Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: Bristol City, david James, England, goalkeeper, Portsmouth, sessions
Watching one of the Under-12s goalkeepers at my local club this week picking the ball out of the net seven times I was reminded me of an article I had read by David James, the former England stopper who is now at English Championship club Bristol City.
When the 41-year-old was playing in the Premier League with Portsmouth, he once suffered the humiliation of conceding 10 goals in two games. Recalling that and other similar events, he said: “I try to get on with it; I take the dogs out for a walk. I try to move on and prepare for the next game. I have a debrief with my psychologist…” Psychologist?
Now that is where the similarities end…!Coaches of youth teams don’t have psychologists at hand when they lose a game, and neither does the poor lad whose goal has been under constant bombardment. More likely is that said keeper will be in the car home getting a pasting from his dad, your words of comfort a distant and fading memory!
But that’s the problem for keepers… their errors are highlighted every time the ball goes in the net; they have nowhere to hide. That’s why you must not let your keeper take the blame because, trust me, if you do, he won’t be your keeper for much longer! Protect him and nurture him so he wants to play in goal no matter what the score is.
At training nights make sure he joins in with all the fun bits – the match, skills, fitness – before you move him between the sticks for some designated keeper practice. It is important for you and the team that he feels part of it all. You can also get him to be vocal at training – to shout at his defenders and order them around, if necessary. Not only will this give him a unique status, but it will cement his value to the rest of the team as a leader and organiser on match day – someone who can survey all that’s in front of him with ease.
And encouraging him when he makes a mistake rather than criticising means that most of his team mates will do likewise.
At the end of the day keepers are vital to your team and their influence is stronger than you may realise. Let’s make sure they don’t go home crying.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: drills, exercises, games, goalkeeper, tactics
By David Clarke
Goalkeepers can distribute the ball from the back to get the team moving forward. They should be able to look around and communicate with the players in front of them, to play the ball into space and launch an attack.
Especially when the opposition have just been on the attack from say a corner, they often react slowly to getting back if the goalkeeper gets the ball. They can then throw the ball to take advantage.
I often play this game to get my goalkeeper thinking about quick plays that can get my team reacting quicker than the opposition. Every time the team wins the ball it must go back to their goalkeeper before they launch an attack. I use it to get my goalkeepers thinking about how and where they are going to play the ball to gain advantage.
A game for goalkeepers
In this small-sided game the goalkeeper is at the heart of every move. When your goalkeeper has the ball in a match they should be looking to use throws as well as kicks to get the ball to a team mate in space. Throwing the ball can often be a better way to distribute the ball because by using the technique in the diagram, goalkeepers can catch out the opposition with quick, accurate throws.
How to play it
- Set up a 40×20 yard area with two end zones.
- Play normal rules but when a team wins the ball it must go to their own goalkeeper before the team can launch an attack.
- No backpass rule – in this game the goalkeeper must pick up backpasses and throw to a team mate.
- When the ball goes out of play it must be restarted with the goalkeeper throwing the ball to a team mate.
- If the goalkeeper gets the ball off an opponent they must use a throw to get the ball to a team mate.
- Only the goalkeepers can go in the end zones.
- Make sure the goalkeepers use the full width of the end zones to create space.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: Barcelona, Football, goalkeeper, goalkicks, Real Madrid, Soccer, tactics, victor valdes, youtube
They are a good team and have a clever coach who is always ready to try things out during matches if he sees a problem. During the match, his goalkeeper was not having much luck from goal kicks.
Every time he kicked the ball it was going into a packed midfield and the opposition’s physical advantage in the centre meant they were often emerging with the ball. In fact, the opening goal had come as a direct result of a goal kick coming straight back from midfield. With his team losing 2-0 at half-time, it was clear the coach had to change something.
The first thing he did was alter the routine of the goal kicks to give his keeper more options.
He got two defenders to drop short left and right of the goal so the keeper could play a simple pass to ensure that his team retained possession. When this happened, the opposition players moved forward to close down, something that freed up space in the midfield area. As you might expect, this made a huge difference straight away, and having previously been overrun in the middle third, the team were now finding it easier to build attacking moves.
His mobile defenders also utilised space down the line, with attacking midfielders able to take the ball forward further, frequently sending dangerous crosses in towards the near post. After his team had won a succession of corner kicks they scored to pull the scoreline back to 2-1. In working harder to win the ball from goal kicks, the opposition lost a lot of their attacking speed and were less able to get the ball forward.
