Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice


Stop or change direction to create quick, usable space

I’ve been getting my players to stop and turn or change direction to create themselves immediate space the can use to play a pass or cross the ball or just shoot.

Space is vital to youth players because it gives them the confidence to try things out and to make better use of the ball.

I’m talking stop turns or flicks inside but also just getting your players to stop when they are running side by side with an opponent – as long as they stop the ball as well then they will lose their opponent for a split second giving them time to quickly use the ball.

Sounds simple? Watch the clips below of how the professionals create space with a flick or turn and you can see the effect it has on their ability to use the ball:



Defending against the overhead kick – Wes Brown v Vincent Kompany

dave clarkeOnce all the talk of the Wayne Rooney amazing overhead kick against Manchester City had died down I began to take note of other overhead kicks and how to defend against them.

Rooney’s goal at Old Trafford was a spectacular winner, but often in these situations the referee blows the whistle for dangerous play. On the same ground in the FA Cup Manchester United were playing against Blue Square Bet Premiership non-leaguers Crawley Town and the minnows were a goal down when Crawley striker Matt Tubbs almost did the same thing as Rooney.

His spectacular overhead kick just cleared the bar, but this time the referee blew for a free-kick – had the ball gone in the net it wouldn’t have counted.

This would have been very contentious because of the occasion and the scoreline. However, the difference in this case was that the Manchester defender Wes Brown put his head in the way… so it was considered dangerous play. If Vincent Kompany had done the same against Rooney it would probably have been considered dangerous play as well.

In youth matches I’m sure most referee’s would blow the whistle for dangerous play if your players hold their ground and try to win the ball.

Watch the clip below and around 3.40 minutes of it you will see Matt Tubbs’ attempted overhead kick and Wes Brown putting his head in danger.



How to do an overhead kick like Rooney

dave clarkeWayne Rooney has been in disappointing form so far this season but on Saturday 12th February the England international showed just how good he can be using the perfect technique and body shape while hanging in the air – pure genius. The match was in the English Premier League, the Manchester derby between United and City at Old Trafford – boring game lit up by this goal that was also the winner.

Nani put in a cross from the right flank which clipped Pablo Zabaleta, but Rooney was there to think instinctively and went for a spectacular overhead kick that flew past England goalkeeper Joe Hart and into the City net.

After the game, Rooney said that it was the best goal he has ever scored, and enthused: “I saw the ball come in the box and I thought ‘Why not?’ I tried to get in a good position from when Nani crossed it. Nine times out of 10 they go over the crossbar or wide. I tried it and thankfully it’s gone in the top corner.

“You don’t have time to think about what you’re going to do. It’s the first one since I started playing professionally so I’m delighted, especially as it has given us three points.”

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini was impressed: “He is a fantastic player who has done a fantastic thing. It was genius.”

Former Manchester City player Mike Summerbe said: “Pele did something similar in Escape To Victory. It took a goal like that to beat us – a moment of Rooney magnificence to do it.”

WATCH ROONEY'S GOAL HERE

And here’s Pele’s overhead kick in Escape to Victory:

How to do the overhead kick

This skill is all about balance and technique. Get those right and you may have a chance of kicking the ball cleanly. It’s not an easy skill to perfect but your players will have a great deal of fun trying to do it. Practice it on soft ground to prevent your players injuring their backs, but don’t let them overdo it.

How to practice it

  • Players throw a ball in the air.
  • Jump up using the kicking foot as a spring.
  • Then bring the kicking foot up and hands down to break fall.
  • Twist your body so you don’t land on your back and use your arms to cushion your landing.

 Soccer Skills and Drills



A striker who plays with a smile

dave clarkeThere have been some great players gracing the English Premier League this year, Samir Nasri at Arsenal, Carlos Tevez at Manchester City, Andy Carroll at Newcastle United and players like Yaya Toure, Michael Essien and Scott Parker, strong ball winners.

But the player who has stood out to me more than anyone is Florent Malouda at Chelsea where he has had an excellent first half of the season scoring 9 goals and creating lots of others. Go to his website and you will see the work he does for the people caught out in the earthquake in Haiti and his visits to local hospitals.

