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hi im darrenim a level 2 coach, also taken my uefa B coaching course and awaiting final also a level 2 gk coach, and run my own gk1 goalkeeping academy's.dealing with mini soccer p to senior semi pro!!im looking to take this full time within an academy, so if anyone can open a few doors then let me know!
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Soccer Development

Soccer, Futbol, or Football has a lot of room for improvement.We humans have several stubborn characterstics that sometimes prevent us from walking across the railroad tracks, climbing a mountain and seeing what is on the other side, or going across a small or big body of water to see what other types of lands or cultures exist beyond the horizon.If it wasn't for several bold and courages souls, we would still be living in the dark ages...It is time to find the courage to look beyond today's soccer standards, and if you allow yourself that previlege, you might see the brighter future that soccer can bring to all of us.All the best,Peter
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Another View of This Drill The drill or I call a functional practice is actually called the "Four Goal Game". The main purpose is switching play from one side of the field to the other. If a player with the ball is prevented from moving forward, then he / she should turn with the ball with the objective of passing back to supporting players or by finding players who are in a better position to penetrate weaker areas of the field (preferably 2 v 1 situations). Remember, the game is about decisions and turning with the ball. The earlier the decision and the quicker the turning, the better the player. Key coaching points include ability to switch play either though a series of passes or long accurate passes; communication between supporting players and player with the ball; patience of players who must be in position at all times,this means players on either side of the field waiting for the right time; ability of players to turn on the ball, turn with head up; and finally your point; the ability of players to see the field. This is a great drill and should be encouraged alot. Thanks To: Eric Erickson
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I picked up a drill from another coach and thought it was pretty good. I used it this season to begin the season for my U8 team and it went very well. It's pretty simple, but you get 3 skills involved in one drill. The throw-in, trapping the ball, and dribbling.You begin by having about half your kids along a sideline and half at a cone at about 10 o'clock about 8/10 yards away. Basically set up a triangle. Have the kids do a running throw-in from the sideline towards an imaginary point between the cone and the sideline. The child at the cone runs from the cone, traps the ball and then dribbles around a cone set out parallel or a bit further down the sideline. He/she then dribbles down the sideline to prepare to do a throw-in.Thanks To: Marc Noble, U8 NW Lions
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Duration - 20 minutes; # of players - 12-16 (older); Goalies - YesForm a large circle of players about 5 yards apart. Every player is given a number that is exclusive to him/her. Start with the ball at player # 1. Player # 1 passes to player # 2 passes to player # 3 passes to player # 4 and so on. At this stage the ball simply travels around the circle until it reaches the last player who then passes the ball back to player # 1. Keep the ball moving around the circle, this is important.The coach calls out 2 numbers, the players with the 2 numbers concerned must sprint clockwise around the outside of the circle and arrive in their opposite numbers position, i.e. If the 2 numbers called are 1 and 5, # 1 must sprint into the # 5 position and # 5 must sprint into the # 1 position. In this example # 1 will have a short journey, only having to run 4 spaces, but # 5 will have further to run to get to the # 1 position that has been left vacant. All the other players keep passing the ball to their next number. At all times the ball must be kept moving and the players in the circle must encourage the runners to get into position to receive the ball.When player # 1 receives the ball from the last player he will now receive the ball at position # 5 because that is where he is now positioned. Player # 1 must still pass the ball back across the circle to player # 2 who then continues to player # 3 and so on. After a few different numbered calls from the coach all the players should be in different positions from where they originally started, and the ball should now be passed across the circle at different angles.As a final part of the exercise ask the players to get themselves back to where they were positioned originally so that eventually the ball ends up being passed back around the circle. This should be done with care, let # 1 start the call and get himself back first, whoever is in his