Posts tagged ‘Passing’

Train Like the Dutch

There are a number of books that I return to again and again for ideas and inspiration. Dutch Total Football is one of those books.


The author, Terry Michler, has studied the Dutch methodology over many years. This book is a in-depth review of all aspects of their system. It includes a history of Dutch soccer beginning with Continue reading ‘Train Like the Dutch’ »

Transitioning From Indoor to Outdoor Soccer

While much of what I do during the Futsal season is intended relate to soccer in general and not just Futsal, there is still an adjustment period that my teams go through when we move from indoor to outdoor. The two areas that I focus on during the transition are recognizing and playing longer passes and finishing with a different ball, on the larger goal.

Shooting sessions to prepare the players for the different Continue reading ‘Transitioning From Indoor to Outdoor Soccer’ »

Preparing for Super F National Finals

The purpose of the winter Futsal league is mostly to keep the player’s foot on the ball during the cold midwest winter. But each year the teams in our club participate in the Super F National Finals. The tournament brings together teams from around the United States in age groups from U8 through Men’s Open. The tournament is great way to end the Futsal season and bring together all of the technical and tactical work we’ve done throughout the winter.

Being able to hold the ball under pressure is Continue reading ‘Preparing for Super F National Finals’ »

Keeping Sessions Fresh During the Winter

With our harsh Midwest winters we are forced to do most of our training indoor. This usually means training in school gymnasiums. They vary in size but most are much smaller than the spaces we use outdoor and severely limit what training topics can be covered.

We do a lot of technical dribbling and passing work during this time because the players get a lot of touches, the sessions are easily scaled to the number of players at training and small spaces actually help to increase the pressure on the players. It requires them to keep closer control and be more aware of open space.

While these sessions are great for technical development, they are Continue reading ‘Keeping Sessions Fresh During the Winter’ »

Competitive Small Group Training

This is an excerpt from our latest book, ‘Competitive Small Group Training’ by Tony Englund.



As a long-time enthusiast of coaching books, I was struck recently in looking through my library that the vast majority of compilations of training exercises are based on either progressions from small numbers Continue reading ‘Competitive Small Group Training’ »

Creating Movement to Create Options

During the winter my teams play Futsal. I have always been frustrated by my team’s lack of movement and interchanging of positions. The players tend to stay in a small area which creates fewer options.

I put the following session together in order teach my players to pass, move and be aware of the movements of their teammates. If each time a player passes and moves another player slides to Continue reading ‘Creating Movement to Create Options’ »

Balancing Creativity and Decision Making

This is an area that I’m constantly thinking about. Especially with players that are moving from one developmental stage to the next. My focus currently is on my U10 that plays in a U11 division. We have focused on individual technique to the point where they are very confident with the ball. But at times this confidence betrays them because at times they hold the ball with they should pass.

Toward the end of the season I’ve spent more time possession and decision making. We’ve played a lot of keep away games where making the right choice is rewarded and the rules are structured to encourage ball movement.  I’ve been careful not to make the rules to restrictive. I don’t want to dampen their enthusiasm or lessen their confidence.


A warm-up game that I’ve often used starts with all of the players dribbling in one half of the area. One defender from each team enters the other team’s area and tries to win the ball or force the players to dribble out of bounds. When a player loses their ball they stay in the area and helps their team mates by providing a passing option. The game eventually because 5 v 1. This is a great warm-up and starts to work on the possession tactics.


A natural progression is to play a focused possession game with limited pressure. My team has done well playing 4 v 2 recently although it didn’t start out smoothly. At first they struggled to play quickly and retain possession. They would dwell on the ball too long and often play back into pressure because they didn’t have they’re body open to the field which limited their options. They have begun to understand the importance of proper body position so they are having more success keeping possession.

At times I limit the number of touches but letting them play with unlimited touches allows for more creativity so I’d rather make the space smaller to provide more pressure.


This transitional game is our next step. The team in possession gets a point for every five passes they make in a row. The defending team starts by sending two player but they add one ever time the attackers complete five passes. This increases the pressure and complicates the decision making. When the defenders win the ball they must move it back to their side of the field before counting passes.


Moving to end zone games gives the game direction but still puts a premium on possession while giving the players a lot of latitude to be create. I like to start with 4 v 4 so that situations can be related back to the 4 v 2 game.

Teaching young players to be comfortable and confident with the ball will mean that they want to express themselves and use their skills beat opponents and score goals. As they mature and the game moves from 6 v 6 to 8 v8 and then to 11 v 11 the challenge is to teach structure without discouraging creativity.

How do you strike a balance between creativity and decision making with your young players?

Have a great day!


Teaching Three Runs to Create Options

This is one of those sessions that I read or saw another coach present but I can’t recall where. I wish I could give the coach credit because I’ve found it to be a very useful session to teach players how to make runs for their teammate with the ball.

The three runs that this session focuses on are checking, drifting and Continue reading ‘Teaching Three Runs to Create Options’ »

Playing Out of the Back

The year our club is emphasizing the need for our teams to learn to play out of the back from goal kicks and goalkeeper possessions. It will take time for the players to learn how to maintain possession under pressure and build up an attack. There will also be times when we give up goals because of mistakes by the goalkeeper and defenders. However, the long term up-side far out weight the loss of a goal or even a game. If we train our players to deal with pressure and play around it from the back, they will be better able to do this all over the field.

This starts with our youngest teams. Here is how we want our U8, U9 and U10 teams to take goal kicks: Continue reading ‘Playing Out of the Back’ »

Recovery Session

We’ve had a lot of games rescheduled this season because of the crazy weather had. We even had snow the first weekend in May that caused the fields to be closed.

My U14 girls play in a local league as well as the Midwest Regional League (MRL) in addition to the occasional tournament. But all of that leads up to the most important tournament of the year, State Cup. The winner of State Cup goes to Regionals to play the 21 State Cup Champions from our Region. The winners of each of the four Regions in the U.S. progress to the USYS National Championship which will be held at the Overland Park Soccer Complex this summer.

I originally arranged our schedule so that the games were spaced nicely with sufficient time for training, rest and recovery but the rained out games have piled up and now we’re looking at about 15 games in 27 days. Warm-ups, cool-downs and Continue reading ‘Recovery Session’ »