Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: coerver, drills, futsal, sessions, skills, technique, turning
How to play it
• Set up an area measuring 20×5 yards, as shown, with two cones marking the midway length point.
• The player in the middle receives a pass from the front player in the top line – this man then follows his pass.
• The middle player must make a turn, pass out, then follow his pass to join the group at the bottom.
• The player who originally passed from the top line now becomes the new middle player.
• For the next part, a pass is fed in from the bottom line.
• The process continues with the player in the middle receiving the pass, but his ‘turn and move’ must be different to the one used by the player before him.
• There are many ‘turn and move’ choices, including:
- An open body turn
- Opening legs and flicking the ball in between
- Open legs and dummying Making a Cruyff turn
• The practice continues until all players are suitably warmed up in passing, controlling, turning and moving on.
Technique and tactics
• Players must be on their toes at all times.
• You’re looking for imagination in terms of how they turn.
• The quality of passing to and from the middle man is essential if this warm-up is to maintain its momentum.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: astro turf, skills, tactics, throw-ins
Last weekend, we were lucky to find our game was on given that most of the country was under water – we played on astro turf as our usual pitch was too wet. It was a fast game, requiring player reactions to be somewhat quicker than normal.
But whether on a fast surface or not, I always ask my players to think about performing quick, instinctive actions all the time anyway. Sure enough, on Saturday, we scored an opportunist goal thanks to one of my players taking a quick throw-in while the opposition was still getting set up to defend the set play. After the ball went dead, my winger ran over, picked it up and threw it first time into the path of one of our attackers. Two touches later, and the ball was in the back of the net before the keeper had even realised what was happening.
Something like a quick throw-in can make a huge difference in matches, and particularly in youth football where players are not as ‘tuned in’ and alert as they are in the pro game. Of course, players need to show good technique if they are to take advantage of the situation. In fact, after we had used the quick throw-in successfully, another one of my players repeatedly tried to replicate the tactic, and on each occasion he was penalised for lifting one of his feet off the ground.
I know he felt frustrated about it – he was trying to perform the throw quickly, but as a result lost sight of the action itself. You could say he was quick, but couldn’t keep to the rules!
But it’s still worth using quick throw-ins at every opportunity in your coaching sessions. Get players to try it under timed pressure – each time there’s a throw-in they have only 10 seconds to get into position and perform the action.
Of course, to make the most of this in game situations you’ll need for each player to excel at the technique. A lot of teams will have one or two players who are specialists, but if you want quick throw-ins, they’ll need to be performed by the player nearest the ball.
Tell your players to remember:
- To take the throw-in from where the ball went out of play
- That their team mates can’t be offside from a throw-in
- That another player has to touch the ball before the thrower can touch it again
- That a goal cannot be scored directly from a throw-in
- And that opponents must stand more than two yards from the thrower
Try it out! It’s a great feeling the first time your team proves that something as basic as a throw-in can be utilised to such devastating effect!
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: andre merelle, clairefontaine, development, french, french academy, left foot, right foot, sessions, skills, two footed
Coaches often ask me about getting grass roots players to use both feet – and I have to admit it is hard. The best way is to try and make sure you practice with your players so they get used to using both of them. But it is something you have to work on all the time because they can easily stop doing it in matches.
I have two ways for you to work with your players. The first is from Andre Merelle the technical director of French Football Federation (FFF’s) National Technical Centre at Clairefontaine, arguably the best youth soccer development center in the world.
It is a simple exercise but very effective – plus you get to watch him explain it in the clip below.
He has helped develop players like Jean-Pierre Papin, Thierry Henry, Louis Saha, William Gallas and Nicholas Anelka.
The French focus a great deal on technique……The players must play with the ball as much as possible from an early age, the younger the better.
Check out his simple way to coach two-footed strikers in the video clip below and set it up and try it out with your players. Then move on to my session below it:
Close to goal, strikers can guide the ball into the net, they don’t need to rifle it home. So this exercise is all about coaching your players to be comfortable in front of goal with both feet.
