Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

Pre-match warm up

davidscwnew1This session works on encouraging communication and good passing and getting players to drive into space and hit the target.

Why use it

This is excellent for team play with individuals linking and passing to create a goal scoring chance in the penalty area.

Set up

You need balls, bibs, cones and a goal. Set up an area 20 x 20 yards with a goal at one end and four cones in middle creating a 10 x 10 yard square. We used 12 players in the session.


How to play

At the opposite end to the goal is a line of players – the shooters. In the middle square is the other team – the wall passers. In the example given there are five wall passers. The shooting player enters the area and makes two quick wall passes. The shooting player then dribbles out of the area at top speed in order to shoot at goal. Immediately a new shooting player enters the area and repeats the practice. After a set time period, the teams switch roles.


Communication, passing and shooting are all key to the session.

Ronaldo Skills

What advice would you give about coaching your own child


I understand you coach your sons’ teams… I am now coaching my own child… what advice would you give?


davidscwnew1There are a number of things you need to do to try and find the right balance when coaching your son’s team…

Don’t favour them

Don’t build your team around your child. You might truly believe they are among the more talented and intelligent members of the team but resist the temptation to make them the main striker, captain, penalty-taker and free-kick specialist all rolled into one.

Don’t forget them

If you’ve taken on the challenge of managing a team with one of your children in it, there’s a strong possibility they could be among the better players, but while you can’t favour them, don’t go too far the other way and leave them with no responsibilities.

Don’t get angry with them

Don’t vent your frustrations on your child publicly. It’s much easier to do this with your own offspring rather than with other people’s kids because, unless you have the perfect child, you will have told them off in public before. But you mustn’t do this at training or at matches, as it will make them feel like they are being singled out unfairly.

Talk to them after soccer

Do talk to your child after games and training and specifically focus on the football. Let them know why you have made some of the decisions you have and remind them that you have to be fair to the team as a whole and treat them simply as another squad member during soccer sessions.

Don’t tell them too much

Don’t let your child become more than just another player. They may be party to some of your tactics and formations before anyone else, but make sure they don’t start imparting this to the rest of the team and certainly don’t talk to them about the other players. Resist the temptation to turn them into your assistant manager.

Don’t let soccer take over

Do make sure that the team doesn’t take over your relationship with your child. It’s easy to get very involved in youth soccer and you are bound to talk about the game a fair bit with your child as a result, but make an effort to compartmentalise it so you still have a normal parent/child relationship outside of football.

Don’t push too hard

Don’t push your child too hard. It’s great when everyone can see they are a good player because their inclusion in the team justifies itself but, if they have a bad run of form, gently encourage them – do a bit of one-to-one work or rest them for a while.

Encourage other activities

Do encourage your child to play for other teams and to participate in different sports. Not only does this keep their fitness levels up (as long as it’s not overdone) but they will be subject to a different coaching perspective and they may even come back with a greater appreciation of the job you are doing as coach.

Make sure they are happy

Don’t forget why you got involved in the first place. Your child may not be the only reason why you are a youth soccer coach any more, but it will have been the first reason you got involved. So always make sure your child is comfortable with your involvement generally.

Be able to take a step back

Do remember that everyone in your team is someone else’s child and therefore observed by someone through rose-tinted glasses. Every so often try to take a step back and ask yourself the question: are you being as fair and as even-handed as you possibly can to everyone in your team, including your child.


Children want a coach like this


Play Like Juan Mata in Midfield

Encourage your players to be as creative as Juan Mata around the penalty area and teach them the importance of a well-weighted pass and a well-timed run.

Why use it

Creativity around the box is vital to ensuring the creation of scoring chances. The type and accuracy of pass are key, as is a good first touch from players receiving the ball. This session will help players perfect the timing and angles of their runs to support the playmakers.

Set up

Use an area half the size of your usual pitch. Put a normal goal at the penalty area end and place three target goals at the opposite end. We’ve used 14 players in the session.


How to play

The team attacking the main goal has eight players in a 3-2-3 formation and the defending team has five players in a 1-2-2 formation. Attacks start from one of the small goals, taking turns to start from each one, so attacks will go down the two wings and down the middle.

The first pass must be into those areas each time. If the defenders win the ball they can try to score in the three target goals. Rotate positions regularly.


This is about exploiting areas around the penalty box with clever passes, good skills and movement from an attacking overload situation.

It involves three different attacking situations to give match-style variety.

How to coach the chip – or get players to chip into the ball bag!
davidscwnew1This simple game not only helps to develop the kind of soft touch your players will need to chip the ball, but it is also a fun way to pack up at the end of a training session too.

Why use it

Developing a soft touch to chip the ball with accuracy helps players learn to use the technique in matches and helps when they need to cushion a ball that has been passed to them.

Set up

All you need is your ball bag, players and balls.


How to play

One player holds the ball bag and the rest of the players stand in a circle around three yards away.

One player starts with the ball and tries to chip it into the bag. The player holding the bag can chest the ball in if the chipping player misses. If it goes in they get one point and the next player goes. If they miss, the next player tries to put the same ball into the bag. When a player misses, whoever reaches the ball first can take the next turn.

The game ends when the last ball is in the bag. And it saves you packing the balls away too!


What do you need to see from your players? Think Messi caressing the ball with a chipped pass into space, or Ramires chipping the keeper on the way to Chelsea winning the 2012 Champions League.

Soccer coaching drills and tips