Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

10 Ways To Develop Creative Players



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.

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8 tips for first time coaches


When clubs release the ‘NOT WANTED’ list

It’s that time of year again when clubs up and down the country have lists of players they want to keep and unfortunately lists of players they are going to let go. At grassroots level most of the players will be kept on as long as mum and dad want them to stay there or as long as their friends are still with the team.

What also happens though is the academies up and down the country will be drawing up lists of players at every age group that they are going to let go. And in the mind of a child that is a huge thing – because it isn’t about mum and dad letting them stay because their friends have done so it is because they haven’t ‘impressed’ the coaching team enough.

I hear a lot of stories about players being let go by text message or even lists pinned up on the club noticeboard. One of my players was snapped up at an early age by a local Championship club and he played for a season with the team. He was an excellent player and had a massive love of the game.

However, he came to hate the competitive nature of the training and matches that he took part in with every kid there vying to catch the coach’s eye. Parents too became very competitive and his parents were uneasy with the situation.

At the end of the season all the players were called together and the coach said “if your name is called out go through into the other room; if it isn’t you will be contacted”. Basically if your name wasn’t called out you were not going to be kept on.

The boy in question didn’t have his name called out. There was no talking to him or explaining the decision or anything to give him a hint of hope for the future, it was just thanks, but no thanks, you’re not good enough for us.

But I knew he was good enough I had seen in him that he could make the grade but the conditions he was playing in and the atmosphere at the club had put him off.

We welcomed him back to our club with open arms and tried to take away some of the hurt he was feeling. He was quiet for most of that next season before thankfully he kicked on and became the player he was before he left.

If you have a list of players you are going to let go please make sure you talk to them and explain the reasons why – it will help them to come to terms with the decision.

As we all know sometimes it can be in the child’s interest if the decision has been taken that they are not wanted by the club – or sometimes in the interest of the team if there is a disruptive player involved. But let’s not lose sight of the main fact – it’s the life of a child we are dealing with so tread carefully.

Practise the Volley Pass

Your players need to have skills to beat their opponents and give your team the advantage on match days and a volley pass is a fast pass when team mates are in space for a long pass to catch out their opponents. Here’s how to do it…


A volley pass gives players power and accuracy over longer distances.


You need balls and cones with players standing 10-15 yards apart in a circle. We used 5 players in the session.


When they are volleying the ball to each other – let them catch the volley and return it by dropping it onto their foot rather like a goalkeeper would.

Tell your players to use the top of their foot to pass the ball over the distance to ensure it drops exactly into the hands of the other players.

Make sure there is not too much height on the volley pass.


Tell your players to spread around the field volleying the ball to each other to catch. Players maintain a distance of 10-15 yards between each other. In the diagram, A volleys to D who catches, then from his hands he volleys it to C and so the practice continues. You can try progressing to no hands. Players must then control the ball by foot, head, chest or thigh before volleying on to the next player or volley first time.


Players use the top of the laces of their boots and kick through the centre of the ball for power and direction.