Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

One of the best back passes ever?
March 30, 2010, 4:52 pm
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer News, Soccer Team Management | Tags: , , ,

Barcelona have had some skilful players in their time but for sheer improvisation and clever skills I like this back pass from Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

That’s one way to set up Lionel Messi – only surprise was he didn’t score!


Get your players to move to the next level

Giving players targets is a great way to get them to move to the next level, and if individuals in your team move to the next level then so does the team. You don’t have to spend hours on each player, just give them simple targets to work towards during matches.

You can set targets for the team and for individuals.

Set teams targets like:

  • We let in five goals in the last match lets let less in this time.

  • Win the first half/win the second half.

Or set individual targets:

  • Make five successful passes.

  • Make five tackles to win the ball.

  • Have five shots at goal.

Simple targets can help your team and individual players see that they are advancing even when the team loses.

Even the professionals give themselves targets. If you go to my blog you can watch a clip showing some of the best professionals in the world challenging players to take their game to the next level, including William Gallas, Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney, Cesc Fabregas and Andres Iniesta.

Take your players to the next level by pushing them using targets.

Midfield headers can protect the defence

Something for you to work on… in youth matches when the opposition has a goal kick if the midfielders can get to the ball first and head it without letting it bounce they put their team immediately on to the front foot and the opposition on to the back foot.

When you watch the professionals see how they take the pressure off the defence by heading it before it bounces through to them. Also if you have to head a ball that has bounced, all the pace has been taken off it and the player finds it hard to get it any distance.

Young players are often worried by heading the ball so you need to gradually get them heading. They can practice by throwing the ball in the air and heading it between partners.

Heading a ball

1. Watch the ball
2. Keep eyes open
3. Head the ball on the forehead
4. Aim for the middle of the ball.

Watch this clip of how to head in defence:

Lethal finishers take their chances

As a striker if you only get one chance in a match you have to make the most of it. That means it is vital you get it on target. In the Champions League Round of 16 match between Chelsea and Inter Milan, there was little between the two teams over the two legs. But from the few chances on offer Inter scored three goals and Chelsea two. In the first leg in Milan Diego Milito gets one chance in the first half and scores in the second leg Samuel Eto’o gets one chance in the second half and scores. They both missed one good scoring opportunity but one out of two at this level is excellent. That’s what a striker must do.

I like to use simple exercises to get all my players hitting the targets with shots at goal. In the clip below is a simple exercise, with players passing and shooting at targets in the goal.

Hitting the targets either side of the goal makes it harder for the goalkeeper to get a hand on it. Players need to look up and see where the goalkeeper is so they can hit it where the goalkeeper has less chance to cover it.

You may find younger players kicking with the toe or side of the foot. Try to get them to use the instep which will be a more powerful shot – although perhaps not as accurate.

Shooting techniques
1. Head down, looking at the ball at the moment of contact.
2. Body over the ball to keep the shot under the crossbar.
3. To drive it low, place the non-kicking foot alongside the ball.
4. For power – follow through with the kicking foot after the ball has been struck.

Watch this simple exercise to get your players hitting the target. And below that watch Milito score his chance for Inter Milan against Chelsea.

An Englishman all young players should aspire to be

One of the names which could be making headlines at the 2010 World Cup in June is England’s James Milner. And this is a player who makes the headlines for the right reasons – his footballing abiity.

He is someone all young players can take inspiration from. Before the English Carling Cup final where his team Aston Villa play Manchester United, Milner spoke about playing for Leeds United U11s when beating Manchester United was the highlight of his young career. He made the first team at Leeds when he was just 16. Now the 24-year-old has the manager of England singing his praises.

Milner’s story is one of hard work and hours spent on the training ground. According to Eddie Gray who was Milner’s coach at Leeds, “his one aim in life has always been to be the best footballer he can. His right foot was initially stronger but he just worked hard on his left and made himself two-footed.”

By working on his weaknesses he has made himself a player who can play in any position, winger, midfield and he has even played at left back for his club, which has seen some experts suggest he could solve the problem caused by Ashley Cole’s injury.

His manager at England U21 level, Peter Taylor saw Milner as his favourite player. “If all players were like him the job would be pure joy!”

“James listened to my advice and acted on it. His crossing improved immensely.”

He can also read the game better as he has played more games, constantly improving his technique. He is now the penalty taker at Aston Villa opening the scoring in the match with a penalty in the first few minutes.

When he goes home to his family he goes down to the local park and plays with the kids there, challenging them to a game of keepy-uppy.

A young man truly in love with the game and someone for all young players to aspire to be like.

Watch these two clips of Milner, one at the start of his career at Leeds aged 16 and now at Aston Villa aged 24:

 Soccer Skills and Drills

Why should this own goal not be a goal?
March 3, 2010, 4:12 pm
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Refereeing | Tags: ,

Great own goal, you couldn’t do it if you tried, but the referee got wrong. It shouldn’t have been given.

Anyone tell me why and what should be given?

 Soccer Skills and Drills