Ball Control – Week 4 Day 4 – “H” Pattern Combos

We have discussed the importance of pattern automation and how it provides options for creating and attacking spaces, and in this drill you can clearly see these option begin to emerge. Today’s drills is from one of our Level 4  Ball Control series, the “H” Pattern Combos’s with resets. This type of pattern shows up when an attacking player receives the ball under immediate pressure from a defensive player. The attacking player retreats to create space with pullbacks, pullback L’s and pullback resets, while looking for an opportunity to get forward. The outside touches and L touches provide options for the player to get lateral space and look for opportunities. When I am coaching this drill, I will often mimic a defensive player reaching for the ball, while I am asking the player, “Where’s the space?” “Where’s your opportunity?” This is my attempt to get the player to disconnect from the repetitive footwork and start to recognize how they will apply this in a game.

When players become confident with the patterns in this series, they begin to use these patterns instinctively during 1v1 and 2v2 games. When you ask the player after the game what they were thinking about to create space, they usually don’t remember, and often say they were just waiting for the defender to reach. This type of confidence is exactly what we are looking for from our Level 4 players. We want them to invite pressure, knowing that they are in control, and brining the defender closer will make it easier for them to create the space they need.


In today’s training we will warm up with some base touches with resets (inside-inside to rip back reset, inside-outside to L to reset, etc.) in open space. Then set up two cones about 1-2 yards apart (the cones are optional, but they do give you targets for the resets, and encourage a tighter footwork pattern). Start on the left side of the cones and pullback with your right foot and use an outside touch to go through the cones. Once through the cones, perform a pullback L with the right foot to pull back reset with the left. Now, while at the back, right side of the cones, take an inside touch forward to the right side of the front cone and repeat the pattern to the left. Perform this drill for 3-5 sets of 30 to 60 seconds each with at least 30 seconds break between set.

Key Coaching Points:

  1. Don’t look at the complexity. Instead think of it as, “Get through the cones, then L to reset.” By now, these 3 patterns should be automated, and you should not have to think about the technique. Just think about direction, space and exit strategy.
  2. Change your pace. Start with a rhythmic pullback to an aggressive outside touch to quick pullback L reset, then use a slower outside touch to quick L reset, and then use a quick pullback outside touch to slower L reset. Changing the pace and putting quickness in different phases of the pattern will help make the drill more realistic.
  3. Look up. Try to look up during the drill, visualize a defender in your space and try to think about what you would do in specific situations.



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