Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice


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.

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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.

Technique

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!
Passing
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.

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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!

Technique

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



Developing a Coaching Philosophy

6-questions-coaching-philosphy



8 tips for first time coaches

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Simple 1 v 1 goalkeeper drill

Middlesbrough stopper Victor Valdes is great at pulling off saves when he goes one-on-one with a striker – and if you run this session your goalkeepers could master the art too.

Why use it

This session is great fun to play and good practice for getting your goalkeeper to dive at the feet of strikers that have raced clear of your defenders. It is a good activity for taking the fear out of goalkeeping.

Set up

For this session we have used our penalty area and a normal sized goal. You can set these up at either ends of the pitch or if you take the net off your goal, you can have back-to-back goalkeepers.

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How to play

Place seven balls around the edge of the penalty area D, and have your keeper in goal. Players take turns to go 1v1 with the keeper using the seven balls – once one ball goes dead, the striker runs to get the next ball and the goalkeeper has to run and touch the goal line in his goal before facing the next attack.

This is tiring work so rest the players after each turn of seven balls.

Technique

The goalkeeper needs to come off his line and try to smother the shots as the striker turns and tries to beat him. The session is also a physical workout, and as the striker tires it should be easier for the keeper to stop him.



Play with your head up

Passing

Many young players look at the ball when they should be scouring the pitch for opportunities of where they can pass it. If you can get their heads up for twice as long as they are at the moment, that’s twice as many signals, runs and goalscoring opportunities they can spot.And here’s the perfect session to test it:

How to play it

  • You need cones, bibs, balls and two pop-up goals.
  • Use the centre circle of your pitch and place the goals back to back in the middle.
  • I’ve used three teams of three, but vary player numbers to suit.
  • Two teams start in the circle, while the other – a neutral team that plays for the team in possession – runs around the outside.
  • Opposing teams can score in either goal but a player in possession must play a one-two with an outside player before he can shoot.
  • Play for five minutes then teams swap roles.
  • Progress to two or even one-touch if you want to make the challenge harder.

Technique and tactics

  • The team in possession must look up and be alert to opportunities, passing to team mates but also using outside players to control the game, while working overloads that create space for players to run into.
  • The defending team needs to quickly decide on a tactic to protect the two goals or they will be overrun.
  • As well as vision, you’re looking for players to use their imagination, with individual as well as team skills.