original position will have to communicate with him to let him back, and then player # 2 gets back and so on. Remember that as the players get themselves back the ball begins to speed up as the passing goes from across the circle to eventually going around the circle in short passes.Harder Variations: Odd numbered players run clockwise, Even numbered players anti - clockwise. Start the session with 2 balls, say 1 ball with # 1 and the second ball with the player situated around the halfway mark.Coaching Points: Encourage the players to keep the ball moving at all times, never kill the ball. The players must COMMUNICATE with each other across the circle as to the timing of when to run so as to keep the ball moving. Remember one important rule: The ball will always be passed to the same numbered player: #1 passes to # 2 passes to # 3 passes to # 4 and so on irrelevant of where they are positioned in the circle.Thanks To: Garry Bree- Reserve Team Manager, Slough Town Football Club -- Semi-Pro team playing in the Vauxhall Conference League in England
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Here are some notes from the 1993 national coaches convention. I believe the session was put on by Robby and Michele Akers StohlLEGEND: A - Attacker; S - Server; D - Defender; W - Wing server; M - Midfielder; NP - Near Post; FP - Far Post; GK - GoalkeeperSETUP-- A runs hard diagonal to NP-- S passes from about the 6 on the goal line (try to hit A at the NP about 2-4 yards from goalline-- A shoots 1-touch-- technique--redirect ball to FP with laces, toes down--chop laces across the ball and continue thru-- S returns to A line, creating congestion in goal mouth as next A makes run; A to S line.-- GKs in goal mouth, rotate from FP on each shot; no attacking the serve; more for window dressing-- after initial run though, run this setup from both sides (criss-cross the goal mouth)VARIATIONS-- S delivers bouncing ball, A starts slow, later move at full speed, don't slow up; S waits till GK recovers.-- S delivers higher bounce, then full volley serve (as if driven ball)-- A continues to use the laces.-- S serves for flick header to FP.-- A to use goalside leg for FP flick (when A must reach around D to get ball first).-- A1 dummies serve, A2 following finishes; A2 will run as A1 next time; A1 & S switch lines.-- GKs go live; allow NP shot if they cheat.-- S serves for diving headers (I generally save this for a wet day or when I want to get their emotions high)GAMES-- Slot game--Two attackers and a wing server; A1 times run to NP off W's dribble; A2 shoots any crossed ball that gets thru A1; run with 2nd W; A's must regroup each time, be creative with runs; add defensive back that gives offensive W a head start.-- 2 M outside penalty area, 2 W on touches (can't go offside), 4 v 4 in penalty area, 1 goal; if defense wins ball, back to keeper or wings, then to M; M can switch to opposite wing or play back to same wing for next cross to team that last won ball; add drop to M for a 1-touch shot.INDIVIDUAL SHOOTING WARMUP/EXERCISES-- GK passes to A coming straight on goal for power shot; technique review--eyes to check GK then look at ball, low on strike (bent support leg), low on landing (bent shooting leg), use instep.-- GK passes to A coming straight on goal for accuracy, use inside of foot to post; be prepared for rebound-- S serves bouncing ball to side, A facing away from goal turns and 1 touches-- S severs to A's chest, who traps, turns and shoots-- S serves for volley in front of goal (why chase balls all day)I tend to use the criss-cross setup on a lot of my shooting drills; there's more player movement, and seemingly, more shot opportunities in less time.--Thanks to: Gary Rue, KY HS and Select
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Set up two teams of 5v5 or 6v6; set a play area (half-court would be good) with a cone goal at each end. One person starts with the ball in her hands. She tosses it to a teammate who must head it. If another teammate catches it, she may NOT run, but must toss it for another teammate to head. The other team may intercept as follows: if the ball has just been tossed, the defending team may head it; if the ball has just been headed, the defending team may catch it. If the ball goes to the floor, it goes to the team that did NOT touch it last at the spot it touched the ground.The object of the game can change to add variety: initially, just try for three heads in a row without being intercepted (= 1 pt); then score by heading successfully to a teammate over the other team's end line; then score by heading into the goal; then score by shooting a volley or half-volley into the goal.You can add a variety of restrictions to spice it up as well. For instance, initially no one can challenge the person with the ball; later, they can guard with their hands. Start with the sequence being toss/head/catch; then go to toss/head/head/catch. Initially, the game is all heading; later, you can allow volleys or half-volleys to teammates, who may catch or head the ball. It may start slow. Soon, they will see that the only way to make progress is to move the ball FAST, which means running off the ball to be open. THAT is when it gets to be a lot of fun, a lot of exercise, and a great tool to learn running off the ball, supporting play, talking, etc.Thanks To: Terry Bennett
