Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: angle, attack, cover, defend, distance, support, tactics
In this 3v3 game, you can get players to learn about providing support and being in the right position to cover when the ball is lost.
In a 3v3 situation, one of the most important jobs is to support the player on the ball. There should be forward support to provide an attacking outlet and rear support to give a defensive outlet.
A pass back to the player covering the defensive area of the team can be an attacking move because it can open up space on the other side of the pitch.
Support players need to think about:
- The angle of support
- The distance of support
Getting this right means the supporting player:
- Has a full range of forward vision.
- Can receive the ball comfortably.
- Has space to pass the ball to a team mate.
- Can move forward into space in front of them.
How to set it up
In this game, rear support comes from the goalkeeper who must move out of his goal when the team is attacking. When the team is in possession of the ball none of the three players are allowed in their defensive end zone.
Goalkeepers have to support from the rear and be ready to get back if the team lose the ball. So the attacking team always has an empty end zone so the defending team can quickly attack if it wins the ball.
The attacking team therefore has a 3v2 advantage in the middle of the pitch. The defending team can have players in any zone, but when it wins the ball and attacks, all players including the goalkeeper must move out of the defensive end zone.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: attack, Captain, communication, creativity, sweeper, winger
Communication is the buzzword here, and you may well discover your next club captain through this simple game!
For the sweeper, it is a game of nerve and control. Defenders are always listening for instructions from behind.
Meanwhile opposition strikers sense the need to build attacks in space – invariably towards the wings – because they know simple balls through the middle can be cut out by the sweeper.
And encourage imaginative play when 1v1 scenarios do present themselves.
How to set it up:
Create a playing area measuring 50×30 yards.
Play a five-a-side game.
Create a 15-yard zone in front of each goal. This leaves the middle area of 20 yards in length.
Place a goal at each end.
You will need a good supply of balls.
One player on each team is nominated as the defensive "conductor". This player remains in his team’s defensive end zone and must communicate to his three team mates in front of him.
Each team aims to score in its opponent’s goal.
The game begins with the coach passing to one of the two teams.
The conductor provides verbal support and tactical encouragement to his team mates. He should be shouting instructions such as "get tight", "someone support", "cover", "get goal-side" and "show inside".
If the attacking team gets past the opponent’s defence, the conductor acts as a sweeper, effectively acting as the last defensive line. He must do his best to prevent a shot at goal.
Rotate players so that each man acts as the conductor.
At the end of each move – whether it ends in a goal or a defensive clearance – the ball is returned to you and play restarts with the last team out of possession.
Each team has 10 attacks. The team with the most goals at the end is the winner.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: movement, passing, patterns of play, space, understanding
Patterns of play are essential to the game. They can begin with any player on the pitch, and range from extremely simple to frighteningly complex! But the more players practise them and understand their effectiveness, the better the rewards for your team.
Here’s a game I use that starts with my full back. It doesn’t involve any long balls, but does require crisp, accurate passing. See if it works for you!
What to do
- Set up as shown in the pictures above. There is a target man (T) at each end of the area, plus two neutrals (N) and a 3v3 in the main 50×40 yards area, not including the centre circle, which has its own 2v2. Players cannot step over area boundaries.
- There are two balls in play at all times, starting with the target players who play out to the full back.
- Teams score a point by receiving the ball from one target man and pass it the length of the area to the other but each player on the team must touch the ball. This doesn’t include neutrals, who play for the attacking team.
- Tackling is only allowed in the centre circle, although blocks are allowed elsewhere. If play is turned over in the centre, the ball must go back to a target player for a new move to start.
- When a point is scored, target players restart by passing the ball to a player on the non-scoring team.
- Increase the game’s difficulty by making the neutral players defenders. If they win possession they return the ball to a target player.
- The game is great for practising moving patterns through midfield.
- It encourages players in the main area to be constantly on the move to help those in the centre.
- Players must be alert to opportunities to pass, particularly because a team could find itself in possession of two balls at once.
- Players must learn to pick up on preferred patterns of play from players in designated positions. The game encourages players to read and learn others’ preferences.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: discipline, how long?, parents, problems, time, understanding
I always remember when I was struggling to cope with delivering sessions in my early days, a very experienced academy coach said to me: “There are no failures, just experiences and your reactions to them.”
It’s a great piece of advice. My right hand man at training is fairly new to coaching and he, like you, works very hard at getting the right sessions and delivering them to some of our younger teams. But he gets very nervous and if the kids haven’t understood what he wants them to do, he moves right on to another session and tries that.
Understanding is vital to a session, both for the coach and the players – often it takes time for the players to get the session you are delivering. We were well into the session last week and I could see the players looking at one another slightly lost.
“It’s not working, Dave,” said my right-hand man. “You said it was a 15-minute exercise but time’s almost up and they’re not grasping it.
I told him to hold fire and managed to block out the murmurs of the watching parents who were keen for me to move on to something else. But I wanted to show them one more time that this could work. It’s never easy watching kids struggling with a concept, but I couldn’t give up on this with them so close.
I tried giving two players some extra encouragement – sometimes that’s all it takes. And sure enough, within 30 seconds, they began to ‘get it’. And more than that, they started having fun. The session was working and they wanted to carry on, because part of the fun was ‘getting’ the session.
