Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

The Rory Delap factor – take them by surprise

dave clarkeOne of the great things about youth soccer is the way young players respond to being asked to try something different. In my teams I always have three or four things which we can try during a match that can catch the opposition unawares and create goal scoring chances.

And they are keen to do them. I have featured a lot of surprise tactics in my Soccer Coach Weekly publication, which I know my readers are very responsive to and the feedback I get is that these things actually work!

One of my favourite is at 7-a-side out of the blue I’d get my attacker with the hardest kick to run and shoot straight from kick off. It was a great tactic, one which was very successful on small pitches.

The surprise tactic that has got everyone standing up at the moment is the Rory Delap throw in. Wow that guy can throw over 35m into the penalty area causing chaos and creating goal scoring chances that recently have all been converted into goals. Free-kicks, corners… who needs them, if you’ve got a throw in taker like Delap you can attack from every position.

He has done it to great effect in the English Premiership – the latest victims being Arsenal who couldn’t defend against it.

My tip to any throw in taker is to drag the back foot because this stops you lifting it off the ground which is the hardest thing to control when your straining to get the ball thrown long. Line all your players up and have a competition to see who throws the farthest… you never know you may just have a Rory Delap hiding in the wings.

Here’s a clip of him throwing into those attacking areas.


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Not necessarily to do with the Delap throw, but I see you are another advocat of the awful shoot straight from the kick-off. What an awful tactic this has become in our youth league that can spoil a very tight game. There is no build up play to this tactic, no innovation and rather disrespectful to the opposition goal-keeper. Its also not in training to getting players ready for 11-a-side football where this tactic cannot be used. Just for once, I find that I do not agree with you on this one.

Comment by Phil, Mansfield Youth League

Phil – I can understand your reasoning but I love the ‘shoot from kick-off’ tactic, it’s a Brazilian thing. How can you be more positive than that? Why is it any different from a long shot or even a long throw? You have to be a very clever player to fool a goalkeeper from the half way line. So it does have its merits. In 11-a-side I despair at the number of times I see young teams lose the ball straight away. At 7-a-side it gives the team that has just lost a goal the chance to restore some pride. I cannot see it as disrespectful to the opposition goalie – if his team has just scored he will be on a high and more than likely save it. Thanks for your comments – although I am surprised to hear it is used a lot in your league. Do a lot of goals get scored in this way?

Comment by admin

I am an American college coach-11 a side. I hate the long throw. We see it all the time. Teams that don’t play well or can’t create goal scoring chances from open play now work to get throw-ins and send as many as 8 players into the box. It seems like a continuation of “long-ball” tactics that everyone looks down on. I’m suprised that we haven’t already seen a lot of this in the Premier League. Taking advantage at re-starts-throw ins- is coaching taken to extreme. Is it really soccer?

Comment by Evan Holmes

Newly promoted teams to the English premiership will need to use any advantage they have to get any result, the gulf in finances is huge, if Stoke don’t use Rory Delpa’s special talent then they would be clear at the bottom of the elague by now. The projectory is just like a Beckham free kick or corner, would you suggest we don’t coach free kicks and corners next?
PS, my village team played a very good game with a touring high school from Sedalia, Missouri in the summer we didn’t use a long throw 🙂

Comment by Chris Dymond

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