INSPIRED, CONFIDENT & EFFECTIVE COACHING

Score more goals in 5 weeks WEEK 5 Creative attacking

WEEK ONE: KEEPERS START ATTACKS
WEEK TWO: MOVING INTO MIDFIELD
WEEK THREE: STRIKE FROM MIDFIELD
WEEK FOUR: SHOOT FIRST TIME

WEEK FIVE: CREATIVE IN THE FINAL THIRD


Scoring goals in not just about shooting. In this series we have looked at the importance of possession in playing the ball out from the back and playing it through midfield. We’ve also looked at attacking from the midfield by playing the ball out wide and we have shown you how to improve the first-time shooting of your strikers.

In the final instalment of this series, we look at possibly the hardest aspect of scoring to coach – and that is creativity in the final third. With the execution of one piece of masterful skill, creative players can make space and get themselves into a scoring position, or maybe set up a team-mate with an easy chance. It’s the most exciting thing to see in soccer and a guaranteed crowd pleaser – but it’s the hardest thing to achieve and takes work in training.

Messi and Ronaldo

Think of the two greats of the modern game, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – they are the best creative players in the world at the moment and the players that neutral fans most love to watch. Their skills are an inspiration for a generation of grassroots youth soccer players and using the pair as examples in your coaching will be a quick way to guarantee the attention of your players.

Body work - part 1

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi uses his body as a shield to protect the ball from the defender

Messi can slalom his way through a defence as deftly as a downhill skier negotiates a set of poles. He is the master and every youngster can learn by just watching him in full flight. Ronaldo, meanwhile, is a sight to behold when he runs with the ball, mesmerising defenders with his quick feet and using his uncanny ability to beat the keeper with a wonderful shot from an impossible angle.

Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery is another kind of creative player who your team can learn from. Crossing the ball is important in youth soccer because it creates chances right in front of goal and an accurate cross is a nightmare for defenders to deal with. Ribery is an expert at this as not only does he beat players on the run but he gets behind the defence and crosses the ball with fantastic results.

Passing and moving

As a fundamental basis for this kind creativity, it is essential to work on passing and moving with your players as often as possible – coach them to pass the ball well and to pass it quickly. You also need to teach them to manage mistakes during your skills sessions, as being scared of failure can stop creativity.

To manage mistakes you should think of ideas like allowing players the time to self correct, and by using questions to help them understand what they are doing wrong, such as: “what is difficult about the skill you were trying?” Simplicity and quality are the necessary ingredients if you want your session to encourage creativity in an atmosphere where mistakes are accepted and treated with care.

Creating a winning team takes time, effort, patience and skill. But most of all it requires practice, using sessions like those below.

TOP TIPS FOR BEATING THE KEEPER 1v1

If you want your team to score more goals, they need to get more creative in the final third
> Players should keep their heads up to observe the position of the opposition keeper.
> Quick movement prevents defenders from catching up.
> The ball should be kept under control when running.
> It is vital that attackers get the goalkeeper to commit.
> A trick like a step over will help to wrong-foot the keeper.
> The ball should be played outside the keeper’s reach and it must hit the target.

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