Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice


Should you allow your players to showboat?

Mario Balotelli’s attempt to score with a backheel during Manchester City’s pre-season friendly against LA Galaxy, resulted in him being taken off by his manager Roberto Mancini and instantly replaced by James Milner.

Team mate Edin Dzeko, who was up alongside Balotelli as he tried his trick, threw his arms up in exasperation. The LA Galaxy fans whistled, as he trudged off, Balotelli argued with his manager and threw a water bottle on to the pitch.

Mancini said: “In football you always need to be professional, always serious and in this moment he wasn’t professional.”

A player should never try to embarrass the opposition. Nor should a player embarrass themselves in the manner that Balotelli did with his rather pathetic attempt to score.

Last November, Cristiano Ronaldo upset Atlético Madrid when he bounced the ball off his back when they were losing 2-0 to Real Madrid. It is seen as disrespectful therefore players should avoid doing it.

If one of my players tries to showboat even in a meaningless match I too would take him off. Young players will have seen the incident because Balotelli made such a mess of it. Don’t be surprised to see them trying it at your next coaching session – if it happens you know what you have to do.

Watch the Balotelli incident below:



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.



Never stop your players trying outrageous shots
December 11, 2008, 9:55 pm
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Skills | Tags: , , , , , ,

I love seeing an outrageous bit of skill ending in a goal. It always makes me realise that you should allow your players to try things during a match without telling them it was the wrong thing to do.

This is especially so in the opposition penalty area where something like a backheel or a swivel with the ball can create chaos in the defence and result in your team scoring a goal.

 Or a backheel that puts the ball into the net. It gives your team a huge boost of confidence when it works, but there should be no side effects if the backheel or volley or overhead kick doesn’t work. You should be pleased you have given your player the confidence to try it.

Check out this from Roberto Mancini in the Roma v Lazio derby. Here the outrageous attempt goes in… and it’s worth watching over and over again.




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