Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: Barcelona, Bayern Munich, defending, pressing, tactics, winning
This game is about pressing and dropping in tight areas of the pitch. It helps your players’ decision-making skills where overloads are concerned – their judgment of when to press and when to drop during a game, depending on numbers and position on the pitch.
Playing in exercises that have a game structure helps players understand training principles.
How to set it up:
- This game requires cones and balls.
- Use two 30×20 yards areas with a gap between of 10 to 20 yards. The bigger the gap, the fitter your players need to be.
- Two teams – whites and greys – play 4v4 in each area, with a five-yard cone goal at each end but no keepers.
- Start both 4v4s at the same time, instructing one team when to press high and when to drop back to cover lower down the pitch. Play for five minutes.
- Now assign numbers – in both boxes whites are 1, 2, 3 and 4. Greys in both boxes are 5, 6, 7 and 8.
- Returning to the game, when you call out a number the two players who have that number must switch pitches to create overload scenarios.
- Play for a further five minutes.
Progressing the session:
The players now don’t have numbers, and can play in either box. If greys are winning in one box but losing in the other, players can switch to assist, leaving team mates behind to defend their lead. Play for 10 minutes.
Why this works:
As the players switch pitches they leave and join different overloads, adapting their game in the process. In the progression, the decision of when to support the other team is left to the players. The challenge is very match-like in that respect – when to press and when to drop.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: Barcelona, Bayern Munich, control, drills, exercises, pass, passing
This advanced passing and moving exercise gets players thinking about where they are moving as they control and pass the ball. It helps young players perfect the weight and accuracy of the pass while they are on the move and looking around them for the player to pass to.
How to set it up
- Set up an area 30 yards long by 20 yards, with a cone at each corner. Have a queue of players at the first cone and one player on the next three cones.
- The game is continuous but because there is a lot of passing and movement, it relies on your players to listen and then perform the tasks using good technique, running and passing skills.
What you want to see in your players
Follow the steps in the diagram. Your players will have to concentrate as you talk them through the steps. Read the diagram carefully so you can see how the ball is moving around the cones.
Make sure your players are concentrating on all the aspects of the exercise – passing, controlling, awareness and moving with ease around the cones. Explain to them that the weight of the pass and accuracy of the pass are vital to the exercise.
When you have run the exercise for 10 minutes (or less if you are only using a few players) have a drinks break then tell your players you want to see them do it again at full speed for five minutes. They will either be brilliant at it or have a great deal of fun and laugher trying to be brilliant at it!
End with a small-sided game where you want to see some of the aspects the players have learned in the session.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: Bayern Munich, champions leagued, Chelsea, Drogba, headers, thomas muller, youtube
This week’s Champions League final between Chelsea and Bayern Munich had two goals both headers which used different techniques. Thomas Muller scored with a downward header using the angle of the ball to create an unstoppable bounce which the Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech couldn’t save. Didier Drogba’s equaliser was a fabulous power header which caught the whole Bayern defence napping.
It’s an important attribute for a striker to have, the ability to jump above the opposition and get their head on the ball. When your players head a ball, if they can jump with the right technique, they are likely to get above most defenders in youth matches.
Young players often are not spending enough time at training practicing getting themselves off the floor and their heads on the ball. A header is a very effective way of scoring at all levels of the game but especially youth matches where players shy away from heading.
Coaches need to spend time on the technique and the movement to get into position to attack the ball using the head. Time spend in training will be repaid over and over again in matches.
Watch the Champions League goals below:
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: 2-0, Bayern Munich, Champions League, Inter Milan, losing, winning, youtube
You’re 2-0 up against your closest rivals, so how do you see out the win?
This was a question which posed itself last Saturday morning in a match my Under-10s had against the team that shared top spot in the league with us. We were level pegging in the table but they had played a game more.
We knew therefore that a win would offer us a healthy advantage at the top. Sometimes we all get too carried away with scores and results but in this instance it was a big game against a team of a similarly high standard. The only real difference was in terms of tactic – we typically pass the ball whereas they kick it long.
These occasions can be intimidating affairs for the players involved but we have such a friendly atmosphere at our club that both groups were laughing before kick-off and thoroughly enjoying the occasion. The first five minutes were very tight; no-one gave an inch. We won a corner, giving us chance to put into action something we’d been practising in training. A quick exchange worked, the ball ended up on the head of our attacker, and we were 1-0 up. A few minutes later we got another corner – same routine, same result! 2-0.
What is it about a 2-0 scoreline though that makes the team in the lead sit back?
Because sit back we did! It was frustrating for me and the players’ parents too as we watched our well oiled machine begin to choke. What I really enjoy about my side though is that they can think for themselves – for a while they worked it out, pressing the opposition, holding the ball and concentrating on their passing game.
But by the midway point in second period, the skill of the other team in spraying passes and sticking to a tactic at which they were well versed meant I needed to change things, or they’d quickly be back in the game. So I dropped a player from midfield into defence and locked it up tight. I knew this would relinquish possession in midfield but against a long ball team most of those central players were being bypassed anyway.
I also pulled a player back from the frontline and sat him in front of the defence – it was like Fort Knox. We could repel any invaders that took us on. I wouldn’t normally have gone so defensive, but we’d played a pressing game and our stamina levels were flagging. Pulling players back actually made the other team’s tactic less effective, and on a day where league points mattered more than the spectacle, a defensive ploy seemed the right thing to do.
I wouldn’t play this way every week because youth football is about so much more, but it ensured we held on to win the game.
Watch the highlights of Inter Milan winning the 2010 Champions League 2-0 against Bayern Munich
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: 2002, 2010, Arjen Robben, Bayern Munich, Champions League, Manchester United, Real Madrid, zidane
Zinedine Zidane’s volley to win the 2002 Champions League for Real Madrid against Bayer Leverkusen is one of the outstanding examples of the skill – I was reminded of it when I saw Arjen Robben’s volley for Bayern Munich in this season’s Champions League quarter final against Manchester United. It looks easy but is a difficult skill for young players that must be constantly practiced to make it easy to do in matches when the pressure is on.
You can use the technique I have illustrated here to get your players volleying the ball. The element of surprise is vital to stop the defenders reacting to the shot. If you watch the Robben clip below you can see how the Manchester United defenders have no time to react to the Bayern Munich attacker’s shot.
- Tell your players to keep their eyes focused on the ball and get into the line of flight.
- Get them to use their arms for balance, imagine a strike zone in front of them and keep their head still.
- They should plant their non-kicking foot on the ground and leading with the knee, bring the kicking leg through.
- The leg should be slightly bent, with the toes pointing down and the ankle held firm.
- They should strike the centre or top half of the ball with the instep and keep their head over the ball to keep the volley down.
Watch both the goals here and see how Zidane and Robben perform the art of the volley to score important goals then vote which one you think is best on my Dug-Out Forum here