The match had effectively been turned on its head, all because of a change in the goal kick routine. The team had a number of chances to equalise but couldn’t take them, but that’s football. Nonetheless, they had won the second half 1-0, and learned a great lesson in tactics at the same time.
I love to see goalkeepers playing short balls to the wide defenders. If watch the video clip below of Victor Valdes the Barcelona goalkeeper continually playing short balls against Real Madrid. Even after he makes a mistake he continues to pass the ball short.
I could watch this all day!
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: goalkeeper, practice, skills, technique, training
It was raining this weekend. It was muddy and it was windy. Who in their right mind would be a goakeeper on days like this?
I always like to warm my goalkeeper up so he is ready when the match starts.
And you want to warm-up their feet as well as their hands because in these conditions, it is the footwork that will often be the deciding factor when the ball is crossed or shot in with the rain, wind and mud making handling treacherous.
I use this warm-up all the time in the winter – and often during good weather as well! It’s so easy to set up and you can get a couple of dads to help out while you take the rest of the boys for other warm-ups.
It’s one I got from Mike Toshack, the goalkeeping coach for Houston Dynamo. All you need is a goal and two cones with a couple of helpers and balls.
Set it up like this:
- Put two cones five yards in front of a goal in the centre, four yards apart creating three “goals”.
- You need a goalkeeper and two players or helpers.
- First helper passes a ball to the goalkeeper in the middle goal, who passes back firmly with his right foot.
- The goalkeeper then moves to the “goal” on his right to save a shot from the second helper.
- The goalkeeper then moves back to the centre goal to make another pass and so on. After five shots to the right, the goalkeeper must then move to the goal area on his left.
- You want to see the goalkeeper moving quickly between the goals while keeping his hands and head steady.
- He needs to be on his toes, ready to react to the ball.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training, Uncategorized | Tags: Barcelona, casillas, coaching, goalkeeper, Real Madrid, warm ups
There’s a lot to be said for watching others coach if only to get ideas for your own coaching. When I go to professional matches I always watch the teams warm-up and often come away with a good idea for an exercise or drill that I can use with my team.
Often it is the simple ideas you see players doing that work the best when I get back to my club and try them out with my team.
One of the hardest ones is working with my goalkeeper pre-match or warming them up in training. There are a great variety of ways to get goalkeepers to dive and to catch and generally get in the right frame of mind for the game ahead.
One of the best goalkeeping exercises I like to use before matches is one that Barcelona use to warm their goalkeeper up.
Click here to go to my blog and watch a video clip of the Barcelona goalkeeper warming up and one of the Chelsea goalkeepers before a match.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: Arsenal, Barcelona, coaching from the back, goalkeeper, goalkeeper distribution, play from back
Playing out from the back is an ideal in the world of youth soccer – but it is an achievable ideal. Like any ideal though don’t make it an absolute for your team – you MUST play out from the back is wrong, play out from the back every time you get a chance to do so is much more realistic.
I spoke to a coach this week who has been working on the tactics for his team. From goalkicks he had put his tallest player wide on the wing and the idea was the goalkeeper punted the ball towards him for him to head on towards the attackers. This was his main tactic and one which would probably bore the pants off his players.
Players need to experience for themselves the right way to play the ball out from the back. IF all the defenders are marked heavily by a team pressing high up the pitch the goalkeeper can go long into the space left by the pressing opponents… it makes more sense than trying to play it to a defender deep in their own half without an outlet.
I use this overload game to get my defenders used to running the game from the back. IT is a really good exercise that allows them to make decisions and because of the overload experience their decisions working and being successful.
How it works
In the diagram you can see the defenders have a normal set up defending a penalty area with a goalkeeper and a full-size goal. The attackers are defending two small goals – use small hockey style goals or mark out small goals with cones. You stand between the small goals to coach and encourage the players.
You want the central defenders – 4, 5 and 6 – to control the game by playing the ball across the back four to the two wing backs – 2 and 3. They can then run up to the half way line where the goal is. They can play it into the goal first time from their position at the back or run past the attackers.
What to get your players to do
Your attackers must work tirelessly, encourage them to keep running and when they have the ball to try passing or use clever skills to get into a position where they can have a shot.
You need to give your defenders the confidence to use the ball by controlling and passing it to the players on either side of them. Encourage them to control the ball with their first touch rather than a panicky pass which could put their team-mate into trouble.
You must also encourage your defenders to use both wings so they have options when they are playing matches. Encourage your two attackers to ‘load’ one side and force play down the other side.
