Filed under: Soccer Coaching, Soccer Skills, Soccer Training, Soccer News, Soccer Fitness, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Refereeing, Dave Clarke, Goalkeeping, Attack, defence | Tags: Chelsea, Premier League, counter attack, antonio conte
Watching the Euros instead of standing coaching my players gives me a good chance to see how some of the world’s greatest coaches approach games where the opposition poses different problems.
Chelsea’s new boss Antonio Conte gave a wonderful performance in matches before they lost out to Germany on penalties. He was faced with two different types of games but his ability to get the best out of his players I noticed usually relied on them cleverly switching play in attack to create space when it was difficult to find any because the opposition was closing out any obvious space on the pitch.
And when defending, Italy’s formation makes perfect use of the players available. In Andrea Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, Italy have the best defensive unit in European football.
Italy still has the best coaching academy in the world. They produce generations of coaches capable of organising players into effective teams, something that Conte has taken on at the European Championships.
His tactics are a big part of the success he brings to teams. He said “When my teams attack, we do so with five players. It used to be four but now it is five. Attack with five, defend with five”. This means his attackers can spread right across the pitch finding any space that is available.
Italy’s performances against Sweden and Spain were entirely different, with both exploiting noted weaknesses but in each case Conte used switches of play to create goalscoring chances.
Against Sweden, Conte knew that he would face a side sitting deep in their own half, looking to take advantage of the counter-attack and free-kicks. As a result, Italy were patient, stretched the play from side-to-side when looking for an opening, and defended in numbers whenever they lost possession.
Against Spain, far from sitting back and limiting space in the final third, Italy charged at Vicente Del Bosque’s team, robbing them of the chance to build any tempo or rhythm.
Spain’s style of football depends on the players being very compact so that they can begin their mesmerising short passing game and work their way up the pitch.
When Italy attacked, they took advantage of this narrow team shape – constantly switching play to break up the compact Spanish team and give themselves a chance of scoring.
They constantly played the ball into space, dragging Spain around. It’s exhausting to defend against and when Spain would eventually win the ball back, Italy would press high up the pitch and surround their players to stop them passing.
“We have been working very intensively for a month now, tactically and physically, in a bid to surprise people and we have already succeeded in that,” said Conte after that 2-0 win over Spain.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: Chelsea, grassroots, jose mourinho, leeds, lufc, match, uwe rosler, win
Getting the momentum is one thing but getting the parents and players right behind you is another, so a good display is important.
Last season our first match was away at a very impressive ground with lots of facilities, including a main pitch with stands and floodlights.
As it was the Under 11s that were playing we were not on the adult A team pitch but we were on a pretty impressive one surrounded by a clubhouse and tennis courts. We had been promoted the previous season so we were not sure how we would cope at this higher level, but I could see my players were not intimidated by the surroundings and were raring to feel the excitement of the kick off.
We were quickly into our warm ups and soon we had shaken hands with the opposition ready for the match. I can’t imagine how it must feel to be Uwe Rosler, the new manager of Leeds United, as he waits for the whistle to blow with the eyes of his trigger happy owner Massimo Cellino upon him. Or Claudio Ranieri at Leicester, back in the Premier League hoping he can have the success he had before.
Kick off came with great relief and my initial fears that the team wouldn’t be good enough were soon banished as we unleashed a flurry of attacks. Twice we were nearly caught out on the counter but our defensive training sessions paid off with some good covering and clearing. However, as half time approached all of our hard work was undone when a clumsy clearance went into our own net.
The boy involved was heartbroken, but at half time we all gathered around him and told him it wasn’t his fault and that we were all pleased with the way the team had played. We ran the game in the second half but failed to score and that one own goal had been the downfall of the team.
However, parents and players alike were in high spirits because we had all seen we could compete at this higher level and I was proud of the way they had all gathered around the player who had scored the own goal.
So a great start to your campaign doesn’t always mean a winning start but momentum comes from playing well and working as a team – we went on to have a great season in a very tough league.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: 1v1s, beat a player, Belgium, brazil, Chelsea, drills, exercises, hazard, oscar, skill
It is the speed of the initial reaction which makes all the difference when players lose the ball and the opposition counter-attacks. Running in counter attacking situations often means players are being chased by defenders. I get my players to prepare by playing this game. Not only does it get players to react quickly to a change in possession but it also involves a skill and a technique.
