Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

How to coach the chip – or get players to chip into the ball bag!
davidscwnew1This simple game not only helps to develop the kind of soft touch your players will need to chip the ball, but it is also a fun way to pack up at the end of a training session too.

Why use it

Developing a soft touch to chip the ball with accuracy helps players learn to use the technique in matches and helps when they need to cushion a ball that has been passed to them.

Set up

All you need is your ball bag, players and balls.


How to play

One player holds the ball bag and the rest of the players stand in a circle around three yards away.

One player starts with the ball and tries to chip it into the bag. The player holding the bag can chest the ball in if the chipping player misses. If it goes in they get one point and the next player goes. If they miss, the next player tries to put the same ball into the bag. When a player misses, whoever reaches the ball first can take the next turn.

The game ends when the last ball is in the bag. And it saves you packing the balls away too!


What do you need to see from your players? Think Messi caressing the ball with a chipped pass into space, or Ramires chipping the keeper on the way to Chelsea winning the 2012 Champions League.


The German defender

David ClarkeZinedine Zidane was asked which player caught his eye at Euro 2012. Zlatan Ibrahimovic? Andrea Pirlo? Mesut Ozil? Iniesta? Ronaldo? No. The player he picked him out above any more offensive options was German centre back Mats Hummels.

“To me he is the only player to make a difference,” Zidane said.

It is rare that central defenders get the kind of plaudits like the one dished out by Zidane. But Hummels isn’t a typical defender, having been given the liberty to venture forward by coach Joachim Loew, an opportunity he has eagerly snapped up – but that hasn’t made him forget his responsibilities to the team.

“It is nice to go forwards and to be recognised for that, but I am prepared to be a wall if I need to be,” says Hummels.

Hummels was part of the class of 2009 in Germany that won the Under-21 European Championship in Sweden in rampaging style. The team included Manuel Neuer, Jérôme Boateng, Sami Khedira and Ozil all in today’s national team.

“It’s good that we have grown up together,” says Hummels. “You know how they are on the field and off it. It feels more like a family.”

He has many admirers in Europe but is happy at his club Borussia Dortmund. “It’s a special feeling at Dortmund. We have the freedom to do whatever we want. I can be creative and that’s how I love to play. It’s a status I have worked long and hard for and I did not want to give it up,” Hummels said.

But it won’t be long before the big guns in England and Spain realise he could be the key to winning the Champions League.

Watch his passing, attacking and defending skills below, he’s a young man with a great future:

Five fantastic volleys

My top five cup volleys

Marco van Basten: Holland v USSR Euro 1988 final

David Platt: England v Belgium World Cup 1990

Zinedine Zidane: Real Madrid v Bayer Leverkusen 2002 Champions League final

Joe Cole: England v Sweden World Cup 2006

Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Sweden v France Euro 2012

Best goal of the Euros so far?

Barcelona go to the beach – what do you do?

In the months of the school holidays, when it’s more difficult to get players to come along to training – usually because there are no matches – I like to do something different with my players as an incentive to come along.

We’ve had weekends away, day trips and changes of venue all to places where we can get some time in for training or playing games.

I was reminded of this when I saw that Barcelona goes training on the beach as an added incentive to their players. They play games like beach volleyball, or volleyball using their feet. You can see a clip of this below.

It’s also a good team bonding experience.

So taking a lead from one of the world’s best club teams you should think about where and when you could take your team to have a coaching session with a difference – maybe once or twice a season.

Try taking your team to one of the five-a-side centres which have lots of artificial pitches to play and train on – something different that your players won’t want to miss.

One of the best back passes ever?
March 30, 2010, 4:52 pm
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer News, Soccer Team Management | Tags: , , ,

Barcelona have had some skilful players in their time but for sheer improvisation and clever skills I like this back pass from Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

That’s one way to set up Lionel Messi – only surprise was he didn’t score!

Get your players to move to the next level

Giving players targets is a great way to get them to move to the next level, and if individuals in your team move to the next level then so does the team. You don’t have to spend hours on each player, just give them simple targets to work towards during matches.

You can set targets for the team and for individuals.

Set teams targets like:

  • We let in five goals in the last match lets let less in this time.

  • Win the first half/win the second half.

Or set individual targets:

  • Make five successful passes.

  • Make five tackles to win the ball.

  • Have five shots at goal.

Simple targets can help your team and individual players see that they are advancing even when the team loses.

Even the professionals give themselves targets. If you go to my blog you can watch a clip showing some of the best professionals in the world challenging players to take their game to the next level, including William Gallas, Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney, Cesc Fabregas and Andres Iniesta.

Take your players to the next level by pushing them using targets.