How to advance it
There are some great passing from the back moves on this compilation:
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: blame, blunder, confidence, goalkeeper
By David Clarke
Rob Green knows all about errors after he made one in the World Cup for England against the USA. Then there’s Arsenal’s Wojciech Szczęsny, whose mix-up with Laurent Koscielny gave Birmingham City’s Obefami Martins the ball to score and win the Carling Cup.
“Unfortunately, that’s the life of a goalkeeper,” said the Birmingham City goalie Ben Foster. “You can make a few good saves and then when you let one in at the last minute you’re the villain. But you can see that he’s brimming with confidence and has all the ability in the world. He just needs to put this behind him and move on – he’s got a great career ahead of him.”
Confidence is the important word in the goalkeeping world.
Last season one of my youth teams was drawn away to one of the more famous U12 teams in the UK. We were under no illusions that it would be a hard match, but we spoke about how we would just treat it the same as any other game.
The boys were excited about playing at a ground with a stand and advertising hoardings around the pitch. Half way through the first half we were playing well, and had created a few chances.
The opposition were getting rattled and had put some heavy challenges on my striker. Our opponents tried a long range shot which was trundling towards my goalkeeper. Safe in the knowledge it was an easy shot for him pick up, I called my striker over to talk to him about the heavy challenges he was taking.
I didn’t want him to react to them, and was telling him so when the opposition team suddenly started cheering and shouting. I looked up to see my goalkeeper with his head in his hands and the ball in the back of the net. One of my defenders was shouting at him, and the rest of the team had a look of disbelief on their faces.
“What happened?” asked my striker. I didn’t know. Apparently he had bent down to pick the ball up and taken his eye off it and somehow he missed the ball which rolled through his legs into the net.
One of my players was giving him some stick so I took the player dishing out the abuse off the pitch and put a substitute on. We spoke at half time about how easy it is to make a mistake and the rest of the team gave their support to our goalkeeper.
We joked about it at training, and we never referred to it as the mistake that lost us the game. A young player’s confidence can so easily be broken by incidents like this.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: bruce, defenders, goalkeeper, leeds, Manchester United, mistakes, schmeichel
Watching 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:
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Skills, Uncategorized | Tags: blooper, crazy goal, Croatia, England, gary neville, goalkeeper, own goal, pass back, paul robinson
Watching a match a couple of weeks ago between two lower English league clubs, I heard the goalkeeper remark to his left back: “Don’t pass it back to me like that, you’re not in the Premier League now!”
The left back was on loan from a Premier League club and in his first game had given a hard pass to the goalkeeper – who it must be said has never been confident with back passes.
He likes them wide in the penalty area away from the goal and on his right foot. The young defender had used the goalkeeper to get out of a tricky situation without giving away a throw-in. It had been more like a pass to an outfield player, but the goalkeeper should be able to control the ball with one touch then kick it towards a team mate.
It is a pressure situation for a goalkeeper in youth soccer, and a pressure situation for those of us watching. If you’ve got a goalkeeper who just can’t get to grips with the back pass take the heat off them and yourself by getting your defenders to pass in the right place.
Passing so that if the goalkeeper misses the ball it goes out of play for a corner is better than passing so the ball goes into the net if its missed.
Check out the diagram of where the pass should be then watch Gary Neville pass back to the hapless Paul Robinson in an England Euro 2008 qualifier against Croatia.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management | Tags: ball control, ball skills, goalkeeper, Manchester United, match pratice, passing skills, warm ups
I’m always telling fellow coaches and my readers that you don’t have to use complicated training drills to get your players using the right techniques and tactics that can give them the edge in matches. Often simple 4v4 games and simple exercises that get players kicking the ball and passing the ball work best with young players.
You don’t have to take my word for it. I spend hours watching training sessions with professional players. In that time there may be one small thing I can use with my team or turn into something I can give to my coaches to help them make their team play better.
Watching a session with Manchester United players training the night before a match it was very interesting to note the number of balls that are being constantly used so that players are getting one and two touches as they do their fitness training. There was nothing complicated about it.
The players were constantly moving – I didn’t see anyone waiting around for their turn, the exercises were designed so that the players are on the move as they are being coached. The repetitive one and two touch movement is very controlled and done at a slow pace.
You can watch part of the session in the clip below – watch how the goalkeepers train on the ground where they can only use their hands to catch or block the ball. All of these exercises are designed to maximise a player’s ability to react to the ball in the air or on the ground.
Watch it carefully and you can see all sorts of training going on, most of which is simple ball work: