Posts tagged ‘Brazil’

Advanced Tactics for the 4-2-3-1

The 4-2-3-1 formation has become the system of choice for many of the worlds top professional and national teams like Real Madrid, Manchester United and Brazil. As coaches at every level have watched these top teams play they have looked for ways to implement the system with their college, high school and youth teams.

The first step in introducing a new way of playing s to break the system down and identify the most important components. The was done very well by Continue reading ‘Advanced Tactics for the 4-2-3-1’ »

Unique Small-Sided Games

I continue to run one practice per week outdoor with my older teams during the winter months when weather permits. This means that we are often training when the it’s pretty cold. On very cold days I organize small-sided games to keep the players moving and loose. They get a lot more out of playing games than they would if I tried to coach specific concepts.

Playing small-sided game should not be a matter of dividing up into two teams and throwing the ball out. My favorite small-sided games are those that demand specific skills or tactics to be successful. These are the games that really teach players something rather than just have them use the skills and knowledge they already possess.

Here are three small-sided games that are a bit different than those you may have seen before but they are trying to draw out something very specific from the players. These games come from, ‘Brazilian Training Games’. This is my favorite resource for unique small-sided games. This book has given me many good games that have worked well with my teams.

GAME 16 – Transition – 3 Games

Organization: 2 teams – 6v6 to 9v9 + goalie

Description: 3 games are played in a progression. The coach controls and changes the games with a whistle or a signal.

Game 1: Regular game in half of the field with 2 regular goals. Vertically
Game 2: Horizontally 4 goals games with each scoring in 2 goals.
Game 3: In the whole field a possession game is played with each team trying to get 5 consecutive passes = 1 point.

Observation: in both situations (game 2 and 3) the goalies become field players

Coaching Points:
– Positional adjustment
– Fast transition offensive thru defensive situation and vice- versa
– Communication

Variation:  2 or 3 touch on the ball restriction

Equipment: balls, discs, small goals

GAME 17 – Transition – 3 Games + Colored Balls

Organization: 2 teams – 6v6 to 8v8 + goalie

Description: Same game as #16, in this case the coach will add 3 balls with different colors developing 3 specific rules.
– 2 touches = white ball
– Ball on the ground = gray ball
– Weak foot = black ball

Coaching Points:
– Communication
– Speed of thought
– Speed of improvisation

Equipment: colored balls, discs and small goals

GAME 18 – Transition – 3 Games + Handball

Organization: 2 teams – 6v6 to 8v8 + goalie

Description: 3 games will be play in a progression. The coach control and change the games with a whistle or a signal.
Game 1: Handball Goal Vertically (played with the hands)
Game 2: Horizontally 6 goals games with each team scoring in 3 goals.
Game 3: In the whole field a possession game is played with each team trying to get 5 consecutive passes = 1 point.

Coaching Points:
– Positional Adjustment
– Communication
– Speed of thought

Equipment: Discs, small goals and balls

Unique Small-Sided Games

I continue to run one practice per week outdoor with my older teams during the winter months when weather permits. This means that we are often training when the it’s pretty cold. On very cold days I organize small-sided games to keep the players moving and loose. They get a lot more out of playing games than they would if I tried to coach specific concepts.

Playing small-sided game should not be a matter of dividing up into two teams and throwing the ball out. My favorite small-sided games are those that Continue reading ‘Unique Small-Sided Games’ »

Don’t Be Static When Attacking

One  of the problems with many teams attacks is players become static.  Midfielders stay behind the forwards, forwards stand and wait for the ball to be passed etc.

This activity works on movement, penetration, anticipation and combination in getting to goal.  Start with three gates, each 3 yards apart around 25 yards from goal.  There are three midfielders and 1 forward to start.  There is also a keeper in goal.  This type of activity is the type you will see in the DVD Teaching Tactics the Brazilian Way.

The midfielders pass amongst themselves and the forward must keep moving because the penetrating pass can only be made through one of the gates.

