Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: Gerrard, goals, pass, score, space, switching play, tactics
By David Clarke
I keep this session in my little black book of ‘must-have tactics and how to coach them’. It is a great way to show young players how to move the ball to find space.
When their team is on the attack, young players need to be alert to the possibilities of switching play from one side of the pitch to the other.
It’s a tactic relied upon by every professional football team and takes craft, vision and confidence.
It works so well because of the need for defending teams to play a pressing, compact line in the modern game. That makes them susceptible to the switch and the potential of being caught out.
That’s why it’s crucial for attacking players to know when and how to switch – either by a long pass or a series or quick, short balls from one side of the pitch to the other.
In this exercise your players first have to work out how many ways they can get the ball from one end man to another. They will then move on to put that technique into practice to score points.
How to set it up:
- For this practice, you will need bibs, balls and cones. The session uses three teams of four players.
- Create a 30 yards long by 15 yards wide area, split into three equal zones.
- In the middle zone, mark out three cone gate goals along each line across the pitch.
These should be one yard wide and evenly spaced along the line.
- Start by getting the teams to work out all the combinations of play that can ensure the ball moves from one side of the pitch to the other in their groups… so either a long ball across, passes to each man individually, etc.
- Get them to switch positions.
- Practise this for five minutes.
- Then split the middle row of players into two teams of two.
- One team defends the three gates towards the top of the area, while the other team defends the other three gates towards the bottom.
- The outside teams must pass the ball within their area and score points by putting it through an empty gate, but any scoring effort must be passed through the gate, not struck hard.
- Rotate teams every five minutes and play for a total of 15 minutes, seeing how well attackers switch play and defenders cope with the demands of a versatile strikeforce.
Developing the session:
- In a 36 yards long by 20 yards wide area, use a goal and goalkeeper at each ends. Play 4v4 with two neutral players who run the lines but cannot go onto the pitch.
- Teams play a standard game but must involve a neutral player in every attack.
- Play for 10 minutes.
Why this works:
Getting players used to switching play encourages them to use the technique in matches, and in this session, you are showing them how and when to make the correct decision.
In the main game, having three goals protected by only two defenders means attackers will always be keen to hunt out space in which they can score.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: attack, Barcelona, Celtic, counter, drills, exercises, goals, how to score, shoot
But they did score two goals, and they used the counter attack to great effect.
In youth football, constructing a good counter-attack often comes down to one team being quicker than the other – a case of who can control the ball and combine before the opposing team has managed to recover its position. The quick counter-attack requires players in a team to react with speed and concentration, and often the most important man will be your striker, who receives the ball under pressure from a defender.
He must control it and either shoot at goal himself, or be aware enough to lay it off into the path of a supporting attacker. Speed is vital because the opposition players will be recovering their positions at pace as, often, a lone defender holds up play. Using this exercise, you can replicate counter-attacks in training, perfecting the process using recognised support and teamwork, rather than just raw pace.
Counter-attacking talent is as much about routine and teamwork as it is the ability to control and pass. By rehearsing this move, attackers become accustomed to knowing the right areas to run into, and when to make their move.
Defenders must also practise getting back at pace, watching all the time the movement of their lone team-mate in order to prevent the attack. Counter-attacking talent is as much about routine and teamwork as it is the ability to control and pass. By rehearsing this move, attackers become accustomed to knowing the right areas to run into, and when to make their move. Defenders must also practise getting back at pace, watching all the time the movement of their lone team-mate in order to prevent the attack.
Practice makes perfect, and although workmanlike in training, the counter-attacking move can prove hugely valuable and visually brilliant when played out in a match situation.
How to set it up:
• Set up a playing area measuring 30×20 yards.
• There is an 8-yard zone at each end of the pitch. At the near end this is marked by cones across the pitch, while at the far end it’s best to use a pitch marking or cones on either side to denote the line.
• There is one goal, with a goalkeeper in place.
• Put two teams of three players in the near end zone – one acts as attacking support, the other as defending support.
• Place a striker in the middle area of the pitch, and a defender in the zone near the goal.
• The coach serves the ball out to the striker.
• As soon as that pass is played, the attacking support can move.
• When the lone attacker controls the ball, the defending support can move, as can the defender in the far end zone.
• Attackers must work together to move the ball forward and finish with a shot on goal.
• Replay the move so that players become comfortable in their roles, but going forward, experiment with different conditions to keep the counter-attacks challenging.
