Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

How Lampard destroys the opposition


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.

Getting started:

  • 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.

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Midfield magic – play like Frank Lampard

By David ClarkeDavid Clarke

Combining pace and aggression going forward with the wherewithal to track back, this is a move inspired by one of the best in the game, Chelsea ‘s Frank Lampard. For over 10 years, the England man has proved a pivotal force in the centre of the park, so here’s an opportunity for your players to try out some of that classic Lampard box-to-box play.

How to set it up:

Play 3v3v3, in an area of 30×30 yards. There are three goals, two in each of the corners and one placed on the opposite side in the middle. One player from each team acts as goalkeeper.

Getting started:

  • The practice starts with one player from each team attacking the goal to their left – unopposed dribbling and shooting in turn.
  • Players must concentrate on controlling the ball and approaching each goal at an angle.
  • At the end of each attack, the two attackers move clockwise around the playing area, ready to attack the next goal. Goalkeepers remain where they are.
  • To advance this, add defenders to the practice so your attackers have an additional obstacle. l Make sure you rotate players so that everyone gets a chance in each position.
  • You can also switch play by attacking each goal from the right-hand side.

The key elements:

  • The focus is on individual skills such as dribbling, shooting and 1v1 attacking and defending.
  • Highlight those players who are using good technique and creating space.
  • Don’t be afraid to stop the game, pointing out to your players what they are doing right and wrong in terms of technique and positioning.

Why this works:

Play is centred on a tight area that represents the compacted nature of the midfield. Therefore players are forced to make quick and efficient decisions in attack and defence. Rather than undertake an exercise that encourages a player to pass, this is a great move whereby taking on an opponent can be shown to have a much more dynamic effect on the game, something that is good for players to recognise in a full match situation.

England-Germany: the first two goals were classic schoolboy errors

The final third of the pitch should the hardest part for a team to work in because it will be defended with tigerish effort. Even in youth games the attackers, outnumbered by defenders will have to work hard to create goals – unless England are defending it, in which case they make it as easy for the opposition to score.

This was the case in the World Cup 2010 round of 16 game between England and Germany. But it is worth examining the goals because they hightlight errors made by defenders in youth soccer.

German attacker Miroslav Klose’s goal was one you often see on in youth matches – a big punt up field from the goal kick, over the stationary centre-half’s head and bang, 1-0. Matthew upson was outmanouvered and outfought for the ball.

The second was not much better, the England right back Glenn Johnson was forced to cover the central defenders position because again they had gone missing. This left a vacant right-back spot which attacker Lukas Podolski exploited, he even had time to take a touch before sending the ball past David James in England’s goal.

Two classic examples of how to create goals – the long ball and dragging defenders out of position.

Click here to watch the goals