Once the ball is played through the gate, the forward has one touch to lay the ball back to one of the midfielders for a first time shot or pass.  Rather than waiting for the ball to be played all the way back, the midfielders would have to be moving to put themselves into position to receive the ball

Typically, you would want two of the midfielders making runs and one holding centrally.  By encouraging one to hold, it gets the midfielders in the habit of maintaining some shape and balance.

Next, do the same thing but now add two defensive midfielders.  This will force the players to work quicker and to work harder for better passing angles

With adding these two defenders, everything else stays the same.

Next, add a defender for the forward as well.

Depending upon your system of play and numbers, you can do this with 4 midfielders vs 3 defending midfielders and also have a second forward and defender in back.

This activity is a great way to work on movement, anticipation and passing while maintaining shape and balance in attack.

This type of activity is the type you will see in the DVD Teaching Tactics the Brazilian Way.

Have a great day!


Brazilian Transition Games

Brazilians learn the game by playing the game.  In many countries training sessions are focused around drills and exercises that isolate techniques and tactics.  Brazilian coaches spend most of their time creating playing environments with small-sided games that put an emphasis on the specific areas of the game but also train the player ‘globally’.

One of the most important tactics of the game is how your team will handle transitional situations. Small-sided games provide a great way to train your team to take advantage of them.

These games are from Brazilian Training Games. Incorporating these games into your training sessions will help you breakdown the game into realistic situations while focusing your players on competing and adding an element of fun to the practice that will increase their motivation to train and learn.

GAME 1 – Attack v Defense with 4 Goals

Organization: 2 teams – 6v6 to 10v10

Description: Classical Brazilian attack v defense game with 4 goals in the midfield. In all the attack v defense games, if the defenders score in the small goals or target they become strikers.

Coaching Points:
– Link midfield – forwards and defenders –  midfielders
– Speed of the game with and without the ball
– Change of direction

Variation: 2 touches for the offensive players and 3 for the defensive players

Equipment: 4 small goals, discs.

GAME 2 – Attack v Defense – Minimum Touches on the Ball

Organization: 2 teams – 6v6 to 10v10

Description: Similar to Game 1, in this case the offensive team plays 1 or 2 touch on the ball, if they take 2 touches, the second must be forward. Defenders get 2 or 3 touches; the 3rd touch must be forward.

Coaching Points:
– Fast link between the midfielders – forwards
– Speed of the game with and without the ball
– Build up from the back

Rule: The player can stay for 5 seconds in the channel.

Equipment: 3 small goals, discs

GAME 3 – Attack v Defense – Outside Channels

Organization: 2 teams – 6v6 to 10v10

Description: Similar to the game 1, with 2 free outside channels

Coaching Points:
– Link midfield – forwards and defenders –  midfielders
– Speed of the game with and without the ball
– Outside plays

Variation: 2 touch restriction (both defensive and offensive)

Rule: The players can only stay in the channel for 5 seconds

Equipment: 3 small goals, discs

GAME 4 – Attack v Defense – Shooting Bonus

Organization: 2 teams – 6v6 to 10v10

Description: Similar to the game 1, in this game every time that the offensive team finishes a ball on the goal or out, the coach crosses an extra ball into the box.

Coaching Points:
– Faster link from midfield to the offensive sector
– Shooting/finishing
– Defensive adjustment

Equipment: 3 small goals, discs.

A Brazilian Legend Retires

SAO PAULO – Brazilian football legend Ronaldo, who helped his country to two World Cup trophies and is still the tournament’s top scorer, retired yesterday, Brazilian media reported.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, Ronaldo (known as  ‘El Fenomeno’ during his prime), had held out hopes of one last World Cup in South Africa last year.

“I can’t take any more,” the 34-year-old star told the Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper.“I wanted to continue, but I can’t do it any more. I think of an action, but I can’t do it the way I want to. It’s time.”“It’s the body that’s hurting me,” he told Globo television. “The head wants to go on, but the body can’t take any more.

