Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

Should you allow your players to showboat?

Mario Balotelli’s attempt to score with a backheel during Manchester City’s pre-season friendly against LA Galaxy, resulted in him being taken off by his manager Roberto Mancini and instantly replaced by James Milner.

Team mate Edin Dzeko, who was up alongside Balotelli as he tried his trick, threw his arms up in exasperation. The LA Galaxy fans whistled, as he trudged off, Balotelli argued with his manager and threw a water bottle on to the pitch.

Mancini said: “In football you always need to be professional, always serious and in this moment he wasn’t professional.”

A player should never try to embarrass the opposition. Nor should a player embarrass themselves in the manner that Balotelli did with his rather pathetic attempt to score.

Last November, Cristiano Ronaldo upset Atlético Madrid when he bounced the ball off his back when they were losing 2-0 to Real Madrid. It is seen as disrespectful therefore players should avoid doing it.

If one of my players tries to showboat even in a meaningless match I too would take him off. Young players will have seen the incident because Balotelli made such a mess of it. Don’t be surprised to see them trying it at your next coaching session – if it happens you know what you have to do.

Watch the Balotelli incident below:


Make a trickster part of your team

Rodney Marsh, Stanley Bowles, Gerry Francis, Tony Currie,Trevor Francis and Roy Wegerle and now Adel Taarabt – the English Championship club Queens Park Rangers has had its fair share of flair players.

Everyone loves to watch a player who can do tricks with the ball and mesmerise their opponents – as long as they’re on your team. Taarabt was signed by Martin Jol as a 17-year-old when he was manager of Tottenham Hotspur.

However he initially was not a team player he was all about personal glory and a showboating player cannot afford to neglect the team or their team mates will soon get tired of it. This is especially true in youth teams where showboating individuals can put their team mates off and they stop passing the ball to them.

Harness the talent though and get them playing for you as part of the team and a bit of showboating can go a long way when they play matches. I have a player in my team who can run rings around opposition players but in the past he has run up a blind alley, lost the ball and put his team at risk of counter attacks. But now he doesn’t do that.

A lot of hard work and coaching has seen him become man of the match twice in a week and his team mates are loving playing with him.

Taarabt too has been transformed at QPR where he is now at the heart of the team and wears the captains arm band – but he still showboats and can beat players with audacious skills. This has seen his team top the league since the beginning of the season and should be his ticket back to the English Premier League.

If you have a showboater in your team, don’t stop them doing it just get them to use it at the right time and put the team first.

Watch this clip of his skills:

Let your players showboat to win the 1v1s

davidscwnewI know it can be irritating sometimes when your team is playing well but everything is undone by a player who tries something different and ends up losing the ball – a backheel for instance.

However, you should let your players try out these little acts of showboating because if they can use them at the right time it could be the thing that lets them win the 1v1s.

This is all about the player making the right decision when to use a clever bit of skill, but with some players the only way they will learn when to do it and when not to do it, is to get it wrong during a game.

So if a player tries to dribble out of their own penalty area rather than pass it out and they lose the ball the team suffers and what seemed like a good idea to the player is clearly seen to have been a bad idea.

Let the players try out skills they have learnt at home from watching the professionals on TV and don’t be cross when they make the wrong decisions. Players who learn when the right time to use clever skills is will probably end up being match winners for your team.

In the clip below watch Gotze, Alves, Bale and Lewandowski use showboating skills to win the 1v1s.