He is beginning to look like a role model both on and off the pitch.

And yet at the end of 2010 Samir Nasri was named French footballer of the year ahead of Malouda, confirming what strength in depth there is in the Premier League.

Watch out for Malouda in the coming weeks I reckon he’s got a lot more to offer this season.

See his goals in this clip below:



You don’t need to kick people to be a good player

One of my players got hit by a two-footed challenge and went down in great pain. Luckily nothing was broken and he was able to walk after a long rest. I was furious but the opposition manager and his player were unrepentant, the boy even chuckled to his team mates.

The problem is young players are watching these kinds of tackles on the TV and replicating them on the pitch. And some coaches are seeing it as a way to make their team stronger.

Earlier this season in the Premier League, Newcastle United’s Hatem Ben Arfa suffered a broken leg in a tackle by Nigel de Jong of Manchester City and Wolves’ Karl Henry was sent off for a wild challenge on Jordi Gomez of Wigan.

Harry Redknapp thinks managers should drop players who commit reckless tackles. The Tottenham Hotspur manager is worried that someone will have a career threatening injury unless there is a crackdown on bad challenges.

“You don’t need to kick people to be a good player. The only way to calm them down is by leaving them out of the team and by saying to them: ‘I don’t need you being sent off every week and making reckless tackles. We need 11 men and until you can time your tackles and make good tackles then you’re not going to play’.”

It’s not just the Premier League managers that should take a firm hand with bad tackles it should be coaches right through all levels of soccer that should make sure their players don’t do them.

Watch this horror tackle in a non-league game:



The importance of formations and covering players

dave clarkeManchester City in the English Premier League have bought some good players for a lot of money. But they haven’t really been much more successful than a lot of the teams that have spent less. One of the reasons is the use of players in the formations Roberto Mancini puts out.

His latest tactic of using a midfield trio of Gareth Barry, Nigel de Jong and Yaya Touré, I found it strange that Toure had the task of linking with the forwards.

At Barcelona Toure was known as a holding player.

Barcelona use tactics very well. Manager Pep Guardiola often plays with both full-backs pushed high, a risky strategy necessitated by how frequently they come up against sides who sit deep against them. With width on both sides they can switch the play quickly from one flank to the other, and turn defences.

In this formation they need cover in case the opponent breaks, which is where Toure excelled and now Sergio Busquets sits in, becoming in effect a third centre-back.

This is very similar to the diamond formation used at Chelsea when Mikel John Obi would sit back as a third centre-back.

When using formations in youth matches it is often the coaches that think about how to cover when employing an attacking formation that are the most successful. Cover by getting a midfielder to drop into the space left by attacking defenders can be the key to winning matches.

Of course they are not a third centre-back often they will have to hold up counter-attacks on their own but a well positioned player will make a huge difference in these matches.

Mentioning Barcelona and wing play with covering defenders cannot pass without a word about Theo Walcott and the Barcelona-Arsenal game in the Champions League last season. With Arsenal 2-0 down Arsene Wenger changed tactics and sent on his wing commander Walcott. Watch the clip below of how Walcott changed the game by stealing the wings from Barcelona. Great tactics.



Even Carlos Tevez misses sometimes

dave clarkeWhen Yaya Toure sprinted half the length of the pitch for Manchester City, 15 minutes into their English Premier League match at Sunderland, few expected what would happen next.

Toure’s outstanding pass presented Carlos Tevez with a goal as wide as the mouth of the river Tyne. Tevez scooped it over.

Okay so every week we all see players miss, even those as good as Tevez. The amazing thing about it, though, was the time and space Tevez gave himself.

In youth games we have all witnessed the miscued shot that goes out for a throw in or an airkick as the player takes their eye off with the defender bearing down on them. But Tevez had all the time in the world to score and it was probably that miss which put the team off and left them 1-0 down at the end.

So next time your young striker is in tears at missing a chance tell him the tale of Carlos Tevez and the amazing miss at Sunderland.




Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,246 other followers