Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice


Van Gaal hugs Rooney in training – excellent man management

Louis van Gaal shows why he is such a good manager of players and gets the best out of them by showing a little love when Wayne Rooney does what he is told in training…



Crossing Angles To Set Up Goals – session

By David Clarke

davidscwnewIf you want your players to hone their crossing skills, try this non-stop game aimed at helping them get the ball into the box at the right time.

WHY USE IT

The session is a good workout to help teams experiment with angles and different heights of playing a ball into the box from the wings. The crossers are unopposed so they can concentrate on the technique and get good crosses in. It’s a fast and continuous session.

SET UP

Create a playing area 40×30 yards including a five-yard crossing zone. You don’t need to use keepers even though we’ve included them in our session. But you do need four teams of two players and a server. You also need balls, bibs, cones and goals.

HOW TO PLAY

The server plays the ball to the attacking pair, who must get the ball to the crossing zone for a cross to the two attackers. After the attack, the team defends and the previous defenders break out to attack the other end.

TECHNIQUE

Arriving in the box at the right time is important for the session to work – if the attackers are waiting for the player to cross before they run, it will be easily defended. Putting balls into the box is good practice for match days.

This session came from Soccer Coach Weekly.

Interested in more exercises? Try these links:

1. Pressing in key areas – Steve Kean

2. Defending when outnumbered

3. Tomb raiders



Running the game without the ball

I am always going on to other coaches about coaching teams to think about how they set up when they haven’t got the ball. I don’t mind the oppposition having the ball as long as my team are in control of the positions they are playing in.

If we can identify a player low on confidence on the opposition team then my players can position themselves so the ball goes to this player. IF that player has the ball they may be forced into an error that will benefit my team.

In the match between Manchester United and Chelsea that decided the Premier League Champions the United manager Sir Alex Ferguson always plays his left winger narrow when Chelsea play Branislav Ivanovic at right-back. Ivanovic was given all ;the time on the ball he wanted because the United coaches were sure he couldn’t harm them when he had the ball.

In this case it was Ji-Sung Park on the left and he created the opening goal after only 40 seconds by sitting narrow and catching Ivanovic off his guard. The pattern of the game was shaped here with Ji-Sung Park staying narrow allowing Ryan Giggs to run at Ivanovic.

It also gave Wayne Rooney space to work in, and the Chelsea midfield were overrun for much of the game.



Why Rooney is the best defender

There is no better proponent of the art of defending from the front than Wayne Rooney of Manchester United and England. His defensive qualities set him apart from the other best attackers in the world – think of Cristiano Ronaldo or Francesco Totti neither would be seen charging the defenders high up the pitch where his bubbling enthusiasm can often see him win the ball back in his opponents half.

His movement when Manchester Utd lose the ball means that as the full backs advance Rooney can fill in as a third defensive midfielder blocking the attacking runs of the defenders.By forcing the play back he creates space in the centre of the pitch for Manchester’s more creative players like Ryan Giggs and Darren Fletcher to flourish.

These creative players then use the space to slip balls behind the opposing backline for Rooney or his striking partner to run on to making it hard to defend against.

This idea is something I like to make use of during my coaching sessions. If I can get the attackers in my teams to push high up the pitch to close the opposition defenders down before they are out of their own half it can force a mistake which opens up huge opportunities for my team to attack the space behind the defence.



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



Dealing with a sulking substitute and his parents

dave clarkeSubstitutes seem to be causing a lot of trouble to the coaches I have spoken to during our recent monthly meetings. What I hope to see is that every player starts a certain number of games and that it is not the same few players who start on the subs bench every match.

At my club we have worked it so that we have three teams in our age groups with one team playing friendlies and the other two teams matches. In this way we can spread players out and make sure everyone is starting matches to give each player a chance of developing during the season.

The problem is however much we try to make sure players are not always made sub there are still some players (and their parents) who do not like being substituted during the game.

This week we were playing on a heavy pitch and I wanted to change players as they got tired. So at half time I explain to one of our more advanced dribblers that I wanted him to sit out for the first five minutes of the second half and to watch how the defenders were sitting deep. I wanted him to work out for himself how he could exploit that situation.

“That’s a strange decision,” I heard his dad say. The player himself responding to his father’s sentiments threw himself to the floor in a big sulk. Not helping the team at all as the other players went over to see what was wrong. Players must realise from an early age that they must learn to accept substitutions with good spirit. So I kept him off for 10 minutes and explained to him and his father that the team is important and each individual player must help their team mates.

Managing substitutes is hard, and managing parents harder, but if you are fair with players over the course of a season then everyone should be more than happy.

If you go to my blog you can see an example of Wayne Rooney being taken off and his reaction to it. You can also see the substitution of Luis Figo when he played his last game for Inter Milan.

 Soccer Skills and Drills



You can play like Iniesta if you practice this…

Who is Andres Iniesta?

I reckon Iniesta first exploded on the scene on Wednesday 6 May 2009, when he smashed a 20-yard right-foot shot into the top corner of the Chelsea net to send Barcelona into the Champions League final.

Then was instrumental when Barcelona easily beat Manchester Utd in the Rome final – Wayne Rooney told his team mates – including Cristiano Ronaldo – that Iniesta was the best player in the world.

Playing in a midfield three at Barcelona in tandem with Yaya Toure and Xavi, Iniesta’s is an outstanding player in a team of outstanding players. He is the essence of the ‘tiki-taki’ style that typifies Barcelona and Spain. His lightning-quick feet and ability to dribble past people were at times similar to his team-mate further up the pitch, Lionel Messi.

Like fellow Barca graduate Cesc Fàbregas, Iniesta originally started as a defensive midfielder but his balance, close control and skill on the ball saw him make progress as an attacking midfielder.

His willingness to play anywhere on the pitch, coupled with a natural humility, has earned him the sobriquet El Ilusionista (The Illusionist), El Anti-Galáctico (The Anti-Galáctico), Cerebro (The Brain) and most recently Don Andrés from the Spanish press.

He scored the winning goal in the 2010 World Cup Final against Holland in the 116th minute, removing his jersey during his celebration to reveal an inscription on his undershirt reading “Dani Jarque – Siempre con nosotros”, which translates to “Dani Jarque is always with us,” in tribute to former Spain youth teammate and RCD Espanyol captain Daniel Jarque, who passed away in 2009.

After the World Cup Final he was interviewed – “I simply made a small contribution to my team,” he said.

If you want to play like Iniesta check out the video below or get your players doing it.




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