Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice


6 steps to correcting technical errors

davidscwnew1Part of a young player’s soccer development is the crucial way you deal with technical errors your players make. It is often easier to turn a blind eye so you don’t have to say anything to the child, but it will help them more if you talk to them about how they will be a much better player if they follow your advice – after all you are the coach!

A good coach will eliminate technical errors in players to help them improve. Use our six-step guide to help correct the technique of your players in the right way.

1 SPOT THE PROBLEM

Watch your players closely to see what kind of errors they make. If the errors occur consistently in both training and matches, then these are ‘technical’ errors and could be correctable. These are fixed by working on a specific part of the player’s technique. If the errors that you spot occur during matches only, then they are ‘performance’ errors and less of a problem.

2 GATHER EVIDENCE

While observing a player, gather as much evidence as you can to help you work out how serious the problem is and how it can be fixed. Statistics on how often the error occurs and video footage are both valuable tools if you are able to get them. A lot of players will be unaware that they are making recurring errors, so evidence is essential to convince them.

3 OFFER SOLUTIONS

To persuade a player that he has a flaw in his game, you will need to provide him with a solution to his problem rather than just simply point out a series of faults. You should think carefully about what you are going to say before speaking to the player – and when you tackle the issue, have a clear idea about how you are going to help him overcome his technical problems.

4 GIVE HIM FEEDBACK

When you’ve worked out what needs to be done, make sure you give the player feedback in the right circumstances. Wait until the player does something you can praise and then use this as an opportunity to address the problem that you want to raise. Be positive and make the player aware that you have the solutions for him and are determined to help him improve.

5 TAKE ACTION

Once you’ve explained the problem to your player and made him understand the need for corrective action, make sure you demonstrate different ways to help eradicate the flaw in his game. Spend time with the player at training while he practices his technique and try to put him in situations that will give him plenty of opportunity to test out your solutions.

6 SUPPORT THE PLAYER

Don’t just identify the problem and then let players get on with his game. Make sure you offer support and give regular feedback on how the player is progressing. Be aware that correcting ingrained errors doesn’t happen quickly and in many cases the skill can get worse before it gets better. Players can become very despondent if they feel they are not being supported.



Defend set pieces and secure the box

DCThis session helps defenders understand the importance of marking tightly in the penalty area and not losing their man. It also helps players to read the game and clear the ball and to keep your hands and arms by your side when play is in the penalty area.

Why use it

The two central defenders have to be excellent at reading the game, especially when the ball is played into a crowded penalty area from set pieces or open play. Staying calm and making sure the ball is cleared is vital to stopping the opposition scoring rebound goals.

Set up

Use the penalty area of your pitch. We’ve used 10 players including a keeper. You need plenty of balls, plus bibs, cones and a goal.

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How to play

Split your group into three teams of three players with a keeper in goal. Two teams work inside the area, with one team attacking and one defending. The third team works outside the box around the edge of it. They have two balls each to play into the attacking team who try to score. Each game lasts for six balls and then swap teams around.

Technique

The defenders must mark man-to-man and be strong, making tackles and blocks to stop shots on goal.



Score goals for fun like Atleti’s Carrasco

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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.

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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.

Technique

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



2v2v2v2 goalscoring game

davidscwnew1Use this fast and exciting goalscoring game to coach your players to battle for the ball with passion and hit the net like striker Carlos Tevez.

Why use it

Carlos Tevez is strong and courageous – a passionate player. This session is all about the attributes needed in getting to the ball first or winning it and dribbling into a position to score.

Set up

Set up a 15×15-yard area with four goals facing outwards, five yards in from the edge. We’ve used eight players. You need four small goals – if you use cones, the players can only score in the front of the goal so they have to go around it to score.

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How to play

Players are positioned around the area and in pairs are given numbers from one to four, so both players in the pair have the same number. The coach serves a ball into the middle between the goals and calls out a number – the two players with that number race to the ball and try to score.

After playing a few times change it so the coach calls out more than one number and the players with that number work as pairs against the other numbered pair. In the progression they can also use the outside players.

Technique

This is great for players to show their determination to win the ball, protect it and move into scoring positions. Try to match up the pairs so they are at similar stages of development.



Ronaldo Skills

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What advice would you give about coaching your own child

Question

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

Answer

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.

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