Saturday, August 11, 2012

Under13a's Still Top

Well after being a Coerver convert since 2006, I pleased to say that the Under 13A team that I coach at Eastern Lions Soccer Club is still top of the league.  This team won the league last year, and we are still on track to win again this year.  3 games to go and 6 points clear, so looking good.  How do we do it?  Well each practise session incorporates a lot of the Coerver Methods (ball Mastery, 1v1 , 2v2 as well as a lot of passing and receiving.  Needless to say the players have a good first touch and are very comfortable with the ball.  My recommendation to any budding player or coach of young kids is to get into Coerver, not just the toe taps and ball mastery, but also the intense competition of 1v1 drills.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

4 Simple Exercises for Ball Mastery

4 simple exercises that will vastly improve your teams ball mastery
Ball mastery is essential for any aspiring soccer player. The ability to deftly control the motion of the ball, all the while paying attention to everything else that is going on is vital. It is one of the easiest things to learn in Soccer, yet it is also one of the hardest to master. Fortunately, with a little repetition of four simple exercises from the Coerver Coaching Master Class Series, any team can vastly improve their skills:
Exercise 1
Set up
A 20-by 20-yard area.
Up to 18 players each with a ball, standing one yard apart at one side of the square.
Number the players alternately 1,2,3 and 4.
The coach instructs all of the no.1 players to move steadily across the square using alternate feet to pull the ball with the sole and push it with the laced part of their shoes.
When the no.1 players are 1/3 across the square the coach instructs no.2's to follow.
When no.2's are 1/3 across the square, the coach calls for no.3's.
The players rest on the opposite side of the square until all of the other players arrive. Then the coach instructs them to return.
The coach can ask them to use the outside or the inside of the foot.
Simple repetitions with both feet are a sure way to improve your players' ball control.

Tell players to start slowly and then try a little hop between pulls and pushes.
All the practices in this section improve coordination and create flexible ankles, knees and hips - key elements on the road to ball mastery

Exercise 2
A 20- by 20- yard area.
Each player with a ball, standing a couple of yards apart.
Form two or three lines, as required.
On the coach's signal players move steadily up field tapping the ball from foot to foot.
After four taps, they pull the ball with the sole and push it out with the inside of both feet and repeat the sequence moving up field.
Number the players 1,2,3 and start them in waves according to numbers called.

Exercise 3
Set up
A 12- by 12- yard area.
Four groups of up to four players positioned as shown.
The first player in each group has a ball.
The players with a ball dribble to the center of the square cutting the ball tightly across their bodies with the inside and outside of the same foot.
At the center they cut the ball to their right, pass to the first player in the next group and sprint to join the end of that group.
Option: The receiver can toe tap the ball between his feet until the coach signals the next players to start.
Make sure players cut the ball across their bodies - not too far in front.
Have them make as many quick, tight cuts as possible without losing control.
Tell them to keep their head up as much as possible.
Suggest that players use their "weak" foot as well.
This format can be used for any of the ball mastery exercises.

Exercise 4
Two adjacent 10- by 20- yards lanes.
Two groups of up to six players at opposite end of the adjacent lanes.
The first player in each group has a ball.
Players tap the ball forward with the outside of the foot as often as they can to the midpoint of their lane where they pass to the first player in the opposite group and sprint to join end of that group.
The receiving players repeat the action in the opposite direction.
Remind players to practice with both feet and to look up before they pass.
When running these drills, make sure to keep your players going until everyone has them down. The more you run a drill; the more ingrained the movements become until they reach the level of instinct.
Your players will be able to automatically respond to what's going on around them on the pitch, without thinking about it.
So be diligent in your training and your team will go far.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

2 Secrets about dribbling a soccer ball

Here are 2 "secrets" of dribbling that are seldom taught, so I encourage you to get your players to try them

Brazilians often relate their soccer to music, and have great rhythm when running and dribbling with the ball. The way to achieve this rhythm is to keep your upper body relaxed. This allows you to be flexible and helps you have much better upper body movements for deceiving the opposition. If you maintain a stiff body posture, your movements will be stiff and not really deceptive at all.
A really good tip to get a "looser" upper torso while teaching dribbling is to encourage your players to open their hands and keep their hands and wrists "floppy". By doing this, the upper torso becomes loose and flexible, which in turn will lead to better upper body movement for body fakes. For instance if you try dipping you shoulder one way and then going the other way, the "dip" will be far more effective with a loose upper tors, and therefore far more likely to deceive the defender.
To emphasize the point, make a fist with both hands and clench your fists tight. Now try moving your upper body and you should notice how stiff and awkward it is.

Now try the same with loose floppy wrists. See the difference?

Secret #1 for dribbling is to keep your upper torso relaxed and keeping your hands open and floppy

When dribbling it is more effective to be "small". The reason for this is similar to the reason for the first tip. By keeping small and close to the ground with your legs slightly bent, you will have greater mobility and able to twist and turn to deceive the defenders more easily.
To Emphasize the point, stand straight up with rigid legs. Now try and deceive a defender by lunging one way and then going the other direction. Now try it with the legs bent and in a more relaxed fashion. See the difference?

Secret #2 for dribbling is to keep your knees slightly bent and keeping close to the ground
Stand small not tall

A useful drill to help
Here's a drill to help with this and you can incorporate both secrets into this drill
Have your players dribble the ball around and on your command the players must stop the ball "dead" using the knee.
Stopping the ball with the knee automatically achieves two things;
(1) gets the players to lower their bodies by bending their knees, getting their body low to the ground (coiled and ready to accelerate).
(2) forces the shoulder to dip and makes the upper torso turn.
Note this is important to help deceive your opponents when faking to go one way before exploding in the other direction

During the practice alternate knees, try double touches, right, left and continue dribbling, vary pace of the exercise.