The skill is a reverse pass, followed by pressing the player on the ball – and the technique is both with and without pressure.
How to play it
Put down two cones 20 yards apart – further/closer depending on the physical fitness of your players.
You need players at each end of the exercise.
Play starts at one end with a player running with the ball.
When he reaches the far end, he passes to the player at that end with a reverse pass – he runs past the first player in the queue and use a backheel pass across the standing leg.
The receiving player starts running to the opposite end, the player who has made the reverse pass must turn and give chase.
When players get to the far end, the player with the ball reverse passes to a player at that end then turns and gives chase.
The original chasing player joins the back of the queue.
Key coaching points
When running with the ball, players should use the laces for each touch, making sure they run in a straight line.
Players run as fast as they can, complete the skill and turn to give chase.
Make sure your players put maximum effort into this exercise so they get all the benefits of fitness and skills.
Change the pass
- If your players are having trouble with the reverse pass across the front of the standing leg get them to try a normal backheel (without crossing the legs). Even this may be hard with some young players, but keep pushing this skill – they will get it with practice.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: Chelsea, England, fast passing, lampard, long pass, pass like Frank, passing session, through ball
Chelsea and England midfielder Frank Lampard has built his whole game on the ability to thread a pass. His trademark long balls can split defences wide open and create space for an attacker to work in.
But he is equally good at playing the short game, using the ball to take out defenders or to put an overlapping winger in behind the defence.
If every team got its players to use passes with purpose they would be much more successful in creating goalscoring opportunities. And by the same token, nothing will destroy a team more than inaccurate passing.
So here’s a move that will help players practise passing so that it comes to them naturally during a match.
How to set it up:
Mark out an area 30 yards long by 10 yards wide using cones.
Place four players around the area, one on each side.
Use only one ball.
The players on the short ends pass long and short.
The players on the long sides must move to receive but can only pass short.
Get the players moving the ball around in triangles, anticipating where the next player will run to.
Mark out zones so the players on the longer sides are given some guidance of where to move to when they receive the ball.
If it is a short pass, they run into the end zone nearest the passing player.
For a long pass they are in the zone furthest from the passing player.
Why this works:
The way to familiarise your players in passing with purpose is to get them passing long and short. Players need to learn not only how to pass well, but to move into space so it is easier for the player on the ball to find them. The passing must be very accurate or the exercise breaks down.
In a match situation, coaches will often stand on the side of the pitch and see situations where a simple pass, long or short, could open up the opposition defence, but the opportunity is missed.
Practising the basics in a quick-moving scenario such as this will perfect technique as well as decision-making ability, so get your players doing this exercise to make them into mini Frank Lampards.
You can set up a few areas like this so the whole team is passing and moving at the same time.
Take out a 97p trial to Soccer Coach Weekly today.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training, Uncategorized | Tags: academy, bernie friend, Chelsea, red card roy, roy mcdonough, southport, youth
Red Card Roy, the autobiography of Roy McDonough … A must read… put this on your Christmas reading list.
It’s such a glamorous life being a professional footballer… every young player’s dream to be given a contract to play football every day of your life. Just like Balotelli or Beckham or Torres or van Persie…
… but not like Roy McDonough.
Because the hero of Red Card Roy collected his first red card at 16 for trying to strangle the referee in a schools cup final and went on to clock up a British record of 22 red cards.
And yet he could have lived the dream – Roy could have been a hero at Chelsea.
Roy’s autobiography is full of insights into the pressures facing today’s young players – from the heartbreak of release from Birmingham as a youngster to a desperately lonely spell at the famous King’s Road club.
I get a lot of emails from readers of my youth coaching publications who ask me for advice on how to get their young players signed up by the big boys… here’s a reason to keep them away.
This is a tale straight out of Chaucer… The footballer’s tale.
Booze, birds and football… what more could a young man wish for? But the pressures he faces day in, day out, culminating in the suicide of his strike partner at Colchester, John Lyons, show the other side of the coin that players face as they struggle to become a David Beckham or a Clint Dempsey. Anger and loneliness are no strangers to Roy McDonough.
