Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice


Score with both feet

davidscwnew

The best attackers can shoot with either foot… is this true? Well attackers that can shoot with either foot have more opportunities to score so the individual will be much better placed if they can score with the foot that naturally takes the ball towards goal.

The complete attacker should be able to at least direct the ball on target with both feet even if one has a more powerful shot than the other.

Young players instinctively go for their preferred foot so you need to get them shooting with both of them or they will come to rely on one foot rather than the other.

I often see attackers, even professional attackers, making awkward shapes with their bodies so they can use one foot rather than the one they should use. Once again it’s down to the amount of practice they do and how they practise.

I like this great exercise  to get my players shooting with both feet:

How to set it up

Use an area 40 yards by 30 yards with two goals and two goalkeepers.

How to play it

  1. The shooter makes a long pass to the coach and runs to receive the ball back.
  2. The player now shoots with one foot.
  3. After shooting, the player reacts and runs to receive a second ball from another server and shoots with the other foot.

How to rotate it

After completing the circuit, the player becomes a server for the next shooter.



Goalkeepers can counter attack

davidscwnew

Goalkeepers like nothing better than having the ball in their hands, running to the edge of their area, then blasting it into the sky.

But throw-outs can be better, not to mention more valuable, because the ability to throw the ball quickly and accurately is becoming an increasingly important skill for goalkeepers in the modern game.

Many of the world’s top keepers can throw the ball more than half the length of the pitch, and the distance and accuracy they can achieve is a big counter-attacking weapon for the team.

The overarm throw allows your goalkeeper to clear the ball over a long distance and at a great height. And it can be more accurate than kicking the ball.

Here’s my seven-step guide for goalkeepers looking to master the art of the long throw:

  1. Tell your goalkeeper to adopt a side-on position and put their weight on the back foot.
  2. Your goalkeeper’s throwing hand needs to be positioned under the ball, and their throwing arm kept straight.
  3. The non-throwing arm must point in the direction of the target.
  4. The goalkeeper can then bring this arm down as the throwing arm comes through in an arc over the top of their shoulder.
  5. The goalkeeper’s weight should be transferred forward as the ball is released.
  6. It is similar to a bowler’s action in cricket.
  7. Over long distances, get your player to concentrate on powering the arm downwards on the same line as the target spot. This will help with his accuracy.


7 tips to get the most out of your coaching sessions

davidscwnewCoaching isn’t just a matter of turning up and running a session – anyone can do that. You need to think about how you are going to deliver the session so the learning experience is heightened for your players.

These four questions will help you decide how you coach your sessions:

  1. Know your players – which ones need what, and when do they need your help?
  2. Talk to/listen to your players – are they enjoying the sessions?
  3. Do they understand what they are doing?
  4. Ask yourself… did my intervention have a positive impact on their learning?

Here are my seven tips on how to get the most out of coaching your sessions:

1. What is the problem?
Picture in your mind what it is that your team is doing wrong. Think about the type of session you need to help the team.

2. What is available to me? What resources do you have that relate to the problem? Soccer Coach Weekly issues are a great place to start.

3. Have I used a session in the past to cover the topic?
Think about what you have done before when you have come across this problem. Did you solve it? Can you use it again?

4. How will individuals react to the session?
Some of your players will respond negatively to certain sessions you run. If you know your players well you should be able to spot problems before they arise.

5. Is it simple or complex?
How much guidance do you need to give your players? Sometimes simple is best. If it is complex make sure you explain it carefully before the players have to go and do it.

6. Are you reviewing work already covered?
If you are revisiting work, you need to quickly get the session going and work your players at the level you worked at when you last ran the session – they know the topic so the understanding should already be there.

7. During the session does it feel right?
Your gut feeling is often a good indicator as to whether or not the session is working. If it is, great, make a note of what went right. If not, don’t despair. Write down what went wrong and change it next time.

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Keep the ball under pressure

By David Clarke

David ClarkeEncouraging your players to keep the ball for your team is a vital part of your training sessions. Different age groups need different levels to practice at – and I know some of you will have teams that are more advanced than others, so here are three different levels of exercise to practice possession soccer.

Make use of a simple 2v1 game

In diagram 1 the two white players pass and move around the square while the grey player has to try and win the ball. If he wins the ball he replaces one of the white players and the game goes on. To advance this game tell the white players they can only have 2 touches on the ball before they must pass. Once they have got the basics of the game add more players to make it a 3 v 2 or a 4 v 2.

Expand the play so you are using 10 players

Moving to more advanced exercises you can expand the play further like diagram 2. For this one use 10 players and an area 30 yards x 20 yards. Set it up so you have five attackers inside the area. Two more attackers – one on each of the longest sides of the area – can move up and down to support the play. Three defenders inside the area try to win the ball back.

They must win it back twice, then one of the three swaps places with an attacker – and the play continues.

Move it to a 6v6 game

You can then take it a stage further like diagram 3 where we have a 6v6. Go back to a square pitch either 30 yards x 30 yards or 20 yards x 20 yards depending on the age and ability of your players. You need to have a player from each team on each side of the square, with 2 from each side inside the square. The team that starts with the ball must keep it for as long as possible using team mates on the edge of the square.

The player who receives the ball on the edge of the square can either pass or run into the square with the ball and the player who passed the ball out has to take his place on the side of the square.

The team trying to win the ball can only use the two players in the centre until they win it – players on the edge of the square cannot tackle.
Key coaching points

  • A good first touch on the ball when receiving.
  • Play the ball first time whenever possible.
  • Count the number of passes to make it competitive.
  • Players should use the inside and outside of each foot.


Keepy uppies helps kids master the ball

David Clarke

Juggling is a great way to improve mastery of the ball, which will help your players during matches and give their confidence a boost. Three things come out of juggling:

  • Improving ball control and touch.

  • Improving coordination.

  • Improving reactions.

All age groups can do juggling and they should eventually be able to use all parts of their body – thighs, head, chest – to keep the ball in the air. But for young or inexperienced players it is best to start off with simple kicks so they get the feel of it. It is also best to do it on firmer surfaces because the ball will not bounce off muddy ones.

The technique is to use the laces of the boot, keep toes pointing up and tap directly under the ball.

  • Hold the ball with both hands and it let drop to the ground. After one bounce, tap the ball back up and catch (bounce-foot-catch).

  • Next, rather than catch the ball, let it bounce, tap it again, then catch (bounce-foot-bounce-foot-catch).

  • Try increasing the number of bounces and taps before catching the ball to 3, then 4 etc.

  • Now try tapping the ball twice before it bounces (bounce-foot-foot-catch), then 3 times etc.

  • Repeat all progressions several times with each foot. Hold the ball, release it so it falls, but tap it back into hands before it hits the ground. Increase the difficulty by tapping the ball two, three, four times etc before catching. Now, try moving the ball from one foot to the other and back again. (right-left-right etc).

How to develop the session

When players reach a certain number of kick ups you can get them to do more advance juggling. In this session they can start on their thigh, and catch it. Then move to incorporating their feet and head.

So if you look at the diagram you go thigh, dropping it onto the foot then high in the air to head it. Players should try to keep this sequence going for as long as possible.



70% of a goalkeeper’s work is done with his feet

David Clarke

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.

Goalkeeper drills and games




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