Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice


Play with your head up

Passing

Many young players look at the ball when they should be scouring the pitch for opportunities of where they can pass it. If you can get their heads up for twice as long as they are at the moment, that’s twice as many signals, runs and goalscoring opportunities they can spot.And here’s the perfect session to test it:

How to play it

  • You need cones, bibs, balls and two pop-up goals.
  • Use the centre circle of your pitch and place the goals back to back in the middle.
  • I’ve used three teams of three, but vary player numbers to suit.
  • Two teams start in the circle, while the other – a neutral team that plays for the team in possession – runs around the outside.
  • Opposing teams can score in either goal but a player in possession must play a one-two with an outside player before he can shoot.
  • Play for five minutes then teams swap roles.
  • Progress to two or even one-touch if you want to make the challenge harder.

Technique and tactics

  • The team in possession must look up and be alert to opportunities, passing to team mates but also using outside players to control the game, while working overloads that create space for players to run into.
  • The defending team needs to quickly decide on a tactic to protect the two goals or they will be overrun.
  • As well as vision, you’re looking for players to use their imagination, with individual as well as team skills.


Try these two 5-minute warm ups

Strength and Power

davidscwnewThis is an excellent warm-up that practises good ball skills whilst getting players ‘switched on’ in terms of movement, speed and ball control. Players should get a good feel of the pace of the ball when they take the shot at goal – the ‘race’ adds pressure.

Screen shot 2016-07-11 at 17.16.03

SET UP

Arrange the players in pairs and tell them to react to your whistle. You need balls in each part of the warm-up.

HOW TO PLAY IT

Whistle 1 – the players sprint into the first area where the first one to the ball must keep it and hold the other player off. After 15 seconds the coach whistles again…

Whistle 2 – the players leave the ball and sprint into the second area, again trying to be first to the ball and hold the other player off. After 15 seconds the coach whistles again.

Whistle 3 – the players react and sprint to get a first time shot at goal. The players then become servers. The servers now jog back to the starting position. The whistles work on a conveyor-belt effect. On each whistle a new pair is entering an area that the previous pair has just left.

Speed and Agility Ladder

This five minute fitness drill can be used during your training sessions for a quick break to help coaching points sink in, or as an incentive for a drinks break

Speed ladders are excellent for player speed and fitness but if you haven’t got one you can mark out the rungs of the ladder with cones.

Screen shot 2016-07-11 at 17.16.49

HOW TO DO IT

Forward hops – 3 in 1 out

Hop forward on one leg

One hop in each square

Every 3 hops step once out of the ladder onto the other leg

Continue this sequence until ladder is complete

Ground contact on balls of feet. Repeat 5 times.

Rest 60 seconds between repetitions

 



SWITCHED ON: Move the ball into space

By David Clarke

davidscwnewThis session will give players the confidence to use their craft and vision to be able to switch play from one side of the pitch to the other

Why use it

It is crucial for young players to know how to switch play so they can exploit space by moving the ball from one side of the pitch to the other. They can do this either by using a long pass or a series of quick, short passes.

Set up

Create a 30×15-yard area split into three 10-yard zones. Mark out three gates along the two lines that create the centre zone – the gates should be one yard wide and evenly spaced along the line. We’re using three teams of four, one in each zone. You will need balls, bibs and cones.

How to play

In their groups of four, get the players to work out how many ways they can get the ball from one side to the other: one long pass; three short; one short, one long etc. After five minutes split the middle team in two – one pair defends the three gates on one side and one pair defends the gates on the other side. The two outside teams must try to pass quickly in order to find a chance to get the ball through one of the gates. Rotate teams every five minutes.

Technique

Having three goals and only two defenders means attackers will be keen to hunt out space to score.

Soccer Coach Weekly

SoccerCoachWeekly



Create goals from midfield session

davidscwnewIf you want your players to create goalscoring chances, try this exciting and fast-moving game and you’ll soon see the benefits.

WHY USE IT

This is a session aimed at getting players to create and utilise space in midfield. With quick passing and movement, it will help open up the opposition and make goalscoring chances.