For instance, change the time between defenders and attackers moving by calling out “attack go” and “defence go”. Also try varying the number of players in the near end zone in order to favour either defence or attack. This also means you can involve all members of your squad at once. • Rotate players often so that everyone samples the demands of each role.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: attacking drills, Drogba, exercises, goals, scoring, shooting
By David Clarke
Balance, coordination and ball control skills are vital to the art of being a good striker. When he was at Chelsea, Didier Drogba could weave his way to goal and unleash an unstoppable shot at the end of it.
I want my strikers to do exactly the same, so I run through this exercise with them. I call it the slalom exercise because it’s just like what the slalom skiers have to do when racing downhill through a series of poles against the clock.
Get your players to run through this once then start timing them. Tell them you are not looking to see who is the quickest, you want to see who can beat their own time over the course of three runs each.
This means you are going to have to keep scores and names handy so you can check on players’ progress. You also need a stopwatch.
How to play it
- Your player must dribble in and out of the coaching poles, go around either side of the cone – by selling a dummy or skill move – and finish with a shot on goal.
- On the next run the player must do the same movement but beat the goalkeeper at the end.
- Finally the player must do the same movement but beat an active defender before scoring past the goalkeeper.
Key coaching tips
- Tell your players you want to see close control and the use of both feet through the poles.
- When they are faced with the cone they must try to show a feint or skill, not just run around it.
They can use any shooting technique they like – inside outside of their foot, laces or even a chip, the most important thing is to hit the target.
Neymar is another player who attacks by going past defenders – watch this:
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: Aguera, goals, how to score, manchester city, Premier League, shoot, shooting skills
By David Clarke
The Sergio Aguero challenge
I’ve named this after the Manchester City striker who shoots from all over the pitch – long range, short range and every angle you can image. He has been successful for club and country, and provided some memorable moments in his career – like his last second goal to win the Premier League title for his team last season.
How to set it up
- You will need six poles (or cones), a stopwatch and timesheet.
- Starting on the 18-yard line, place three poles two yards apartlined up with the goalposts. Repeat in line with the other post.
- Put three balls on the 18-yard line, one in the middle, one tothe left and one to the right.
- Starting in the middle, the player flicks the ball into the air,keeping it up twice. On the third kick, he volleys at goal,trying to achieve the highest score he can.
- He then runs to the ball on the right, passing it toward thegoal with a good weight so they can weave through the polesto get on the end of his pass.
- He should shoot across goal with his right foot aiming forthe far corner.
- The player then runs back to the remaining ball, repeatingthe process on the left side.
- He should end with a left-footed shot into the
How to score
- Back of the net = one point
- Side netting inside the goal = two points
- Top corner = three points
How to advance the session
- To keep this move fresh, move the poles further away from goal so that players can shoot from greater distances.
- Later, add a goalkeeper into the equation. Can your players still find the high-scoring areas of the goal?
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: goals, how to score goals, never miss, score, shoot
Three ways to finish using dribbling, combination passing and a shot at goal. Great fun, concentrate on direction and technique. Power for younger age groups will come later. All goal scoring greats work on this exercise.
How to set it up
You need to set up a 40 yards by 30 yards playing area and use three cones, three outfield players a goal and goalkeeper.
How to play it
Player 1 dribbles and shoots at goal.
Player 1 now turns and makes a choice of which player to combine with. The player chosen passes to Player 1 then runs inside to receive a return pass and passes out to the opposite wide player.
Player 1 and his chosen team mate now run into the penalty box and attempt to score from the wide player’s cross.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: 2v1, 3v2, diagram, exercise, goals, how to score, session, shoot, winning
2v1/3v2 transition game
So what will we be working on this week? This session which exploits 2v1s and 3v2s in front of goal.
How it works
The advantage switches as the attack changes direction after every phase of play.
How to set it up
Use a 40 yards by 30 yards area with a goal and a goalkeeper at each end.
How to play it
The central player dribbles on to the pitch and passes to one of the two opponents.
Immediately, a 2v1 situation begins.
Once this ball is played, two team mates join the defender and a 3v2 game commences in the opposite direction.
Rotate your players
- Rotate the players’ positions so both teams have a chance to attack 2v1 and 3v2.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: Barcelona, goals, messi, record, spain, youtube
Messi has now found the back of the net 234 times for the European champions, eclipsing César Rodríguez’s record of 232 made in the 1950s.
He is truly a great player – and we all know that is just part of his amazing all-round play.
His manager at Barcelona, Pep Guardiola says: “Messi doesn’t score goals, he scores incredible goals.
