Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice


EUROS WALES Near Post Winners

WHY USE IT

davidscwnew1By getting across the defender and reaching the ball first, the attacker will have a good opportunity to score at the near post in a 1v1, taking the keeper by surprise using speed of movement.

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SET UP

Use the penalty area of your pitch. You will need balls, bibs and a goal with a goalkeeper.

HOW TO PLAY

Start with a simple warm-up by splitting players into two groups. One group serves for the opposite group to shoot at the near post. Advance the session using three groups of players: one group are wingers crossing the ball in, one group are near post attackers and a third group must try and get across to defend the near post shot. Rotate the players after each run through, with player A joining group C, C joining B, and B joining A.

TECHNIQUE

In this session attackers must time their runs well and accelerate quickly so the defender cannot get across. This puts pressure on attackers to win the 1v1 with the keeper, exactly as they would in a match. All three groups must play quickly and time their movements.



Score like Aguero in the 6 yard box

Attacking

If you want your strikers to be as lethal as Kun Aguero around the penalty area, try this session to help them develop that magic touch.This is a fantastic attacking game for getting strikers to make runs behind the defence and to get outfield players to look for space to play the ball into.

Why use it

Timing runs to meet the ball and beat a player is one of Aguero’s main attributes. He is lethal when the ball is played through into space and he can work his magic.

Giving players the chance in training to practise this art will help them to do it in matches.

Set-up

Set up a 40×20-yard pitch split into a central zone of 20 yards and two end zones of 10 yards. We’ve used 13 players. You need bibs, balls, cones and two normal goals.

How to play

Use two teams of six, with four attackers, one defender and one goalkeeper on each.

Play 4v4 in the central zone plus one neutral player who plays for the team in possession. A defender and goalkeeper start in the end zones.

Players stay in their starting zones until a pass is played into one of the end zones for a player to run onto.

If the pass into the end zone is played first time (one touch) any resulting goal counts as double.



FEEL THE WIDTH Three different types of cross

davidscwnewThis is a complex drill to help players develop three different kinds of cross.

WHY USE IT

The session aims to coach players to score more goals from crosses and to show that changing the pace of play and the angle of attack are key instruments in unlocking the opposition. Using wide areas is an important part of attacking play.

SET UP

Create a playing area that is wider than long by using the width of the pitch you normally play on (mini, 9v9 or full size) and half that size for the length (so mini would be 30 wide x 15 deep and full size would be 60×30). Split it into six equal squares.

You need a goal, balls, bibs and cones. We’re using 17 players in a 9v8 overload.

HOW TO PLAY

Players are locked into areas, except for the full backs, who look to join the attack and create situations to cross the ball.

TECHNIQUE

We’re looking for three different types of crosses here: the David Beckham cross, just entering the final third; the Ashley Young cross, cutting inside and swinging it across; and the Leighton Baines cross, running to the byline and whipping it in.

This session came from Soccer Coach Weekly.

Interested in more exercises? Try these links:

1. Pressing in key areas – Steve Kean

2. Defending when outnumbered

3. Tomb raiders



Coach yourself a Carles Puyol – Barcelona legend

davidscwnew

By David Clarke

Barcelona’s captain Carles Puyol is known for his intense commitment and strength as a defender. According to Barcelona’s head doctor, Puyol is “the strongest, who has the quickest reactions, and who has the most explosive strength”.

Love him or loathe him, he is the sort of player who gives everything for the cause, who prides himself on being alert to wave after wave of attacking threats in and around the box. He is also the sort of player who is not afraid to put his body in harm’s way. And he’ll grab you the odd goal or two.

Ensuring that your players are back on their feet after a good tackle or clearance and ready to combat a second wave of danger is essential.

To keep them alive and reactive, here’s a defensive move that asks for quick reactions and tireless commitment to the cause.

How to set it up:

  • Create a playing area measuring 10×10 yards.

  • The drill requires four servers and one designated defender.

  • Each server starts on a different side, with a ball.

  • Place your defender in the middle – his job is to react to a different serve from each player around the area. After each serve, his task is to keep the ball within the box.

Getting started:

  • Starting on the left-hand side, server 3 throws the ball up for server 1 to head into the middle. The defender tries to stop the ball from going out of bounds.

  • Immediately, server 2 passes a ball towards the opposite line. The defender must now react, running to slide and stop the ball from crossing the line.

  • Now server 3 dribbles onto the pitch and attempts to get to the line opposite. The defender tries to stop him.

