Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice


Strikers go 1v1 for a special finish

Dribbling

davidscwnewThis fast and game-realistic training session sets up 1v1 attacking situations that will encourage your strikers to come up with a special finish.

Why use it

This is all about using skills around the penalty area to take defenders by surprise and create goalscoring opportunities. It uses quick combinations but relies on individual excellence and it’s great for development of ball mastery.

Set up

Use half of your usual pitch. We’ve used seven players. You need balls, bibs, cones and a normal sized goal.

Screen shot 2016-07-29 at 14.18.55

How to play

The attacker takes the ball through a chicane of cones and drives towards the first defender before passing to the server. The defenders cannot move until the server has touched the ball. The server plays a quick return pass and the first defender tries to catch the attacker, while the second defender closes down the attacker.

Once the shot has been taken the attacker swaps with the first defender; the first defender swaps with the second defender; and the second defender swaps with the server, who goes to the attacking line up.

Technique

This is all about creating 1v1s at pace so that everything is game realistic. There are different skills to use and when the attacker gets to the final phase, he can try something clever to create space for a shot.



‘Anticipation’ is key in player development

davidscwnewWhen I was first starting out in coaching I remember reading an article about Ron Greenwood, who had played for Chelsea and Fulham and who went on to manage West Ham and the England national team. When asked what the most essential trait was for a soccer player, he said: “Anticipation”.

Put simply, it’s the knack of knowing where to be, when to move and sensing what is going to happen before it actually does. It is a trait that all the great players have and it is something I work on with my players, because it’s a trait you can coach.

A good way of creating players who have anticipation is to build the foundations of their technique – and that requires practice. Improving a player’s skill doesn’t just happen and players will not learn skills just by playing games.

Focus practice on basic skills in the early years and then let them advance with more technical skills. One of the Under 10 teams I coach are of a very mixed level of technical ability but the one thing they all have is enthusiasm and dedication for learning new skills. Once we have perfected the first set of skills we move on and develop the basic skills into harder ones.

“Look Dave, I can do what Ronaldo and Messi do!” one of them said to me last week as he spun on the ball and flicked it into the air.

Playing in a match before Christmas the team was losing 2-0 but their heads didn’t drop.

_DSC1555Early in the second half a wonderful step over took one of my strikers past a defender and his teammate anticipated this, moving quickly for a pass – and before the keeper had even moved, the ball was dispatched into the net.

It was an afternoon of watching great technique and some fabulous passing moves as the opposition were put to the sword. But we didn’t get an equaliser and it was a frustrating moment when the whistle blew.

Back at training I hadn’t expected to see the same players going 1v1 against each other on the muddy practice pitch but all they were bothered about was showing each other how much better their skills were than last week.

I was thrilled to see it. It won’t be long before they turn their potential into winning games and I bet even then they’ll still be going 1v1 against each other just to make themselves that little bit better.



The Lone Ranger – wins the ball and beats the keeper

davidscwnew

Although this game is heavily weighted in favour of the passing team, the
need to make 10 consecutive passes puts pressure on the players in a
tight area.

If the defender does manage to force a mistake, he needs to show stamina
and composure to make his efforts count by scoring a goal. Collective pressure and individual responsibility are key elements of what
makes players and teams successful.

How to set it up:

  • This game uses two teams of four players.

  • One works as the passing team. The other works as defenders, though only one player works at a time.

  • Create a playing area measuring 40×25 yards.

  • At one end, place a goal and goalkeeper.

  • At the other, mark out a 10-yard square centred on the far touchline.

The rules:

  • The passing team of four players works in the 10-yard square, passing
    the ball around and attempting to retain possession.

  • One at a time, each player in the defending team must enter the area
    and attempts to win possession from the passers.

  • If the defending player manages to force a mistake or win possession,
    he leaves the ball where it is and runs towards the other goal. Receiving a pass from you, he tries to score past the keeper.

  • The defending team gains a point for each goal scored.

  • The passing team scores a point for each set of 10 consecutive passes.

  • When the passing team manages to make 10 consecutive passes, the
    defender is replaced.

  • Each defender has two attempts at winning the ball in the 10-yard
    square during each game.

  • Swap teams and repeat the game so players experience both roles.



Fun game to end your session … with excellent 1v1 skills

davidscwnewThis is a great game to end one of your sessions. I often use it with my U9s team when they have been training hard. Your players won’t know there’s a coaching element to this game and will be learning without realising it.

Expect to see lots of 1v1 situations in this game. But as the number of balls decrease, these will become more random because players can then link up to create 2v2 or 2v4 scenarios.

Players will learn how to attack and defend different goals. They will also have to use communication, decision making and teamwork skills as the game progresses from individual to multi-player situations.

Set this one up in a 30 yards by 30 yards square. You need six target goals (mini goals or cones will do), and a lot of balls.

How to play it

On your whistle, the attackers get a ball each and try to score in one of the goals. After each shot, the attackers return to the middle of the playing area to get another ball.

