I would say that most coaches believe that it’s very important for all soccer players to be very comfortable with the ball at their feet. How they go about developing this confidence varies widely from one coach to another. Some will focus on fast footwork exercises, others will use cones or other obstacles to encourage players to keep the ball under control.
I’ve had the most success using fakes and moves to train ball control, creativity and 1 v 1 ability at the same time. The moves engage the player’s imaginations and make it fun to practice. I discussed which Continue reading ‘1 v 1 Training’ »
As the year progresses I like to add more functional activities to replace purely technical exercises. Not only do the players enjoy activities that are game related more I’ve also seen a greater transfer of training when I use them.
I prefer drills, exercises and games that are progressive; moving from low pressure to full pressure. They allow the player to have initial success but then be challenged by the ever increase pressure of Continue reading ‘Progressive Finishing Game’ »
Like many coaches I focus on one particular aspect of the game during each training session. Sure, I try to train the technical, tactical, physical and psychological components around the specific skill so that the practice is as economical as possible. But in the past if my focus was on passing and receiving I wouldn’t have thought about ending the session with any type of shooting.
When WORLD CLASS COACHING conducted a tour of Dutch club a few years ago I was fortunate enough to attend. While visiting the Ajax Academy I watched a session presented by Continue reading ‘Shooting at the End of Every Practice’ »
For me, the beginning of the season revolves around getting a group of players to work together within a framework of a system. Lately that system has been the 4-3-3. This involves teaching each player the role and responsibility of their position: How the defenders work together to stop attacks and win the ball. How the midfielders connect the team together. How the attackers create goalscoring opportunities. All of this gives the players a starting point but the most important learning comes next.
Helping the players to think and act creatively within the framework of the system is what will Continue reading ‘Encouraging Combination Play’ »
Is it time to start ‘Fall’ practices again already! If you’re like me you found yourself asking this question this week. I don’t know where the summer break went but it’s gone.
Like the first few series of the football game, I like to plan out my first few weeks of training way ahead of time. I know I want to cover a number of topics including some technique to knock the rust off. I also want to start talking about how were going to Continue reading ‘First Practice of the Year’ »
Can you teach creativity? Some coaches believe that players are either creative or their not. Certainly there are players that we can all name that appear to be, ‘naturally’ creative but I believe that most players need to learn to be creative.
I don’t think that you could have put Mozart in front of a piano at seven years old and he could just start playing. Learning the basic patterns and structures is vital first step in the process. Once you understand the framework and basic skills you can start to put things together in new an innovative ways.
I take this same approach when working with my teams when it comes to ideas for attacking. I like to give them a number of different attacking patterns to work on before freeing them to see what the defense is giving them and deciding how they can take advantage of it.
Since this is the first year I’ve implemented a 4-3-3 formation with any of my teams, I turned to an expert for idea on both the attacking and defensive Continue reading ‘Attacking Patterns in the 4-3-3’ »
I’m in favor of teaching young players to be very comfortable and confident with the ball by teaching them different fakes . During the initial learning phase I want the players to use them every time they get the ball. Some coaches have told me that you can’t teach creativity but I think you give them the tools and then teach them how to use them. This can look a bit rough at first as the kids get comfortable with the fakes but if they use them enough they learn when to use a move and when to choose another option.
There are so many different fakes you can teach that an important question becomes Continue reading ‘Which Fakes to Teach Young Players’ »
I’ve always had a standing challenge to my teams (U13 and below), if they score a headed goal, I buy ice cream for the next practice. It’s been a way to encourage the players to try and score with their head if they can. This has been most successful with the girls teams I have coached. The extra incentive has become something that the team rallies around.
After spending a few weeks working on our combination play to score we played very well in our next games. Two of our three goals came from combinations in the middle of the field.
Another area that I’ve wanted to address Continue reading ‘Finishing from Volleys and Headers’ »
As I’ve written about several times, I’ve been going through the process of training one of my teams to play the 4-3-3 formation. I’ve always used a 4-4-2 or a 3-4-3 in the past so this has been a learning experience for me as well as the players.
I began with the defensive phase of the game to give the team a foundation to build on. They now have a good understanding of their responsibilities when we don’t have the ball and that has made us a tough team create chances against. As a part of this we’ve worked a great deal on getting our wing backs involved by pushing them forward when we win the ball. This put emphasis on our wide play and we’ve been able to generate a lot of our offense by attacking the flanks with both our wing backs and wingers.
The area that we have been lacking Continue reading ‘Teaching the Movement of the Forwards in the 4-3-3’ »
Welcome to the FineSoccer Drills Newsletter. Today’s featured activity works on attacking and counter attacking. There are some interesting teaching points on this subject (and many others) in the DVD Attacking: Coaching the English Professional League 4-4-2 by David Williams, former Manchester United U18 coach.
Start with 3 forwards and 2 midfielders attacking against 4 backs, 1 midfielder and a keeper on a half field with a full sized goal.
The attacking team is trying to score and can be as patient as they want in working the ball into spaces. There is nothing special about this game UNTIL THE Continue reading ‘Attacking and Counter-Attacking’ »