Set this up like the diagram below on a small pitch with two teams of four players. You, or a helper, act as the server by standing on the halfway line at the side.
In the diagram the white shirted players dribble and then pass (1) to the coach. The coach makes a return pass (2) for a first time shot with the right foot (3).
Immediately the player moves across the penalty area and reacts to a pass from a team mate at the side of the goal by shooting with his left foot (5). He then takes the place of his team mate next to the goal.
The dark shirted players do the same thing in the opposite direction. This time the left-foot shot is further out but here just look for direction from the player. Tell him you want to see him hit the target not necessarily score past the goalkeeper.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: Alf Galustian, coerver, drills, gerard houllier, jurgen klinsmann, ossie ardiles, skills, vicente del bosque
Alf Galustian is a modern-day football coaching legend. He has worked with the likes of Jurgen Klinsmann, Vincente del Bosque, Gerard Houllier and Ossie Ardiles and is now the skills coach to the Premier League.
When he co-founded the Coerver Coaching programme in 1984 alongside former Chelsea and Scotland star Charlie Cooke, the principle was quite simply in focusing on and developing an individual player’s core skills.
The success of the philosophy led to a clamour for his expertise, and to this day, he has worked at AC Milan, Bayern Munich, Stoke City, Newcastle United and Arsenal, amongst others.
DC: A lot of coaches just starting out might not understand what core skills are. Can you define the term please?
AG: For us in Coerver Coaching, we define core skills as:
• Running with the ball
• First touch
The foundation for all these core skills is Coerver Ball Mastery.
DC: How should grassroots coaches begin their season – what should they be focusing on for the first three months of the campaign?
AG: Players return to pre-season having not played for months and we recommend that coaches focus most of the early sessions on drills, helping their lads regain a feel for ball.
And we would suggest that at least 20% of the session is devoted to repetition exercises with the ball. Repetition can be boring so disguise it by incorporating the principles into competition scenarios between players and/or groups. The rest of the session should be a mix of passing and receiving drills, and small-sided games.
DC: How should this move on as the season advances, to ensure grassroots players are developing?
AG: The goal of each session is fun and progress, not only as a team but as individuals. The Coerver method of improving players is what we call ‘step-by-step teaching’. We break down the core skills and then teach through repetition, before increasing difficulty. Finally, we look for the use of those skills in game situations.
DC: Most coaches at grassroots level will have players of wildly differing abilities – how would you cope with that?
AG: This is a really good question and one that we have been asked a lot over Coerver Coaching’s 30-year history. Firstly, all players should do the same drills. A good tip is to split the group into threes and fours, putting players of similar abilities together. The only difference is that for the more skilled players, you make the conditions different (e.g. altering the number of touches, the distance or the speed). The players feel equal since the drill is exactly the same. Once you get to the small-sided games, pool your squad, making sure that no one team has all the best players.
DC: Should coaches continually use one-touch exercises or is that not as relevant as two touches?
AG: One-touch is quite difficult for most grassroots players. We want our young players to experience success, which then builds up their confidence, interest and concentration. For those reasons we prefer two touch. Once the players improve then we suggest mixing one and two- touch drills.
DC: Most grassroots players might only train and play once a week. Is this enough?
AG: Simply, no. However, it’s a difficult situation to change. I don’t think we can expect to increase practice times significantly, so we need to be smarter in what and how we teach.
DC: You’re a skills specialist coach and I’ve seen your ability to demonstrate the skill you are coaching. How do grassroots coaches who are not as skilled as you demonstrate difficult techniques to youth players?
AG: The coach has two options. The first is to practise the skills every day, not as a player but as a teacher, slowly and deliberately. Charlie and I still do this after 30 years. The second option is to pick a player in your group to demonstrate. Just make sure any demonstration is done slowly.
DC: Why is it that players from Spain, Brazil and Argentina are so respected at the moment for the way they play the game?
