Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: Alonso, Barcelona, iniesta, messi, spain, trtaining, warm ups, xavi
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: Barcelona, drill, exercise, messi, passing, spain
One of the great things about passing teams is that they know how to use space to maximum advantage, and the effects can be devastatingly good.
Even as individuals, the ability to anticipate where a team mate is moving to is an important part of player development – and one that initially takes a while to master. While this can be frustrating for coaches, rehearsing and practising using space will eventually work, so always persevere.
The size of the playing area is important in this practice, because the bigger that area the easier the task is. Therefore, start off in a space measuring 20×20 yards, then make it bigger or smaller depending on how your players cope.
How to set it up:
• In your 20×20-yard area, mark a halfway line to create two boxes.
There are three attackers and two defenders.
• In one box it’s 1v1, while the other has two attackers and the remaining defender in it.
• The idea of the game is to have continuous 2v1s in each box. So for their team to retain possession, one of the attacking players has to move each time the ball changes boxes.
• Start the game in the box that contains two attackers. They must combine before passing to their team mate in the other box.
• As soon as the ball is passed, one of the two players must move into the other box to create a new 2v1 overload. All other players must remain in their designated box.
• While attackers must always be on the move, looking to create space for the pass, defenders are more cautious. They defend passively at first, so can only intercept or force an error, rather than tackle. If they do succeed in winning the ball, they simply put it out of play.
• Time to see how long the attackers can keep possession of the ball.
• Play for five minutes then swap teams around so each player has a go at both attacking and defending.
• Award extra points for feints or skills that create space for the pass.
Developing the session:
• You can develop the session by instructing attackers to make three passes before sending the ball into the other box.
• Encourage attackers to produce a two-touch game so that they control and pass in one fluid movement.
• Allow defenders to tackle.
Why this works:
To retain possession of the ball, attackers must create space to pass into, at the same time sending the defender the wrong way. They need good skills and sound technique to prevent defenders from winning the ball. This is a skills workout that makes players think about moving, and how their movement creates space that the defender cannot defend. You should see signs of improvement in your players if this session is run over a handful of consecutive weeks.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: Barcelona, central defender, defender, explosive power, puyol, spain, strength
By David Clarke
Barcelona’s captain Carles Puyol is known for his intense commitment and strength as a defender. According to Barcelona’s head doctor, Puyol is "the strongest, who has the quickest reactions, and who has the most explosive strength".
Love him or loathe him, he is the sort of player who gives everything for the cause, who prides himself on being alert to wave after wave of attacking threats in and around the box. He is also the sort of player who is not afraid to put his body in harm’s way. And he’ll grab you the odd goal or two.
Ensuring that your players are back on their feet after a good tackle or clearance and ready to combat a second wave of danger is essential.
To keep them alive and reactive, here’s a defensive move that asks for quick reactions and tireless commitment to the cause.
Who knows, maybe it’s this "British Bulldog" mentality that may one day see one of your lads emulate the onfield achievements of the England captain?
How to set it up:
Create a playing area measuring 10×10 yards.
The drill requires four servers and one designated defender.
Each server starts on a different side, with a ball.
Place your defender in the middle – his job is to react to a different serve from each player around the area. After each serve, his task is to keep the ball within the box.
Starting on the left-hand side, server 3 throws the ball up for server 1 to head into the middle. The defender tries to stop the ball from going out of bounds.
Immediately, server 2 passes a ball towards the opposite line. The defender must now react, running to slide and stop the ball from crossing the line.
Now server 3 dribbles onto the pitch and attempts to get to the line opposite. The defender tries to stop him.
Finally, server 4 throws the ball over the defender’s head and attempts to run around him to win it back. The defender’s task is to shield the ball, letting it run over the line. If the ball stops dead before the line, he can then kick it clear to the left or the right.
Now rotate so that a different player acts as the defender.
Why this works:
Adopting the mindset that a defender’s job is rarely complete is absolutely vital if players are to counter all of the threats on a match day. After each phase of this drill, the defender needs to be alert to a new test, reacting quickly to each ball and clearing the danger.
Each test offers a new skill, and provides you with a quick-fire snapshot of where the defender’s game can be improved.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: Barcelona, drill, exercise, passing, session, spain, success, win
A lot of coaches have been asking me “how can I make my team play like Spain”. Sometimes with youth players you need to let them have success at doing things before they get the belief in themselves that they can do it. Using unopposed exercises for build-up and combination play in attack is a good way of coaching your players to move the ball, and encourages movement to support the ball as play moves around the pitch. And because it is unopposed they will experience some of the moves that Spain or Barcelona create.
In this session, strikers and midfielders combine with a neat lay off and a precise threaded ball to set up a shot across the goalkeeper.
Set up a 40 yards by 30 yards playing area with four mannequins (poles or cones will do), two cones and two goals. You need eight outfield players and two goalkeepers.
How to play it
- The forwards move away from the mannequin to receive a pass.
- The forwards set the pass back to the supporting midfielders.
- The midfielders return the pass into space for the forwards to spin and run after. The forwards now shoot across the goal.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Posts From Dwyer Scullion, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: Barcelona, drill, euro 2012, iniesta, messi, passing, spain, xavi
Spain can keep hold of the ball with passing and movement almost at will – and it is something youth teams can strive to emulate. But it’s not just Spain that are showing how player technique and fast passing can result in huge success for the team. Fast passing is a key element of Euro 2012.
But it’s not just a case of telling players to pass they need to practice until they have the technique, touch and composure to make it work.
Try this session to help create a good passing team.
- In order to be composed on the ball, players need to have a good first touch and passing ability.
