Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

Coaches with enough balls… try this

Nani dribbles through a pattern of footballs without touching any. Set this up for your players, great fun…


Patience is key to beating the Barcelona of your league

David Clarke

How do you beat Barcelona? Real Madrid, Valencia and Manchester United have all tried to do it by getting more possession of the ball and none of them have managed it.

If you find you’re playing a team like Barcelona who won’t allow you to have the ball don’t try to stop them playing – you end up not being able to stop them and ruining your own game plan.

Sure your players will be thinking that it’s time they had the ball because all teams want the ball but if they hold their positions and when they do win it hit quickly on the break they can make the game theirs.

When teams lose patience they often lose the game because they become easy to pick off with one-two passing and 1v1 skills.

If you jump in like Nani does on Lionel Messi you will easily be beaten. Watch the video clip below of Messi beating Nani.

Kick off your pre-season like Nani

A lot of pre-season work is about fitness, but you also need to work on your touch and precision. Coming back from an injury is often the same, players need to get strength back but the all important creative touch that opens defences also needs work.

At Manchester United Nani has been working on getting his passing and accuracy back to top form. It is going to be one of his weapons from day one of the season so he needs to practice.

In this video clip you can see him taking a touch to settle the ball then hit a 30 yard pass right onto the marker he is aiming at.

Try it yourself, all you need is a cone from where you kick and a target area which can be as big or small as you like.

It’s a great pre-season skills test.

Do your players have skills like Manchester United? Then show them off online

If you think your players’ skills could rival the likes of Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs or Nani, and you can take a short video clip of them doing the skills then read on.

Manchester United Soccer Schools (MUSS) are running a competition encouraging aspiring footballers, aged eight to 18, to learn more skills. The 6 core skills that qualify for this are:

  1. Fake pass.

  2. Stop turn.

  3. Flick behind.

  4. Roll across.

  5. Drag back.

  6. Stepover.

The clip should show at least one of the skills and be 60 seconds long. A coach, a parent or guardian must then submit it on behalf of the player.

If you do take a video clip of one of your players, for the competition, then also send a copy to me and I will put the best ones up on my Soccer Coaching Blog.

To get you started here’s a clip showing the drag back in action and how to coach and practice it.

Five words for a coach to think about

The cornerstone to success is not just hard work, it is relevant hard work, not working for the sake of it. Thousands of press-ups or lots of passing drills won’t create a winning team. Each unit of training needs to be focused on moving the player and team forward. A good coach can create a good work ethic which includes players understanding the benefits of their work and why it makes a difference.

2. Loyalty
Are you loyal to your own values and goals? Compromise those and it is difficult to inspire loyalty in others.

3. Cooperation
To have a team that cooperates is to have a leader who listens. Good cooperation starts from the top.

4. Enthusiasm
Energy, enjoyment, drive and dedication. These will stimulate your players and help inspire them.

The power of friendship is important for binding teams together. You are going to create an environment of mutual respect and comradeship. It is not about affection, but building goodwill where each person will go a little further for another team mate. The way this environment develops come, inevitably, from the way you treat the players. Show them respect and take time to work for each individually.

Even the best teams in the world need to be friends – watch this video of English Premier League Champions Manchester Utd players Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani and Anderson having a laugh together putting off Hargreaves when he is being interviewed.

 Soccer Skills and Drills