Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: control, goal, pass, robben, Ronaldo, shooting, shots, speed
It must be a close call as to who is the faster player, Bayern Munich’s Dutch star Arjen Robben or Portugal and Real Madrid hero Cristiano Ronaldo. Both can run and change direction at speed, and both possess a potentially devastating end product to boot.
Many people assume that speed is in-built, but it can certainly be taught and improved. Control, meanwhile, is something that even more easily, over time, can be fine-tuned. So here is an exercise that combines both.
How to set it up
- Make sure your players are warmed up before they try this.
- You need 10 cones, a ball, a goal, a stopwatch and a timesheet.
- Create a five-yard square around the penalty spot.
- You need two gates, each two yards wide, each side of the penalty “D”, and 20 yards from the goal line.
- Make another gate in the centre of the pitch 24 yards from the goal line, and place the ball here.
- Players initially face the goal. On your whistle, players turn around and sprint towards the ball. Start the clock.
- They must then dribble it around the course as fast as they can. The choice of direction is yours.
- When they return to the starting area, they shoot into either corner of the goal.
- The clock stops when the ball hits the net.
Why this drill works
Fast, focused, and in control. These are the things you want your striker to be. This drill demands the use of both feet and lightning quick movement, agility, co-ordination, the necessity to change direction and, ultimately, the ability to shoot at goal.
Get your young players to train in this way and they will replicate the positive benefits of this in match day situations.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: 1v1, 3v3, control, drills, exercises, goal, score, shooting, shot
If your attackers are shy when they get the ball in front of goal and either just kick in hope in the vague direction of goal or try and pass it away quickly they need a boost in confidence.
This three-goal game is fantastic for giving every player in your team a chance to run at goal or shoot cleverly into the corners when they approach the goal at an angle.
Can they switch feet to fool the goalkeeper? Can they get into a better position to shoot? Can they win the 1v1s to set themselves up with a chance? Find out with this session:
How to set it up:
Play 3v3, in a 30-yard square area. There are three goals, two in each of the corners and one placed on the opposite side in the middle. One player from each team acts as goalkeeper.
The practice starts with one player from each team attacking the goal to their left – unopposed dribbling and shooting in turn.
Players must concentrate on controlling the ball and approaching each goal at an angle.
At the end of each attack, the attackers move clockwise around the playing area, ready to attack the next goal. Goalkeepers remain where they are.
To advance this, add defenders to the practice so your attackers have an additional obstacle.
Make sure you rotate players so that everyone gets a chance in each position.
You can also switch play by attacking each goal from the right-hand side.
The key elements:
The focus is on individual skills such as dribbling, shooting and 1v1 attacking and defending.
Highlight those players who are using good technique and creating space.
Don’t be afraid to stop the game, pointing out to your players what they are doing right and wrong in terms of technique and positioning.
Why this works:
Play is centred on a tight area that represents the compacted nature of the midfield so players are forced to make quick and efficient decisions in attack and defence.
Rather than undertake an exercise that encourages a player to pass, this is a great move whereby taking on an opponent can be shown to have a much more dynamic effect on the game, something that is good for players to recognise in a match situation.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: goal, Juventus, long range, Pogba, serie A
Love the technique used to keep the ball down with this long range shot.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: Arsenal, attack, Barcelona, creating space, drills, exercise, goal, passing, score, tight defence
By David Clarke
Modern day football formations make it essential that midfielders and attackers become accustomed to playing in congested areas. If they can display the skills needed to produce short, sharp interchanges of play, the rewards in the final third can be impressive.
This session replicates the free-flowing passing football of Arsenal and Barcelona.
It will provide a platform to help your team find a way through opponents with flooded backlines, as well as those who attempt to break up play by deploying one or two holding midfield players.
Why this works
The session requires speedy and decisive passing over short distances. Opposition defenders are used as solid obstacles meaning attackers are encouraged to sidestep their man so as to find an angle for a pass.
The move should prove that the fewer touches each player takes, the quicker and more accurate the pass is likely to be, and with two attacking outlets, the last two defenders will need to make quick decisions as to which player to track.
Try to repeat this move until the attacking players can produce the quick interchanges using only one touch each.
Starting with an attacking triangle, you can adapt the attacking elements of this move to show the freedom of space that players can move into.
How to set it up
Four attackers and four defenders are required for the session to work – in the picture above, the attackers are labelled A, B, C and D.
The activity is carried out in the final third of the field using the goal and a goalkeeper in position.
Players A, B, C and D form a triangular shape.
The four defenders are positioned in the shape of an upside-down letter "Y", spread apart from each other but close to attacking players. They must hold shape and allow the attackers to work the angles.
Player A starts with the ball. He must make an angle to evade the first defender and pass to player B, before making a run towards goal.
Player B lays a similar ball to player C, who after laying a pass to player D makes his own forward run.
Player D controls the ball and look for runs from A and C, then he lays a pass off to his chosen man.
In this instance, player A receives the pass. Making sure to stay onside, he fires at goal with a first-time shot.
Player C must continue his run in order to take advantage of any loose balls or rebounds.
Vary passing shapes but always ensure a centralised midfield move breaks out into a double-headed attack.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: bench, goal, Inter Milan, Juventus, neri, quagliarella, striker, substitutes
A friend of mine was thrilled this week. His son had scored the winner in an U14s match against a team at the top of the league. It gave the team a huge boost because they hadn’t scored a lot of goals recently.
But even more important to my friends son was that he had actually played. The team normally has the manager’s son playing up front, and although he is a good player no one else got to play in that position – my friends son was limited to bit part substitute roles.
