 I attended a coaches clinic at the University of San Francisco hosted by Ziemer Brothers Soccer Camps and presented by Franz Hoek and Gerard van der Lem, two of the assistant coaches for the AFC Ajax team.  This was an extraordinary clinic conducted by coaches literally at the top of the international game.  The level of detail and instruction I experienced during the three-day clinic was breath-taking.  Many of the concepts introduced to me by Hoek and van der Lem revolutionized the way I viewed and understood the game of soccer, and still, to this day, influence my thinking.  Recently, in cleaning my office space, I came across my notes for the clinic.  I thought it would be nice to share.  The notes are quite detailed, so I will present them in several parts (I can’t say how many yet.  There are lots of notes).

AFC Ajax Amsterdam:  Advanced Coaches Clinic – Level II

University of San Francisco campus

Friday, June 21 to Sunday, June 23, 1996

Gerard van der Lem, Assistant Coach

Franz Hoek, Goalkeeper Coach

Structure of Ajax (Friday)

Aim of the game:  winning

How?  Only attractive, beautiful soccer

Main moments in the game:

1)      We have the ball – Possession-style means we must control the ball the majority of game time (60-70%).

2)      They have the ball

3)      Transition/change of possession –  Important – can often be deciding factor in the game.

– Every player and positional line (i.e. defense, midfield, offense, and goalkeeper) knows exactly what their job (task) is during each of the main moments.
– Analyze problems with system and break them down into smaller, easier or more difficult part of the game.
– Always game-related exercises.
– Players know why things are done.

Elements of the Game

  1. The ball:  Different balls have different characteristics.
    1. Train with a ball that you will play with in the game.
  2. Opponents:  Practice with their style and system.
  3. Teammates:  Team-building exercises
    1. Team sets rules
    2. Discipline
    3. Teamwork is paramount – No Individuals!
  4. Space:  Practice on half-field or smaller to simulate game situations (microcosms).
  5. Pressure:  Defensive and offensive; external.
  6. Rules:  Training rules mimic rules of the game, including yellow and red card violations.
  7. Time:  Game-related
  8. Direction:  Towards opposing goal.

– During training include all elements to reach objective.


Every training session contains:

  1. Soccer-related objectives
    1. Scoring
    2. Build-up
    3. Defending
  2. Many repetitions
    1. Detailed planning
    2. Sufficient materials (jerseys, balls, etc.)
  3. Group considerations
    1. Skills
    2. Age
    3. Skill/experience level
  4. Correct coaching (openness, communication)
    1. Influence players
    2. Give instructions
    3. Demonstrate
    4. Q & A

Ajax Training Sessions:

  1. Vision:  Ajax way – Explanation – Training objectives
  2. Warm-up
    1. Player led (alternate)
    2. Group run/jog/running stretches
    3. Individual stretching (static/dynamic)
  3. Exercises – with specific aims
  4. Games