Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

Zlatan misses an open goal for Sweden this week
May 30, 2014, 11:51 am
Filed under: Dave Clarke | Tags: , , , , , ,


Volley like Zlatan Ibrahimovic

David ClarkeIbrahimovic did not have a great Euro 2012 but in Sweden’s final game against France the Milan forward scored a stunning volley. From16 yards in the 54th minute Ibrahimovic arced into the air and his falling volley flew off his laces and into the net as he swept his right foot through the ball to connect with Seb Larsson’s deep cross.

Lots of your players will have seen the goal since, and all will be keen to do something similar. But it isn’t easy. It requires great technique just like Wayne Rooney’s overhead kick against Manchester City last season.

Here’s my guide to helping players pull off the perfect volley

  • Tell your players to keep their eyes focused on the ball and to get into the line of flight
  • Get them to use their arms for balance
  • Tell them to imagine a strike zone in front of them and to keep their head still
  • They should plant their non-kicking foot on the ground, and leading with the knee, bring the kicking leg through
  • The leg should be slightly bent, with the toes pointing down and the ankle held firm
  •  They should strike the centre or top half of the ball with the instep and keep their head over the ball to keep the volley down
  • As with most aspects of the game, practice makes perfect, so regularly build volleying technique into your training sessions as it is a skill that can be effective in any area of the pitch, and by any player.

Here’s a great game to get your players volleying:

How to set it up

  • Arrange your players into two teams.
  • They should stand 10 yards from three cones, which are placed side by side, two yards between each.
  • You and a helper act as servers stood a further three yards back behind the cones.

Getting started

  • You and your helper continually throw balls to your allocated team. Each player, in turn, must try to volley the ball towards any of the three cones, knocking the ball off the top.
  • The first team to knock all three balls off is the winner.
  • As the players become more proficient at the skill, get them to experiment with half volleys and chest volleys.
  • The same set-up can be adapted for headers.

Why this works

This fun warm-up game develops volleying ability. It’s a tough art to, but the ability to bring the ball down is crucial in helping a team move back into a passing game. This warm-up also encourages players to keep their eyes on the ball, directing it downwards towards the floor.

Using near post corners when the pitch is too wide

How often do you get to grounds with wide pitches and your corner taker can’t reach the middle of the penalty area so you watch corner after corner go to waste?

Tactics go out of the window as your players try to kick the ball harder but just cannot reach their team mates.

I’ve coached my team to use a near post tactic which catches the defenders off guard and creates goal scoring opportunities in front of goal.

1. The corner taker plays a quick ball into the player on the near post along the ground.
2. The receiver moves towards the ball to get it.
3. He plays the ball back to the corner taker who has moved to the edge of the penalty area.
4. The ball is played to the edge of the D where one of your midfielders has moved into position.
Isolate the defender with quick movement

Diagram 2 shows a close up of the initial move. The corner taker and two receivers have moved quickly so the circled defender is isolated in no man’s land. Players are moving to the ball and must be quick to control and pass.
The other attackers pull defenders away

Diagram 3 shows how the defenders have moved to cover the attackers they expect the ball to be played to. The two circled attackers have not only pulled the defenders away opening up a route to goal from the penalty area, they are also in the perfect position to score from any rebounds.

Watch the highlights from Barcelona versus Sporting Gijon and see how often Barcelona attack the near post. Their first two goals come from corners played towards the near post or the front part of the penalty area. They don’t cross deep first time it usually goes short first.

The highlights also show some wonderful skills and it in HD so worth taking a look at:

 Soccer Skills and Drills

Teaching young players to dummy before shooting

There are some fantastic attacking players around these days. They can make even the best defenders go the wrong way with a dummy move that gives them space to get off a shot at goal.

Watch Cristiano Ronaldo and he is always selling dummies and finding space where he shouldn’t. I watched Zlatan Ibrahimovic playing for Inter Milan a couple of weeks ago against AC Milan. He was moving and changing direction to put off the defenders.

So how do you go about coaching young players to grow into the boots of these players? It’s all about practice and allowing them to look clumsy as they do it. It isn’t easy because young players can find it difficult to do these sorts of skills, so you have to try, try and try again.

I like this clip of an Australian coach showing his players how to dummy and shoot. It gives you a clue as to how you should be doing it and what to expect.

 Soccer Skills and Drills