“There are no players capable of dominating a sport with such superiority … Messi can be compared to [the former US basketball star] Michael Jordan.”
Johan Cruyff said: “Messi is by far the best player in the world. He is incomparable, he plays in a different league.”
Sit back and enjoy this 15 minutes of Messi scoring goal after goal:
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training, Uncategorized | Tags: coaching, feedback, goals, how to enforce, youtube
Reinforcing your key coaching points helps players to understand and remember your message.
2. SET OUT GOALS
Make sure you are clear what your coaching goals are for the session. If necessary write them down. Many top level coaches carry notes in their pockets to refer to during sessions.
3. A FEW COACHING POINTS
Limit yourself to three or four main coaching points in a session, and less if you are introducing a new skill or technique. Any more than this and your players won’t take the information in.
4. START WITH THE KEY POINTS
Introduce the coaching points at the start so players know what they are going to be doing. The most effective way to do this is through a practical demonstration either by yourself or using some of the players.
5. REPEAT THE KEY POINTS
Keep repeating the points during the activity. Be positive, highlight good examples to the whole group and give individual assistance to any players who are struggling.
6. A PROPER CONCLUSION
Sum up at the end. Go over the key points again, answer any questions and check the players have understood them.
7. USE FEEDBACK
Use questions throughout to check that players have understood you clearly. It often helps players to have the coaching points put into different terms by their peers and using slightly different language.
8. BUILD INTO THE NEXT SESSION
Revise previous points at the start of the next session. Check the players have remembered what you coached and start with an exercise where they are putting them into practice.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: asian cup, australia, best player, goals, japan, Korea, qatar, top five players, uzbekistan
Here are the top five players who stand out at the AFC Asian Cup Finals at Qatar 2011. I’m sure scouts from America and Europe have them in their sights.
Yusef Ahmed, aged 22
Forward, Al Sadd and Qatar
His first goal in Iran’s second game against China was brilliant, controlled the ball on his thigh volleyed into the net… love that one. Was a threat against Kuwait and Japan and looks like he will be one of the country’s best players in years to come. Watch the goal below.
Odil Ahmedov, aged 23
Midfielder, Pakhtakor and Uzbekistan
Fired Uzbekistan to the semis against Australia.
Boy this guy can hit the ball… watch his superb long range strike in opening game against Qatar and again against China. Pivotal role in bossing the central of the park.
Matt McKay, aged 27
Midfielder, Brisbane Roar and Australia
Stands out by being the only Australian based player Socceroos. Helped them get through to the semi-finals for the first time with his high-tempo passing game in the middle of the park or at left fullback role. Key player on the road to Brazil 2014.
Midfielder, Gyeongnam FC and Korea Republic
In only his third game at Doha – all as a substitute – he scored the winner to take Korea through to the last four. Voted the K-League Rookie of the Year last season he is seen as one of Korea Republic’s best youth talents.
Shinji Kagawa, aged 21
Forward, Borussia Dortmund and Japan
Player of the match performance in their 3-2 quarter-final triumph over Qatar and a stunning debut Bundesliga return of eight goals in just 17 appearances with Borussia Dortmund. Watch him score below.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training, Uncategorized | Tags: Barcelona, benitez, chris hughton, creative play, goals, Inter Milan, Newcastle, Real Madrid
There will not be much New Year optimism around for the coaches of some clubs. While you and I look forward to the tussles ahead and the development of our young players coaches like Chris Hughton once of Newcastle United and Rafa Benitez at Inter Milan will likely be looking for new jobs.
In the run up to Christmas Benítez was described by Italian newspaper La Stampa as a man, “walking with a pistol at his temple”. I’m glad I don’t work under those conditions!
Everything a professional coach does is linked to a winning team. Lose and you’re out is basically the message for the top coaches around the world. How different then is this message to the one we preach for young teams and their coaches “winning doesn’t matter”. Everything I am focused on is the development of each young individual that comes my way.
And that should be at the heart of everything we do – playing the game the right way, and that goes hand in hand with winning. Jose Mourinho is seen as a winning coach, but his Real Madrid team got played off the pitch by a team that just passed the ball around them – Barcelona.
The message here is: play the right way and you’ll be a winner.
When I watch these professional games there are two things that stand out in winning teams – creative play and finishing moves.In an attacking sense creative play is vital to give attackers goalscoring chances. And finishing into the net makes the move complete.
Watch the two goals scored by Real Madrid in their match against Valencia. Both goals are excellent examples of playing the game the right way. The first one is a wonderful turn and finish and the second a great move and finish.