Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice


Little ears are always listening and sarcasm doesn’t exist in their world
November 26, 2008, 1:12 pm
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Team Management | Tags:

A word of warning to all coaches out there. Watch what you say when little ears are in the back of the car. Whatever you say will be taken down and used in evidence.

So when your son and his friends are coming back with you from the game in the back seat of the car keep your lips zipped. They hear everything and usually interpret it slightly differently from you. You may still be buzzing with irritation from what went on, they will have forgotten it almost straight away, so things said in the heat of the moment are fact to them.

I once had a parent ring me up to say her son was upset because he was going to have to play in goal for a month…. now which away match did I mutter that at…



When Gordon Ramsey was given the F-word at Glasgow Rangers

It is never easy telling someone they haven’t made the grade. A young player I had was scouted by a big club –  he came back a year later, dejected, he hadn’t made it. He was never the same player again, all his confidence had gone. His dad told me that at the end of the season the club coach shouted to the boys to listen out and if their name was called they were staying – if it wasn’t… well goodbye.

That was it. No one talked to him about it or even why he hadn’t made the grade.

In this clip of Gordon Ramsey he talks about how he was scouted by Glasgow Rangers and was in the same youth team as Ally McCoist. Ramsey thought he would make it but was told he was no longer wanted by Rangers.

You can tell Ramsey remembers the feeling when they got rid of him, and talks about how his third Michelin star finally made up for that bad feeling – some kids don’t go on to recover.

It’s always a good thing to remember how young players can be on a high or low depending how you treat them – sitting on the bench every match does nothing for a youngsters’ confidence.

Hopefully you won’t have the job of telling anyone they are no longer needed. As Gordon Ramsey found out being given the F-word is something that stays with you for a very long time.

Watch the clip – PARENTAL GUIDANCE WARNING THIS CLIP CONTAINS THE ODD SWEAR WORD- he talks about not being wanted by Rangers about a quarter of the way through and there’s a very nice chicken dish at the end!:



Why playmakers like Zidane need support

Zinedine Zidane was one of the best playmakers I have ever had the good fortune to see, but he would have been nothing without the world’s best support players.

I am constantly having to remind my young players that they cannot just give great passes they need to pass and then support the pass. If you beat a couple of players and then pass the ball into the box, if no one is in there the brilliant move has no end product – it has no teeth.

So support is vital, support on the ball and support off it.

Watch these clips of Zidane the playmaker – but take note of how often one or even two players are in support. They know what he can do so they get into the positions to finish the moves off.

Tell your players they must always support your playmakers it will add an end product to the great moves they make.



Brits flying the flag in Major League Soccer

dc2If you believe the rumours Major League Soccer is about to explode with a raft of stars looking at options of playing in America. And with the demise of interest in the Italian league on UK TV, I bet we’ll soon be seeing a lot of the MLS on our screens.

I decided to check out how the Brits have performed in the MLS now the season is over and which of them we are likely to see gracing our TV screens. 

And it’s not David Beckham’s name that pops up. There’s a player at Toronto FC who’s making bigger waves.

He even has his own TV show and catchphrase – “Yo, yo, yo what’s popping?”  – Rohan Ricketts was a youth player with Arsenal before joining Spurs, Wolves and Barnsley. Rapper 50 Cents is a fan of his – He was seen recently wearing a Ricketts shirt.

Playing with him at Toronto FC is Danny Dichio, best known for his exploits at QPR. He is Toronto’s leading all time goal scorer with 12 goals this season. He’s also the only Toronto player to be sent off.

Darren Huckerby has scored 6 goals for San Jose Earthquakes – unfortunately they finished last this season.

Irish midfielder Ronnie O’Brien went to Dallas via Juventus after being released by Middlesborough. He is also with San Jose Earthquakes and was an MLS Player of the Week during August. 

And there’s other Brits, like Terry Cooke, the captain of Colorado Rapids who came through the Manchester United youth team and once roomed with David Beckham.

There’s a lot to interest the UK in the MLS and I for one am hoping the TV companies come a deal sooner rather than later so we get to see the Brit Expats in action.

Here’s a clip of Rohan Ricketts in action to show you what we can look forward to:



Robin van Persie can do it in reverse

dave clarkeI wrote an article recently in an issue of Better Soccer Coaching about how Robin van Persie swivels and controls the ball with the instep of his foot to turn a defender. It looks great when he does it almost as though the ball is on the end of his toe and he is using it like a wheel.

While I was researching videos of him doing it – so I could work out how he does it! – I came across this clip of him playing for the Netherlands v Andorra in 2005.

It was such a good move I nearly included it with the van Persie swivel but would have to call it the reverse van Persie swivel. He does it backwards. I particularly like the commentator when van Persie swivels it to Rafael van der Vaart who exclaims “Woooh oh ho ho!” then in action replay shouts “Woopah!!”. 

See for yourself:



The Rory Delap factor – take them by surprise

dave clarkeOne of the great things about youth soccer is the way young players respond to being asked to try something different. In my teams I always have three or four things which we can try during a match that can catch the opposition unawares and create goal scoring chances.

And they are keen to do them. I have featured a lot of surprise tactics in my Soccer Coach Weekly publication, which I know my readers are very responsive to and the feedback I get is that these things actually work!

One of my favourite is at 7-a-side out of the blue I’d get my attacker with the hardest kick to run and shoot straight from kick off. It was a great tactic, one which was very successful on small pitches.

The surprise tactic that has got everyone standing up at the moment is the Rory Delap throw in. Wow that guy can throw over 35m into the penalty area causing chaos and creating goal scoring chances that recently have all been converted into goals. Free-kicks, corners… who needs them, if you’ve got a throw in taker like Delap you can attack from every position.

He has done it to great effect in the English Premiership – the latest victims being Arsenal who couldn’t defend against it.

My tip to any throw in taker is to drag the back foot because this stops you lifting it off the ground which is the hardest thing to control when your straining to get the ball thrown long. Line all your players up and have a competition to see who throws the farthest… you never know you may just have a Rory Delap hiding in the wings.

Here’s a clip of him throwing into those attacking areas.




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