Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: aggressive, coaching style, problems, Soccer
I think all of us have a dark side that turns us into critics. Some people can be more critical than others, but if you’re on the receiving end you have to close your ears to the comments and just let the critics get on
I was at a coaching session last week and all around me coaches were being critical. Rather than write the session down and create something new from it, they just wanted an excuse to say “I’m better than you”.
But it’s not just true of coaches. Working with grassroots teams I tend to hear criticism constantly and a lot of it comes from the parents at the side of the pitch. If their son or daughter has not played well, they think the coach hasn’t been doing his job properly. If their son or daughter is substituted, the coach hasn’t a clue what he’s doing.
And on it goes. Remember, criticism is easy to make but your achievements are not. And it’s easier to deal with criticism when you realise the reasons behind it. Criticism from parents is often a tool to defend their children and to defend themselves in the face of other parents with higher achieving kids – it’s not an attack on you as such but it can be hard to ignore.
You are doing a great job so don’t let them put you off. It is because you have given up your time and taken on the role of coach that you have been thrust into the limelight and unfortunately a lot of people will resent your position of importance.
When I first started coaching I remember that one of my teams went through a sticky patch in the middle of the season, having started out with four straight wins. After one game a parent came up to me and told me that he had spoken to a few of the other dads and they had decided my tactics were wrong.
I was taken aback and rushed home to go through my notes and think about what they had said. My tactics hadn’t changed but the players were on a steep learning curve and some aspects of their play were just beginning to come through. At that time I felt quite nervous about the score in games – not like now, when I look at how well the team played before I even think about the score.
In attacking me the dads had come up with reasons why their kids hadn’t won the game, but it was their problem, not mine. Now that I understand why people criticise, I no longer feel nervous about what parents think of me. Once you realise why people criticise you’ll deal with it much better too.
Filed under: Soccer Coaching, Soccer Skills, Soccer Training, Soccer News, Soccer Fitness, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Refereeing, Dave Clarke | Tags: Manchester United, alex ferguson, wales, coaching style, coaching sessions, perservere
My coaching word for this week is perseverance. I heard Sir Alex Ferguson the former manager of Manchester United in the English Premier League talking about the attributes that make a good coach and his first one was perseverance.
I immediately experienced why this is such an important part of your coaching style. In training this week I was trying out a new session which I was writing up for Soccer Coach Weekly – I do it on the premise that if it works with my U10s then it will work for practically all age groups.
It was an exercise that uses movement, coordination, passing, receiving and sprinting. I know sometimes when you are using exercises with young players in front of their parents it can be a bit awkward for you if the players don’t understand immediately what they have to do. Especially so when they have just come out of school and are raring to go – concentration is at a minimum.
I ran the exercise a couple of times and it was not going well. It needed some fine tuning and a lot of demonstrations by me to get the players to understand what I wanted. It was eating into my coaching time but I thought it was worthwhile persevering with it. After 10 minutes they were still struggling but suddenly one of the players shouted “got it, Dave!” and he showed the others how it worked.
And with demonstrations from both of us suddenly the whole squad could do it. We played the exercise for the next 20minutes and I took notes on how to change it to make it more easily understood for my Soccer Coach Weekly readers.
After the session a coach from one of our other teams came up and said “wow what a great session that was!” It had worked in the end but only because I was prepared to persevere with the session and use visual aids and use a player who could help me to show the others how to play it.
Not only that but it has given me another good, different exercise to use with my players as soon as we get to training that they can quickly get going with. And you can be sure that once I’ve used it a couple of times and drawn it out you will be the first coaches to get to play it because it will soon be in Soccer Coach Weekly.
Filed under: Soccer Coaching, Soccer Skills, Soccer Training, Soccer News, Soccer Fitness, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Refereeing, Dave Clarke | Tags: Chelsea, jose mourinho, leeds, win, match, grassroots, uwe rosler, lufc
Getting the momentum is one thing but getting the parents and players right behind you is another, so a good display is important.
Last season our first match was away at a very impressive ground with lots of facilities, including a main pitch with stands and floodlights.
As it was the Under 11s that were playing we were not on the adult A team pitch but we were on a pretty impressive one surrounded by a clubhouse and tennis courts. We had been promoted the previous season so we were not sure how we would cope at this higher level, but I could see my players were not intimidated by the surroundings and were raring to feel the excitement of the kick off.
We were quickly into our warm ups and soon we had shaken hands with the opposition ready for the match. I can’t imagine how it must feel to be Uwe Rosler, the new manager of Leeds United, as he waits for the whistle to blow with the eyes of his trigger happy owner Massimo Cellino upon him. Or Claudio Ranieri at Leicester, back in the Premier League hoping he can have the success he had before.
Kick off came with great relief and my initial fears that the team wouldn’t be good enough were soon banished as we unleashed a flurry of attacks. Twice we were nearly caught out on the counter but our defensive training sessions paid off with some good covering and clearing. However, as half time approached all of our hard work was undone when a clumsy clearance went into our own net.
