Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

Making the complete player… the 4Rs of coaching

In my last blog I wrote about how Ronaldinho was once again looking the complete player and how he created space for himself and the team.

What it means to be a player like that is a lot of hard work! However much skill a player has and however good their positional sense is, you can be sure these players work hard at every exercise they do.

At the Nike Academy, coach Dean Smith refers to it coaching the four Rs. Receiving the ball, Releasing the ball, Retaining the ball and Running with the ball.

You have to make sure you are coaching your players in each of these disciplines. In my coaching publications I make sure I cover each of these with exercises designed to give you the tools to get your players to practice each of them,

Watch Dean coaching his Nike team

 Soccer Skills and Drills


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How Ronaldinho creates space for AC Milan

Ronaldinho gave a timely reminder to the Brazil coach Dunga that he is back on form. In the recent Champions league match playing for AC Milan against Olympic Marseille.

There’s been a lot written about how poor Ronaldinho’s form has been over the last couple of seasons but seeing that game is a pretty mouthwatering preview of what we can expect in the World Cup, if he gets picked by his international coach, but if he keeps this form up I can’t see him being left out.

How his team mates didn’t score from some of the passes he made I don’t know. What I lke is the way he creates space by skillful turns and skillful passes. When I write about passing the ball into space for players to run on to it is sometimes hard to get the point across, Ronaldinho does it for me in this game.

Show your players how Ronaldinho uses skill to create space for himself and then he plays the ball cleverly into space for players to run on to rather than to the player. He will often target an area to pass into where there are no players but where one of his team mates can be first to the ball.

It’s a masterclass in how a player can make a team play exciting attacking soccer. Watch this clip of him in the game:

 Soccer Skills and Drills

Movement off the ball creates the space to score goals – Nasri’s goal v Manchester Utd

This is a goal that I have to put among my favourites because of the build up and movement all over the pitch and the run off the ball by Theo Walcott to create the space for the goal.

There are so many coaching points in this clip it is worth showing your players.

Watch Walcott’s movement at the end of the move which drags Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, two of the world’s most experienced defenders, to create the space that allows Samir Nasri to score this goal.

It is the perfect example for any young player to watch, Walcott does not touch the ball yet has a big hand in creating the goal and Nasri explodes into the space to score.

Also look out for a great hook turn from Cesc Fabregas. The movement all over the pitch is very good.

 Soccer Skills and Drills

Soccer stars and their cars

Further to my blog on Stephen Ireland and his cars I there might be a few of you out there interested in these stars and the cars they drive.

On this clip you can see the cars of Alonso, Ballack, Beckham, Campbell, Crouch, Del Pierrro, Drogba, Essien, Gerrard, Giggs, Henry, Ibrahimovic, van Nistelrooy, Rooney, Ronaldo, Shevchenko, Torres.

Playing in windy conditions

It was pretty horrible playing in the wind this weekend and you have to think about your tactics because goalkicks, long through balls and clearances will all be affected depending on whether you are playing into the wind or not.

I have a load of tips for playing into the wind on my Better Soccer Coaching website.

Whether your players are kicking into the wind, or with the wind, follow these tips to keep youngsters’ shots, passes and goal kicks accurate.

Playing into the wind tips

Tell your players to keep it tight — short passing skills are needed into the wind. Any long balls will be held up by the wind and you will soon find you’re up against a fast breakaway attack.

In training drills practise holding the ball up — get your players to play balls into the attacker with his back to goal, creating opportunities for your midfielders to run with the ball.

At goalkicks, tell your goalkeeper to play out to the sides — a long kick down the middle would be suicide.

Playing with the wind tips
Tell your players to resist the temptation to blast long balls into the opposition half — your forwards will soon get tired of the ball going straight out of play.

But do let your goalkeeper unleash some long balls – get your forwards to cause chaos with the bouncing goalkicks by heading them towards goal.

Tell your forwards to test your opponents’ goalkeeper with high accurate shots.

Watch the highlights of this 2002 World cup qualifier between the Faroe Islands and Luxembourg. Wet and windy conditions provide some great moments!

And watch this tornado during a youth match

Goalkeepers need to be good with their feet too – simple warm up

It was raining this weekend, it was muddy it was windy. Who in their right mind would be a goakeeper on days like this?

I always like to warm my goalkeeper up so they are ready when the match starts, on days like this weekend it is more than vital to do so. And you want to warm up the use of their feet because in these conditions it is the footwork that will often be the deciding factor when the ball is played in with the rain, wind and mud making handling treacherous.

I use this warm up all the time in the winter – and often during good weather as well! It’s so easy to set up and you can get a couple of dads to help out while you take the rest of the boy for other warm ups.

It’s one I got from Mike Toshack the goalkeeper coach for the Houston Dynamo. All you need is a goal and two cones with a couple of dads and balls.

Set it up like this:
Put two cones 5 yards in front of a goal in the centre, 4 yards apart creating three ‘goals’
You need a goalkeeper and two players or helpers
First helper passes to goalkeeper in the middle goal, who must pass firmly back with their right foot.
The goalkeeper then moves to the ‘goal’ on their right to save a shot from the second helper.
The goalkeeper then moves back to the centre goal to play a pass with their fet and sd so on. After 5 shots to the right the goalkeeper must then move to the goal area on their left.

You want to see the goalkeeper moving quickly between the goals.
Keep their hands and head steady.
Be on their toes ready to react to the ball.

Watch this clip of Mike Toshack the goalkeeper coach for the Houston Dynamo putting his players through the drill.