AG: I think this explanation would need to be a whole new article! Generally the football culture of these countries has a long tradition of focusing and admiring skills above all else. That culture has pushed coaches and teachers towards allowing young players to express themselves without fear of failure. I suppose Coerver Coaching, in many countries, is a replacement of what players learnt in the old days through street soccer. Times have changed and in relatively affluent societies, street soccer has disappeared.
DC: How much influence do you think the English Premier League has had on grassroots players?
AG: The Premier League is the most exciting and certainly the most televised league in the world. In that regard, there is no doubt that grassroots players and coaches are influenced. I think the players and teams can be extremely positive influences when it comes to learning the game, fair play, and behavioural role models.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Barcelona, barcelona-usa, iniesta, messi, one touch, passing, skills, two touch, U11, youtube
Well we may be finally putting things in place to do it but I was surprised by how advanced some teams are across the pond inAmerica. They sure are building for the future.
An U11 team inCaliforniahas created its own little area ofSpaintaking their inpiration from the masters of tiki taka,Barcelona. They’ve called their team Barcelona-USA, and play in the same strips as the Catalan giants.
The video that got everyone purring was Barcelona-USA’s U11 Cal South State Cup semi-final against Arsenal FC – no slouches themselves at this level.
But in an epic 13 minutes of football, these young players executed some of the greatest one-touch, two-touch passing moves that you’ll see anywhere, anytime.
According to their coach: “These performances are no accident. It takes meticulous training, studying, and artistry — a craftsman. You can not just throw 11 players on the field and ‘talk’ about possession. That’s just talking. And anybody can do that… you should be asking yourself: ‘Do I really care, or am I just a talker?’”
Are you watching England?
See the video everyone’s talking about below:
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: euro 2012, how to volley, skills, technique, volley, Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Ibrahimovic did not have a great Euro 2012 but in Sweden’s final game against France the Milan forward scored a stunning volley. From16 yards in the 54th minute Ibrahimovic arced into the air and his falling volley flew off his laces and into the net as he swept his right foot through the ball to connect with Seb Larsson’s deep cross.
Lots of your players will have seen the goal since, and all will be keen to do something similar. But it isn’t easy. It requires great technique just like Wayne Rooney’s overhead kick against Manchester City last season.
Here’s my guide to helping players pull off the perfect volley
- Tell your players to keep their eyes focused on the ball and to get into the line of ﬂight
- Get them to use their arms for balance
- Tell them to imagine a strike zone in front of them and to keep their head still
- They should plant their non-kicking foot on the ground, and leading with the knee, bring the kicking leg through
- The leg should be slightly bent, with the toes pointing down and the ankle held ﬁrm
- They should strike the centre or top half of the ball with the instep and keep their head over the ball to keep the volley down
- As with most aspects of the game, practice makes perfect, so regularly build volleying technique into your training sessions as it is a skill that can be effective in any area of the pitch, and by any player.
Here’s a great game to get your players volleying:
How to set it up
- Arrange your players into two teams.
- They should stand 10 yards from three cones, which are placed side by side, two yards between each.
- You and a helper act as servers stood a further three yards back behind the cones.
- You and your helper continually throw balls to your allocated team. Each player, in turn, must try to volley the ball towards any of the three cones, knocking the ball off the top.
- The first team to knock all three balls off is the winner.
- As the players become more proficient at the skill, get them to experiment with half volleys and chest volleys.
- The same set-up can be adapted for headers.
Why this works
This fun warm-up game develops volleying ability. It’s a tough art to, but the ability to bring the ball down is crucial in helping a team move back into a passing game. This warm-up also encourages players to keep their eyes on the ball, directing it downwards towards the floor.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: Alf Galustian, coerver, England, interview, Liverpool, Newcastle United, peter beardsley, skills, technique
My series of interviews on influential figures in the world of coaching continues with this exclusive interview with Peter Beardsley.
I remember Peter as a very skillful player, slight of build, operating just behind the front strikers at Newcastle, Liverpool and of course England.