SET UP

Create a playing area 40×20 yards, with two goals back to back across the middle, but just one goalkeeper. We’re using eight players and a keeper for this session, plus a server who can be the coach. You need bibs, cones, balls and two small goals.

HOW TO PLAY

Start by serving a ball into the game. Players can score in either of the two back-to-back goals. If the keeper gains possession or the ball leaves the area, serve a new ball in. The keeper puts any balls he gathers into the net behind him. When a goal is scored, immediately serve another ball into the game.

TECHNIQUE

Creating space in a match situation with fast and accurate passing will open up the room for midfielders to exploit. In this game, a quick switch of play allows players to take advantage of one of the goals being unguarded – they must be aware of the position of the keeper at all times.



FEEL THE WIDTH Three different types of cross

davidscwnewThis is a complex drill to help players develop three different kinds of cross.

WHY USE IT

The session aims to coach players to score more goals from crosses and to show that changing the pace of play and the angle of attack are key instruments in unlocking the opposition. Using wide areas is an important part of attacking play.

SET UP

Create a playing area that is wider than long by using the width of the pitch you normally play on (mini, 9v9 or full size) and half that size for the length (so mini would be 30 wide x 15 deep and full size would be 60×30). Split it into six equal squares.

You need a goal, balls, bibs and cones. We’re using 17 players in a 9v8 overload.

HOW TO PLAY

Players are locked into areas, except for the full backs, who look to join the attack and create situations to cross the ball.

TECHNIQUE

We’re looking for three different types of crosses here: the David Beckham cross, just entering the final third; the Ashley Young cross, cutting inside and swinging it across; and the Leighton Baines cross, running to the byline and whipping it in.

This session came from Soccer Coach Weekly.

Interested in more exercises? Try these links:

1. Pressing in key areas – Steve Kean

2. Defending when outnumbered

3. Tomb raiders



Simple shooting set up… goals from everywhere

Diamonds Add Sparkle

By David Clarke

If you want your players to score long range goals like Frank Lampard does from midfield, try this fun game that rewards anyone shooting from distance.

WHY USE IT

Shots from outside the penalty area are very effective at all age groups. They can go straight into the net past a bemused keeper or bounce back from a defender or keeper to give easy rebounds. It’s a great way to get your team scoring.

SET UP

The pitch is diamond shaped to help draw the players towards goal. The number of players you use will determine the size of the pitch. We’ve used 12 players including keepers in a 40×30 yards area. You need cones, balls and a goal.

HOW TO PLAY

Play two attackers and three defenders in each of the two separate areas of the pitch. Players must stick to their areas as much as possible. The attackers are there for rebounds or shots from close range.

SCORING

Players get points depending on how they score. The points system encourages players to shoot from their own half because the rewards are much greater: goals scored from a player’s own half are worth 5pts; from a rebound 3pts; scored in opposition half using a first-time shot 2pts; and any other goal 1pt.

This session came from Soccer Coach Weekly.

Interested in more exercises? Try these links:

1. Pressing in key areas – Steve Kean

2. Defending when outnumbered

3. Tomb raiders



Score with both feet

davidscwnew

The best attackers can shoot with either foot… is this true? Well attackers that can shoot with either foot have more opportunities to score so the individual will be much better placed if they can score with the foot that naturally takes the ball towards goal.

The complete attacker should be able to at least direct the ball on target with both feet even if one has a more powerful shot than the other.

Young players instinctively go for their preferred foot so you need to get them shooting with both of them or they will come to rely on one foot rather than the other.

I often see attackers, even professional attackers, making awkward shapes with their bodies so they can use one foot rather than the one they should use. Once again it’s down to the amount of practice they do and how they practise.

I like this great exercise  to get my players shooting with both feet:

How to set it up

Use an area 40 yards by 30 yards with two goals and two goalkeepers.

How to play it

  1. The shooter makes a long pass to the coach and runs to receive the ball back.
  2. The player now shoots with one foot.
  3. After shooting, the player reacts and runs to receive a second ball from another server and shoots with the other foot.

How to rotate it

After completing the circuit, the player becomes a server for the next shooter.




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