Once all the balls have been played, the number of balls in the goals should be counted and then the roles reversed. If you are using cones for goals, get a couple of parents or helpers to keep score.



Goal shy? Try this…

davidscwnew

If your attackers are shy when they get the ball in front of goal and either just kick in hope in the vague direction of goal or try and pass it away quickly they need a boost in confidence.

This three-goal game is fantastic for giving every player in your team a chance to run at goal or shoot cleverly into the corners when they approach the goal at an angle.

Can they switch feet to fool the goalkeeper? Can they get into a better position to shoot? Can they win the 1v1s to set themselves up with a chance? Find out with this session:

How to set it up:

Play 3v3, in a 30-yard square area. There are three goals, two in each of the corners and one placed on the opposite side in the middle. One player from each team acts as goalkeeper.

Getting started:

  • The practice starts with one player from each team attacking the goal to their left – unopposed dribbling and shooting in turn.

  • Players must concentrate on controlling the ball and approaching each goal at an angle.

  • At the end of each attack, the attackers move clockwise around the playing area, ready to attack the next goal. Goalkeepers remain where they are.

  • To advance this, add defenders to the practice so your attackers have an additional obstacle.

  • Make sure you rotate players so that everyone gets a chance in each position.

  • You can also switch play by attacking each goal from the right-hand side.

The key elements:

  • The focus is on individual skills such as dribbling, shooting and 1v1 attacking and defending.

  • Highlight those players who are using good technique and creating space.

  • Don’t be afraid to stop the game, pointing out to your players what they are doing right and wrong in terms of technique and positioning.

Why this works:

Play is centred on a tight area that represents the compacted nature of the midfield so players are forced to make quick and efficient decisions in attack and defence.

Rather than undertake an exercise that encourages a player to pass, this is a great move whereby taking on an opponent can be shown to have a much more dynamic effect on the game, something that is good for players to recognise in a match situation.



David Clarke Interviews… KRISTINE LILLY exclusive

David ClarkeMy series of interviews on influential figures in the world of coaching continues with this exclusive interview with Kristine Lilly. Kristine was a member of the United States women’s national soccer team for 24 years. She is the most capped men’s or women’s soccer player in the history of the sport, gaining her 352nd and final cap against Mexico in a World Cup qualifier in November 2010. Kristine played in five World Cup Finals, winning two World Cups to add to her numerous other awards and honours.

Kristine LillyShe is now tasked with developing the next generation of female players and coaches in the USA. I caught up with her as she launched a skills partnership with Coerver coaching.

1. Can you give me a brief outline of what you will be doing in your link up with Coerver Coaching?
I have joined a partnership with Coerver Coaching to continue to make a difference in the game. We hope to promote and improve the Women’s game globally. We have an inspiring curriculum that really works; improving the player on the field and the person off it.

2. Why Coerver?
Well I have used the Coerver method throughout my career, and ever since I was a young girl. I believe in the Coerver system, the philosophy and the benefits it brings to players, coaches of any ability.
I am also hugely impressed at how the Coerver System and Brand has evolved and expanded globally, since Charlie Cooke and Alf Galustian (pictured) first started it almost 30 years ago.
Lastly Coerver works, players that go through this method improve, become better players and especially feel confident and comfortable on the ball.

3. The women’s game is huge in USA, what do you think players lack in terms of technique that your link up with Coerver can help players to step up a level?
I think US players are great athletes, wonderful competitors and have a winning mentality. However, I think we can be better with the ball; especially when and where we use it; make quicker decisions, but have the confidence if there are no passing options to keep the ball under pressure.

Also we can be more consistent, technique usually breaks down, as players get tired, so we need to continually work on improving our skills, which also has the added benefit of improving confidence. I am sure if you speak to top coaches and players they will put confidence (building) as a main priority. In a way Coerver does that by Mastery of Skills through repetition.

4. Having spent part of your career in Sweden do you think the women’s game in Europe can catch up with the USA? Are the skills/technique levels the same?
I think the level of play has advanced all over the world. I think the Europeans are improving quickly. I think they have become more technical than us in the past decade. I think the one thing that the USA has is a fighting mentality that edges out teams. However the technical side of the game has to be there to make that happen as well.

5. With regards to youth soccer in terms of both girls and boys I think repetition is one of the most vital coaching tools. But players can find doing the same old thing boring. How do you hide repetition when coaching?
As a young player I spent many hours kicking a ball against a wall practicing my shooting technique and passing. Yes I would agree doing this alone could get boring, but once you see improvement in your game all the practice, hard work makes sense; boring or not.

Also that is what is so great about the Coerver programme, you do basic drills that address the technical side of the game and then add pressure, and then make it a competitive atmosphere and it’s always challenging, progressively competitive and always fun!!!

6. You played in youth teams in the early 90s, which one factor would you say is the most important change in the way kids are coached today?
As in all countries there are excellent coaches who continually look for new, innovative ways of teaching and others who really don’t want to change from what they are used to. This is not a criticism, since in Grassroots Soccer all the coaches who give their time and effort mostly for free, need to be praised.