”Ronaldo has previously spoken about retiring at the end of the year. A number of injuries as well as the elimination of his club, Corinthians, from the Copa Libertadores, South America’s most prestigious club tournament, appears to have moved the date forward.

The Copa trophy, the equivalent of Europe’s Champions League trophy, is the only one that Ronaldo has not won in his spectacular career.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, the player known as ‘El Fenomeno’ during his prime had held out hopes of one last World Cup in South Africa last year.

He had fought off injury in the 2002 tournament to help Brazil to the trophy, ending the tournament as top scorer on 15 goals, a total that has no one has reached since.

Ronaldo scored 62 goals in 97 internationals with Brazil, but was never called up again to the national team after a disappointing performance at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
In the end though, he had to accept that his injuries and lack of match fitness had ruled him out.

Ronaldo had already fought back to fitness from three career-threatening injuries.

Along the way he picked up a string of honours, including the Fifa Player of the Year three times: in 1996, 1997 and 2002.

He play with some of Europe’s top clubs, including Barcelona and Real Madrid, Inter Milan and AC Milan.

But he was sidelined while playing for Inter by a knee injury in 1999 only to damage the same knee in his comeback for the club in February 2000, basically keeping him out of action until March 2002.

Ronaldo was a fan favorite in his time with Real Madrid. But his inability to control his weight as well as injuries led to his departure in 2007 for AC Milan. he ruptured a tendon in his knee in February of 2008 and that ended his carreer in Italy.

He returned to Brazil in 2009 signing with Corinthians in 2010 after working hard to regain his form.

Here are some of Ronaldo’s most memorable goals:

Speaking from the heart to US Soccer on how to win the World Cup

Today is an article by guest blogger,Vinicius Dos Santos.  Vinicius is the author of our best selling book and DVD, the Brazilian Box Midfield.

Speaking from the heart to US Soccer on how to win the World Cup

The joy of the task of playing the game of soccer is its own reward. The performance of
the task is sufficient to provide intrinsic reward itself. It is simply gratifying the act of
playing the game, with no need of external rewards for motivation purposes.

My concern with the youth is on the excessive emphasis on the assumption that
success is only possible thru external rewards. Modern studies about motivation and
drive, consider this approach outdated and much of what we used to believe about what
motivates us it isnʼt so anymore.

The operating system of youth soccer still believes that to improve performance and
generate excellence it is necessary to keep rewarding the good and punishing the bad –
all manipulated thru external-control. It may work for a short term boost but it sure does
harm long term performance by creating short term thinking, crush creativity, creates
dependency, creates possibility for unethical behavior (cheating), and expresses
someone elseʼs desires but the playerʼs one.

The reality is that soccer is much more a player driven sport than coach driven one. We
just keep denying the fact, in which intrinsic motivation has to be factor number one
when playing the game. So as it is everything in life.

For achievement of success and personal fulfillment the appropriate focus for younger
ages should concern less with external rewards that soccer brings (standings, records,
tournaments, State Cup, Regional and National competition) and more with the inherent
satisfaction by the simple act of playing the game. To play the game and benefit from its
excitement, thrills and enjoyment results will come as consequence of quality time spent
with the game.

What matters is the desire to do things because they matter, we like it, because they are
part of something important. Player engagement is crucial to elevate performance. But if
they do not see soccer as passionate as we are discussing here, then the level of
commitment and performance will be lower.

So there is no need to hire a foreigner to coach the US National Team, send players to
play in the EPL to learn passion, copy Brazil, learn state-of-the-art tactics – in order to
dream of winning the World Cup.

In fact, for now forget WC results – it is not going to happen until this focus is shifted –

There is no foundation for that, when the existent foundation only focus on controlling
coaching from very young ages; external structure/organization; severe result driven
developmental programs and youth club curriculums; youth soccer clubs non profit but
profit organizations – along with low player engagement and low player autonomy.

True quality happens thru autonomous kids with the ball feeling direct connection from
their hearts to the game. That brings mastery, the desire to get better and better
because it matters.

