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Keep possession and position

in Blog, Tips and advice

I watched an interesting coaching session recently at a Premier League academy. It was based on the principles that Chinese super league club Dalian Yifang manager Rafa Benitez learnt when he was coaching in Spain. It is about position for possession and works on the defensive nature of possession, as well as the attacking angle. MORE

Give your players a voice!

in Blog, Tips and advice

Sometimes my young players make more sense than I do – and that makes me well aware that I shouldn’t always put a tactical side of the argument as a rule that cannot be broken, so I try not to. MORE

When the parents shout tactics…

in Blog, Team Management

I like to think I have educated the parents of my players so that they only shout encouraging things and respect the opposition players and parents. But sometimes they too shout things that are not helpful to the team on match days. MORE

Sessions with purpose

in Blog, Tips and advice

One of the first things we must do as coaches is to make sure the environment we work in allows young players to be creative and not to worry about making mistakes if they try to do something different. MORE

Making risk assessments

in Blog, Tips and advice

I had a very interesting chat with a group of coaches last week, discussing risk taking in the final third of the pitch and how to get young players to try different skills, taking risks that can open up defences. MORE

Why bother with skills?

in Ball Control and Footwork, Blog

One thing I find useful about working indoors is the development of a player’s 1v1 skills. I had interesting conversation about the use of 1v1s this week and it caused me to stop and think about how and why I was coaching this skill. MORE

Back after the break

in Blog, Team Management

I’ve been out and about this pre-season watching teams getting back into the swing of the new season. The weather has been excellent and some of the work by coaches up and down the country is a testament to how committed everyone is, from mums and dads right up to the head coach. MORE

Don’t bench them

in Blog, Team Management

I’ve lost count of the number of times last season that I saw the opposition had players on the bench for the whole match without getting them on the pitch at all. I hate to see this and my heart goes out to those unlucky benched souls who have been so keen all week to come along to a game and play in it, only to find that they “aren’t going to play this week”. MORE

Play up or play down

in Blog, Team Management

There is always a big discussion about the development age of players and the difficulty for smaller players in their age groups. Smaller players are often the ones left sitting on the subs bench, not because they weren’t skilful enough but because the other kid was much bigger and so the coach preferred him. MORE

Giving them ownership

in Blog, Team Management

I won’t name names in this tale but it is something I would like you to hear about because it is one of my players who had to do everything for himself so he can get to play the sport he loves and I am very proud of him. MORE

Where’s the fun in that?

in Blog, Fun soccer games

Young players learn a lot from the environment you create, the words you use and the way you explain the sessions to them. Making sure the atmosphere and the games are fun is key to success in your coaching. MORE

He won’t pass the ball!

in Attacking, Blog

I had a question this week on my AskDave advice line which wanted to know why his team could pass their way into the final third of the pitch but play broke down once they got there. MORE

Dealing with parents

A letter to the parents

in Blog, Team Management

I am a great believer in positive play from the kick off, but have met resistance from the parents of players who are used to seeing a pass back into midfield scenario on the TV. MORE


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