Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

Jose Mourinho? No scapegoats in a youth game but plenty of pressure on the volunteer coach

davidscwnewIt can be a scary moment when you face the first game of the season. It doesn’t matter whether you are a new coach or have coached the same team for a few years, that first game is so important.

Getting the momentum is one thing but getting the parents and players right behind you is another, so a good display is important.

Screen shot 2015-08-17 at 15.40.06

Last season our first match was away at a very impressive ground with lots of facilities, including a main pitch with stands and floodlights.

As it was the Under 11s that were playing we were not on the adult A team pitch but we were on a pretty impressive one surrounded by a clubhouse and tennis courts. We had been promoted the previous season so we were not sure how we would cope at this higher level, but I could see my players were not intimidated by the surroundings and were raring to feel the excitement of the kick off.

We were quickly into our warm ups and soon we had shaken hands with the opposition ready for the match. I can’t imagine how it must feel to be Uwe Rosler, the new manager of Leeds United, as he waits for the whistle to blow with the eyes of his trigger happy owner Massimo Cellino upon him. Or Claudio Ranieri at Leicester, back in the Premier League hoping he can have the success he had before.

Kick off came with great relief and my initial fears that the team wouldn’t be good enough were soon banished as we unleashed a flurry of attacks. Twice we were nearly caught out on the counter but our defensive training sessions paid off with some good covering and clearing. However, as half time approached all of our hard work was undone when a clumsy clearance went into our own net.

The boy involved was heartbroken, but at half time we all gathered around him and told him it wasn’t his fault and that we were all pleased with the way the team had played. We ran the game in the second half but failed to score and that one own goal had been the downfall of the team.

However, parents and players alike were in high spirits because we had all seen we could compete at this higher level and I was proud of the way they had all gathered around the player who had scored the own goal.

So a great start to your campaign doesn’t always mean a winning start but momentum comes from playing well and working as a team – we went on to have a great season in a very tough league.

My five Christmas must haves
December 10, 2012, 5:06 pm
Filed under: Dave Clarke | Tags: , , , , ,

SOCCER COACH WEEKLY £47 This is the best subscription product on the market for grass roots coaches anywhere in the world – I know the experience and effort that goes into bringing the most up to date coaching advice it is possible to get.


COERVER COACHING – MAKE YOUR MOVE £55.99  This series features skills for players to practise step-by-step on their own, as well as drills and games for coaches and teachers to use in their practice sessions. Learn the skills and how to coach them – such as the reverse drag push, scissors step over and fake inside cut.

A must for any aspiring player or coach to watch and learn from.

The session focuses on defensive organization and there is no coach in the world who is more meticulous in setting up his side properly than José.

Take this chance to coach like José and for your players to train like Real Madrid.

redcard RED CARD ROY – ROY MCDONOUGH £8.95 The jaw-dropping story of terrace cult hero Roy McDonough. Featuring a who’s who cast from football in the 70s, 80s and 90s – from his unlikely friendship with the late, great Bobby Moore to his run-ins with current Premier League managers David Moyes, Martin O’Neill and Tony Pulis (who he kung-fu kicked to the floor after five minutes of an FA Cup tie).

Read my review here


This is my favourite manual of this year… and it works if you use the sessions and allow your players to get into the spirit of the Barcelona way.

It gives your players the ability to grasp that match winning opportunity. Have they got the skill and confidence to make the right play when it matters most?

The manual will help your team develop the technical ability to manoeuvre opponents out of position and create more goalscoring chances.

Attackers need skill, strength and balance

DavidClarkeWhen 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.

 Soccer Skills and Drills

Let your big central defenders go up for attacks

dc1Watching Manchester United play Inter Milan in the Champions League, it was interesting to note the player that gave Manchester a match winning start was the big central defender Nemanja Vidic.

Not only did he keep the Inter Milan attackers at bay but he went up for the corner, lost his markers and headed the ball into the corner of the net. When Inter Milan had a similar opportunity later in the half the attacking forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed.

Central defenders can cause chaos at corners. You need to get them to move around or time a run into the box so the corner taker can kick the ball into the area he is running into.

I love seeing my central defenders scoring because they do such a lot of hard work at the back, that it’s nice for them when they get the glory of scoring a goal.

Here’s Vidic’s goal that did so much for a Manchester Utd team to give them the edge over Inter Milan. Finishing is so important.

click here for the Vidic goal against Inter Milan

 Soccer Skills and Drills


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,971 other followers