The boy involved was heartbroken, but at half time we all gathered around him and told him it wasn’t his fault and that we were all pleased with the way the team had played. We ran the game in the second half but failed to score and that one own goal had been the downfall of the team.
However, parents and players alike were in high spirits because we had all seen we could compete at this higher level and I was proud of the way they had all gathered around the player who had scored the own goal.
So a great start to your campaign doesn’t always mean a winning start but momentum comes from playing well and working as a team – we went on to have a great season in a very tough league.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: pass, score, shoot, space, Switch play
By David Clarke
Why use it
It is crucial for young players to know how to switch play so they can exploit space by moving the ball from one side of the pitch to the other. They can do this either by using a long pass or a series of quick, short passes.
Create a 30×15-yard area split into three 10-yard zones. Mark out three gates along the two lines that create the centre zone – the gates should be one yard wide and evenly spaced along the line. We’re using three teams of four, one in each zone. You will need balls, bibs and cones.
How to play
In their groups of four, get the players to work out how many ways they can get the ball from one side to the other: one long pass; three short; one short, one long etc. After five minutes split the middle team in two – one pair defends the three gates on one side and one pair defends the gates on the other side. The two outside teams must try to pass quickly in order to find a chance to get the ball through one of the gates. Rotate teams every five minutes.
Having three goals and only two defenders means attackers will be keen to hunt out space to score.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: referee, youth, fellaini, spitting, spit
QUESTION A referee has threatened to report one of my players for excessive spitting during a match. Can he really do this? ANSWER If the player in question was spitting only at the ground and not in the direction of someone else on the pitch, I can’t see there has been any offence committed here. The act of spitting may carry with it a certain amount of kudos in making players feel grown up, manly and sporty, but it’s also really important for players to play soccer feeling comfortable. That said, it sounds as if one of your players has been rather over the top with the amount he was spitting, so this should be something you must have a word with him about. For all its usefulness, spitting is still not a particularly pleasant act, and my guess is the referee made a light threat in the hope that your player would knock it on the head. If the referee has gone ahead and reported this, you should hear from your league committee within a couple of weeks. Simply state the player’s case and explain that you are putting measures in place to remind all players of the etiquette required when on the soccer pitch. But if I were you, I wouldn’t be unduly worried about this. Answered by Yemi Blanolo, a retired referee from Maidstone in a recent issue of Soccer Coach Weekly
Filed under: Soccer Coaching, Soccer Skills, Soccer News, Soccer Fitness, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Refereeing, Dave Clarke | Tags: attacking, ball control, Barcelona, better soccer coaching, brazil, counter attack, Germany, world cup final
Bastian Schweinsteiger was one of the players of the World Cup in Brazil and in the final was one of the star players even having his face stapled when he split it in a head clash. Germany won the world cup and he played such a huge roll but he is not just a strong player, his ability on the ball to play passes and make himself available for the return is second to none.
Watch the Tactics Board session on the link below that helps to develop players to have that ability to distribute the ball with pace and accuracy.
TO WATCH THE TACTICS BOARD CLICK HERE: https://app.vzaar.com/videos/2189419
Filed under: Soccer Coaching, Soccer Skills, Soccer Training, Soccer News, Soccer Fitness, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Refereeing, Dave Clarke | Tags: coach, st georges park
One of the positives to have come out of the opening of St George’s Park in England last year is the recognition being given to the thousands of coaches up and down the country that make grassroots football tick.
St Georges will hopefully be putting coaches at the forefront of football in England, much like the situation is in Europe and America. Without coaches there wouldn’t be matches taking place every weekend.
The hours you coaches spend getting the right advice and the right sessions not only helps to create a development culture at your club but is also vitally important to the children you coach. I know how hard it is for all of you because I’ve started clubs too, and have stood in front of parents wondering how on earth I was going to fulfil their wishes.
Like you, I’ve stood at the end of a game when my team has lost, wondering if we would ever win again. Yes, it can be hard sometimes but coaching is also a wonderful experience, with some amazing highs. I spoke to a coach this week who has set up his own team because the side his son played for no longer saw the boy as part of their future.
His son sat on the bench most matches and when he was allowed on, he was screamed at and told what to do. That’s not being a coach – coaches make football fun. To rescue his son he created a team and set about learning what he should be coaching and how to manage.
He hadn’t realised all the things he would have to do: the amount of emails to players, the collection of subs, the payment of referees, coping with training, getting a kit and buying the right equipment. But I went to one of his matches and it was great to see him doing everything the right way, encouraging his players and making sure they all got a game. And at the end, when his team had won, he was bubbling over with delight. By doing it all himself he is learning the hard way that coaching is a huge responsibility.
Here at Soccer Coach Weekly we want to recognise all the hard work that goes into the role of the coach by shining a light on some of you who do the job. Which is why I run a Coach Of The Month feature, recognising grassroots coaches with all kinds of experience, whether it be for putting so much into the game every week or maybe just for making the kids happy.
If you want to nominate someone, or even yourself, to be Coach Of The Month, please tell us why and you could be featured in the magazine. Email your nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org