Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

Rainbow kicks make you look good

dc1Some skills are done just to make you look like you are the best soccer player in your team – or like a Brazilian player!

My favourite one that I used to do all the time as a young player was the rainbow kick. It is usually used in street soccer, but you can use it in matches although it doesn’t have a high success rate so you have to practise it a lot before you can make it work.

You can use it to catch a defender out – the player steps over the ball and flicks it up and over their head in an arc. he trick is usually performed while running forward with the ball, and is done by rolling the ball up the back of one leg with the other foot, before flicking the standing foot upwards to propel the ball forward and over the head.

It was famously used by Ossie Ardiles in the film The Great Escape.

What you trying to do is flick the ball over your head and that of the defender opening up a route to goal. Watch this and see how you can coach your players to use it…

 Soccer Skills and Drills

Control and shoot when you get to the penalty area

dc1I’ve just come in from watching a great game. Our U16s have played out of their skins and beaten the team at the top of the table. But both teams could have won the game.

We won because when we got near the penalty area we shot at goal. Our opponents tried to play it too near to the goal and ended up losing the ball every time.

I like to see a good bit of control then a shot, it happens to be the best way to put the opposition goalkeeper under a bit of pressure. Sometimes we try to play too many passes to get near the goal, when a good shot is what is needed to win a game.

Watch this clip of Leeds Utd U18s beating Liverpool u18s 3-1. The Leeds players are controlling the ball around the penalty area and making their possession count. Take a look at this…

 Soccer Skills and Drills

Build a fitness programme for your players
March 23, 2009, 5:03 pm
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness | Tags:

dc1Soccer is a high intensity sport with bursts of speed and power. It a lot of work on the fitness front to make sure players are prepared for matches

The most important aspect of soccer fitness training is that it involves using different patterns – sideways forward, backwards and off the ground.

It will help players at all levels if they have a consistent fitness programme.

This video demonstrates what I mean and it gives some good ideas for setting up your own fitness programme for your players.

Is focus missing from The Damned United?

dc1Getting your players to focus before, during and after a match is a key ingredient to a soccer coaching strategy. Before a match your players should focus on what the overall aim is. That focus must remain strong and constant throughout.

Errors by your players should not affect this focus as your goal is still the same.

My Better Soccer Coaching eNewsletter has some tips and advice on getting your players to focus in the issue of Tuesday 31 March (BSC188), make sure you click the link below and get your copy

In the film The Damned United – based on the book by David Peace – Brian Clough tells the Leeds United players to throw away all their winners medals because they cheated to get them. Not surprisingly the team don’t play well for him and lose games.

Motivation is a key factor in having the right mentality to go out and be winners.

Here’s a clip of Brian Clough arriving at Leeds and the players thoughts about him.

 Soccer Skills and Drills

How much respect do you show the referee?

dc1The FA’s latest move to promote respect for referees in grassroots football has resulted in a video with Hollywood hardman Ray Winstone playing the roles of good and bad parent.

The programme provides a series of tools for leagues, clubs, coaches, referees, players and parents from grassroots to elite football to ensure a safe, positive environment in which to enjoy the game. These tools include agreed codes of conduct, in-service training for Referees, Respect club packs, spectator sideline barriers funded by the Football Foundation and ensuring captains work with referees to manage player behaviour.

The question is will it work?

Already this week I’ve seen Premier league superstars showing disrespect for the referee. In my own leagues our linesman was called names by a 12-year-old which went unpunished.

As coaches we all have a responsibility to accept the word of the referee. If you have a grievance talk to the referee at the end, and don’t let your players see. The players will have forgotten the bad offside within minutes of the game ending so don’t remind them of it.

If you feel angry just walk away for a minute or two and gather yourself together.

Watch this video, sometimes it’s good to see how bad it can get. I’m sure most of you have witnessed this kind of behaviour. I know I have.

 Soccer Skills and Drills

Beat a defender with the scissors move

Watching players like Manchester United’s Ronaldo make fools of defenders always has me out on the pitch trying it for myself.

When you are coaching young players it is the extra bits like showing them how to do moves that make them look like the professionals they see on TV that gets them hooked on soccer.

The scissors move is great and can be used by defenders, midfielders and of course attackers, to fool the opposition into thinking you are going one way when in fact you go another.

Watch this video it shows you how to do it, and you can show your players, it’s that simple!

 Soccer Skills and Drills

Let your big central defenders go up for attacks

dc1Watching Manchester United play Inter Milan in the Champions League, it was interesting to note the player that gave Manchester a match winning start was the big central defender Nemanja Vidic.

Not only did he keep the Inter Milan attackers at bay but he went up for the corner, lost his markers and headed the ball into the corner of the net. When Inter Milan had a similar opportunity later in the half the attacking forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed.

Central defenders can cause chaos at corners. You need to get them to move around or time a run into the box so the corner taker can kick the ball into the area he is running into.

I love seeing my central defenders scoring because they do such a lot of hard work at the back, that it’s nice for them when they get the glory of scoring a goal.

Here’s Vidic’s goal that did so much for a Manchester Utd team to give them the edge over Inter Milan. Finishing is so important.

click here for the Vidic goal against Inter Milan

 Soccer Skills and Drills

Why do junior players have to dive?

Young players watch their heroes on TV and see them diving to gain an advantage over their opponents.

It’s no wonder they dive. And it isn’t easy for referees to judge who is diving and who has really been fouled. I don’t like to see it, but there have been some very comical moments when a young player tries to con the referee and we all end up laughing.

Watch this video of Atletico Junior v America de Cali in Colombia. I don’t think the Atletico fans were laughing at this but how on earth did the assistant referee fail to spot it?

 Soccer Skills and Drills

Teaching young players to dummy before shooting

There are some fantastic attacking players around these days. They can make even the best defenders go the wrong way with a dummy move that gives them space to get off a shot at goal.

Watch Cristiano Ronaldo and he is always selling dummies and finding space where he shouldn’t. I watched Zlatan Ibrahimovic playing for Inter Milan a couple of weeks ago against AC Milan. He was moving and changing direction to put off the defenders.

So how do you go about coaching young players to grow into the boots of these players? It’s all about practice and allowing them to look clumsy as they do it. It isn’t easy because young players can find it difficult to do these sorts of skills, so you have to try, try and try again.

I like this clip of an Australian coach showing his players how to dummy and shoot. It gives you a clue as to how you should be doing it and what to expect.

 Soccer Skills and Drills

Coaches, managers, players – just relax

dc1I heard a great phrase this weekend and it came from the lips of our goalkeeper.

We had been involved in a tough game, and found ourselves 3-2 down having been 1-0 and then 2-1 up. But with 10 minutes to go we scored a great goal to level things.

The boys were supercharged with energy and were going gung ho for a win. However this left us opened up a the back and our opponents got through three times only to see our goalkeeper defend brilliantly.

“Guys, guys,” he shouted, “just relax!”

What a great thing to shout, I thought, he’s absolutely right, we should all just relax. And then he shouted it again, “relax, Josh just relax.”

We played the last few minutes in complete control and should have won it but the chance went over the bar.

 Soccer Skills and Drills


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