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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.


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

Coach like the man behind Rangers title-winning season

in Email newsletters, Team Management

Rangers have won their 55th Scottish Premiership title and my congratulations go out to the Head Coach and mastermind of their win Michael Beale. I met Michael way back when he was a coach at the Chelsea Youth Academy in Cobham. We used to meet up and he’d give me sessions to use in Soccer Coach Weekly and that led to him writing a number of youth coaching books for Soccer Coach Weekly. MORE

Developing a number 10

in Email newsletters, Passing

Players who are creative are match winners... of that there is no doubt. I love to see a player dancing around with the ball slipping a pass through or taking on a challenge to whip the ball into dangerous areas of the opposition box. It's why they are so much in demand in the top teams around the world. MORE

Coaching the false 9

in Email newsletters, Tactics

I was asked this week "how do I coach the false 9?". The false 9 is very much back in fashion as we can see lots of teams have gone back to playing 4-3-3 where the attacking players can switch positions in the attacking third of the pitch. MORE

Returning to play or kicking on?

in Email newsletters, Return to play

At last an end is in sight to the sitting at home and meeting my team on Zoom twice a week. But what can I do with my players? There are no guidelines yet so I am waiting to see how this will all pan out. I know what to expect from my players, they will just want to play a game, score goals, make saves, cheer with each other, shout at each other and just generally get back to a normal world of all things football. MORE

1v1 skills to beat the goalkeeper

in Ball Control and Footwork, Email newsletters

Everyone finds it exciting when a player goes through 1 on 1 against the goalkeeper... if it's your attacker you are on the edge thinking this is it a goal, but if your team is defending you are looking for your goalkeeper to smother the shot. Attackers should score but often they will not due to a number of reasons like taking too long to shoot, missing the target, hitting the keeper with a shot and even slipping over. MORE

Small sided = game-led play

in Email newsletters, Small Sided Games

When you hear mentor's talking about getting your coaching point across to get the best out of your players, one of the ways to ensure all your players are tuning into your coaching is to use small-sided games. In these games you get a much clearer picture of which players are picking up on the coaching points you have been making. MORE

Coach better defending

in Defending, Email newsletters

It is not easy coaching in a pandemic. But one thing I know my players like doing is to give them a task to do which involves watching a match on TV. Say it's Charlie who plays left wingback ... he's a Chelsea fan so his task is to watch Ben Chilwell and give good things or bad things that happen when he is defending. The players love it! MORE

Watch and discuss training games online

in Email newsletters

I know that when I get my team back in training one of the first games we will play will be a series of Rondos. They are food and drink to my players and they cannot wait to get back to them. So you can watch this video with your players and discuss all the aspects of Rondos with them MORE

Are you coaching the right things?

in Email newsletters, Passing

This week I spoke to Alf Galustian the co-founder of Coerver Coaching about coaching the individual in a team. He makes some great points that are vital to think about when you are coaching your players. Is each individual developing to be the best they can be? It's not an easy question to answer. MORE

Individual skill: deadly dead balls

in Email newsletters, Set pieces

Perfect set pieces can be a thing of beauty... but they can also spell disaster. Think of how many times you see a free kick sail over the bar or a corner put your team from attacking to defending a counter attack. Dead ball situations are an individual skill from the player taking the set piece but also they encompass a whole team working to take advantage of the situation. MORE

Simple fitness drills for all ages

in Email newsletters, Fitness and Diet

During lockdown or anytime you find you cannot get your team to training for a period of time you should make sure they are doing things to keep fit. They need things that they will find are fun and things that they will want to do because it is a competition. Without matches they are missing that competitive edge and that will add to their boredom when they cannot get out and play. MORE

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