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Stay on top of the latest drills, games and practice plans with the Soccer Coach Weekly email newsletter. Sign up below and check out the arhcive of previous posts.


The dribble: how and why we coach it

in Ball Control and Footwork, Email newsletters

I was out walking on the local golf course where I live this week and in the distance I saw a child running from what seemed miles away at top speed. As the child got closer I realised that it was someone dribbling a ball. Of course on the fairways it was like being at Wembley on a well cared for football pitch! It was great to see a child enjoying dribbling a ball, chipping over the bunkers and swerving around the patches of heather that catch out an unwary golfer. MORE

Performance and well being

in Email newsletters, Tips and advice

At the United Soccer Coaches Digital Convention yesterday I was in the presentation by Dan Abrahams on performance of your team with well being in mind. He explored three environmental approaches and combines them to help you establish a healthy and safe coaching environment for players of all ages and levels. MORE

Turn at training… or at home

in Ball Control and Footwork, Email newsletters

Turning with the ball has always been a skill that draws names from the great players through the ages – think of the Cruff turn or Zidane spin turn. It used to make me wonder how players like Lionel Messi, Andrés Iniesta, Zinedine Zidane or Johan Cruyff could turn their opponents inside out, game after game – I now know it needs practice and from a young age. MORE

Communicate on the pitch

in Email newsletters, Small Sided Games

One of the ways to improve your team in 2021 is to get them communicating on the pitch. Players do this by verbal and non verbal actions, like pointing where they want a ball to be passed or calling for the ball when overlapping from behind like a fullback running outside a winger. MORE

A different kind of coach education

in Email newsletters, Podcasts

I launched my podcast this time last year, totally oblivious to the problems that were developing in the world. But as ever there is no difference to how I feel about coaching and once again by the time it gets to New Year's Day I find I'm itching to get back out on the pitch! So I read books, listen to some podcasts and generally boost my coaching knowledge sitting in the house. MORE

A Christmas joker is very creative

in Email newsletters, Tactics

In a couple of weeks once the decorations have come down it is back to (hopefully) full time training again. One training position I think about at this time of year is the Christmas joker. It's a very important position a bit like the star of the school play and it needs a player who is a big personality on the pitch.. MORE

Have some fun in the winter break

in Email newsletters, Fun soccer games

Sometimes the break can be annoying for teams that have been playing well - first the coronavirus has stopped the season then along comes the winter holiday. But to give the kids a break it is always a good idea to do things they love to play and have fun at the last training session of the year. MORE

Scoring goals for fun

in Email newsletters, Small Sided Games

We've had a lot of fun games this season with all the stopping and starting of the leagues due to coronavirus. But when I ask the players what it is they want to do they nearly always ask for a shooting game. With only one match left before Christmas this is a great time to work on the vital areas of the game like shooting at goal. MORE

Tactics and formations

Tactics and technique

in Email newsletters, Tactics

We do a lot of work on technique in grassroots training but just as important are the tactics that put the technique to good use. While it is important that the two are worked on separately at training don’t forget that they mutually reinforce each other while playing the game. So while technique is all... MORE

Intelligent possession

in Email newsletters, Passing

Keeping possession of the ball is key to winning games – if you have it your opponents haven't got it. There are tactical musts that go hand in hand with a possession game. Being aware of where the ball is and where your teammates are is essential so get your players to have a picture in their head of what they’re going to do with the ball before it comes to them. MORE

Tactics to play with two strikers

in Email newsletters, Tactics

Over the next few weeks I plan to work on box-to-box passing moves – counter-attacking play that involves passing and receiving between the lines, well-timed movements and crossover runs, and the exploitation of space behind the opposition’s back line. MORE

Increase the tempo at the end of matches

in Email newsletters, Tactics

One of the things I have done a lot of work on this season is getting my team to play right to the very end of matches. Not only that, whether we are losing or not in the last 10 minutes as a collective we up our game and try to score a goal. It helps us end on a positive note. MORE

Can you use zonal marking at grassroots level?

in Email newsletters, Tactics

Simple answer is “Yes”, particularly if your players regularly struggle to hang on to the attackers they are marking, or if they fail to organise themselves each time they face a corner or free kick. Given a set position, your players will grasp what they have to do and respond well to their part of the defensive responsibility. MORE

5 ways to shoot at goal

in Email newsletters, Shooting

These are five of my go to sessions when I want to coach shooting or to give my players a good workout using both feet to put the ball in the net... it's also the thing they love to do at training better than anything. MORE

How to coach a midfielder in tactics and techniques

in Attacking, Email newsletters

An attacking midfielder sets up so many goalscoring chances that it cannot be ignored in your coaching sessions. Once the midfielder wins the ball there are a number of important things to do that go through a players mind in a split second. Can I secure the ball? Can I pass into the striker? Can I play the ball wide and find space? ..... So how do you coach it? MORE

Reflect on your season so far

in Email newsletters, Team Management

In England it is the half term break and for my team this is the time of the season when we reflect on what has happened in these early stages. The leagues up and down the country will be adjusting leagues and promoting or relegating teams to play against a more appropriate opposition. Here's what to do if your team is struggling MORE

Develop players’ first touch

in Ball Control and Footwork, Email newsletters

That old joke about a player's second touch being a tackle to try to win the ball back is not always funny. Especially if it's your players losing the ball. Watching the Premier League over the last week it is clear that a player's first touch has never been more important with fast passing and receiving the key to the best teams I have watched. MORE

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