His skills have proved devastating for creating and scoring goals, netting over 230 in his career. He was a player with lovely ball skills and fantastic vision, as well as tremendous stamina, enthusiasm and work-rate.
He was also able to score long range shots, or clever placement using timing and dribbling skills.
As a youth player Peter was discovered at the famous Wallsend Boys Club on Tyneside in the 70s – the club has a pedigree of bringing through great players including Alan Shearer, Michael Carrick, Lee Clark and Steve Bruce.
He is now football development manager at Newcastle United helping to drive forward the recruitment of talented youngsters for the club’s Academy and Development Squad, so what better person to answer questions on how to coach youth skills.
I caught up with Peter at Newcastle where he was coaching with the world famous coach Alf Galustian and asked him about youth coaching and what a coach learns from watching someone as experienced as Alf.
1. We all have favourite areas of coaching – as a former attacker do you find it easy to coach defending as well as attacking exercises?
I think all coaches need to learn how to coach both topics: the modern player especially as a youth player has to be both attacker and when they lose the ball win it back by pressing deep – defending from the front. Messi is probably the best example.
2. As a skillful striker you must have had a few tricks you used, which were your favourite and how did you practice them.
I learnt mostly by playing – we didn’t have a programme like Alf’s Coerver Coaching, so most of what I did was learnt in games. If I had had a programme like Coerver to follow, I am sure it would have made me a better player, especially for scoring goals!
3. Messi and Ronaldo both use skill in their play but appear to have one or two clever moves that they use a lot. How many skills should a youth player work on to use in match play?
I think young players should learn as many skills can they can so they can use them to beat players in as many different ways as possible; it will help their future game and it’s great fun to learn new skills.
4. I think repetition is one of the most vital coaching tools. But players can find doing the same old thing boring. How do you hide repetition when coaching?
I follow Alf’s view that for young players you can hide repetition by playing fun games – for example simple relays where repetition is included.
Watching Alf coach today I can see so many possibilities to coach young players in using skills to win 1v1s and 2v1s where the repetition is hidden by the actual game they play.
5. You played in youth teams at Wallsend Boys in the 70s, which one factor would you say is the most important change in the way kids are coached today?
The quality of facilities and the improvement in coaches knowledge and understanding of what is best for the players and not what is best for the coaches
6 Can you explain one specific exercise you have been using with your team that my coaches can go out and use with their players?
While Alf has been here at Newcastle we have been concentrating on attacking principles. This is one of the sessions I have seen Alf coach and I am now using to help my players in their attacking role.
SESSION: To improve Shooting under pressure
How to set it up
- 10 players plus a server or the coach
- A 40x25yd area with a goal and goalkeeper at each end.
- Two teams of four players and a server
- Each player has a ball lined up by each goal.
- Two cones 5 yards either side of the server
- The coach or a designated player is stationed in the middle of the field as a wall passer.
How to play it
- The first player in TEAM A passes to the server in the centre, then takes the return pass and after controlling and dribbling the ball shoots on the opposite goal.
- As he shoots the first player in TEAM B passes to the server and sprints to take a return pass and take at least one touch before shooting.
- As soon as the TEAM A player shoots he sprints around the cone to try to stop TEAM B from scoring.
- When TEAM B shoots he must recover around his marker cone to defend again the second player in TEAM A who’s repeats the sequence.
- At first the recovering player going around the marker cone will be too far and he will not be able to apply much pressure on the shooter.
- But gradually move the markers towards the Coach so the distances of recovery is less and less and there’s increasing pressure on the shooters.
- Eventually allow the recovering players to use the WP as their marker to go around.
- Be sure the first pass to the server is firm so there’s no lag time waiting for the return pass and the defender to get close.
- Take your first touch from the server away from the approaching defender to set up your shot.
- Head up before shooting.
- Aim low far post the GKs toughest shot.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: skills, technique, young players, youtube
One thing the world’s best young players have in common is an ability to show great technique on the ball and they all do something to create space for themselves and to make it harder for the opposition to win the ball off them.
