Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice


Getting things wrong as a coach is part of your learning curve

dave clarkeFaced with entertaining the team that has scored the most goals in our league last week I decided to play three defenders for the first time this season, bring my wingers into midfield with a lone striker up front.

It meant my team was sitting deep allowing the opposition to come on to us. It was a tactic we used to great effect last season hitting teams on the break after they lost the ball to us. It relies on us keeping a clean sheet up to half time then adjusting the team accordingly to try and get a goal. We have been much more attack minded this season and are the second highest goal scorers in the league so I was expecting a lot of shots on goal.

Unfortunately the plan was never tested properly because we let in two early goals and then struggled to change our tactics to get ourselves back into the game. Such was the intensity of the match I was finding it hard to get my views across to the players – not helped by the squeeling parents around me.

We found it hard to take the initiative back and all our hard work in training where we practice compact defending had gone to waste.

In the same week Steve Bruce the manager of English Premier League team Sunderland also decided to play three centre-backs to deal with Stoke City’s threat from set pieces, but the plan did not work for him either as the home side scored all three of their goals this way. The final two Stoke goals were similar – coming from excellent Jermaine Pennant free-kicks, and converted by Robert Huth, who is ironically enough a centre-back.

It is disappointing when your tactics don’t work, but it doesn’t mean you were wrong to try it. As a coach using tactics in matches should be part of your game. It’s not just the players that need to experiment – getting things wrong is part of your learning curve as a manager.

Watch these highlights of Sunderland playing Birmingham in which both teams use three centre-backs and both get caught out.

 Soccer Skills and Drills



Even Carlos Tevez misses sometimes

dave clarkeWhen Yaya Toure sprinted half the length of the pitch for Manchester City, 15 minutes into their English Premier League match at Sunderland, few expected what would happen next.

Toure’s outstanding pass presented Carlos Tevez with a goal as wide as the mouth of the river Tyne. Tevez scooped it over.

Okay so every week we all see players miss, even those as good as Tevez. The amazing thing about it, though, was the time and space Tevez gave himself.

In youth games we have all witnessed the miscued shot that goes out for a throw in or an airkick as the player takes their eye off with the defender bearing down on them. But Tevez had all the time in the world to score and it was probably that miss which put the team off and left them 1-0 down at the end.

So next time your young striker is in tears at missing a chance tell him the tale of Carlos Tevez and the amazing miss at Sunderland.




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