Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice


Running from deep – whole-part-whole session

davidscwnew

Many defenders and midfielders think that once the ball has been fed to a striker, their job is done. But they should be supporting the front men by running past them and into unmarked attacking areas.

So here’s a session that helps players understand the value of supporting play and passing into dangerous areas of the pitch. It uses "whole-part-whole" coaching – namely going straight into a game, then breaking things down to show players coaching detail, then back to the game.

How to play it

  • Set up as shown in the pictures above – this is a 6v6 game (including keepers).

  • One player from each team stays in the zone in front of the goal – the target man, who can only use one or two-touch. He cannot score and can only assist others.

Whole

  • The game starts with teams looking to score in the opponent’s goal.

  • Using peeled, overlapping or blindside runs, players must create space to receive the ball then shoot at goal.

  • Play for 10 minutes to allow players to get a feel for the game.

Part

  • Change the game now to focus on the movement from deep of the supporting players.

  • Now all players start in the same half, with the defending team’s target man moved back to the halfway line.

  • The attacking team combines to feed a pass to its target man before attacking the goal.

  • If the defending team turns over possession, it can attack the other goal by passing to its target player on the halfway line. Players have only three touches before they must shoot but their players cannot be tackled.

  • Play for five attacks then switch teams over so both teams experience the same conditions.

Whole

  • Replay the first part again. This time, you will find players automatically making more runs from deep.

Technique and tactics

  • Players have to make supporting runs because the target man can only play the ball back to a team mate to create goalscoring chances.

  • Runs from deep involve movement to lose a player, to reach a position for the target player to pas to them, to use good technique in order to control or shoot at goal.

  • Players should use different types of passes to find the target player and must support from deep with a wide variety of well-timed and well-angled runs.



Building from the back

davidscwnew

This practice looks at attacking movement that begins with every team’s last man – the keeper.

Starting these forward moves from the back takes courage and confidence but utilising possession in this way is good for technique and means opponents are being asked to work hard to get near the ball.

It rehearses passing into and creating space, forward movement, counter-attacking and support play. And with practice, players can really enjoy the benefits of such skilled and attractive build-up patterns.

How to set it up:

  • Use a 40×30 yards area with three small goals – each two yards wide – at each end.

  • You’ll need balls, bibs and cones (or poles).

  • The pictures above use 12 players (6v6) but you can adjust player numbers to suit.

  • Each team has three outfield players and a keeper in their defensive half, with two attackers in the opposition half.

Getting started:

  • The ball starts with one of the keepers. He has to patrol three gates at once and, given that the majority of his work is performed with his feet, he cannot use his hands.

  • The keeper passes the ball to a team mate in his own half.

  • This attacking team must make three passes – something they should be able to do quite easily with their 4v2 overload.

  • Once they complete the three passes, a player can pass or dribble into the opposition half of the pitch, supported by his team mates, which creates a 5v4 overload.

  • To score, attackers must dribble the ball through any of the three opposition gates.

  • If the defending team wins the ball back, it can counter attack – there are no offsides. If it cannot counter, passing back to the keeper resets play – opposition players return to their original positions, and the exercise restarts by building from the back.

Why this works:

This session works because it helps coach breaking into space when attacking, and covering space when defending.

Players are encouraged to create overloads by exploring space, and having three goals to aim at offers the chance to combine width with intelligent running.

The threat of the opposition in counter attacking reminds attackers that while considered build-up play is encouraged, they must stay aware of their defensive positions as well.



Creating intelligent players

davidscwnew

Intelligence on the pitch isn’t something that comes naturally to all players. Many will make good passes or strong tackles but won’t think about what follows. Smart players are those who learn there is more than one part to a move – they must link, support and anticipate.

It is through exercises such as this one that a player’s footballing intelligence can be enhanced – not just so they replicate moves well, but so they realise too that when they’ve made their contribution, the sequence continues to build.

How to set it up:

  • Set up as shown in the diagram, with two players by the first cone (A). Five yards on, place another cone (B), then at right and left diagonals, place two more cones (C and D) 10 yards away.

Getting started:

  • This part of the exercise is run without a ball.

  • Setting off side by side, players sprint from A to B. They touch the cone at B and sprint to the diagonal cone on their side, touch that cone, then race back to the start.

  • As soon as the outgoing player touches cone B, the next man in line begins his run.

Developing the session:

  • For the second part, a ball is added.

  • Two servers are placed two yards either side of cone B.

  • Now, one player advances to cone A, passes to either of the servers, then sprints past B, where he receives the ball back in his stride.

  • This working player dribbles to C or D before returning to the start.

  • Swap the servers so each player has a go at both roles, and encourage working players to change the direction they take around the circuit each time.

Further progression:

  • This time, we place a player on A and two on B, plus two men on C and D.

  • The player at A passes to B, follows his pass and stops at the cone.

  • The player at B turns to his right with the ball, dribbles for a short distance then passes to the player at C.

  • This man receives the pass, dribbles to cone A, and begins the move again from the start.

  • The player at B this time turns in the other direction and heads for D.

Why this works:

Research from Sport England has shown that the average number of times a youth player sprints during a match is 19. The average distance is 10 yards and the run is not in a straight line.

What is replicated in this exercise is passing and receiving, taking into account those sprint statistics for youth matches.

The formation of the exercise also mimics the attacking angles players will practise in matches. And the alternating between cones C and D ensures that players use both feet.



Even the professionals make mistakes

dave clarkeWatching Leeds United play Cardiff City in the English Championship last month what stood out was the mix up between the sons of two Manchester United greats managed between them to gift a goal to Cardiff.

The sons of Peter Schmeichel and Steve Bruce both play for Leeds. Kasper Schmeichel in goal and Alex Bruce at centre-back much like their fathers. Between they they let the Cardiff centre forward Jay Boothroyd take the ball when the two Leeds players should between them have easily cleared it – no communication and yet they played together in the changing rooms at Old Trafford while waiting for their dads – you can see a clip of them playing together aged 6 below.

But there are always mistakes during the course of a season in every division in every league. I’m sure you see them all the time in youth matches – it’s something that happens.

So next time your players make a mistake don’t let them dwell on it and don’t dwell on it your self because someone somewhere will be making a mistake too.

And the mistakes by their fathers in this clip below:



Making a fool of defenders – the nutmeg
August 24, 2009, 8:22 am
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Skills | Tags: , , , ,

dc1There’s nothing worse as a defender than to have the ball played through your legs leaving you rooted to the spot unable to do anything about it. You’ve been nutmegged.

This sort of skill is the kind of thing you need to arm your players with, so as they grow more confident in games they have the ability to use certain techniques which give them the edge over the opposition.

Watching players use techniques like the nutmeg is exciting to see.

Here’s a clip explaining how to attack a defender and use the nutmeg and a clip of Jose Antonio Reyes playing for Arsenal, performing a nutmeg on Gary Neville on two occasions causing the Manchester Utd defender to do an horrendous foul to hide his embarrassment.

 Soccer Skills and Drills



Sweepers can think for your defenders

dc1I was shown this clip of a young player who plays the role of sweeper for his team. It is an excellent example of the art of the sweeper.

I think the sweeper position is one of the best ways young players can learn the art of defending. You can go man for man marking because the sweeper covers the spaces that zonal defending takes care of.

They also provide great cover for your defence.

I think coaches of young squads should bring back the classic libero into their teams – learning to be a sweeper makes 10, 11, 12-year olds more intelligent players.

Watch the clip, it helps you realise how much cover a sweeper can provide for your team.

 Soccer Skills and Drills




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