Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice


‘Anticipation’ is key in player development

davidscwnewWhen I was first starting out in coaching I remember reading an article about Ron Greenwood, who had played for Chelsea and Fulham and who went on to manage West Ham and the England national team. When asked what the most essential trait was for a soccer player, he said: “Anticipation”.

Put simply, it’s the knack of knowing where to be, when to move and sensing what is going to happen before it actually does. It is a trait that all the great players have and it is something I work on with my players, because it’s a trait you can coach.

A good way of creating players who have anticipation is to build the foundations of their technique – and that requires practice. Improving a player’s skill doesn’t just happen and players will not learn skills just by playing games.

Focus practice on basic skills in the early years and then let them advance with more technical skills. One of the Under 10 teams I coach are of a very mixed level of technical ability but the one thing they all have is enthusiasm and dedication for learning new skills. Once we have perfected the first set of skills we move on and develop the basic skills into harder ones.

“Look Dave, I can do what Ronaldo and Messi do!” one of them said to me last week as he spun on the ball and flicked it into the air.

Playing in a match before Christmas the team was losing 2-0 but their heads didn’t drop.

_DSC1555Early in the second half a wonderful step over took one of my strikers past a defender and his teammate anticipated this, moving quickly for a pass – and before the keeper had even moved, the ball was dispatched into the net.

It was an afternoon of watching great technique and some fabulous passing moves as the opposition were put to the sword. But we didn’t get an equaliser and it was a frustrating moment when the whistle blew.

Back at training I hadn’t expected to see the same players going 1v1 against each other on the muddy practice pitch but all they were bothered about was showing each other how much better their skills were than last week.

I was thrilled to see it. It won’t be long before they turn their potential into winning games and I bet even then they’ll still be going 1v1 against each other just to make themselves that little bit better.



Sometimes simple is best – try 2v2

David ClarkeI often set up a number of simple 2v2 games for my players to give them plenty touches of the ball and force them to think tactically and make decisions about when to drop when to tackle when to intercept or when to dribble or pass. There’s a whole lot of coaching going on in this one.

What I look for: quick defenders who move the ball quickly when they win it; good defensive positions – individual and pairs; awareness of space.

Key points

  1. Speed – keep passes and touches to a minimum and be ready to spring into action.
  2.  Move directly towards the goal/target.
  3.  Sometimes, the fast break is not possible. It is important in these circumstances for defenders to keep possession and wait for the chance to play a forward pass.

 

How to set it up

Play 2v2 in a 20 yards by 10 yards area, split in two halves.

How to play it

  • Each team lines up on its goal line.
  • Play a 2v2 with the defending team restricted to its half.
  • To score a point, an attacker must dribble the ball across the defenders’ goal line.
  • If the defenders win the ball, they can launch an immediate counter attack.
  • The attackers then have to get back to defend as quickly as possible.
  • Once either team scores a point, or the ball goes out of play, possession is handed back to the original attacking team.
  • Play for, say 2 minutes, then swap team roles.

How to develop it

  • This time, if the defenders win the ball, only one can enter the opposition’s half.
  • The defender in possession can either dribble towards the goal line or pass to their partner, who breaks quickly into the other half.
  • If the counter attack isn’t possible, the only way a player can release their team mate into the opponent’s half is by crossing back into their own half with the ball.



Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,369 other followers