Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

Attack the box like Drogba

By David Clarke

David ClarkeBalance, coordination and ball control skills are vital to the art of being a good striker. When he was at Chelsea, Didier Drogba could weave his way to goal and unleash an unstoppable shot at the end of it.

I want my strikers to do exactly the same, so I run through this exercise with them. I call it the slalom exercise because it’s just like what the slalom skiers have to do when racing downhill through a series of poles against the clock.

Get your players to run through this once then start timing them. Tell them you are not looking to see who is the quickest, you want to see who can beat their own time over the course of three runs each.

This means you are going to have to keep scores and names handy so you can check on players’ progress. You also need a stopwatch.

How to play it

  • Your player must dribble in and out of the coaching poles, go around either side of the cone – by selling a dummy or skill move – and finish with a shot on goal.
  • On the next run the player must do the same movement but beat the goalkeeper at the end.
  • Finally the player must do the same movement but beat an active defender before scoring past the goalkeeper.

Key coaching tips

  1. Tell your players you want to see close control and the use of both feet through the poles.
  2. When they are faced with the cone they must try to show a feint or skill, not just run around it.

They can use any shooting technique they like – inside outside of their foot, laces or even a chip, the most important thing is to hit the target.

Neymar is another player who attacks by going past defenders – watch this:


Drogba and Muller are head boys

David ClarkeThis week’s Champions League final between Chelsea and Bayern Munich had two goals both headers which used different techniques. Thomas Muller scored with a downward header using the angle of the ball to create an unstoppable bounce which the Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech couldn’t save. Didier Drogba’s equaliser was a fabulous power header which caught the whole Bayern defence napping.

It’s an important attribute for a striker to have, the ability to jump above the opposition and get their head on the ball. When your players head a ball, if they can jump with the right technique, they are likely to get above most defenders in youth matches.

Young players often are not spending enough time at training practicing getting themselves off the floor and their heads on the ball. A header is a very effective way of scoring at all levels of the game but especially youth matches where players shy away from heading.

Coaches need to spend time on the technique and the movement to get into position to attack the ball using the head. Time spend in training will be repaid over and over again in matches.

Watch the Champions League goals below:

Top five best headers of a ball

Alan Shearer – Newcastle Utd and England

Alan Clarke – Leeds Utd and England

Cristiano Ronaldo – Real Madrid and Portugal

Didier Drogba – Chelsea and Ivory Coast

Miroslav Klose – Bayern Munich and Germany

Soccer heading drills

I know Drogba’s secret

Chelsea’s amazing striker Didier Drogba has the ability to barge his way through any defence in the world, whether he is playing against a Premier League club or for Ivory Coast in the African Cup of Nations.

What you see in Drogba is power and determination to get to goal. There are some great strikers around the world but I don’t think I have ever witnessed a more powerful player than Drogba.

His ability to hold on to the ball under pressure and knock defenders away is second to none. Then he has a powerful shot at the end of it.

The work Drogba puts in on the training ground is the secret of his success. He uses exercises like the one above to fine tune his balance and power. If you are going to turn your young players in to potential Drogbas you have to do something similar with your players.

Try this:

Your player must dribble in and out of the coaching poles, go around either side of the cone, by selling a dummy or skill move and follow up with a shot on goal.

In diagram two the player must do the same movement but beat the goalkeeper at the end.

In diagram three the player must do the same movement but beat a real defender and then the goalkeeper.

He obviously has a lot of natural ability but he also puts in a good deal of hard work to give him his striking power. Watch these clips from Chelsea’s training ground you will see what he gets up to in order to make himself one of the world’s best strikers:

 Soccer Skills and Drills

Soccer stars and their cars

Further to my blog on Stephen Ireland and his cars I there might be a few of you out there interested in these stars and the cars they drive.

On this clip you can see the cars of Alonso, Ballack, Beckham, Campbell, Crouch, Del Pierrro, Drogba, Essien, Gerrard, Giggs, Henry, Ibrahimovic, van Nistelrooy, Rooney, Ronaldo, Shevchenko, Torres.