Perhaps soccer authorities and renowned coaches already spot my view point, but canʼt
figure out how to do it. Maybe is too late to undo the way it is, since too many other
interests are involved.

The secret of high performance is that unseen intrinsic drive.
The drive to do something for the own sake of doing it, the drive to do things because
they are meaningful.

Success is not the key to happiness, happiness is the key to success!

author of the best seller “The Brazilian Box Midfield”

England – Delusions of Grandeur

Okay, I must admit, the England v USA game went pretty much as I expected.  England playing poorly, USA playing better than many give them credit for and England finding a way to self destruct.

As I said last week, England seem to only have one world class player (in form, which rules out Gerrard) in Wayne Rooney and even he didn’t really do that much.  That’s not enough to rightfully expect to have a good World Cup.  And to make it worse, England is relying on bit part players and hoping they produces something special that they are only capable of producing every blue moon.  Shaun Wright-Philips is a classic example.  He is capable of producing something special, but only every now and again.  The majority of the time, he under performs.

Lennon is another example.  He is capable of taking on players and providing good service, but rarely does it.  And when he is given a chance at a shot, he seems to prefer to defer and look for the pass, which to me shows a lack of confidence.

Then we have other players who are simply not good enough.  Heskey for example is a solid front player, but doesn’t have the class needed to start for England.  Everyone was saying that if only he had scored the shot saved by Tim Howard, England would have won.  But that is the point.  He isn’t good enough to put the ball into the corner.  He is only good enough to shoot it blindly right at the keeper.  If he was good enough to score those type of chances regularly, he would at least be starting for Aston Villa, and he’s not.

Carragher, used to be an excellent defender.  But there is a reason he tried to retire from international football.  He knows he’s not the player he used to be.  It was shocking to see Altidore beat him physically the way he did.

So when you add it all up – Goalkeeper problems, a wobbly back line, a below par Gerrard, inability for Gerrard and Lampard to play well together, relying on bit part players like Wright-Philips, Lennon, etc. and forwards who are not good enough to start for their club teams (Heskey), then it all points to little or no chance for England yet again.

And that is why I find it strange, the delusions of grandeur that most English fans have.  I just don’t share it.

But let’s not take away from USA’s performance.  They played well.  At one point in the first half, they dominated possession 59 – 41%.  They looked good with their passing, Donavon was excellent, Altidore was an handful at times and Tim Howard was excellent.  I don’t think they have the quality to expect too much against the stronger teams though, but they are definitely capable of upsetting any team in this World Cup on their day.

Now to the teams who are capable of winning.  From those that have played up to now, Germany and Holland look the best.  Germany played exceptionally well, but it’s hard to judge because of the poor Australian team they faced.  Holland on the other hand, looked impressively well organized and clinical against a pretty good Danish team.

I’m looking forward to seeing Brazil and Italy play and then I might make a prediction of who will win.

World Cup Memories

I’m getting World Cup fever. Not sure why, England always seem to find a way to disappoint. Here are some personal memories of the World Cups I have enjoyed. I was born in 1962, so I have no memories of England’s win in 1966 and 1970 was the first World Cup I remember.

1970 – My oldest brother had Brazil posters all over his bedroom wall. So Brazil was always our second choice after wanting England to win. I remember tearing pages out of magazines with the players of the England squad and their bio’s. I went through a phase of wanting to be goalkeeper after seeing Gordon Banks save against Pele’s downward header. This didn’t last too long though. I remember coming home from school and seeing a game…I think it might have been against Romania, where they were kicking us all over the field. Of course the worst memory is when England lost in the quarter final to Germany after subbing Bobby Charlton off to rest him…we were 2-0 up at the time and lost 3-2. We watched the final at my Grandma’s house and all cheered for Brazil.

1974 – England didn’t even qualify for this World Cup…Poland beat us in qualifying. But we still watched all the games as normal. It was Dutch and their Total Football that caputured my imagination…and everyone elses. I still can’t figure out how they lost to Germany.

