Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

Play like Barcelona by passing and receiving

DavidClarkeWatching Barcelona play against Manchester United in the Champions League made me think about the basics of the game. If I could get my youngest players to pass and receive along the lines of the Barcelona team they would be on their way to success.

I love simple passing and receiving because it is such an effective way to play the game. When you see teams like Barcelona do it you can see how fantastic it is and how it can win you games.

I found this great little video which shows you how to get your youth players passing and receiving like Barcelona – why not give it a try!

 Soccer Skills and Drills


Simple warm-ups for very young players

dc1Simple warm ups for very young players need to be just that – simple.

You need to get your players concentrating on the actual matter in hand – soccer.

Sometimes you turn up to a match late and you just need to get a bit of organization going.

Simple can often be best especially with young players. But you could also try something different to impress the opposition. The first clip here shows you the simple way to warm up, the second clip is an impressive show of team solidarity and if you can get your players into the rhythm it will look great!

I haven’t tried the clapping warm up yet because I bet it takes some doing. I’m going to try it because I think it is a great way to warm up and get team spirit going. If anyone else does it please let me know how successful you were.

Awesome – warm-ups were never like this
May 29, 2009, 12:16 pm
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Fitness, Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

dc1Thought you should see the latest video from the amazing gymnast Damien Walters…. If he could play football as well he would be rather awesome.

My only worry is one slip and…. ouch!

He’d certainly be warmed up by the time he got to the match on Saturday mornings

 Soccer Skills and Drills

Farewell to a legend

DavidClarkeThe official website of AC Milan has run a simple tribute to one of the best defenders I have had the good fortune to see in my lifetime. The message simply reads – 25 SEASONS. 900 GAMES. ALWAYS AND ONLY MILAN. GRAZIE PAOLO.

His is a career to savour. Aged 41 he wore the number 3 shirt for the last time at the weekend. He first pulled it on in 1985 25 seasons ago when aged 16 he made his debut in the Italian Serie A against Udinese.

He is the son of Cesare Maldini, a former European cup winner with Milan who captained the club and went on to manage Italy.

It is a phenomenal career to have played so long at the top – over 1,000 professional games for Milan and Italy, only Milan and Italy since the age of 10. He has won five European Cup medals and seven Serie A titles along the way probably a career record that will never be matched. Not even Real Madrid’s Raül can think about matching that.

He has done this at one of the world’s best clubs, the best left back for all that time. Amazing. He was skilful and powerful, a master of his art.

But the Maldini line and links with AC Milan are not yet broken. Milan plans to retire his number 3 shirt, but it will be bequeathed to one of his sons if one makes the club’s senior side. The third generation of Milan’s Maldini dynasty is Paolo’s 13 year old son Christian who plays for the Milan youth team.

We may yet get the chance to watch another Maldini grace the San Siro for years to come.

Here are two clips to watch, one of the great Paolo Maldini in action, and one of his youngest son Daniel dispossessing Clarence Seedorf at the Champions League celebrations in 2007.

Do small youth players need more skills?

DavidClarkeWatching a young player running rings around bigger boys of the same age I began to wonder if players like Messi, Zola and Michael Owen were brilliant at what they did because they had to try so much harder.

Let me explain.

When I was coaching an all conquering under 9s team one of my best players was a big lad, with a big shot on him. He could tackle and win the ball and looked something special.

When he grew older he found that as the other players caught him up in size he began to lose his ability to win the ball and shoot better than every body else. And because he never had to try hard to be more skilful than everybody else he never developed as a player.

So when he got to the older age groups he became less and less effective and more and more frustrated until one day he gave it all up.-

So back to my question. If you’re a small younger player in your age group it makes sense that you have to be more skilful to make up for your size. In this way you develop as a player quicker – you’ll just never make it as a centreback or a goalkeeper.

Perhaps that is why Peter Crouch will never jump to head the ball because he never had to when he was younger.

Look at messi aged 5 in a video from 1993 the smallest person on the pitch running the game! And one of a young Ronaldinho showing the same skills as an old Ronaldinho.

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 Soccer Skills and Drills

England ladies win central contracts

dc1The English Football Association has surprised all of us by awarding central contracts to 17 women players in a bid to boost the national team’s hope of success. A further three are likely to be added to the roster and, with salaries of £16,000 each, the FA is committing a total of £1.28m to the scheme over an initial four-year period.

According to the FA chairman, Lord Triesman: “This is a vital step that’s right for our sport. It will ensure that our head coach [Hope Powell] will have outstanding players available to her in the future.”

A further five squad members are also part of the England squad but they play as full-time professionals in the United States, earning more than twice the central contract salary. The FA’s move gives Powell, three months ahead of the 2009 European Championship finals in Finland, potentially the strongest squad she has had since taking charge in 1998. The home-based players will be allowed part-time jobs outside their football commitments, but only up to a maximum of 24 hours a week.

“This is a great opportunity for the players,” Powell said. “These contracts will help them to focus on training and playing, and allow them the time to concentrate on helping England to qualify for major tournaments on a consistent basis and to compete at the very top level against the best teams in the world.”

Doncaster Belles 20-year-old midfielder Rachel Williams is a plasterer by trade. “This is brilliant for me. When I finish work at the moment I’m knackered and that affects my training. Now I’ll be fresher and hopefully I can push on to break into the England squad for the Euro finals.”

Anyway you know how I love a crossbar challenge so here is the England ladies team doing the crossbar challenge:

 Soccer Skills and Drills

Football is helping to change lives
May 14, 2009, 12:05 pm
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Skills | Tags: , ,


On June 6, 48 teams from the rural district of Soroti, in north-east Uganda will compete in a week-long football tournament, which will be held in Katine, where development work is being carried out by the African Medical and Research Foundation (Amref).

The sub-county of Katine is one of seven in the Soroti district which was once a prosperous area, but it has been hit by war, cattle raids and insurgency over the past two decades.

Twenty four teams have been drawn from Katine sub-county, and 24 from the six other sub-counties that make up Soroti.
Each team has paid to register and has slotted into one of four age groups – under 10s, under 14s, under 18s and over 18s.

Prizes will be a cow for the two winning teams from the older age groups and a goat for the younger winners.

The tournament is being organised by the Guardian newspaper, COSSEDA, a German-based organisation that seeks to build bridges between Europe and Africa for economic development, the Soroti Rural Development Agency, the Teso League Project, the Federation of Uganda Football Association (FUFA) and Amref. Barclays is arranging for the Premier League trophy to be flown out to the district to mark the launch of the event.

Football has been identified as an important tool in development, particularly in areas touched by war and insurgency, like Katine. It is also seen as a way to promote healthy lifestyles, discipline, teamwork and other areas of social development.

It has also been successfully used to help reintegrate young people who have been involved in conflict back into their communities.

The organizers need to raise £25,000 for the tournament. The money will be used to upgrade pitches, run the training academy, help with transport costs and the price of football kits, as well as health resources.

All teams will be allowed to keep their kits and balls and the improved pitches will provide a place for people to meet and continue building their skills.

Click here to make a donation.

 Soccer Skills and Drills