Add that to the fact that they all have the ability to make a fabulous end product be it a shot or a pass and you can see why they are recognised as the top young talent. But your players can have their own admirers if you work on their technique and skills.
In my U11s team I have players with different skills that complement each other and create an excellent team between them. One is a great dribbler, another has great vision to switch play, one is great at making runs for through balls.
They have all learned these skills during the sessions I have run for them.
The best way to let this happen is to run sessions that let your players express themselves in an atmosphere of learning and not one where making mistakes is punished.
Watch this video of some of the world’s best young players below:
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: ball skills, coerver, hook turn, mastery, skills, step over
What’s the point in coaching skills such as the ‘hook turn’? You know the one, where a player stops suddenly and hooks the ball behind the standing leg.
“I hate watching step-overs so why should I coach my players to do them?” – this was the question one of my fellow coaches asked me last week when I explained that I was doing a ‘skills coaching’ series with my team.
The principle is that you show them a skill, make sure they can do it, then get them to perform it again at the start of the following week’s session. You tell them to practise at home and then see who has progressed most. It works well, and is a fun way to start sessions, ensuring that players are concentrating on the art of the game. But why coach them what some coaches see as tricks?
Well, speaking personally, I do it because I have a great belief that individual skills advance both my players and the team as a whole. The hook turn is simple to learn and my younger teams (Under-9s and Under-10s) love it. I get the boys to use the outside of the foot to turn 180 degrees. I like this turn because it coaches players to use a different part of their foot, and overall the move helps with their co-ordination.
It isn’t just about the actual skill itself. If players learn how to control the ball with different parts of their foot, it gives them the confidence to use those same areas to do things such as flicking the ball or performing half-turns away from defenders. Getting my players to continually vary the point of contact – whilst using both feet – is an ideal way to develop their ball skills. Individual moves like the hook turn are a great peg to hang these skills on, and I don’t get blinkered by the actual turn itself, because as long as they are using their foot and the ball differently, they are learning.
Which takes me back nicely to the step-over… it’s a much maligned move because of the amazing number of step-overs some players do. The simple move is a brilliant way for young players to dummy their opponent, faking to go one way before moving the other. It doesn’t look great to see young players doing three or four at the same time because that takes away from the simple skill itself.
I also believe the co-ordination involved helps players understand about body position and balance, so don’t be afraid to try something out of the ordinary, because sometimes it isn’t the direct benefit of the move that will prove the most profitable for your players.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: attacking, creative, drill, exercise, midfield, passing, shoot, skills, target man
By David Clarke
The quality and organisation of a team’s support play is crucial in any match scenario – the midfield must have good control of the ball to create space for a pass into attacking positions. Controlling the ball in midfield and then making sure possession is retained is key to making forward attacking passes.
In this game the onus is on the midfield to win and retain possession and provide quality balls into a target man.
For the attacking team, accuracy of pass from midfield into the target man is one thing, but only the quality of the layoff will offer the chance of a goal – a bouncing ball or one that is too fast or too slow will affect the way the attacker controls the ball. Ideally a one touch shot will be the best option if the quality of pass is there.
For the defending team, there are two key aims – to block off the pass to the target man, then to recognise where the threat of the bombing support player may come from. If the defenders are too late, they may not be able to get back and tackle before a shot has been unleashed.
How to set it up
- Pitch size: 30×20 yards (min) up to 40×25 yards (max).
- Create two end zones, 10 yards in from each goal-line.
- You’ll need two teams of four players, plus two keepers.
- Each team selects one player to be the ‘target man’. This player stands in the attacking end zone.
- The aim of the game is to make a pass into the target man. A supporting player will then receive his layoff before shooting at goal.
- Defenders can track back only when the second supporting man makes his run.
- After a shot is made, the shooting player swaps position with the target man.
- The game is played for five minutes.
- If the ball leaves play, you have a few re-start options:
1. The coach passes a new ball onto the pitch
2. The players take a roll in
3. The players take a throw in
4. The players make a pass in
5. The players dribble in
- There is no offside