1978 – Yet another year when England didn’t qualify. Scotland grabbed a lot of peoples attention with Ally’s Army and played pretty well. I remember them losing to Holland when they had an early lead. Brazil were awful. They weren’t very good in 1974 but were even worse this time. Holland were spectacular…maybe better than they were in 1974, but lost to a very good Argentina team who enjoyed the advantage of playing in front of their own fans. Oh, and we all loved the throwing up of torn paper when the teams came out of the tunnel.

1982 – I don’t remember too much about England’s performances early on other than Bryan Robson’s goal inside a few seconds in the first game against France who we ended up beating 3-1. They had a strange system this year with 24 teams. The top two teams from each group were then placed in three-team round robing groups for the next stage. England drew with Germany and then needed to beat home team Spain to advance but drew 0-0. But the biggest thing I remember about this World Cup was the Brazilian team, which is my favorite all-time World Cup team. They just played incredible football with such style and grace. Unfortunately, they had two big weaknesses that hurt them…a poor GK and no center forward worthy of the strikers jersey. I still can’t believe how they ended up losing to Italy 3-2 when they only needed a draw to advance to the semi finals. Paulo Rossi didn’t seem to do anything other than score a ton of goals to help Italy win the whole thing.

1986 – A great World Cup in Mexico. England struggled in all their games and barely got out of the first group stages. Denmark looked unbeatable in group play and then got smacked 6-1 by Spain in the knockout stages. But this was the year of Maradonna. He was absolutely incredible. He single handedly won the World Cup for Argentina like no player before or since. He scored two incredible goals to knock England out in the quarter finals. One with his hand and one where he got the ball around the halfway line and just took it all the way to the six yard box and scored.

1990 – Was a pretty boring World Cup I think. England added some excitement by getting to the semi finals, but losing on PK’s to our German rivals. England had some luck to get to the semi’s but were also a decent team this year. We beat Belgium in the round of 16 with a David Platt goal late in extra time and then somehow managed to beat a Cameroon team in extra time that outplayed us in the quarter finals. The final was rather forgettable with Germany and Argentina for the second time in a row…this time the German’s prevailed.

1994 – I had moved to the U.S. by this time and went to my first ever World Cup game. I saw Germany v S. Korea in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. It was ridiculously hot at over 100 degreesjj. I remember Klinnsman practicing bicycle kicks during the warm ups and then scoring with one during the game. We were charged $5 for a glass of water and they wouldn’t let you take any water into the stadium with you. Germany led 3-0 and then the heat really got to them and they could barely walk in the last 20 minutes. Korea took it to them and almost came back but the game ended up 3-2. England didn’t even qualify this time. Brazil had finally made the transformation from their free flowing style of football to a more organized and disciplined style. It wasn’t the same Brazil, but good enough for them to win. And it was the first World Cup final to be decided on PK’s.

1998 – France were very impressive playing on home soil and caused an upset with a 3-0 win over Brazil in the final. England had a pretty good team and should have beaten Argentina in the round of 16. They played well in the first half but went to sleep while Argentina scored a great set play right before halftime to tie the game. This was the game where Beckham got red carded early in the second half and we had to play the rest of the game with just 10 men. England should ahve won when Sol Campbell scored a great header in extra time…I still don’t know why it was disallowed. But as usual, England lost on PK’s. I watched the game in a local bar and ended up getting to my soccer practice a little late right after the game.

2002 – This was the first World Cup where I noticed strong teams struggle because their players were just worn out from cumulative seasons of overplaying. France finished the bottom of their group and Portugal didn’t get out of their group when S Korea and the U.S. finished above them. But credit the U.S. Thye came in fresh, in great condition and took advantage by playing well. S Korea really caught the imagination of lots of people. They were incredibly fit and well coached and just overran every opponent until they lost in the semi final to Germany. Brazil won the whole thing, but I didn’t think they they were the Brazil of old.

2006 – Not much to remember about this World Cup other than the incredible head butt by Zidane.