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The 6 best football (soccer) songs ever

dc1As I have been watching all the music awards lately I decided we should do one for soccer songs. The Better Soccer Coaching Awards:

1. Best song STRACHAN by The Hitchers
see video below
2, Best Referee song THE REFEREES ALPHABET by Half Man Half Biscuit
The Referee\'s Alphabet Half Man Half Biscuit
3. Best World Cup Song WORLD IN MOTION by New Order
World in Motion
4. Best Crowd Song OLE! by The Bouncing Souls
Ole! The Bouncing Souls
5. Best Film Theme THE GREAT ESCAPE Theme Tune
6. Best Pop Song BORN IN ENGLAND by Twisted X
Born in England Twisted X


My favourite all time football song has got to be Strachan released in 1999 by Irish band The Hitchers. The lyrics are fabulous, six minutes of pure brilliance, whatever happened to them?

Here’s an extract from their lyrics:

She waited for the match to start to start a fight up with me.
She said, “what’s that you’re watching?”, “It’s a Programme about art”.
She said, “A Programme about art?”, I said “A programme about art”
and then the greatest midfield artist of them all walked out onto the park.
The crowd were on their feet and they whistled and they cheered

Here’s their video

 Soccer Skills and Drills


I’ve become obsessed by the crossbar
February 25, 2009, 4:42 pm
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Skills | Tags: , , , ,

dc1The crossbar challenge seems to be taking me over. I’ve started to get my teams to do it, the younger ones with their heads as I throw the ball to them on the penalty spot, the older ones who can kick it, from the edge of the penalty area.

I watch the SoccerAM TV programme on a Saturday morning just to watch it.

I’ve even been going up to my local pitch with my sons and doing it, boys on one side of the goal me on the other…. “just one more go, just one more go”.

It is good fun and very good for your skills – it’s just weird that in matches if you hit the crossbar it’s unlucky, whereas we are all trying to do it to show how skilful we are.

The craze is right across Europe, even the Uefa website is running a competition… here’s AC Milan’s Andrea Pirlo showing off his skills with 10 shots at the bar.

 Soccer Skills and Drills

What makes a good goalkeeper?

dc1Edwin Van der Sar’s record of clean sheets for Manchester United got me thinking about what makes a good goalkeeper.

A lot of people have been saying Van der Sar is not a brilliant goalkeeper he just has a brilliant defence in front of him. Where are all his shot stopping exploits?

It’s always a misguided view that a good goalkeeper is just about making good saves. What a good goalkeeper also does is control his area and make give his defenders confidence in their relationship on the pitch with him. A good goalkeeper is always in the right place for his defenders and they learn to rely on that.

Van der Sar doesn’t appear to make great saves because his control of the penalty areas is second to none. His distribution and reading of situations means he is more likely to get the ball first time so it is not coming back at him from close range.

Any loose balls are quickly dealt with and his organisation of the players around him gives the defence a better chance of clearing the ball.

In many ways he is a good manager of his position as well as being a gifted player.

When you are coaching your goalkeepers this is what you should think about along with teaching him to dive.

Watch this video of goalkeeper training in Spain with Athletic Bilbao. You can pick up some good ideas to use with your goalkeeper during training sessions.

 Soccer Skills and Drills

Young players keep it simple in Brazil – ball control

I was interested to see how other countries coached young players in the art of ball control so I’ve been watching videos from around the world.

To me ball control is one of the keys to a successful team. You can keep it simple, letting your players simply run around a square using both feet to get them familiar with the ball.

One of the most interesting videos was one from a Brazilian soccer school. The players were doing very simple exercises, keeping the ball close to both feet. It confirmed to me that this is the way to give players the ability to control a ball and run with it during matches.

I’ve already written about keeping coaching simple, and with young players giving them a ball to run with and kick with both feet is an ideal way of giving them one of the first skills they need before they start using more complicated skills.

Take a look for yourselves:

 Soccer Skills and Drills

Watch this old Umbro soccer coaching video…. UPDATED

dc1UPDATED Anyone who loved soccer in England in the eighties and nineties had better take a look at this old Umbro soccer coaching video I have stumbled across.

It features some of the greats – Eric Cantona, Alan Shearer, Peter Beardsley, Terry Venables, Andy Cole, Gazza you name it they are all in this coaching video.

It is split into 8 sections for coaching. I didn’t learn anything from it.

UPDATE: Ok so looking at it again a couple of times I agree with all of you who have contacted me over this…. Yes you could make up a good 30 minute session of coaching from the stuff on here. And if you look beyond the Umbro advertising comments there are some good sentiments… and yes the advert at the beginning of this is good!!

See what you think:

 Soccer Skills and Drills

Should this have been a red card?

Fouls and red cards have been in the news these last couple of weeks in the English Premier League.

Frank Lampard for Chelsea and Rory Delap for Stoke both got red card – one for dangerous play, and one for kicking the ball at an opponent when he was on the floor.

The problem is should we now have a video referee for these sendings off so that it is fair to all players? After all Frank Lampard going off helped Liverpool to beat Chelsea – it shouldn’t have been a red card so why should the whole team and its supporters suffer?

However, in the same game Jose Bosingwa actually kicks Yossi Benayoun in the back but the card wasn’t shown. Red for a player winning the ball but not for a deliberate kick… hmmm something wrong here.

Have a look at this, should it have been a red card?

 Soccer Skills and Drills

Don’t overcomplicate your coaching

Sometimes I think coaches can overcomplicate coaching sessions and warm-ups with young players.

Complicated pass, move around one cone then around another, up to the goal line…. you know the kind of drills I mean, just to get across a coaching point. And the same with warm-ups before a game – I’ve seen coaches spend 10 minutes describing and explaining the drill just to warm-up players.

Often what young players need are simple left foot/right foot passing moves. If you watch these clips of Liverpool training and Arsenal warming-up they show you how simple it all can be.

There are no complicated moves here, just simple left foot/right foot, jumping, running and passing.

It always serves as a good reminder of what young players need to accelerate their soccer education to check out what the big boys are doing.

 Soccer Skills and Drills