PODCAST Getting kids on your side

In this podcast Dave Clarke talks to Bill Stara about education coaches to get the best out of them and out of the kids they coach. He says: "Once kids understand you're primarily there for them to be successful they'll give you the world." MORE

Pressing v possession


Under pressure

This is all about teamwork and teammates using the ball or stopping opponents from winning it. Press hard and the defenders will win the three balls in the fastest time – the clock starts ticking the second the first ball is kicked so players must move quickly. MORE

Arrival activities

Arrival activities

Warm up circle

Great for any age group, getting brains warmed up with gentle running and getting players to concentrate and think about what they have to do. Simple but very effective. MORE

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Start games strongly

What I love about my U9s team is that when I come out to warm them up before a match they are all ready and sitting there waiting for me... with a cheer they all descend on the bag of training balls and start warming themselves up. MORE

Warm Ups

Dribble turn

This simple and fun activity is perfect for use on match days, allowing you to warm up your players with a quick burst of movement and a focus on technique MORE

Rondos passing


Line breaking passes

The key rondos passes can be used in tactical play during matches to play between the lines with the key play splitting lines of defence to create goalscoring runs MORE

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I use Rondos every session

When I am planning my coaching sessions or thinking about warm ups before a match I always start by planning in a Rondo. It is a great way to get players ready for training or for a match – and they never complain about doing it because they love it. MORE

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Stop match day mayhem

It was the first matches of the season in youth leagues up and down the country in the UK this week and it has been interesting to see the different reactions from the coaches I know. Most have been excited but some have been back to the “same old thing” with players turning up late and not being ready to play a match. MORE

warm up sprinting

Warm Ups

Agility square

Get brains and muscles into gear with this quick warm-up for training. It works on movement, agility and vision. MORE

Warm Ups

Player positions for support

Use this fast-paced training game to get two centre midfielders and a defensive midfielder moving quickly into positions to support each other, just like they would in a match. MORE

Keeper save volleys


Give goalkeepers confidence

This goalkeeper warm up is all about reacting to balls played close to the keeper and getting them to take ownership of the ball. The goalkeeper can make a huge difference to a team, with a confident player who can clear the ball taking the pressure off defenders. MORE

Small-Sided Games

Wingers dropping back


Overload your defence

This is an effective training session to teach your wingers to drop back into defence to help the team in order to double up on attackers and win the ball MORE

Organised to attack

Hit wide areas

This session focuses on hitting wide areas with the use of group attacks and switching. It works on the basic play used to develop attacking moves to get from one third to the next to create goal scoring chances. MORE

Throw for broke

A long throw when teams are in the attacking third of the pitch can be as effective as a corner kick or a free-kick. Use this session to identify a couple of players who can perfect the technique. Set up You need balls, bibs, cones and two goals. Set up an area 30 x 20... MORE

How to coach the midfield screen - part 1 Practice plans

The midfield screen

The midfield screen is a defensive line, shielding defenders from penetrating through balls and 1v1 situations. Use this session to get your midfield working as a unit to give the defenders behind them some protection. MORE

How to coach attacking in twos- part 1 Practice plans

Attacking in twos

Attacking in twos can be easy against a single defender. However, take away the overload advantage and your attackers’ decision making will be really tested. MORE


Closing Down Opponents

Central defenders and supporting players have a vital role in stopping the opposition’s build up play. Players will work on the defending angle of approach to try and force the attacker away MORE


Compact your team in midfield

This session places an emphasis on midfield units staying compact and being hard to penetrate when out of possession. It identifies specific defensive roles for midfield players making them more compact and difficult to penentrate MORE


Create cool defenders

A fun game that will encourage your defenders to be calm on the ball and confident in their passing. Having a defender cool enough to keep calm under pressure is an asset. This activity will help stop your defenders from panicking. MORE


How to stop clever attackers

Use this session to help defenders to decide whether to hold up play or win the ball when outnumbered, often the attacker will have their head down looking at the ball – the defender can hold a goalside position so the attacker has to look up which is the best time to force a mistake MORE


Attack from midfield

With youth soccer tentatively heading back to the playing fields now is the time to think about how and where your goals are going to come from next season. MORE


10 things to work on in training

For a possession-based game players need to be competent with ball control and decision making. Poor first touch or taking the wrong decision to dribble or pass will result in losing the ball. MORE


Who pulls the strings?

When you construct your team often the missing player is the midfielder orchestrator; the one player who pulls the strings, who has great vision, who works between the lines and who can unlock the most stubborn of defences. MORE

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