Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: Barcelona, dribbling, drill, fun, game, innovation, session, team, team bonding
This session is influenced heavily by techniques seen on the Barcelona training ground, a place where teamwork, communication and ball control provide the natural order. It’s a fun game that gets players keeping the ball close whilst moving as a unit. On the face of it, the premise is simple – a group race where one team tries to get a ball around a cone quicker than the other. The problem is the teams must hold hands in a circle and keep the ball moving with one or two touches as the whole group negotiates its path around the cone.
How to set it up:
- For this game, you will need cones and balls.
- Separating your group into teams of four, create an appropriate number of channels – in the example shown, we’ve used eight players and two channels. In each channel there are two cones, placed 15 yards apart.
- Each team has one ball.
- Each team begins on the left cone, and players hold hands with one another so as to form a circle.
- On your whistle, teams must keep the ball in the middle of their group and pass one-touch as they move to the cone, then around it. (For younger age groups allow two or even three touches.)
- The first team to get around the cone and back to the start wins.
- If the ball goes out of the circle players must go back to the start.
- The distance between the cone and the players should alter according to their age and ability, so vary the length and see how they get on. The longer the distance, the more difficult the task.
Developing the session:
- This is for super control freaks, particularly older players. Try your players with the same set-up but this time they must not let the ball bounce on the ground. It’s an elaborate ‘keepy-uppy’ game where each group must keep a ball in the air between them, get around a cone, then back. They can use their heads, feet, legs, and any other part of their body except their hands.
- You can also nominate one player as the ‘captain’. He has to guide the group of players by pushing, pulling and talking to them.
Why this works:
This is a good team bonding game that requires skill and technique. Coordination and communication are vital because although players are moving in one direction, some are going backwards, some forwards and some sideways… yet all need to keep an eye on the ball. Players will buy into this too because they find it really good fun.
Kids being kids, the prospect of holding hands with one another may not be too popular, so why not tell them to hold sleeves or wrists instead. The effect will be the same – players linking as one circle so as to perform the task
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: dribbling, drill, exercise, Manchester United, nani, session, youtube
Nani dribbles through a pattern of footballs without touching any. Set this up for your players, great fun…
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: balance, ball mastery, ball skills, dribbling, messi, Real Madrid, weaving
During growth and development our balance improves through practice. From learning to sit to walking and running does not just happen; it needs to be learnt and developed.
Think about how you learn to balance on a wall or the branch of a tree – first time you are awkward and slow until you can use your balance to speed up.
So too in sport. Lionel Messi has a low sense of balance because of his height and has learnt that he can lean and weave and stop quickly or speed up without losing his balance. This makes him an ideal machine for dribbling a ball past players. Dropping his shoulder to fool the defender into which side he will go to.
Balance is dependent on feedback and feeding of information from sensory receptors so repetition of movement, like walking along a wall, is vital to being balanced in sport especially at speed.
The optimum learning ages are between 5 and 11 but all coaches should do some training that involves specific balance related exercises.
Wobble boards and balance cushions are great to use if your club has them but if not I use this exercise below to help players with balance. I will add a ball once they can do it without falling over to make it more difficult.
How it works
- This exercise is done by a player and three cones.
- It helps young players with balance, and is great fun to do as well with players trying to keep balance on one leg.
- The player balances on one leg then touches the top of each of the three cones with the foot of their other leg without it touching the ground.
- Touches should be light and quick.
- After three touches change the standing leg so the other foot is touching the cones.
- Players should do the it three times with each foot.
Filed under: Soccer Coaching, Soccer Skills, Soccer Training, Soccer News, Soccer Fitness, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Refereeing, Dave Clarke | Tags: dribbling, running with the ball, keepy uppy, pre-season, individual, first touch, receiving
I’ve had a bunch of letters this week from coaches and parents asking about individual training when their child is not getting enough from their club, or coaches who are facing a new season and want to give their players something they can do at home.
Individual training will often depend on the resources of the club – are there enough balls for every player to have one for instance. What I often do is get the parents to bring a ball to training so every player has their own ball. Of course not everyone remembers (or can be bothered) to bring a ball but I can cover those with the club balls.
Once you have them all with a ball then you can do individual skills like running and turning or throwing the ball in the air and controlling it with their first touch. I’m lucky at my club because the training area has a wall that I can get players to pass to and receive it back off the wall.
I set up a dribbling line of cones quite far apart so players can run at speed with the ball, then five yards from the wall I put a cone where players must stop, pass, receive back, turn and run back. you can set up a few of these and players can run constantly between the cones.
Add into the mix some individual keepy-uppys where individuals can try and keep the ball in the air with any part of their body except their hands. I’m sure a lot of coaches have their own ideas and I’d be interested to hear them.
Click here to go to my Forum to read ideas or add your own.
Watch this video clip that has some more ideas for individual training:
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management | Tags: control, dribbling, skills, teamwork
In most team sports the player with the ball controls the match. Think of the quarterback in American football or the point guard in basketball. They control how the play will develop – in cricket the bowler controls the batter until the ball connects with the bat.
The problem in youth soccer is that the player with the ball is the slowest player on the pitch – not counting players like Christiano Ronaldo who runs just as fast with the ball as without. So the time that the player with the ball is the controlling player is short because they will quickly be caught.
This is because dribbling with the ball is much slower than running without it due to the technical pressure of keeping control.Therefore because the player will be stopped the quickest and often the only way for the team to progress up the field is by passing the ball to a team-mate.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Skills | Tags: dragan pejic, dribbling, skills, tricks, U9s midfield
Coaching the U9s last week one player stood out. Small but stocky he was constantly trying something different with his corners, free-kicks and dribbling skills.
Maybe he’d been watching Billy Wingrove and his ball skills, because something had inspired him to try flicks and tricks. At this age the opposition players find it hard not to stand and admire or have a joke when it goes wrong, but it is something you should encourage if your players try it at the right times.
The right times being in the opposition half of the pitch, not in your own penalty area! He tried to play a one-two with the corner flag, which with the new spiked flags could actually work – although on this occasion it didn’t much to the annoyance of his team mates.
It reminded me of some of the skills videos I have seen especially this one where the player does play a one-two with the corner flag. Check some of these out on my blog.