Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: coaching, linesman, offside, referee, roles, teams, youth
You might, like me, have also found it strange how mobile phones start apparently ringing, pulled muscles come into the conversation and urgent dog walking needs to be taken care of… any excuse so as not to have to run the line!
As coach of the team, I haven’t had to run the line for a couple of years… that was, until this week, when I’d gone to watch one of my boys play. Over came the coach, and before I knew it, I was the one preparing to stand up to the shouting and ridicule!
So off I went tripping over the siblings sat too close to the pitch whilst trying to avoid the potholed parts of the touchline.
The referee was chairman of the club and pretty well qualified, with 15 years’ experience as the man in black. But twice in the first 10 minutes I raised the flag and wasn’t spotted. On the third occasion, I stood waving away trying to get the attention of the referee to a chorus of “you must be joking!” from opposition players and parents alike.
“Does he know you’re there?” quipped one of comedians. Up my arm went again as the opposition started another attack. “NEVER!” shouted their manager who was standing half way down the pitch obviously in a better position than myself. I wondered why I was bothering!
During an attack in the second half the ball was put in the net by a boy clearly standing in an offside position. “I’ve given it,” shouted the referee to much cheering from the opposition players and parents.
I asked him if he’d again failed to spot my flag waving. “Look,” he said, “I’ve given it; you were too slow.”
“Too slow?! I am not a professional linesman,” I was about to say – but the moment was gone and I still had a job to do… not that I was enjoying it much!Needless to say I was glad when the final whistle blew and I could give the flag back to the referee.
“Thanks”, he said, with a smile.
In fact that was the only thing that prevented this from being a completely thankless task.
The point of all this – youth soccer coaching may come with many pitfalls and frustrations, but the rewards are plentiful, and real, and when you do things correctly, it really does get noticed.
There are many worse roles in soccer – running the line being one of them!
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Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer News, Soccer Skills, Soccer Training | Tags: defence pushing up, defending, holding the defensive line, offside
By David Clarke
I wrote an article in Soccer Coach Weekly last year about defenders holding their line once the first attacking ball had been headed away. It’s a bit like holding lines on a battlefield. If the defenders don’t all step up following the ball, or they go at different speeds the defensive line is not as effective.
Here’s the best way to set up a practise session to get defenders to keep the line together and move as one thereby denying space to the attacking team. At 11-a-side it also means you can experiment with offsides.
How to play it
Set this up in half of the pitch – it’s a good exercise for all ages, and for 7-a-side as well as 11-a-side – use only three defenders
for 7-a-side games. Have two wide players to cross in balls and you stand in the middle to give a variety on the angle the ball will come in. All balls are aimed at the central defenders.
Defenders step up behind header
Tell the two wide defenders to push in as soon as the central defender moves forward to attack the ball so that the amount of space for the attacking team is shut down – look for co-ordination
of movement between the back four to cover the space behind the player.
© Soccer Coach Weekly