Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice


What to do with the goalkeeper when you get hammered

They are different to all your other players… goalkeepers are a law unto themselves. I was reading the reports on England goalkeeper David James who has let 10 goals in, in just two games for English premiership team Portsmouth. He says in the past he would have been unable to speak to anyone for days. I can sympathise with that – if any of my teams lost two games in a row badly then I was like a bear with a sore head.

But now James says “I try to get on with it, i take the dogs out for a walk and try to move and prepare for the next game. I have a debrief with my psychologist…” PSYCHOLOGIST… now that is where the similarities end. 

Coaches of youth teams don’t have psychologists to hand when they lose a game and neither does the under 12 goalkeeper. The goalkeeper will be in the car getting a pasting from dad while your in the bar bemoaning your luck.

But that’s the problem for goalkeepers… their errors are highlighted every time the ball goes in the net, they have nowhere to hide. You cannot let your goalkeeper take the blame or he won’t be your goalkeeper much longer. Protect him and nuture him so that he wants to play in goal no matter what the score is.

At training nights make sure he joins in with all the fun bits – the match, skills, fitness –  before you send him into the goal for some goalkeeper practice. It is important for you and the team that he feels part of it all. 

You can also get him to be vocal at training to shout at his defenders so in matches you can hear him bossing everyone around.

If you encourage him when he makes a mistake rather than criticise most of the players will pat him on the back and support him… have a go and they will crucify him.

Goalkeepers are vital to your team let’s make sure they don’t go home crying.

Here’s a few goalkeeping errors to show that it happens to even the very best…



Soccer women in ‘sexy’ kit – short skirts and tight tops

 I’m sure there were many in the women’s game who raised their eyes to the heavens when they heard this one. It reminds me of the statement by FIFA President Sepp Blatter that women should wear tighter shorts in soccer to attract more investment – a statement ridiculed by people in the women’s game.

So what will they make of this I wonder. 

Dutch women’s side FC de Rakt say their new ‘sexy kits’ are not a publicity stunt. The launch of the new kit – short skirts and tight tops – has seen a huge surge in interest in the team. They were all over the news last week.

Captain Rinske Temming says “It’s just a practical kit. Many girls have long wanted to play in skirts. We’ve opened the game for them.”

Here at Better Soccer Coaching the words exploitation, women’s lib and beach volleyball have all been muttered. Although I did note that Ronaldo sat without a shirt on for a good few minutes before he put on his strip for the Manchester United game against Chelsea…

See for yourself what the kits look like:



Have you got a first-aider on your team?

It is important you have someone you can call on if one of your players gets injured. There are lots of courses you can send someone on or go yourself. Usually in soccer it’s only minor injuries but I have seen broken wrists and bad cuts from badly looked after cleats.

If you do have to run on yourself to tend to one of your players try not to do it like this poor chap:



How to take a free-kick in soccer

A couple of weeks ago in Soccer Coach Weekly I showed how David Beckham practiced his free kicks. The effort he put in and the way he achieved perfection for himself. He hit balls from different angles around the goal.

Beckham would not move the angle or distance of the ball from the goal until he hit three perfectly placed balls into the back of the net. He used eight different angles without a goalkeeper and then progressed the exercise to performing the same series of kicks with a goalkeeper.

It showed his commitment to his art.

Coaches of youth soccer teams can get their players to do the same.

You don’t need to practice eight angles, start with two or three then work your way up. It is also a good practice to get your strikers hitting shots on target. But I would initially get the players with the best shots – or ones that can kick the ball hard – to practice until you see a difference in the direction and power of their shots.

In this video David Beckham shows you how to coach free-kicks to young players, where and how they should hit the ball:



Loadsamoney chairmen changing the face of English soccer

Do you know what, I have never felt the need to walk out because my chairman wouldn’t allow me to get Darren Dribbler from Albury U6s and made me have Barry Blaster from Tadworth instead.

I worry that the world of soccer is changing so very much with the influx of loadsamoney chairman who buy players and then tell the manager they’ve bought him.

This week has seen both Kevin Keegan and Alan Curbishley resign because they felt they were not in charge of their teams.

And I have to say I sympathise. I would hate to turn up to training and find someone other than myself had signed up players to play in the team I was coaching.

But then my chairman doesn’t invest heaps of money just to get us top of the table – we do that with team work and good tactics.

I have recently watched a very old club in the area stop playing at U16, not because of a lack of money but because one of the dads of a player on the team spread it about that he was taking the best players to form a new team with the aim of winning the league. Of course the majority of players wanted to be a part of that “winning philosophy” so there were too few players for that team to continue. I’m watching his team with interest to see what happens if they lose a few games.

It would seem the values of the English Premiership have permeated into the youth leagues of Surrey.



Deadline day: Will Manchester become step-over central?

Robinho has left Real Madrid for Manchester City! Wow what a transfer deadline day that was. The richest club in the world? Could be. But one thing is for sure Ronaldo the step over king will now have some competition from another master of the art in Robinho.

Both players in Manchester – could be the start of another phase in the battle between the two teams.

The whole of Europe and South America will be watching with interest – one thing though, does he know how cold and wet it is in Manchester? No doubt he will soon find out.

Here’s a taste of what is to come.




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