My main worry is that some Coaches are only interested in winning teams; winning is important, but in the formative ages Coerver and I believe the focus should be on development. If you are a young player, yes you want to win but at the same time you dream of improving to where one day you can a real difference!

We don’t have, in my opinion enough players like this. Abby Wambach (USA Women), Marta (Brazil Women, pictured), Messi (Argentina), Xavi (Spain) of course, but Soccer needs more of these Special Players. That’s another thing I learned from Alf and Coerver about teaching based on models of Great Players. It’s a great way to teach and motivate.

7. What are you coaching in your next session and how?
I like the Coerver theme sessions that Alf showed me at our last practice session together. Theme is Creating more Goal Chances individually; a session where you teach players how to can create goal chances (showing them different 1 v 1’s to create space either side of opponents to shoot, Improving Strikers first touch in the penalty box, so they have more time to shoot, Improving reaction speed for strikers.)

I pick games and drills that teach these topics.

How I would teach this or any other theme is by starting with a Coerver Ball Mastery exercise (as many touches of the ball both right and left foot. Lots of touches in 60 second bursts. I would then teach the 1 v 1 /First Touch technique in a group drill. No defenders, but just getting the technique correct, and finally I would finish with full pressure, defenders trying to win the ball

8. Can you explain one specific exercise you will coach that uses Coerver skills?
There is one drill I like a lot right now. Here is the diagram and action. This drill not only improves attackers but also defenders, defenders try and win the ball then they go for Goal; a great lesson for all defenders that once you win the ball you need to use it constructively.

Kristine pictured here with
Coerver’s Charlie Cooke.

PURPOSE: To Improve 1 v 1 & 2 v 2 under full pressure

HOW TO SET IT UP

  • Two small goals facing in opposite directions 18 yards apart.
  • Two teams one with a ball to each player facing the other across a 15 yard grid.


HOW TO PLAY IT

  • The Black Defender passes across the grid to the opponent and they play 1v1 to score on either small goal.
  • If the Defender wins the ball he can score.
  • Either player can only score from a shooting zone 4 yards from goal.

HOW TO ADVANCE IT

  • Play 2 v 2.
  • The receiver must pass 1st touch to his partner and overlap behind him to start the action.
  • Same scoring rules apply. Defenders can score if they win possession.

KRISTINE’S TIP
Match players evenly. Switch roles after each contest

MY TIP
First touch is crucial… players must go and meet the ball – don’t wait for it




Why you should take the Coerver Coaching Youth Diploma

DC
I have worked with lots of coaches and coach educators and believe me, Alf Galustian is a very good coach. I watched Alf coach for two hours in torrential rain – conditions that would have had you or I scuttling for the safety of the changing rooms.

Alf not only took control of a dozen or so players he had never coached before, he talked everyone through his coaching style, his coaching points and the skills he was giving to the players.

I picked up so many ideas and tips during that first two hours that I was already planning my next coaching session. Alf is a co-founder of Coerver Coaching and a specialist skills adviser to the English Premier League.

The purpose of the Coerver Coaching Youth Diploma is to give attendees, whether they are a professional academy coach, junior coach, teacher or parent, a greater understanding of how to plan and execute more effective coaching sessions.

The course is held at Premier League team Fulham’s excellent training ground and with the presence of academy players and first teamers, you really feel you are in a pure coaching environment.

Then the slick Coerver team moves into gear and their ideas and values are brought to the fore by Alf who focuses on how the course develops you the coach and how you can deliver those ideas to develop the individual.

It’s all about touch, control, confidence, 1v1s, 2v1s, 5v3s, movement on and off the ball, feinting, beating your partner, keeping the ball, winning the ball back – and respect, confidence, fun.

It truly is food for thought on how you coach your team.

The Coerver Coaching concept concentrates on attacking, fast-flowing football and this style has been demonstrated during the past few years by teams such as Barcelona and Spain.

In Alf’s own words: “What Coerver brings is that individual component, the ability for a coach to improve his or her players’ individual skill. Increasingly it is individual skills that can make or break a match and win the game.”

The final session of the day is about how to build and deliver a session. It was run by Coerver’s excellent coaching director Scott Wright who coached Fulham U12s for the session. If you go along to the next Coerver Coaching Youth Diploma course, make sure you write it all down, you could run it with any age group and I lost count of the number of skills you work on.

It is great stuff. This course will make you a better coach. If you can’t go on the course then why not invest in the Coerver CD set, there’s lots of material on how to help you plan your sessions.

To order the CD in Europe:
http://www.coach-soccer.com/coerver/index.asp

To order the CD in the USA:
http://www.coach-soccer.com/coerver/indexusd.asp

There will be two further Diplomas in the summer, one at Manchester City on the 5th & 6th August & the second in Dublin, 13th & 14th August. www.coerver.co.uk/youthdiploma

Listen to Alf on this video below




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