Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

What’s the difference between a manager and a coach?

Most professional clubs have a manager and a coach, but do they always do the roles separately?

I always thought that managers should be able to coach and have interchanged the word without thinking about the actual roles they perform. Why should managers coach? To me they should coach because they can see the problems on the pitch and should have some knowledge of how to correct them by coaching.

However, managers also need to be able to motivate players and I’ve seen some managers who leave the coaching to the specialist coach but then motivate the players on match day.

When he was coaching at Brighton Gus Poyet had come through the coaching side and became a manager. However, he still takes a lot of the coaching sessions, he is a manager who likes to get involved.

You can see how much he thinks about coaching and playing when he talks about the young players at the club and how he wants to develop them.

This is what he has to say: “We will have the time to go out and watch the under-15s and under-14s and get them playing the same way we want the first team to be playing so, when they get to an age where they can get a professional contract, they are as ready as they can be.”

So the roles can be interchangeable and I know most of you coach and manage your teams – it can be done successfully as Poyet has proven.

Watch Poyet coaching at Brighton below:


Doing it differently with Spain’s (not them again) U19s

Often it’s that little bit of creativity or something different that gives your team the edge in winning matches. Allowing young players to do it is also part of your coaching learning experience. No you don’t want to see backheels when you’re defending the penalty area, and no you don’t want to see a fancy penalty that could go horribly wrong.

Or do you?

Giving players licence to try something different is keeping the fun in the game. For sure they may get some feedback from their team mates if it goes wrong but you should allow the mistake and forget about it.

Take a look at Ezequiel Calvente playing for Spain’s u19s against Italy in the Uefa European U19 championship.

The Spaniard beats the Italian Goalkeeper after running up to seemingly hit the spot kick with his right foot only to surprise everyone by hitting with his left.

Watch carefully as he totally out-smarts the keeper and just about everyone when he switches very late with his shot.

Kick off your pre-season like Nani

A lot of pre-season work is about fitness, but you also need to work on your touch and precision. Coming back from an injury is often the same, players need to get strength back but the all important creative touch that opens defences also needs work.

At Manchester United Nani has been working on getting his passing and accuracy back to top form. It is going to be one of his weapons from day one of the season so he needs to practice.

In this video clip you can see him taking a touch to settle the ball then hit a 30 yard pass right onto the marker he is aiming at.

Try it yourself, all you need is a cone from where you kick and a target area which can be as big or small as you like.

It’s a great pre-season skills test.

You can play like Iniesta if you practice this…

Who is Andres Iniesta?

I reckon Iniesta first exploded on the scene on Wednesday 6 May 2009, when he smashed a 20-yard right-foot shot into the top corner of the Chelsea net to send Barcelona into the Champions League final.

Then was instrumental when Barcelona easily beat Manchester Utd in the Rome final – Wayne Rooney told his team mates – including Cristiano Ronaldo – that Iniesta was the best player in the world.

Playing in a midfield three at Barcelona in tandem with Yaya Toure and Xavi, Iniesta’s is an outstanding player in a team of outstanding players. He is the essence of the ‘tiki-taki’ style that typifies Barcelona and Spain. His lightning-quick feet and ability to dribble past people were at times similar to his team-mate further up the pitch, Lionel Messi.

Like fellow Barca graduate Cesc Fàbregas, Iniesta originally started as a defensive midfielder but his balance, close control and skill on the ball saw him make progress as an attacking midfielder.

His willingness to play anywhere on the pitch, coupled with a natural humility, has earned him the sobriquet El Ilusionista (The Illusionist), El Anti-Galáctico (The Anti-Galáctico), Cerebro (The Brain) and most recently Don Andrés from the Spanish press.

He scored the winning goal in the 2010 World Cup Final against Holland in the 116th minute, removing his jersey during his celebration to reveal an inscription on his undershirt reading “Dani Jarque – Siempre con nosotros”, which translates to “Dani Jarque is always with us,” in tribute to former Spain youth teammate and RCD Espanyol captain Daniel Jarque, who passed away in 2009.

After the World Cup Final he was interviewed – “I simply made a small contribution to my team,” he said.

If you want to play like Iniesta check out the video below or get your players doing it.

My top five saves at the World Cup 2010

There were some fantastic saves at this World Cup (and even some shots that weren’t saved but didn’t count but I won’t mention that here).

This is my top five:

1. Vincent Enyeama Argentina v NIGERIA

2. Noel Valladares HONDURAS v Chile

3. Eduardo PORTUGAL v Brazil

4. Martin Skyrtel Italy v SLOVAKIA

5. Itumeleng Khune BAFANA BAFANA v Mexico

You can see them all in this compilation of saves from the World Cup in South Africa:

Suarez: hero or villian

Luis Suarez saved the ball with his hands when the last kick of the game in the Uruguay v Ghana World Cup game in South Africa – the trouble is he’s not the goalkeeper.

The referee pointed to the spot and sent Suarez off. Up stepped Ghanaian Asamoah Gyan who had already scored two penalties in this World Cup, but he missed this one.

Suarez at this point could be seen jumping for joy and pumping the air with his fists. Ghana went on to lose the game on the resulting penalties.

Whether it was an instinctive reaction or not the referee did the only thing he could in awarding a penalty unlike rugby in which a penalty try could have been awarded for the breach of rules.

What would you do if one of your players saved the game with their hands – or didn’t save the game?

Whatever you think it was a dramatic end to a game and one which will live long in the memory for the controversy it caused.