Within a further 10 minutes they were making it look easy, which was exactly what I wanted. “Okay,” I shouted, “it’s a wrap!” And guess what? They didn’t want to stop
Some players began to move onto a small-sided game, but a good number were still running the passing sequence. I initially planned this as a 15-minute warm-up, but it had ended up filling the majority of the session!
I’m always amazed when coaches tell me they ran a session with 15 minutes of ‘this’, then 20 minutes of ‘that’, and another 10 minutes to finish, because that is what it told them to do in the session notes. Sure, following that principle helps you keep control of your session, but it won’t allow you to develop your players with any spontaneity.
Don’t keep looking at your watch just because it says 15 minutes in your session notes. Instead, watch the players and use your own coaching knowledge to judge what to do next. Trust me, the results can be fantastic.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: 1v1, accuracy, control, score, shooting, shot
This is a great game to end one of your sessions. I often use it with my U9s team when they have been training hard. Your players won’t know there’s a coaching element to this game and will be learning without realising it.
Expect to see lots of 1v1 situations in this game. But as the number of balls decrease, these will become more random because players can then link up to create 2v2 or 2v4 scenarios.
Players will learn how to attack and defend different goals. They will also have to use communication, decision making and teamwork skills as the game progresses from individual to multi-player situations.
Set this one up in a 30 yards by 30 yards square. You need six target goals (mini goals or cones will do), and a lot of balls.
How to play it
On your whistle, the attackers get a ball each and try to score in one of the goals. After each shot, the attackers return to the middle of the playing area to get another ball.
Once all the balls have been played, the number of balls in the goals should be counted and then the roles reversed. If you are using cones for goals, get a couple of parents or helpers to keep score.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: Alf Galustian, Barcelona, camacho, coerver, ian rush, lionel messi, manchester city, scotland, skills, spain, tactics, willie donachie
I firmly believe that if you want to develop the skills of individual players you need to start young and you need to do so at grassroots level. So this summer I decided to attend a number of courses based on skills coaching and individual excellence that would add to my knowledge of youth coaching. And this was the pick of the bunch.
Coerver Coaching’s Alf Galustian was the star skills educator at his Play Like Spain course at the London Soccer Dome – and it was like being in Spain on one of the hottest weekends of the year.
Coerver’s course is based on the Spain national side and the success they have had playing with Spanish style and the phases of play that make up that style. Alf coached sessions where the emphasis was on individual ball mastery and how the development of the individual creates a winning team.
Alf said: “I have worked in Spain as a coach educator several times throughout my career. It is common knowledge that Spain are the current leading developers of football talent and they have implemented a style of play that is the envy of world football”.
I found it very interesting because last year I spent a lot of time working on the phases of play used by Barcelona and why they have had so much success in the last few years with their style of possession play – I broke Barcelona style down to Possession/Patience/Penetration and did a presentation for the NSCAA on the Barcelona phases of play.
Alf broke down the Spain style into four phases of play
Protecting the ball individually by coaching shielding techniques and as a group moving the ball quickly to keep it away from opponents.
Individually and as a team. This is the Spanish way, lose the ball win it back by pressing high up the pitch giving teams no time to settle on the ball.
Running with the ball into space or finding the killer pass, with drills to develop individual and team skills
The creative end product from the combination of the other three parts of the course – including creativity in the final third (the one thing English players find hard to do).
Coerver have been over in Spain recently and Scott Wright the UK director of Coerver told me: “We have had coaches from all levels attend our courses in Spain including La Liga clubs Real Madrid, Getafe, Real Mallorca and Rayo Vallacano as well as other coaches and ex-players from across Spain and Europe.”
So I felt I was in good company on the course and that there was a real Spanish aspect to the sessions. Added to that Coerver had brought former Athletico Madrid youngster Manuel Ojalvo, and former professional Diego Camacho, who has amassed more than 400 appearances in La Liga.
Manuel has a background in youth coaching and gave some great insights into what it was like to be a youth player in Spain. Diego doesn’t have the command of the English language that Manuel has but he managed to get across the frustrations of being coached in one position for all his time in youth football – defensive midfield. He has played against the likes of Zinedine Zidane and Lionel Messi, asked how he stopped Messi he shrugged and gave a chopping motion… it was fascinating stuff.
Both players are convinced the Coerver system can help grassroots in Spain – and of course in England.
Diego said (with Manuel acting as interpreter): “Every ex-professional player, no matter the level, who is thinking about moving into coaching should definitely study the Coerver System; I wish it had been available to me when I was a young, it would have made me a better player”.
Alf also introduced former ManchesterCity and Scotland defender Willie Donachie who is now development coach at Newcastle United. Again the advice was very interesting because Coerver are very much an attack minded in their tactics. Willie talks defence and used the example of Ian Rush the former Liverpool and Wales striker as an example of a forward whose first thought on losing the ball was to win it back. Alf too had praise for an attacker who likes to win the ball back – Lionel Messi “he is the best defender in the world”, said Alf.
Some great course material to take away in the form of a book that included the sessions Alf had put on during the weekend added to the overall success of the course.
It was a great way to spend a weekend in the summer and a very valuable one for my own personal development adding to my knowledge of Spanish football, giving me lots to take back to the teams that I coach. I suggest if you get the chance you should go on the course – it is a great learning experience.