Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: control, first touch, movement, overloads, passing, shooting
It can be difficult at times to find a good workout for your players that replicates the vital first touch, good movement and quick passing of typical match day situations.
Players are generally relaxed in training – sometimes overly so – and there’s certainly less pressure on them performing a move well.
But with the right set-up, and providing you can instil the notion that a player’s team mates are depending on him (and him only) to perform a specific task, you can get your team working at a high tempo.
This activity, Touch And Go, ensures players remain physically and mentally alert at all times, always aware of the concept of using available space in order to make maximum use of the ball.
It is a fast session that rehearses overloads, shooting, passing and movement in the same manner that your players will encounter in a match – indeed, a shortened version of this is perfect as a pre-match practice, so ensure every player is getting the ball and thinking about moving to the pass.
How to set it up:
- Alter the size of the playing area depending on the ages of your players. For U9s, use the centre circle of an adult (11-a-side) pitch, or a circle 20 yards in diameter. For U10s and older, mark out a 30-yard circle as a playing area.
- You will need to create three small goals using cones at equal points around the playing area. These will each be two yards wide. There are six players on one team and three on the other, though you can alter the number of players and the size of the playing area depending on your squad size, providing one team has twice as many players as the other.
One player on the team of six starts with the ball at his feet.
He must release the ball to a team mate. His team aims to complete six consecutive passes.
The team with three players must attempt to overturn possession. If it does, it tries to score in one of the small goals.
Play this for 10 minutes.
The main move
Now they have warmed up, prepare your players to restart with the same 6v3 set-up.
This time though, the team of six must arrange themselves so that three players begin inside the circle and three outside.
The three inside must keep possession, always attempting to switch with players on the outside of the circle by passing the ball to them. When they do this, they swap places with their team mate.
They gain a point for each successful pass out and player switch.
As before, the team of three gain a point by winning the ball and scoring in one of the three goals.
Play for 10 minutes then rotate players.
Why this works:
This is a great overload game that never allows players to relax. Because it is performed in a playing area that most aren’t accustomed to, they should be constantly aware of situations developing around them.
In the second exercise, the playing numbers are still 6v3, but the overload is not as obvious with players inside the circle feeling as though they are involved in a 3v3 small-sided game.
On each occasion, look for players to adapt their style of play to the way in which they can score points. The team of six should be looking to play a controlled passing game, while the team of three must be bold and ambitious in their attacking play.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: awareness, look up, passing, see, shooting, vision, visual
This session from Kevin McGreskin is aimed at developing a player’s visual awareness by making them look up and know what their team mates are doing around them. In the session, players have to carry out a specific action in response to a visual cue which forces them to look before they pass or receive a pass.
How it works
In the picture above. Player 2 must only use three touches in the centre – one to control the ball, one to move it and one to pass.
Encourage players to call out the colour of the visual cue during the exercise. This is an important secondary task that increases the challenge for the players and gets them used to talking during play.
How to play it
You need three players, two balls and six markers.
Player 2 stands between two markers (one black, one white) approximately three yards apart.
Players 1 and 3 each have one black and one white marker.
Player 1 passes to player 2.
Player 2 must look around to "spot" the visual cue, held up by player 3.
Player 2 must then shift the ball around the same coloured marker as the visual cue.
Player 2 follows the ball and makes a return pass to player 1.
Player 2 turns and repeats with player 3. This time, player 1 will hold up the visual cue.
How to progress it
- Continue as above but player 2 must now "spot" a second visual cue, held up by player 3 in the picture, and call out the colour before making the return pass.
- Rotate players after they have had two turns.
Key coaching tips
Make sure players look over their shoulder before receiving a pass.
Players need a good touch to shift the ball out of their feet and beyond the cone.
Ensure players look up and correctly identify the second visual cue before making the return pass.
Take out a 97p trial to Soccer Coach Weekly today.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: attack, awareness, Manchester United, shooting, speed, three ball routine, warm-up
By David Clarke
Manchester United’s first-team coach Rene Meulensteen developed what he called the three-ball routine to increase team speed and mental awareness. I saw it in action and it was a real flurry of movement and attacking action.