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Have players form 4 lines each at one corner of a 30x30 or 40x40 square. The first player in each line has a ball. On the coach's signal the first player dribbles diagonally across the square to the other side. Ideally, players will meet somewhere in the middle of the square and if they don't keep their eyes up, they will run into each other. After passing the middle players continue on to the opposite corner where they give a short pass to the next player. Then all 4 of those players go. If run continually this can be a pretty good workout, because it goes pretty fast.Variations:1. Have players do a "move" somewhere in the middle.2. Have players change speed as they go across square.3. Have players use different parts of their foot or their weak foot.4. Have each group try to "pass" the person in front of them. (This messes up the timing of the meeting in the middle, but encourages speedier dribbling and accurate passes.5. Just for fun, have them try to dribble across with their eyes closed and teammates must direct them, or they can try to juggle their way across.From: Jane Shields U-12 Girls Hamilton Heights Youth Soccer (Indiana)
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Here is my favorite drill that I put my 14 and under team through. It is called 4 Across the Top. As the name suggests, you will have four lines that run across the half field line. Each line will be 10 yards apart. I suggest that you put up cones to show where each line starts. #2 passes the ball about 5 feet in front of #1, then #2 makes a jog behind #1 and as #2 goes around #1, #2 will sprint to the corner of the field. As #2 is sprinting to the corner, #1 will send the ball ahead of #2, so that #2 will have to catch up to it. #2 will do a one touch cross to an awaiting #3 & #4. Now, as soon as #1 passes the ball to the corner for #2, #4 will make a break to the near post and #3 will make a break to the far post. Communication is very important in this drill... When the ball is crossed, the shot is to be a one touch shot at the goal. When they are done., the next group will start. All of the lines will rotate toward the number one position. In other words, #1 goes to #4, #4 to #3, #3 to #2 and #2 to #1... Good luck!!!!!!!! Submitted by Chris Morrissey
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I already use a "drill" for moving to the ball and I'll share it (I'm sure some of you have used it):4 players, 2 balls, 2 cones.
A.    pass<- C   D ->pass   .B
Players A and B are at the cones with the balls. Players C and D show for the ball and then receive a pass and pass it back. Then, they run across and receive a pass from the other passer (i.e. C starts with A, then goes to B, back to A, etc.) Do this for a bit and then switch. The hard part is making sure C and D don't run into each other while running to meet the next pass.Modification:Now, have C be the attacker, D be the defender. Run it the same way, but now C must shield D from the ball to receive the pass. If C stands and waits, they won't get the ball. After a bit, switch C and D, then switch outside and inside. I usually have the defender start with light pressure - just running with the attacker, but I have them increase it to full pressure before too long.I've found that this seems to get the girls to move to the ball better, especially after you add the defender and they "see" why it is important to meet the ball. It also helps with communication - the player in the middle should be able to communicate to the passer to pass the ball to a particular side/foot (depending on how well the player in the middle can hold off the defender - with my U12s it takes some time.)Submitted by Paul Schnake -- U12 Girls A team, West District Tornadoes, Soccer Association of Columbia (MD)
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One of the keys elements of finishing is accuracy. Power is nice, but it's a distant second in priority. In the past, I have always stressed the need for shooting with the instep. Though, I don't want to downgrade the importance of this technique, I am starting to believe it is more meaningful to emphasize first and foremost accuracy by "passing" the ball into the goal. Power can be trained later after the player understands a slow roller into the goal is worth more than a rocket shot not on frame.Warm-up -- Set up two lines (of 1 to 2 players), six to eight yards apart (goal post width); these two lines are directly across from two other lines of players; the distance between the sets of two lines are ten to fifteen yards (coach should adjust to player age and ability).