Incorporate this little tip in your next warm, its' fun and productive, and it works!.

The Coerver Coaching Method has over 30 1V1 moves to beat defenders,all on video, and made extremely simple to learn so well worth a look

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Should I shoot or should I pass the ball?

Watching under 8's playing this week, I saw a young player in tears because he was told off by 2 coaches because he should have passed the ball instead of having a shot at goal. To put the game in context, the game was a 3v3 practice game

So, should the coach have told the player off?

My advice to any player is

If you think you can score a goal, then have a shot.

I have seen far too many players that are afraid to have a shot, and prefer to shift the responsibility to someone else, or think that the best way to score is to virtually dribble the ball into the net.

There are often too few chances created in any game of soccer, so when a chance comes along to shoot, take it for a number of reasons
  1. Too few chances are taken, so don't waste them
  2. You will never get that chance again
  3. Even if you don't score, there is a chance of a rebound off the post or a fumble by the goalkeeper
In this particular case, the player didn't score, but came close. There is no denying that there was a player closer to goal and possibly in a better position, but
  1. Would a pass have made it to the player?
  2. Was the player ready to receive the ball?
  3. Would the player have controlled the ball so that a shot was possible?
  4. Would the player have taken a shot?
So in summing up
  1. If you can take a shot take it
  2. If you can't take a shot, get to a position where you can take shot
  3. If you can't do either of the above, then look for a player how can take a shot
By the way, the player in question scored 24 goals last season as an under 8 and all because of his focus on shooting at goals at any available chance

PS I have coached my team to the #1 position in the league through a combination of skills training, using Coerver, small sided games and utilizing the Principles of Play.

Take a look at my Review of Coerver and see how combining it with these other ingredients makes for a winning formula.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Coaching small sided games for Under 8s

The last 6 weeks I have been running a Soccer Summer School (I am in Australia8-)) and have been looking after a group of 8 year olds. Normally there are upwards of 12 players, both boys and girls.
What I have discovered is the amazing development the players make, even at this age, playing small sided games.
With 8 year olds players I tend to have 3 a side on a 40 by 30 yard pitch. I try and encourage the teams to play to a simple formation, which is a 1-2 formation when attacking ( one sweeper, 2 attackers) and a 2-1 formation when defending. This simple game has great benefits to the learning of players at this age because of the amount of space available and the number of touches that each player has. Without really knowing it these game teach the players the concept of width and depth, albeit in a simple way.
During the course of a game, I generally stop the game to explain a coaching point, but limit the number of times that I stop the game, because at this age, players will learn from just playing. The coaching points that I teach are generally quite simple ones and generally revolve around decision making and how to make that decision.

We are lucky enough out our club to have a number of Pugg goals, which make the games even more fun as the players actually kick the ball into a net. There is the added bonus of not having to dispute if a gaol was scored , which often happens when using cones or other markers for goals.

In any training session, try and incorporate a Small Sided Game for at least 30 minutes, and if combined with skills sessions (Click Here=> to see my review on Coerver Coaching System ) and the Principles of Play, your team will develop a Winning Formula


Saturday, January 13, 2007

Should you teach skills or tactics to young players?

In my experience, there is little advantage in teaching players under10 too much about tactics and formations.

I would recommend that coaching players under 10 years of age should concentrate on technical skills, and primarily dribbling and feeling comfortable with the ball

Players older than 10 do have a better feel for team work and strategies, but I would try and keep the strategies simple, like:
  • move the ball forward whenever possible
  • pass the ball into space for the forwards to run on to etc.
  • kick the ball wide when coming out from defense etc
  • make sure that the nearest defender "closes down" (put pressure on) the attacker with the ball
I have used the Ball Mastery techniques from Coerver with great success, as once the players have good technical skills and ball control, it is far easier to progress to more tactical training
drills and sessions.

See my review of the Coerver Coaching System by Clicking Here

A fun game to help practice the push pass

At an early stage, young players must learn how to use the push pass.
The push pass is the most used pass in soccer, and is the most accurate.
The push pass is done with the inside of the foot, and because it has the greatest surface area, it is the most accurate way to pass a soccer ball.
There is a great page on how to do a push pass here

Playing the One-Two game
One of the best games that I have played with my son is called "One-Two".
The rules are very simple, and needs two players and one ball.

  1. You just pass the ball to each other over a distance of 5-10 yards
  2. When you pass the ball you call out either "one" or "two"
  • If you call out "one", then the other player must play the ball to you with one touch. That is first time
  • If you call out "two", then the other player must play the ball back to you with two touches. That is control the ball with one touch and then pass the ball
  1. When the other player plays the ball back to you, they call out either "one" or "two"
  2. , and the pattern continues

To make this a game, a simple scoring system is used.
  • If the player fails to make a good pass, you get a point
  • If the player fails to pass the ball with the right number of touches, you get a point
  • If the player does not call out "one" or "two", you get a point
Of course you can change the rules and scoring to suit, but keeping it simple is the best way to go.
I have played this numerous times, and we always have fun with it, so give it a go!

PS I have used a number of drills from the Coerver Coaching System
See my review of the Coerver Coaching System by Clicking Here