Filed under: Soccer Coaching, Soccer Skills, Soccer Training, Soccer News, Soccer Fitness, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Refereeing, Dave Clarke | Tags: Champions League, Arsenal, score goals, besiktas, demba ba
As a soccer coach you will often get asked by parents what happened to the fun side of soccer. Well this soccer drill is not only fun but should produce creative, skillful soccer playing to add a bit of flair on match days
I don’t coach route one, but…
I wouldn’t normally advise route one football but sometimes you want to get a team on the back foot from the off. When I first started soccer coaching, it was very basic and unimaginative with queues of boys doing the same old soccer drill, lining up, shooting at goal, lining up, running through cones. I spoke about this to a coach from a top club and he said to me “Try something different.” This invaluable soccer coaching tip has stayed with me ever since and I am always thinking of new, innovative ways to play and drill my teams.
That is exactly what Demba Ba did for Besiktas against Arsenal this week. watch it below and follow my tips so your team can do it:
Kick-off coaching tip
At a recent football event where there were 80 or 90 teams and the pitches were very small 6-a-side ones. I took my player with the best kick to one side and said: “When you win kick off, just shoot at the goal without anyone else touching the ball.”
This he did and duly scored. The referee was a fully-qualified ref and was mystified. He didn’t allow the goal (“that’s not fair coach”) but he went and checked at half time with the guy who had the rule book and came back with an apology.
The law states: The ball must go forward at kick off, but does not have to touch another player to go into the goal. I saw the great Socrates try it once for Brazil. We did it at every match until we got to the quarter finals, but by then all the teams had copied us.
Route one soccer drill
This is one of those soccer drills that you have to get your kids to practise and you only really want one or two of your players to do it. To run the drill simply put the ball on the centre spot and get one of them to kick as hard as they can.
Give your players five or six goes, no more and tell them to try it at their local park. If they can reach the goal it’s worth a shot, it could also lead to a corner and your team is immediately on the attack.
Sometimes you will turn up at very small pitches and your players will be keen to put their skills to the test.
Soccer drill set up
(We call this Louis’ kick). Three players take kick-off, only one touches it.
Players one and two stand either side of the ball a little way back, looking at each other. Player three stands behind the ball some way back.
Player one says to two, “Louis’ kick”.
Player three runs up and kicks the ball as hard as he can at the goal.
Try this soccer drill and see what happens but remember players learn quickly so watch out for them doing it back to you!
And don’t forget to keep a copy of the kick-off rule in your kitbag for when you score…
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: Arsenal, Champions League, player awards, Premier League, van persie, youtube
I hope you are all having awards events at your clubs as the season comes to a close. They’re a great way to wrap up the campaign and for the team as a whole to celebrate their achievements. And because this is done away from the football pitch, it puts an extra gloss on proceedings.
One of the end-of-season honours that I always keep a watch for at our club is that of Players’ Player of the Year.
To be the ‘players’ player’ is always a great honour. It tells a footballer they’ve won the respect of their team mates. And it’s usually won by that same player who has become regarded as the most consistent, trustworthy and level-headed.
Michael Owen revealed on Twitter that Robin van Persie of Arsenal should be PFS player of the year: “Player of the season so far? I went for Robin Van Persie. Stand out winner in my opinion.”
In my Under-10s group, they are now at the age where they have stopped voting for their best friend, and actually give credit to the player who they feel genuinely deserves the award.
And when it comes to writing down their favourite, the response is usually quick – it doesn’t take them long to work out who they think is the best in the team. It’s an exciting time and one that should be savoured. If you’re trying it for the first time this year, then be prepared for a couple of things.
Firstly, will the award be given to the leading goalscorer? Not always. I think some players feel that the strikers gain enough plaudits throughout the campaign! And secondly, the goalkeeper very often goes home empty-handed as well.
This was summed up one year when one of my players expressed surprise when I spoke to the squad about the award and how important it is. After outlining the process of how the players would vote, I added: “And don’t forget the goalkeeper.”A reply came from the back of the group: “Is he a player?”
Watch Robin van Persie scoring goals this season:
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: Barcelona, Bayer leverkusen, Champions League, new york giants, NFL
NFL Super Bowl winner Justin Tuck, of The New York Giants, who was in Barcelona to promote the NFL in Europe, came along to watch Barcelona train the day after witnessing history in the other kind of football – FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi’s unprecedented five goals in a Champions League victory against Bayer Leverkusen.
Víctor Valdés, who is a big NFL fan, swapped shirts with the two time Super Bowl winner, who also found time to express his admiration for Leo Messi.
Watch Tuck bow down to Messi when he meets him:
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 Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: 2005, AC Milan, Champions League, Gerrard, half-time, Liverpool, team talk
I was reminded of how crucial a half-time team talk is this week… when I didn’t give one. It was a friendly match and at half time I was collared by a parent trying to sort out his child’s registration in the team.
By the time I had sorted him out half time was over and we were back on the pitch. I had done nothing with my team. This resulted in an early goal for the opposition and me trying to reorganise and get messages to my players – essentially the half-time team talk.
The half-time period in a match is not just about refuelling and physical therapy. It’s a crucial time for the coach and team to gather their thoughts and prepare mentally for the challenges of the second half.
Looking back to half-time in the 2005 European Champions League final, with Liverpool 3-0 down to AC Milan, according to his Liverpool colleagues, captain Steven Gerrard was distraught and was ready to concede defeat. Afterwards, all he could remember of half-time was the manager getting his pen out, writing down the changes he wanted on the board and telling the team to try and get an early goal, as that could make the opposition nervous. But Gerrard said he just couldn’t concentrate – but that one thought stuck in his mind.
And they got that early goal and Liverpool went on to draw the game and win on penalties.
Because you only get a very short amount of time tell your players one or two things that can help influence the second half – just like Gerrard and the early goal, and is the only direct opportunity the coach will have to speak to all the players and to influence the second-half performance and result.
What you tell them will, of course, depend on the score and the coach’s perspective of the match. You must also take in other factors, such as the context of the game – eg is it a cup match in which the loser gets knocked out? Is it a league game and what are the league positions of the teams contesting the game? Is one team an overwhelming favourite to win the game? Is the team winning but not performing well?
These will help you decide what to say to your team, just make sure it’s positive. A coach I know once said: “Don’t get too carried away, this lot you’re playing aren’t very good.” His team were winning 4-0 at half time and went on to lose!
Here’s the hightlights from the 2005 European final
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: attacking headers, Champions League, Champions League final 2008, Chelsea, Manchester United, Ronaldo
Space is vital to an attacker, they need to get into it and keep the defender out of it. This is especially true of an attacking header where the attacker has to get into the space either by wrong footing the defender or to get across and into the space in front of the defender.
It is that movement away from, then back into, the space that wrong foots the defender.
In the Champions League Final of 2008 between Manchester United and Chelsea Cristiano Ronaldo had been giving Chelsea’s Michael Essien a hard time, but his movement to score the goal was a great example of the art of attacking.
Ronaldo fed Essien a dummy then stepped back and soared in the air to head the ball into the net. Essien had carried on running and lost Ronaldo – he didn’t even jump for the ball he was so far off it.
Simple movements at the right time can create lots of space to create goal scoring chances, it works with young players too.
Watch how he does it in the highlights from the game below:
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