A book that is compulsive reading on many levels.
There are some great footballing tales. McDonough was brave enough to dump legendary Liverpool hard man Tommy Smith over the touchline into a pile of snow and vengeful enough to get sent off after seven minutes of an FA Cup tie for planting a kung-fu kick in Stoke manager Tony Pulis’s ribs.
It’s also a fabulous X-rated romp through the different leagues in England. I recommend you read it because I couldn’t put it down as I rollercoastered between sadness and open mouthed astonishment at what went on in Roy McDonough’s world.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training, Uncategorized | Tags: 100m, bolt, Chelsea, dagenham, footballer, jamaica, London 2012, Olympics, sprinter, Tyson Gay, Yohan Blake
By David Clarke
When Arsene Wenger said speed was one of the first things he looked for in a player he must have missed Adam Gemili.
The 18-year-old found many admirers of his speed at the London Olympics running in the fourth 100m semi-final alongside World Champion Yohan Blake and World Record holder Tyson Gay and came in third.with a time of 10.06 just 0.04 seconds outside qualifying for the final.
His dream growing up was of becoming a professional footballer.
He spent time on the books of Chelsea as a schoolboy and was on the verge of earning a professional deal at League Two side Dagenham & Redbridge.
But a trip to local athletics club Blackheath and Bromley to develop his pace – the one attribute that already set him apart from other aspiring footballers – changed everything.
In his first meeting for the club in April 2011, Gemili astounded everyone by running below 11 seconds – the only athlete to do so at the event. Now he has run in the Olympics. As his football career drifted down the leagues.
His decision to put football on hold for a year came when he was offered his first professional contract by Dagenham and Redbridge in December last year.
“If I signed it, it obviously meant I had to stop athletics because I couldn’t do both, but I wanted to give athletics a go. I’d won the European junior silver in the summer, so I did want to see how far I could take it and how good I could become in athletics.
“I decided to devote the year to athletics and if it didn’t work out, I could still go back to football.”
As the fastest man in Britain I can’t see him returning.
Gemili’s pace is something to think about – should we as coaches be using techniques from athletic clubs to develop the pace of our players?
Other sports can help you coach different aspects of soccer. I often use basketball style coaching to show my players tactics in soccer, it’s a great sport to get players looking up and creating space with movement. Or rugby where players can see the ball, their team mates and the opposition try-line much more easily than when they have their heads down looking at the ball in soccer.
What they said“He’s going to be one of the greatest sprinters of all time.”
Tyson Gay, former 100m world record holder
“What I’ve seen over the last three months is exceptional. I do believe he will run sub-10 very soon.”
Darren Campbell, Olympic 200m silver medallist (2000)
“He always seems to be able to take things in his stride. He is cool, calm and can deal with anything. I can’t see any reason why he can’t run under 10 seconds. He has the world at his feet.”
Pat Calnan, Blackheath and Bromley senior men’s team manager
WATCH ADAM BELOW
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: billy clifford, Chelsea, England, fa youth cup, midfield, playmaker, youth, youtube
At the moment he thrives in the atmosphere of Chelsea U21s where he has built up a great understanding with the more famous Josh McEachran. Their appreciation of what each other can do gives them an extra dimension to the quality and skill of play all over the pitch.
His youth team manager, Dermot Drummy is very impressed: “He’s a very good player Billy, an absolutely excellent standard of player for me and he’ll set the way we play; a leader on and off the field. [He’s] a fantastic trainer and he’ll set the standard for us on and off the pitch like that…we want that sort of leadership.
“He’s a player who can play anywhere. He has a footballer’s intelligence, he has everything, and he’s a winner.”
Indeed he is, having played a key role in FA Youth Cup and Premier Reserve League trophy successes in recent times. He also joined Andre Villas-Boas’ first-team squad on tour in Asia in 2011 and has been on the substitutes bench in the UEFA Champions League.
His versatility and ability to also play wide or at full-back will make him an enticing and intriguing prospect for a loan move to a Championship team – in the right team he would be a huge asset.
Hopefully he will progress over the next couple of years because this boy is exactly the type of player England needs.
Watch this video clip of him and see his vision and skills.
See also The Brazilian attacker
See also The German defender