- When keeping the ball, communication is vital and helps make up the mind of the player in possession.
- Passing the ball is not enough. Players need to follow this up by moving off to receive again or to create space for the player on the ball.
- Use a 40 yards long by 30 yards wide area for the session.
- Use a pitch 60 yards by 40 yards for the development.
How to play it
- Split the group into two teams.
- You pass to the black team and call the name of a white player to run into the other half to win the ball.
- If the white player wins the ball, play transfers to the white team’s half and the black player who gave the ball away tries to win the ball back.
- If a team makes five passes another opponent runs in to help his team mate.
- If another five passes are completed, another opponent runs in to help and so the exercise continues.
- The winning team is the one which forces the opposition to commit the most players into their half during 15 minutes.
How to develop it
- Play a small-sided game with four neutral players playing outside the pitch as full backs and wide players.
- Outside players are limited to two touches and cannot pass to each other (use cones to block the channels). T
- he team in possession tries to build an attack and score by using the outside players.
- This game ensures the team in possession is spreading out and using the whole of the wide pitch.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: Barcelona, goals, messi, record, spain, youtube
Messi has now found the back of the net 234 times for the European champions, eclipsing César Rodríguez’s record of 232 made in the 1950s.
He is truly a great player – and we all know that is just part of his amazing all-round play.
His manager at Barcelona, Pep Guardiola says: “Messi doesn’t score goals, he scores incredible goals.
“There are no players capable of dominating a sport with such superiority … Messi can be compared to [the former US basketball star] Michael Jordan.”
Johan Cruyff said: “Messi is by far the best player in the world. He is incomparable, he plays in a different league.”
Sit back and enjoy this 15 minutes of Messi scoring goal after goal:
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: Barcelona, centre-back, defending, how to defend, puyol, Real Madrid, spain, youtube
Carles Puyol is the type of player every team would like. He is the classic old-fashioned captain. Quick and powerful, committed almost to the point of comedy, he is an inspiration to team-mates and an idol for the fans.
His intense commitment to Barcelona runs deep – he often stays behind to train and reportedly comes in on his days off to put in some extra work.
He makes a good roll model for youth players because he has made himself great even though he does not have the reputation of some of his team mates. Puyol has played for Barcelona since 1999 and been club captain since 2004. In his early years as captain before Iniesta, Messi and Xavi came on the scene he said of his team mates: “I don’t have Romário’s technique, [Marc] Overmars’ pace or [Patrick] Kluivert’s strength. But I work harder than the others. I’m like the student who is not as clever, but revises for his exams and does OK in the end.”
“Puyol is the key,” says Xavi, the Barcelona midfielder, “not just because he is one of the best defenders in the world but because of his character. He never lets up. If he sees you relax at all, he’s suddenly at your side demanding more.”
He has starred in more than 500 official games for the team, winning 18 major titles, notably five La Liga and three UEFA Champions League championships. At international level he has won the Euro 2008and the 2010 World Cup tournaments with Spain.
Team mate at Barcelona Gerard Piqué said: “He’s someone who, even if you’re winning 3–0 and there’s a few seconds left in the game will shout at the top of his voice at you if he thinks your concentration is going.”
More recently said, “Even four goals down he thinks we can still win.”
“The fans appreciate that I work my hardest all the time,” Puyol explains. “I need no encouragement because I’ve always been a cule – I’ve never hidden that fact. I am living the dream playing football for Barça and it is my dream to retire playing here. I know someday that I will have to leave and I am not looking forward to that day. I will work hard to realise my dream but if I can’t then I would like to play in another country. I wouldn’t want to play in Spain. I would go to England or Italy.”
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: Blackburn, England U21, Manchester United, Phil Jones, smalling, spain
Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United has signed the Blackburn defender Phil Jones. It brings to four the number of United players in Stuart Pearce’s U21 England squad, emphasising the importance Sir Alex Ferguson is placing on youth as he rebuilds his squad in the wake of last month’s Champions League final defeat to Barcelona.
Jones is a classy defender who has already linked up with United’s Chris Smalling in in the England U21 squad – they could be a central defensive partnership for years to come. He has shown his versatility as a player with some excellent displays in the Blackburn midfield this season – and sir Alex likes that.
A lot of his players are able to fill more than one role – so Jones is following a trend. With Rio Ferdinand’s injury record he should get a lot of chances in the season to come and should be ready to snatch them.
And Wayne Rooney gave Jones’ move the thumbs up, tweeting: “He’s one of the toughest defenders I played against last season.”
Watch the England U21 squad training
And in the U21 European Championships
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: 1v1, attacking, defending, Germany, Liverpool, spain, Torres
Key this has been the form of their striker Fernando Torres. His loss of form has been one of the reasons the team has struggled. The Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson decided Torres should go up against Everton’s Sylvain Distin at centre-back rather than attack Phil Jagielka.
This was a key battle in the game – if Torres won most of these he was likely to score or create lots of chances.
However Torres won just four of the 14 head to heads he had in front of goal mostly with Distin. Distin won 10 of the 14. Torres and indeed Liverpool didn’t score or create many chances.
One of the key reasons that he didn’t win many of them was the poor service into him, balls in the air rather than into his feet or body. It is much easier for a big centre back to win crosses into Torres than trying to stop him with the ball at his feet.
But the other key reason is that when commentators say he is out of form what they actually me is he is no longer winning the 1v1 situations he is famous for.
Watch the two video clips below. In the first he scores in the final of Uefa Euro 2008 to beat Germany 1-0. The second is a compilation – watch the number of times Torres is 1v1 and the number of times he scores after beating a defender 1v1.