Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

Why you should take the Coerver Coaching Youth Diploma

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:

To order the CD in the USA:

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.

Listen to Alf on this video below


Dempsey – a player always likely to get you a goal


Dave Clarke

Clint Dempsey became Fulham’s top scorer in their Premier League history this season – the 28-year-old, a 2007 signing from New England Revolution has impressed his manager Mark Hughes who said he hates taking Dempsey off because he feels that “he will always get you a goal”.

I never really took much notice of Dempsey until he scored that goal against Juventus in the Europe league. One of the fantastic things about that strike is that he doesn’t even look at the goal — he drops back out of the area five or six seconds before taking the shot and at no point in between does he even glance toward the keeper. He flights the ball into the top corner – and that’s class.

And then I noticed him again in the World Cup against England when England’s goalkeeper Robert Green fumbled the ball in the net. A hit and hope but like Hughes says he gets you goals.

Finding a player that gets you goals is not always easy and Fulham is a case in point. After four years Dempsey has scored 33 goals, a lot less than a lot of goal scorers in the Premier League. But Fulham have struggled to find goalscorers so Dempsey is one to hang on to.

Over the years I’ve beem coaching my juniors I have found good goalscorers and I too find it difficult to take them off during a match because of their ability to score goals. I get a lot of the other players saying its not fair because they are better players and want to play up front.

Of course every player gets a chance to play up front but as we all know scoring goals isn’t as easy as it looks.

Watch this clever goal from Dempsey and the one fumbled by Green

When do you chip the goalkeeper?

Players that make decisions to try something different with the ball instead of head down just kicking it, are often the ones that score the best goals. What makes a player decide to chip a goalkeeper rather than just kick it as hard as they can at the goal?

In the World Cup game between England and USA the forward Emile Heskey had a great chance to score for England and give them a much needed win. Faced with the goalkeeper Heskey simply put his head over the ball and kicked it as hard as he could. It hit the goalkeeper smack band in his midriff and the chance was gone.

Had Heskey decided to chip the ball just a tiny bit it would probably have gone over the goalkeeper and into the net. This is what makes a goalscorer great – the ability to make the decision about the best type of shot to use.

If the goalkeeper comes of their line and leaves enough space that’s the time to try a chip and make your players look like the professionals.

Watch Clint Dempsey score his amazing chip for Fulham against Juventus in the second leg of the Europa League last 16 game:

Players should motivate themselves like Clint Dempsey

As a youth coach you have a lot to think about, and that’s why I am always being asked questions about how to do this or do that and I’m quite happy to answer them.

One question that I’m often asked is how to give players that self motivation when they are on the pitch and the team has just lost a goal, Why do some players sulk or cry or just give up?

On Saturday my U9s went 1-0 up, but just before half time went 4-1 down. But they never gave up and late in the game scored to go ahead by 5 goals to 4. They have self belief but we all have to work hard for that.

Personal motivation is a hard part of coaching. Once a player is on the pitch how do you go about getting them to put 100 per cent in when the going gets tough?

Personal motivation starts at your coaching sessions by you giving players targets to meet, by giving them targets at the beginning of the season that are about them, rather than targets like winning a game, tell them you want to see them make 4 or 5 tackles in one half of a game or to have five shots at goal. In this way they will learn that a lot of their performance is down to wht they do on the pitch rather than winning or losing.

You can also give players rewards like the football (soccer) patches we use that gets players striving to be better so they can win their badge.

Talk to your players about how they should be thinking about the game and their role in it. Explain how they must strive to meet their targets so they can go on to become better players.

Check out this clip of Clint Dempsey of Fulham and the USA men’s national team, talking about self motivation and how hard he works to keep himself at the top level.

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