I highly recommend that soccer coaches listen to this short 3Four3 podcast for a good example of how to coach an important, and mostly overlooked, skill in soccer: receiving across the body.
As you learn this activity, there’s at least 10 things it can help you coach. Maintain open stance to maximize next option. Receive across the body. Call for pass. Check to/get open for the pass. Play simple. Play fast. Receive. Pass. Defending, how to apply pressure to force direction of play and mistakes.
As a side note, I’ve used the 3Four3’s versions of the 4v0 and 4v1’s in my practices because they work on more fundamental game concepts than the standard versions.
Here’s an example:
A standard 4v1 has four kids stand on the corner cones of a square and pass to keep the ball away from the defender in the middle. This trains players to stand like statues in games waiting for the ball to come to them.
In 3Four3’s 4v1, players stand between cones, on the side of the square (instead of on the corner), and move side to side between the cones, to check toward the person with the ball to get open.
This provides training on three game skills in addition to passing and receiving across the body — moving to support passes, anticipating the next pass and communicating.
All these things improve the team’s speed of play.
My additional 4v0 and 4v1 recommendations
Use 4v0 is for when kids can’t receive and pass under pressure, yet. That’s when they can’t string more than 3-5 passes together consistently.
But, without a defender, however, intensity and focus drop quickly.
One way I’ve found to keep the intensity up and teach more stuff in the 4v0 is to have the player with the ball pass to the first person who calls for it.
This creates a competition between the two passing options, to see who can call for it first, and they quickly learn the sooner they call for it the better — even before the ball gets to the receiver.
So, this automatically teaches anticipation and communication. It also helps the passer start evaluating options before receiving the ball, instead of waiting to decide after getting it.
Giving the player with the ball a simple decision to make helps things, too. Without that, he or she too often overthinks their next pass, which slows ball movement, and reduces intensity.
By overthinking, I mean that they consider way too much. I can see the wheels turning when they’re deciding who to pass to. It can range from ‘what fancy trick am I going to do to show off’, ‘who’s my best friend right now’ or ‘she dissed me in the last drill, so I’m not passing the ball to her.’
Giving them the simple decision framework cuts out this nonsense.