Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice


Shoot like Higuain

Argentina and Real Madrid striker striker Gonzalo Higuain shooting tips:

  1. Use positive touches to beat defenders
  2. Shoot across goal
  3. Hit hard with instep

Ten of the best soccer shooting drills



The romance of youth – will Argentina change the way they play?

dave clarkeAfter the Argentinian side went out of the World Cup I have been watching with interest to see if they, like Brazil, will adopt a more European style or stick with its traditional style of attacking play.

At youth level, coaches are encouraged to play either 4-3-3 or 4-3-1-2 on the grounds those formations should ensure the continued production of attacking midfielders. In games you rarely see any pressing of the ball, so players can stroll around with all the time in the world to be creative.

On TV they like to highlight the best moments of skill from the weekend much like they do on Soccer AM but the skill is the highlighted whether it leads to any attacking or defending move or not.

I warm to the idea, its all about the fun element, and that is what I should be seeing up and down the country in the parks and grounds where youth soccer takes place – it’s the idea that playing the right way is more important than winning.

It gives young players the time to be creative and leads to very watchable matches. When did your U8 midfielder get time on the ball without someone shouting “pass it!” or worse “get rid of it!”

There is one problem with this romantic idea of how the game should be played – the only side Argentina has beaten in a World Cup knockout game without going to penalties in the past 20 years is Mexico.

What does that do for the beautiful game?

Take a look at the latest Argentina sensation Javier Pastore the future of Argentinian football – linked with a £40m move to Manchester City.



Counter attack like Argentina

Watching Argentina play Canada in a World Cup warm up game, there was a great counter attacking goal. What I liked was the attacker’s skill in taking on a couple of defenders once they got to the opposite end of the pitch.

I see breakaway chances in lots of youth games but it needs a good finisher to score a goal. Often young strikers will wait too long or try to kick too hard and shoot past the post.

You can watch a clip of the goal below and play this exercise which coaches your players in how to take advantage of a counter attack.

How to play it

  • Mark out an area 40 yards x 20 yards – you can make it smaller for younger players.

  • In one of the corners, mark out a 10 yards square with a small, coned goal in it.

  • In this soccer drill the ball is passed so the attacker can run onto it.

  • The attacker must take full control of the ball at this point. The defender starts his run as soon as the pass is made and his first action is to hold up the attacker. The attacker should change his pace to fool the defender.

  • The defender cannot tackle until they get into the marked-off zone.

  • Once they get into the marked-off zone, the attacker must try to lose the defender with a turn – for instance, a stop turn, then try to put the ball between the two cones.

  • The defender must stick close to the attacker and try to get a tackle in to win the ball.

Click here to go to my Soccer Coach Weekly forum and read the comments or add one yourself.



What do you do when you celebrate a win?

DavidClarkeAs coaches we have all been through a period where we haven’t won for a few games and we begin to doubt what we have achieved. Losing is a part of sport that we all must accept and I include myself in that.

However hard we try to achieve a winning team you must be realistic and accept that losing is something that happens to most coaches. Remember that for every game you win opposite you is a coach and team that have lost, so try to respect that and not be over enthusiastic in your celebrations.

I know sometimes it isn’t easy to keep your emotions in check. I can remember after losing three games in a row how fantastic it felt to win again and so did my players. Coaches must try to set an example to their players in victory and in defeat because young players are easily influenced by your reactions.

Watching Maradonna when Argentina won a place in the World Cup in the recent qualifying matches diving full length onto the pitch is a good example of what you shouldn’t do. When my team won the U10 title having been second all season I could easily have done the same. Thankfully I can look back at the occasion and see photos of smiling coaches not idiots!

Watch these clips, one of Maradonna when Argentina beat Uruguay to claim a place in the 2010 World Cup against the odds, the second clip shows the moment Argentina score (goooooooooooooooooooooal!) and Sir Alex Ferguson when his team scored twice in the final minutes to help them on the road to winning the Premier League in England in 1993.




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