    A2    C2    A1    C1        | ^  ^|    |  \/ |    |  /\ |    | /  \|    V     V    B1    D1    B2    D2
A1 passes straight across to B1 and follows the pass to the B line; B1 receives, makes an angled pass to C1 and follows pass to C line; C1 receives, makes a straight ahead pass to D1 and follows pass to D line; D1 makes an angled pass to A2, etc.Warm-up Progression* Ask players to pass with specified foot* Restrict number of touches to control ball before making next pass* Switch to an instep pass, if accuracy can be maintained* At some point, have the team envision that each line is a goal post; the straight ahead passes are to the near post, the angled passes are to the far post* Ask the players to pass to the inside foot of the receiving player (i.e., inside the post)Warm-up Coaching Points:* Ensure the inside of the foot is used to pass (as this normally is the most accurate type of pass for a player)* Play should be continuous, have extra balls ready between groups A & C and groups B & D. Bad passes can be chased down by the passer while the next player puts a new ball back into play* Make sure receptions are toward the targetShooting Drill:Setup -- Structure the drill exactly like the warm-up, except with a goal between groups A and C. When A passes to B, B finishes with an angled pass to the far post; when C passes to D, D finishes with an angled pass to his/her far postDrill Progression:* Change drill so that A passes across to D who finishes (to the near post) with a straight on pass; C passes across to D who finishes with a straight on pass* Restrict number of touches before shot* Use instep (if accuracy can be maintained)* Add a GK; initially position the GK away from the post the players will be shooting; that is, the GK should be shaded toward the side that makes the initial pass* Let the GK be active and allow the attacker to finish to the appropriate post and appropriate part of footDrill Coaching Points:* Stress accuracy, not power, constantly* The position of body and support foot should be towards the finishing point* Have player look up to side of goal they are finishing; when GK added, player should look to near post, if not covered shoot there, else go to far post (do not look at or try to find the GK)* Make sure player is looking at the ball at the point when the shot is taken* Team and coaches should reinforce every made goal with some kind of positive exaltation; save the loudest for the accurate goal as the power shot will get its fair share of "oohs" and "aaahs."--Thanks to: Gary Rue, KY HS and Select
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A breakaway practice suggestion:Warm-up up with 2 or 3 man passing. Use the inside of the foot, instep and front foot to work on accuracy. The weight of the pass should be gradually increased to the point where accuracy is maintained.Set up cones, goal width apart. Put one player between the cones (*) to act as a quasi-active goalkeeper (no diving or angle cutting movements), while the other two players (A and B) take shots from 10-18 yards away from opposite sides of the goal mouth (see figure below). The shots should be low and a yard inside the target cone. I would recommend that the players make at least one dribble touch before shooting. Accuracy is key. Switch the players at intervals or the shooter could switch with the GK after each shot.
                   *  A .               GK                  B                     *
Move the GK out from the goal mouth 2-5 yards to cut down the shooters angle (see figure below). Still the GK should not make diving or angle cutting movements (we are still trying to reinforce positive results at this point). Increase the dribbling distance and speed of the shooter. Gradually have the goalkeeper close down the shooter. The shooter must shoot before the GK closes him down. The GK is still not totally active, other than making a foot save.
                   *  A .            GK                       B                     *
Move the team to real goals (if available). Start with a speed dribble and shot to an unattended goal (they must be within a yard of either post). Accuracy is still the focus. Decrease the speed of the player until they are accurate. Watch for over-kicking and over-striding.Add defensive presence (not pressure) from the side. The player must shoot with the foot opposite the defender. Change the presence to come from behind. Gradually add GK presence (no diving). The GKs can work on their timing of going out to the ball and getting their hands low (they can focus on their technique without worrying about stopping the shot). Increase the pressure from behind enough to make the shooter dribble at full speed. Increase the GK presence and pressure until everything is full speed. Remember to decrease the pressure if the shooter is not able to consistently get the shot off. If the defensive pressure is still too much, then go to timing the attacker (as in the MSL shootout). Make the shooter get the shot off within so many seconds.For an added shooting variation, send in a second attacker for cleanup of any GK deflections. This can be done with a 2v1 setup. Play the ball behind the defender with the attacker running on to start the breakaway.Of course the other breakaway weapon for an attacker is the chip over a GK that has come off his line too soon, or not far enough. In later practices, you can run the same progression as above, but work on the chipping technique. The GK will have to come off his line sooner in the progression. I would not work on this technique in the initial