Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice


Ramires v Barcelona: My top six goals scored from an angle

David ClarkeBy David Clarke

Champions League Semi-Final 2012: Barcelona v Chelsea

Ramires is the king of technique. His goal for Chelsea against Barcelona when his team was 2-0 down with John Terry sent off was as good as you will see. An impossible situation, but the through ball to him from Frank Lampard just before half time putting him into the penalty area at an angle to the goal was perfect. His finish was sheer class.

Here’s my top six goals scored from tight angles:

Ramires, Barcelona v CHELSEA (2012)

Marco van Basten, HOLLAND v Russia (1988)

Gabriel Batistuta, FIORENTINA V Arsenal (1999)

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, CHELSEA v Manchester United (2001)

Ronaldo, REAL MADRID v LA Galaxy (2011)

Robin van Persie, ARSENAL v Barcelona (2011)



In praise of the players’ player

David ClarkeI hope you are all having awards events at your clubs as the season comes to a close. They’re a great way to wrap up the campaign and for the team as a whole to celebrate their achievements. And because this is done away from the football pitch, it puts an extra gloss on proceedings.

One of the end-of-season honours that I always keep a watch for at our club is that of Players’ Player of the Year.

To be the ‘players’ player’ is always a great honour. It tells a footballer they’ve won the respect of their team mates. And it’s usually won by that same player who has become regarded as the most consistent, trustworthy and level-headed.

Michael Owen revealed on Twitter that Robin van Persie of Arsenal should be PFS player of the year: “Player of the season so far? I went for Robin Van Persie. Stand out winner in my opinion.”

In my Under-10s group, they are now at the age where they have stopped voting for their best friend, and actually give credit to the player who they feel genuinely deserves the award.

And when it comes to writing down their favourite, the response is usually quick – it doesn’t take them long to work out who they think is the best in the team. It’s an exciting time and one that should be savoured. If you’re trying it for the first time this year, then be prepared for a couple of things.

Firstly, will the award be given to the leading goalscorer? Not always. I think some players feel that the strikers gain enough plaudits throughout the campaign! And secondly, the goalkeeper very often goes home empty-handed as well.
This was summed up one year when one of my players expressed surprise when I spoke to the squad about the award and how important it is. After outlining the process of how the players would vote, I added: “And don’t forget the goalkeeper.”A reply came from the back of the group: “Is he a player?”

Watch Robin van Persie scoring goals this season:



Turn and go for goal like Robin van Persie

Sometimes you need to get your attackers to turn and head for goal.

You need practice to get a good first touch

If you want a player who can take a pass and turn with confidence knowing that his initial touch on the ball will be good enough it involves a lot of practice.

This is what I do with my players. Using the diagram above, the striker receives the ball, turns to his left (particularly if he is right footed) and then moves to the first cone and sprints with the ball to the second cone. You need to get players A and B serving the ball in so he gets used to the ball coming from different angles.

  • A and B – 10 metres apart – serve to the striker.
  • He comes forward collects and turns to his left.
  • Then sprints between two cones – 5 metres away.
  • The two cones should be no more than 2 metres apart.

How to advance it

Keep the dimensions the same but tell your striker to turn to his right, using either the outside of his right foot, or even better his left foot – his weaker foot – to control turn and sprint through the two cones.

What you want to see is a sharp turn – not wide – so that players are under pressure to take good control of the ball. The ball should be close to the feet of your striker all the time he is turning.

Shame Robin van Persie has been injured. He has the turns the skills and the shots that are ideal to show young players what they can aim for.

Watch this video of him in action turning, running and scoring.

 Soccer Skills and Drills




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