The fact that without his son up front the team still played well and his “reserve” striker had scored the winning goal hopefully made its mark on the manager. Players must be allowed to play games or you cannot see how much they have developed from week to week.
It reminded me of the recent Juventus v Inter Milan game. “It’s hard to score goals without any attackers,” Said Juventus manager Gigi Del Neri in January when they won just two of seven league games after losing top scorer Fabio Quagliarella to injury.
He went out and bought Alessandro Matri from Cagliari on the last day of the transfer window which didn’t impress everyone.
Former Juventus great Franco Causio was not impressed: “Matri? He won’t make the difference.”
But just like my friends son he has. He scored the winner against hated rivals Inter.
“Matri is already a legend,” said the Turin-based newspaper La Stampa. Gazzetta dello Sport is even more enthusiastic. “Do you realise what you have done,” it declares. “That was not a goal. That was a howl of liberation, a declaration of love, an act of desire, a black-and-white orgasm.”
You’ll never know how good a player is until you see them playing in your team each week. Don’t have bench warmers in your team.
Watch Matri’s goal below:
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: corner, goal, Roberto Carlos
Check this out
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills | Tags: berbatov, goal, Liverpool, Manchester United, overhead kick, scissors
It was a moment that exploded into the imagination, and left me wondering what Berbatov had been doing during the two years of strolling and loitering which had United’s fans wondering if the £30m man would ever come good.
It’s the kind of thing I love to see in matches, an outrageous piece of skill that works – I could watch the clip over and over again. Hopefully a lot of kids will be trying to do it in their backgardens and we will see it attempted on the youth pitches we play on.
Follow my blueprint and get your players doing it.
This skill is all about timing – Get your players to:
Get into line with the flight of the ball, keep their eyes on it.
Kick the ball cleanly, not hard – the movement of their body will generate the power.
Jump up, leaving their kicking foot on the ground and use their other foot to propel them upwards.
Begin to fall backwards, keeping their eyes on the ball.
As their body sinks towards the ground, their non-kicking leg will go into the air. Kicking leg may still be on the ground.
When the ball is in ideal range, whip the kicking leg off the floor into the back of the ball, bringing your other leg back down quickly. The upper body should be almost horizontal.
As you fall, stretch out your hand to steady your impact with the ground. Twist your body to avoid landing on your back.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: Barcelona, corner, goal, skills, xavi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Tactics go out of the window as your players try to kick the ball harder but just cannot reach their team mates.
I’ve coached my team to use a near post tactic which catches the defenders off guard and creates goal scoring opportunities in front of goal.
1. The corner taker plays a quick ball into the player on the near post along the ground.
2. The receiver moves towards the ball to get it.
3. He plays the ball back to the corner taker who has moved to the edge of the penalty area.
4. The ball is played to the edge of the D where one of your midfielders has moved into position.
Isolate the defender with quick movement
Diagram 2 shows a close up of the initial move. The corner taker and two receivers have moved quickly so the circled defender is isolated in no man’s land. Players are moving to the ball and must be quick to control and pass.
The other attackers pull defenders away
Diagram 3 shows how the defenders have moved to cover the attackers they expect the ball to be played to. The two circled attackers have not only pulled the defenders away opening up a route to goal from the penalty area, they are also in the perfect position to score from any rebounds.
Watch the highlights from Barcelona versus Sporting Gijon and see how often Barcelona attack the near post. Their first two goals come from corners played towards the near post or the front part of the penalty area. They don’t cross deep first time it usually goes short first.
The highlights also show some wonderful skills and it in HD so worth taking a look at:
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills | Tags: Arsenal, attackers, diving, eduardo, goal
The obsession over attacker’s diving in England seems to me to be getting out of hand.
In Europe it is considered part of an attacker’s skill, to go down when they are touched in the penalty area. When Arsenal’s Eduardo won the penalty that caused Uefa to overreact and ban him then subsequently overturn that ban the rest of Europe will have admired the way he did it.
What worries me is that if we brand this as cheating what do we call all the other parts of a soccer match where players claim things, like corners when you appeal even though you know the ball was last played of you or taking a throw-in yards from where the ball went out?
Think about free-kicks when players won’t go back 10 yards or the player taking the free-kick moves the ball forward. Surely we can’t call all these things cheating?
When I first started coaching I kept wondering why so many calls were going against my team. I realized once I refereed a few matches that if one team calls the ball theirs and the other doesn’t, you tend to give it to the more vocal team. It’s just human nature. So I like to see all my players call for the ball when they know it is theirs.
We played a game recently where the opposition hit a shot very close to our goal at an acute angle and he claimed it had gone in and come out through a hole in the back of the goal. The opposition claimed the goal very vocally, as did the opposition parents. The young referee after deliberating for an instance gave the goal. It was not until then that my team questioned the referee, by then too late.
The ball had in fact flashed past the post.
You have to get up and get on with the game, gamesmanship like this happens in all sports – but is it cheating?
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Skills, Soccer Training | Tags: attackers, beat defenders, goal, jose mourinho, Ronaldo, sir bobby Robson
When attackers are faced with a number of defenders and they are alone running at goal it is often strength and skill that get them past and into goal scoring positions.
Your attackers need balance and strength to go with the skill of ball control. It’s no good running and dribbling only for a defender to nudge you off the ball and you lose all that momentum.
So fitness, strength and balance need to be part of your attackers’ make-up. That means training sessions need to include warm-up fitness and running exercises to practices balance at speed.
Watch this old video of Ronaldo playing for Barcelono in 1996 when the late Sir Bobby Robson was coach and Jose Mourinho was his assistant. The pace and balance is excellent and he also rides the blatant attempts to stop him by the Valencia defenders.