  • Finally, server 4 throws the ball over the defender’s head and attempts to run around him to win it back. The defender’s task is to shield the ball, letting it run over the line. If the ball stops dead before the line, he can then kick it clear to the left or the right.

  • Now rotate so that a different player acts as the defender.

Why this works:

Adopting the mindset that a defender’s job is rarely complete is absolutely vital if players are to counter all of the threats on a match day. After each phase of this drill, the defender needs to be alert to a new test, reacting quickly to each ball and clearing the danger.

Each test offers a new skill, and provides you with a quick-fire snapshot of where the defender’s game can be improved.



3v3 to coach support play

davidscwnew

In this 3v3 game, you can get players to learn about providing support and being in the right position to cover when the ball is lost.

Support play

In a 3v3 situation, one of the most important jobs is to support the player on the ball. There should be forward support to provide an attacking outlet and rear support to give a defensive outlet.

A pass back to the player covering the defensive area of the team can be an attacking move because it can open up space on the other side of the pitch.

Support players need to think about:

  • The angle of support
  • The distance of support

Getting this right means the supporting player:

  • Has a full range of forward vision.
  • Can receive the ball comfortably.
  • Has space to pass the ball to a team mate.
  • Can move forward into space in front of them.

How to set it up

In this game, rear support comes from the goalkeeper who must move out of his goal when the team is attacking. When the team is in possession of the ball none of the three players are allowed in their defensive end zone.

Goalkeepers have to support from the rear and be ready to get back if the team lose the ball. So the attacking team always has an empty end zone so the defending team can quickly attack if it wins the ball.

The attacking team therefore has a 3v2 advantage in the middle of the pitch. The defending team can have players in any zone, but when it wins the ball and attacks, all players including the goalkeeper must move out of the defensive end zone.



Discover your club captain with this game

davidscwnew

Communication is the buzzword here, and you may well discover your next club captain through this simple game!

For the sweeper, it is a game of nerve and control. Defenders are always listening for instructions from behind.

Meanwhile opposition strikers sense the need to build attacks in space – invariably towards the wings – because they know simple balls through the middle can be cut out by the sweeper.

And encourage imaginative play when 1v1 scenarios do present themselves.

How to set it up:

  • Create a playing area measuring 50×30 yards.

  • Play a five-a-side game.

  • Create a 15-yard zone in front of each goal. This leaves the middle area of 20 yards in length.

  • Place a goal at each end.

  • You will need a good supply of balls.

  • One player on each team is nominated as the defensive "conductor". This player remains in his team’s defensive end zone and must communicate to his three team mates in front of him.

  • Each team aims to score in its opponent’s goal.

Getting started:

  • The game begins with the coach passing to one of the two teams.

  • The conductor provides verbal support and tactical encouragement to his team mates. He should be shouting instructions such as "get tight", "someone support", "cover", "get goal-side" and "show inside".

  • If the attacking team gets past the opponent’s defence, the conductor acts as a sweeper, effectively acting as the last defensive line. He must do his best to prevent a shot at goal.

  • Rotate players so that each man acts as the conductor.

  • At the end of each move – whether it ends in a goal or a defensive clearance – the ball is returned to you and play restarts with the last team out of possession.

  • Each team has 10 attacks. The team with the most goals at the end is the winner.



Attack through the midfield

By David Clarkedavidscwnew

It’s understandable for some players to want to bypass the crowded, pressurised environment that is the centre of the pitch.

But hitting long balls forward or always targeting play to the wings makes teams predictable and boring.

This is a practice that will boost confidence and remind players that getting the ball into midfield and using it smartly can often be the best way to attack.

How to play it

  • You need balls, bibs, cones and goals.

  • Mark out a 50×30 yards area split into three zones.

  • There are two teams of six, each also has a keeper.

  • The team in possession is allowed up to 20 seconds unchallenged in the central (safe) zone. It can stay there for that time or break out, but if still in the zone when time elapses, the opposition can go in and try to win the ball.

  • If the team in possession loses the ball in any area of the pitch, its players must vacate the central zone.

  • The size of the central zone is key to the challenge and skill of the game as players will discover so, after six minutes, increase or decrease its size to see what effect it has on the game.

Developing the session

  • You can advance the session by allowing one opposition player to go in the central zone. This puts more pressure on midfielders.

Technique and tactics

  • The safe zone encourages play to go through midfield, with players getting used to receiving on the half-turn or practising controlling technique.

  • While doing this without the fear of being tackled, the option to survey options and pass the ball on is encouraged. However, the margin for error increases when the central zone is shortened.




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