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Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke is head coach and editor of Soccer Coach Weekly, providing thousands of subscribers worldwide with drills, insight and advice covering all aspects of coaching.

Soccer drills and small-sided games by Dave Clarke

Why a possession-based game works

in Email newsletters, Tactics

As coaches we are all obsessed with keeping possession of the ball... of course we are the best teams all do it and if you've got the ball the opposition can't score. And there is just that other coach called Pep Guardiola who swears by it... MORE

players training

Dominate your opponents

in Email newsletters, Tactics

Fast is a word I like to use when my teams are attacking. Do it with speed and watch the opposition shrink away from it. It makes life difficult for your opponents and helps your team to dominate when in possession of the ball. MORE

Tactics and formations

Sort out your match day tactics

in Email newsletters, Tactics

The season has suddenly taken off again after 4 months of Coronavirus lockdown. I've been coaching for 14 hours for the last two weeks in an attempt to get the players back into some kind of shape for playing matches. It has its benefits but also it has a downside. Two of my players picked up injuries, one an ankle injury and the other had what he called "tired legs". Find out how we got on... MORE

Time your attackers

in Attacking, Shooting

The time trial game places the attackers under high pressure in order to get them to attack at top speed and score goals in the allotted time. How many goals can the attacking team score before the time runs out? MORE

Go forward or switch

in Attacking, Tactics

Players need to be able to create space to either play forward or switch play. It helps them to set up positive attacking options. Moving the ball quickly with both long and short passes gives teams the chance to create 1v1 situations or overloads which are key situations for exploiting the opposition. Knowing when to... MORE

Fast with the pass

in Attacking, Passing

Fast passing games help teams to keep the ball when they play in matches. This unopposed game helps develop first touch, movement and accuracy. Great session to get teams passing the ball with speed. MORE

Controlling balls in the air

in Ball Control and Footwork, Email newsletters

I was talking to a coach this week about how to control balls in the air, especially when heading the ball in training is off the menu for most clubs. I imagine that there will be much more of a contest to win the ball with a volley once it has dropped from head height. So how do you coach controlling balls in the air? MORE

Good behaviour on match day

Who’s to blame – the players or their parents?

in Email newsletters

This week I have been reunited with parents and players from my teams because the club I coach at has used the Easter school holidays to give back to the players what they have been missing for the last four months. So this week I have been coaching full days – around 7 hours – in three sessions. I've coached U9s, U10s and U13s boys and U11 girls. I really enjoy it but it does come with some very obvious problems. MORE

Relight their fire!

in Email newsletters, Return to play

Now we are back playing matches and training after nearly four months of lockdown I can certainly notice the difference in my players. It isn't like when they come back from summer holidays because that is usually just down to a bit of fitness and rusty match play. So how can you relight their fire? MORE

De-stress your player trials

in Email newsletters

Player trials are likely to be one of the most stressful events facing young players after they have been missing games due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Even the most confident players will get stressed out when they have to put their talents on show to a new group of coaches and players. And now without the help of a full season behind them they will feel a lot more exposed than normal. MORE

Play wide, play fast

in Email newsletters, Tactics

I've watched every game that Leeds United have played under Marcelo Bielsa in the Premier League this season, and boy is it fast! It is a game played with fluidity right across the pitch at speed – crosses fly into the penalty area. And if you lose the ball to them they counter attack in an instant, a great tactic for youth teams. MORE

Close attacking passes

in Attacking, Passing

Often in crowded areas of the pitch teams lose the ball by trying to hold on to it or with misplaced passes. Short passing in areas like the penalty area is key to keeping the ball and creating space for the goal scorers. MORE

Striker anticipates through balls

in Attacking, Shooting

Playing a ball into a striker in space gives that player the chance to run with the ball and beat a player and smash the ball into the net. Use this session to give your receiving strikers practice in beating players and scoring goals. MORE

Exploring the principles of play

in Podcasts

Dave Clarke spoke to Peter Prickett about what lies behind his 3v3 philosophy and how coaches can use that when they are working with their players. Peter has just published his latest book called Football's Principles of Play and he explains what he sees as the main principles of play, how they have changed alternative principles and games to bring them out. MORE

Skills corridor

in Ball Control and Footwork

This session aims to bring an individual skill into a game context. Skills usually happen as players run with the ball and meet an opponent. Getting players to use the skill unopposed is key to the session. MORE

Long pass to switch play

in Attacking, Passing

This gets players to understand the importance of playing a long ball after keeping possession. It comes in handy in a match situation when your team is attacking and switching play from one side to the other or when hitting a long ball to the strikers to start an attack. MORE

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