practice(s).Coaching thoughts on breakaways--the GK is most vulnerable on close-in shots when they are low and within 2 feet of either leg. It is often easier for a GK to save shots further away from his body in this situation. The attacker must be trained to recognize this fact. All too often, shots are missed wide because the attacker tries too hard to stay away from a GK that is cutting down the angle. GKs that are moving at the time of the shot are extremely vulnerable, as they are not able to react as well.Attackers often try to dribble too close, swing their kicking leg too hard on the shot or try to shoot at full speed and maximum leg stride. They must have tight dribble control of the ball by the 18, their stride length must be shorten and they should look for the earliest opportunity to shoot. If the first or second touch on the ball after they get inside the penalty area is not a shot, they probably have waited too long.Players must learn to play with both feet. Generally, the inside of the foot or front foot are more effective than the instep (big leg swings are often a prelim to instep shots). Toe balls may be very effective on breakaways as the toe ball produces the low hard shot we are looking for. Also, by the very nature of the breakaway, the ball may be too far in front of the body at the moment of truth for the use of any other part of the foot. However, I would never teach this to any player that frequently uses toe ball passing.--Thanks to: Gary Rue, KY HS and Select
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Here's How To Chart ItWarmupIn a circle dribbling around the coach the ball is always on the outside foot AWAY from the coach.. Change direction with a chop, outside of foot turn, etc. always AWAY from the opponent. In this case the coach in the center.Free PlayNo instructions.In pairs keep the ball away from a partner. Change every thirty seconds. Don't worry about resting. They will stop. Just keep circulating and keep them moving. About 2-3 minutes worth. Observe errors, who you will have to work with later, and who's good, so they can help you demonstrate. (Free play is an excellent opportunity to also train YOU. Increasing your observational powers and coaching eye).Drill(s)Critique the free play. Demonstrate with yourself and an opponent. Point your shoulder to her with the ball on the near leg and have a player try to steal it. They will. Ask the question/ What should you have done.The emphasis should be ball on the far leg.(Verbalizing)Put the ball on the on the far leg, shoulder pointed toward opponent. Now ask the player to get the ball. (I assume your big enough that body size, compared to player, will overcome any lack of skill)Now demonstrate dribbling with the opponent on the shoulder. Take a few steps. Then reverse direction with the same move you had them perform in the circle. Involve another pair of players to get them to demonstrate. Make corrections by asking the group what goes wrong.Split them up in pairs and have them try it. Circulate and correct. Wild body movements are a common error. Get them to calm down and perform. "Be cool. The man can't get it with the ball on the far leg, etc."Another common error will be turning their back on the opponent THE NEXT PRACTICE -NOT THIS ONE. Start at the beginning of drill above. "Yeah we got it coach- you did that last time". Now show the difference of having the back to the opponent vs the shoulder. Do this by letting the opponent kick the ball away from you by poking. Illustrate with the shoulder turned the distance between the ball is increased. Repeat all of the above.Your two main points are: ball on far foot, keep shoulder turned.Box Drill 3 v 1Same as usual, but this time change the emphasis from one or two touches to four or five. Alternatively, holding the ball for a five count before passing it.Small sided GameCarry over the condition from the box drill.Warm upSoccer dancing with sole of foot per pervious posts.Free Play/DrillsKeep ball under sole of foot, opponent leans on shoulder and tries to get to it. Reverse direction when opponent commits.Handling an opponent on the back.(Note this is not taught at the start since in earlier ages getting the shoulder around is preferred). The body lean is more, and the ball leg is extended to avoid being poked. Vary degree of physical pressure and pushing. {For new refs: try this with NO OPPONENT and you will see your arms have to be out for balance. Don't get caught up in the hands by the sides routine} Box drill again but 3 v 2 hold ball longer and include takeovers.Small sided gameCondition : forwards must hold ball from long passes until help arrives, takeover, etc.Coerver MoveStop ball by stepping on ball. Take giant step with same foot to put body between ball and opponent. Turn in opposite direction to dribble or pass. Practice using standard Coerver drills, buildup. Insist this turn be used through practice for all aspects of practice where a 180 turn is required, such as running down stray balls and returning to a group.Submitted by Dan Roudebush
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Our First Post

We are still building out our SoccerClub! social network so you have stumbled across an early beta. Our current site is at You can still sign up and let us know what you would like to see by sending us an email or posting you own blog entry. Since this is still a test, I added a fun soccer video below that also includes one of my favorite songs from Monty Python and can be heard in Spamalot!
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