I created my own version of it to use with my youth teams.
It provides a very effective way of getting a side prepared for a forthcoming match because it improves the speed of defenders and the movement of attackers.
The routine starts with a shot from outside the box, then moves on to a cross that needs to be defended. As soon as the crossing element has finished, a third ball comes in from the other wing.
Meulensteen said: “It’s an exciting exercise – you’re looking at the quality of the passing and the variety from the wing, while watching runs at the near and far post. Can the players react to the ball?”
How to set it up:
- Player numbers can vary but we’ve used 10 in this instance.
- You need balls, cones and a goal, plus one keeper.
- Place a pole or cone just outside the D of the penalty area, plus two additional
cones on each wing – one to mark an early cross and the other a deep cross.
- Four central players stand so the cone just outside the D is between them
and the goalkeeper, with one player further forward than the others.
- Two players position themselves on each of the wings.
- There is one defender in the penalty area.
- Ensure the central group have a good supply of balls.
- The central players one-touch pass to each other. When the ball arrives at the
most advanced player, he turns on the cone and shoots first time at goal.
- As the central group lays a ball to the right wing, the shooter makes his way into
the penalty area to challenge 1v1 against the defender. Both players prepare for
the cross from the side.
- The right crosser then joins the action and the defender must defend 2v1 on a
cross from the right. The ball is again fed from the central group.
- The left crosser now joins to complete a maximum 3v1 in the middle.
Repeat the crossing scenario with the two remaining wingers, this time from the
deepest crossing cones.
Developing the session:
- Set up as before but have an attacker and two defenders in the penalty box.
- The advanced central player lays the ball back to a team mate
before joining the other attacker – he needs to head for the post not covered
by his team mate.
- The ball is switched to the wing and the subsequent cross challenged 2v2 in
Why this works:
This is a great workout for defenders because it’s very match realistic.
There is reward for good play from the attackers in the form of goals, and the growing number of attacking players creates a constantly changing proposition for the lone defender – who ends up defending against a 3v1 overload.
Finally, the variety of attacking angles mean both attackers and defenders need
to stay aware at all times.
Take out a 97p trial to Soccer Coach Weekly today.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: cross into box, crossing, drill, exercise, meet the cross, scoring, shooting
Arriving in the box in the right place at the right time is a particular strength of the world’s top strikers and attacking midfielders. Giving your players this ability will add to the potency of your team’s attack.
During your training session work on these things:
- Are the attackers meeting the ball as it arrives or are they waiting for the cross? Perfect timing will make the defender’s job of marking almost impossible.
- Ask the wingers to supply a variety of crosses at different angles, heights and speeds to encourage the attackers to make different runs.
Good build up play will allow wingers to exploit width, putting them in a position to get the ball into the box for your forwards to attack. This session shows your players how to turn these opportunities into goals by getting players on the end of crosses.
- Use an area the size of two penalty areas.
- One goal either side.
- Wingers start at either corner on one side of the area, attackers on the opposite side.
In diagram 1 the first winger carries the ball the length of the playing area and crosses the ball. Attackers set off just after and try to get on the end of the cross and score. The players join the back of the queue and the exercise repeats in the opposite direction.
In diagram 2 you can advance the play from diagram 1 by adding a pair of defenders. This will increase the pressure on the attackers to find a yard of space and on the wingers to improve their crossing accuracy.
- The coach passes into the two attackers who combine to move the ball wide to the winger.
- The attackers must then try to lose the defenders and score from the winger’s cross.
- After attacking, you defend and the previous defenders break out to attack the opposite goal.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: attacking drills, Drogba, exercises, goals, scoring, shooting
By David Clarke
Balance, coordination and ball control skills are vital to the art of being a good striker. When he was at Chelsea, Didier Drogba could weave his way to goal and unleash an unstoppable shot at the end of it.
I want my strikers to do exactly the same, so I run through this exercise with them. I call it the slalom exercise because it’s just like what the slalom skiers have to do when racing downhill through a series of poles against the clock.
Get your players to run through this once then start timing them. Tell them you are not looking to see who is the quickest, you want to see who can beat their own time over the course of three runs each.
