Entries Tagged as 'Coaching'

Defending in Soccer - Tactics

Coaching , Indoor Soccer No Comments »

Important Defensive Tactics - Indoor or Outdoor Soccer

Some tidbits you may find helpful for your indoor (and outdoor) soccer team.  The field pictured here is of an indoor arena since it's winter in New Hampshire and I'm concentrating on indoor currently.  But these tactics largely can be moved outside to 8v8 or 11v11 depending on your age bracket.

If you are a coach or you are a parent with a child learning to play, you owe it to yourself to review these tactics on a regular basis with your team or your child.  Forwards oftentimes think that once they lose possession of the ball tht it's now up to the midfield and defense to win the ball back but nothing is further from the truth.  WE ALL ATTACK, WE ALL DEFEND.  If you get that in your team or your child's head early and often, they will become better soccer players.

Important Tactics for Defending in Soccer (for all players on the field as soon as your team loses possession):

1) If you aren't marking a player, someone's open for a pass
2) Stay between the player and your own goal
3) Keep your eyes on your man and the ball (head on swivel)
4) Don’t allow your man to run past you
5) The closer they get to the goal, the closer you get to them
6) Shoulder to shoulder when in your own box
7) Close down fast when the ball is in the air
8) Let your teammates know who you are marking by pointing
9) Avoid double teaming unless you have numbers
10) Don't dive in for the ball, they will easily get around you
11) Jockey with both feet well balanced under your shoulders
and in line with the opponent and your goal

This reduces open shots on goal and causes your opponent to pass under pressure, which is where the mistakes are made.

Volunteering at a Track & Field Event

Coaching , Vince's Thoughts No Comments »

My local middle school track meet was a lot of fun yesterday. It's so great to see so many kids trying out new things. Long jump, high jump, triple jump, javelin, discus, 100 meter, 200 meter, 400 meter, 800 meter, 1600 meter, 4 x 100 relay, shot put, hurdles...

If your child is involved with track at the middle school, they are always looking for help. I've done the discus twice now and it's very rewarding. Many of these kids are brand new at the sport and you can tell they are stressed, especially when among their peers and certainly when they follow someone who throws it 4 times as far as they can. Being a volunteer gives you the opportunity to make them feel comfortable, regardless of which school they go to. Give them smaller goals they can aim for and achieve and lots of encouragement. When you can make a kid smile after they foul out all three times in front of their friends, you have made a difference.

Our school, as well as all other schools I'm sure do need more help at these meets to make them run smoothly. Consider volunteering for an event that you know your son or daughter is competing in. You will remember being there for years to come and so will your kid.

It's worth it to take a day off from work every once in a while.

Great Book For Soccer Drills

Coaching No Comments »

I always find myself looking through this book before every practice.  I highly recommend it.

Enough Said!

Cutting In Line - Taking the Ball Away in Soccer

Coaching No Comments »

Cutting in line.  Every kid knows what that means, how that feels, and some have even done it. 

In the years I've been coaching soccer, one of the hardest things to teach a kid to do is to get inside of another player's space and take the ball.  You often see kids poking a foot in, or trying to drag the ball away from the outside but that's not near as effective as invading a player's space, moving them off the ball and taking control of it.

In my previous post about teaching aggressive soccer, I talk about using a drill that teaches the kids how to move in on the ball.  Believe me, if you do this drill on a regular basis, you will see your girls use it in games.  However, the challenge is explaining what you want to see them do and how they execute it.  Often times during this drill you will see the defender reaching out with one hand while they trail behind the player with the ball and just running alongside.  This not only could be called a foul but it's not going to move them off the ball or give the defender a chance to take it.  Most kids are taught at an early age to avoid contact in soccer and to not use their hands but nothing could be further from the truth.  If you watch professional soccer, you know this is a very physical game.

To help your kids make the connection, tell the defender to act like they are cutting in line.  Tell  them to pretend that they want to insert themselves between the ball and the player as if the ball and the player are two people in the lunch line.  I was just doing this drill last night at practice and once I put it in those terms, they got it.

Once they understand the concept, you can then start to teach them how to use their shoulder and keep their center of gravity while moving the other player off the ball.

Practice this drill every single day and your kids will become better players.

Teaching Aggressive Soccer

Coaching No Comments »

Aggressive soccer play in young girls is rare.  I think it's more rare than I see in boys of the same age.  I'm unqualified to make that statement as fact, it's just what I tend to observe in the years I've been coaching.

For those rare girls that possess those traits, the field is their playground.  They become the standout stars, the girls who seem to have what it takes to win the ball, win the game.  I see so many girls with great ball handling skills, girls who have a great head for soccer and yet when they get on the field for an actual game, they tend to get lost in the crowd of girls on the field.  They'll have moments of brilliance in the open field yet once they come into contact with another player, it all goes south.

When I first started coaching, I felt like you were either born with an aggressive nature on the field or you weren't.  I felt it was part of who you were in life.  However, over the years I've come to realize that you can show them skills and techniques to move in on the ball, to squeeze out competitors in a safe, legal way and over time, it's just another skill, another tool in their bag, and has nothing to do with aggression.  The two, aggression and technique, aren't neccessarily inextricably linked.

Two Cones, Two Players, One Ball

Here's a simple drill that you can use to teach moving a player off the ball.  Two lines of girls 10 feet apart facing the same way.  20 yards away you will have two cones also 10 feet apart.  One line of girls has the ball, the other doesn't.  Upon whistle, the girl with the ball dribbles diagonally to the cone while the other girl's goal is to win the ball and continue dribbling to the other cone.  The two girl's lines intersect in the middle so it's an opportunity for the girl without the ball to move the girl with the ball off and get the ball while the girl with the ball must try to protect.

These girls must have clear instructions to not stop with the ball or kick it too far ahead.  They must dribble the ball (showing control) past their respective cone in order to score a point.  Having them keep their own score is important too because the girls are competing against each other for the ball with a clear goal in mind, TO WIN.  Once they are done they get back into the queue on the opposite side they last played so they get both sides of the coin.

During this drill you can stop the play, show the girls how to win the ball and how to protect it.  Using the shoulder to shoulder technique to move a player off the ball. 

If you do this drill for 10-15 minutes each practice, I guarantee you will see these skills cropping up during games.

The value of course is two fold, first, it's giving them the tools to feel confident in their challenge so they are more likely to do it.  It also is a chance to talk to them about how even if they didn't succeed in taking the ball, they have disrupted the player by slowing them down or otherwise moving them off their line and thus allowing another teammate to move into the play and help.


I discuss implementing this drill in more detail here.


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