Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice


Beckham’s first goal in an Italian league
January 26, 2009, 11:24 pm
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Skills | Tags: , ,

For all the Beckham fans on both sides of the Atlantic, here he is scoring his first goal in an Italian league.

It’s a very professional goal, good support, good shot, big smile.

Updated to add Wednesday night’s goal as well – he’s on a roll!

 Soccer Skills and Drills



To me this was a backpass – what do you think?
January 20, 2009, 11:22 pm
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Refereeing | Tags: , , ,

In the clip below MLS teams Toronto and Columbus are tied and the match has entered the second minute of a total of two minutes of added time.

The Columbus goalkeeper kicks the ball upfield to try and launch one last attack.  A Toronto player passes the ball towards his fullback but a Columbus attacker actively pressures for control and tries to win the ball as it heads to the defender.

The defender shields the ball and lets it go through – challenged by the attacker – to the Toronto goalkeeper. The goalkeeper picks it up with the onrushing attacker only a few steps away.

To me that is a backpass. To the referee and assistant referee it was perfectly legal. What do you think?

 Soccer Skills and Drills



Get your players to be like Barcelona’s Messi
January 19, 2009, 8:20 pm
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Skills | Tags: , , ,

dc1I think in the future when they talk about the greatest players in the world they will talk about Lionel Messi at Barcelona.

At the moment the world has gone mad for Kaka with cash in the region of €130m being spoken of. But what about Messi. He is outstanding and when you look at the clip below you will see what I mean. So what is he worth?

Messi attacks the space that opens up around him. He drives into it with the ball at his mercy. He is all power and skill bursting into areas that defenders cannot protect.

If you want to create the next Messi your players must have the ball stuck to their feet for every waking hour.

They need to dribble the ball with each step of the foot when you’re walking, jogging, or sprinting with the ball. This way they develop close control and can cut the ball away from defenders when you need to.

His change of pace is outstanding. And that is one of his secrets, he starts slowly and then he bursts past them with speed. And he will cut the ball in either direction, to the inside or to the outside.

To get your players like Messi you have to get them to:

Run and run with the ball in the garden, the park, on the way to school or along the pavement when they are going to the shops.

Touch the ball with each step when they dribble.

Practice changing pace from slow to quick and back to slow.

Play one and two touch they don’t always need to dribble.

Keep their body between the ball and opponent.

Don’t give up if they lose the ball – win it back.

 Soccer Skills and Drills



Don’t leave substitutes on the bench on cold days

dc1I was talking to one of the parents of my team at the weekend and he was furious that his younger son, who plays for a different club, had been made to sit on the bench for the whole of the first half in a match earlier that day.

It was a cold day on Sunday, with a fierce wind making it seem even colder. His son had been playing away at a rather bleak spot. He got there half an hour early so his son could warm up, but no only did he have to go through the 30 minute warm up he then had to sit around with the other substitutes for another 40 minutes. Boy was he cold.

According to the manager it was “his turn” to sit out the half. In my opinion the coach was being lazy, he didn’t have to make a decision on who was or wasn’t playing well and shuffle his players around accordingly.

The substitutes are roll on roll off so they can go on for 15 or 20 minutes and take it in turns to stand for short spells. 

It isn’t fair to your players to make them turn up early then stand around in the cold for 40 minutes all it takes is a game plan which you can put into action the minute you arrive at the match.

 Soccer Skills and Drills



The goal from this corner should have been given

I love this corner – very clever and something to think about for our youth teams.

My only worry about using it is that if an official at a top premiership game can disallow the goal for not taking the corner correctly what will an official at a youth game do?

Watch the clip. In the Manchester United v Chelsea game on Sunday, Rooney walks to the corner  – plays the ball – but it looks to the opposition like he has just left the ball for someone else to take the corner. Ryan Giggs goes over and then accelerates away with the ball, crosses it and Ronaldo scores. The Chelsea players just stand and watch. Clever.

But the linesman flags for the ball not being played from the correct place even though it had.

How annoying that the players try something different, and score a goal only for a linesman to flag for a foul corner. Too clever. Where Rooney fell down was that he should have said something to the linesman as he played it.



How to get your goalkeeper reading penalties

dc1I always feel sorry for the goalkeeper when penalties are scored. So I spend time working with my keeper so he has a chance when the penalty is taken.

Here are my five top tips for goalkeepers to read penalties and a clip showing the best penalty save ever…:

1. Tell your players to watch the penalty taker’s eyes and body shape. Before young players shoot they often look at the corner they are going to hit the ball.

2. They must also watch the player’s approach. A very wide approach often indicates the shooter is going towards the opposite corner. A straight-on approach gives fewer clues.

3. Get your players to watch the plant foot. The ball often goes where the plant foot points.

4. And then the hips. The ball goes where the hips point. A “push pass” shot will require the hips to open up in the direction the ball is going.

5. Even the head. If junior penalty takers often drop their heads low and have a big pull-back of the leg — expect a cross-body shot. If the head stays up he’s going for the opposite corner.

And here’s the reason why you should always watch the ball:




Is this an infringement at a free-kick?

This is a classic quick free kick that goes wrong.

In the MLS game between Columbus and New England back in 2007 Marcos Gonzalez of Columbus, is fouled, and he takes the free kick quickly. However New England Wells Thompson, is only a couple of yards off the ball when the quick kick is taken. Thompson raises his leg to the ball and blocks the kick. The ball goes off his foot directly to Adam Cristman, who runs on and scores.

 Should the goal be given?

 The free kick laws state that if an attacking team takes a quick free kick and it hits an opponent not the full distance away he cannot claim an infringement if the player controls the ball without moving towards it.

 Is the New England player moving to the ball?

Have a look:




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