This means you are going to have to keep scores and names handy so you can check on players’ progress. You also need a stopwatch.
How to play it
- Your player must dribble in and out of the coaching poles, go around either side of the cone – by selling a dummy or skill move – and finish with a shot on goal.
- On the next run the player must do the same movement but beat the goalkeeper at the end.
- Finally the player must do the same movement but beat an active defender before scoring past the goalkeeper.
Key coaching tips
- Tell your players you want to see close control and the use of both feet through the poles.
- When they are faced with the cone they must try to show a feint or skill, not just run around it.
They can use any shooting technique they like – inside outside of their foot, laces or even a chip, the most important thing is to hit the target.
Neymar is another player who attacks by going past defenders – watch this:
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: Arsenal, euro 2012, heading, Ligue 1, Montpelier, olivier giroud, shooting, tactics, Tours, youtube
During Euro 2012 the false or fake striker was a huge talking point for the top teams throughout the world and how tactics work around not having a traditional striker – but slipping under the radar at the same time was a proper striker who could take the Premier League in England by storm.
Olivier Giroud won a French League title with Montpelier in May then got drafted into the French squad for the Euros. But his rise has been far from spectacular he has learnt his trade – he started off at the boys’ team Olympique Club de Froges then Grenoble’s youth academy. It was here that he was spotted by Tours in France’s Ligue 2 and then to Montpelier. Now he plays for Arsenal in England.
“I can play as a lone forward, in partnership with a second forward, or in front of a No10,” he said. “I’ll adapt my game to different situations. That’s my job. I’ve worked hard to add some explosive power to the first few metres when I make a run with or without the ball.”
Giroud scored 21 league goals in his team’s league winning season. He is a striker who relies on stature and physical presence and with his aerial ability he should scare a lot of defences in the Premier League, but he is also a thinker and very quick with the ball at his feet.
I’m looking forward to seeing how he will adapt to playing outside of France, but most of all it will be refreshing to see a skilful centre forward giving defences a hard time in England.
Watch him in this video and see the range of skills he possesses…
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: 8v4, coaching, diagram, focus, quick turning, shooting, small-sided game, switching play
Playing with overloads is a great way to get achieve your coaching focus. I often play games achieve success for players in certain aspects of the game. In this 8v4 game for instance, the overloads created and the set up means I can see switching play, short passing, long passing, good control and technique for the team of 8 and the team of 4 needs quick thinking and shooting to win the session
This game gets players practising different aspects of possession play and movement. When shooting at the targets, the scoring team must combine to goalscoring effect, while for the in-circle passing team the aim is to find a way past the opposition. The passing team outside the circle must be mobile and able to position themselves in the best way so as to receive the ball.
How to set it up:
Mark out a 30-yard diameter circular pitch (with markers or cones if necessary).
Place four goals at four equal points around the edge of the circle.
There is one team of eight players, the passing team.
The other team has four players, the scoring team.
The passing team starts with four on the pitch and four off the pitch.
The scoring team starts with all four players on the pitch.
The passing team must attempt to keep possession at all times, playing out to their team-mates positioned outside the circle.
The player passing the ball must go to the outside whilst the receiving player dribbles into the playing area.
The scoring team must get the ball into the target goals.
The passing team get a point for each successful switch.
Play for a time period to be designated by the coach, then gradually rotate groups of four players so that each team gets the opportunity to perform in each role.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer News, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: Leeds Utd U18, Liverpool U18, penalty area tactics, shooting, The Damned Utd, youth coaching
I’ve just come in from watching a great game. Our U16s have played out of their skins and beaten the team at the top of the table. But both teams could have won the game.
We won because when we got near the penalty area we shot at goal. Our opponents tried to play it too near to the goal and ended up losing the ball every time.
I like to see a good bit of control then a shot, it happens to be the best way to put the opposition goalkeeper under a bit of pressure. Sometimes we try to play too many passes to get near the goal, when a good shot is what is needed to win a game.
Watch this clip of Leeds Utd U18s beating Liverpool u18s 3-1. The Leeds players are controlling the ball around the penalty area and making their possession count. Take a look at this…