Soccer Passing Drills – Combinations with Circle Drills

October 22nd, 2011 by Admin

Coming up with creative passing drills is always hard, so we thought that we would show you one of our favorites.

This soccer drill can be run with any age group, and can be modified to fit your teams talent level. This drill is designed to keep your players moving and communicating while they are working on their passing skills.

For more soccer drills and tips, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel:

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Youth Soccer Practice Preparation

October 18th, 2011 by Admin

Most of the time when coaches start losing control of practices, it is because they were not prepared before the practice began. You have to be ready for every practice and know what you want to achieve in the short amount of time that you have your players.

Planning your session ahead of time is key if you want to maximize your practice time. But be flexible! You’ll often not have the number of players that you expected. Dropping a neutral player into the activity is a great way to fix problems with odd numbers.

Try to make your session flow quickly from activity to activity. Setting up as much of the session as possible ahead of time will help you get more touches on the ball!

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Consequence Free Soccer Play

October 13th, 2011 by Admin

There are times during soccer practice where you just have to let your players hit the field and play soccer without you standing over their shoulder. They are going to make mistakes, but they are also going to try new moves explore their abilities as players.

Most of the time players are so scared that the coaches might yell at them, that they never try new moves on the field. With Consequence Free Play we encourage our players to just go out there and have fun. You will be amazed by what some of your players will do.

What are your thoughts on this? Are you giving your players enough time to “play”? Please comment below and let me know what you think!

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Learning to Manage a Soccer Game

October 12th, 2011 by Admin

Patrice Evra

Patrice Evra – one of the world's best left backs

I had a player ask me why I pulled him out of the final this past weekend. He is the team captain, so I believe he is entitled to ask that question. He was not playing poorly, but I explained to him that we needed to manage the game a little better with a 1-0 lead. He was too anxious to get forward and at left full back I wanted a little more patience. The other team was tired and I wanted us to make them chase the game.

We are excellent in possession, so playing the ball forward too early never forced the opponents to shift, adjust and work. Our target was not holding the ball particularly well and the other team was winning the ball back too easily for me. The quality of his touch in the final third was also letting him down and as a result his service was poor. Counter attacks were the consequence.

I explained that I needed better decisions and a calmer influence on the game. The tone of the attack is started with building from the back, so if we forced it forward, the game did not develop naturally.  As a result we did not have numbers around the ball in advanced areas of the pitch and possession was lost cheaply.

The player who replaced the captain was excellent. Calm in possession and got forward when appropriate. He actually assisted the second goal to kill the game off.  We won the final 2-0, but what was more important is that the rhythm was established and we never allowed the team to believe they had a chance. It is very difficult to gain confidence when you do not have the ball for prolonged periods of time.

On a side note Patrice Evra is one of our favorite left backs in the world.

Who do you think is the best outside back in the world right now and why?
Please comment below and share your thoughts!

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Blast the Ball – How I fixed my son’s soccer shot

October 3rd, 2011 by Admin

At it’s most basic element, Soccer comes down to putting foot on ball and kicking it where you want it to go. As simple as this sounds, players at all levels battle to overcome poor form and kicking technique.

I have watched players on the youth teams & high school teams that I coached struggle with proper ball striking. There are even players in my adult league that still haven’t fully mastered the fundamental movements of the soccer kick.

These players have learned to get by and adapt by bringing good teamwork, hustle and fitness to the game, but still have a glaring hole in their arsenal.

My son Donovan, struggled with his shot for two years as a young player. He is currently 13 and plays U14 soccer on a travel team in my home town. He is a hard worker and has a very good understanding of the game.

Just knowing where to be on the field and how to move into space has made him an effective soccer player, but his shot never had the umph he wanted.

I watched him over and over and couldn’t quite put my finger on where he was breaking down.

Blast the Ball DVDlIn looking for a solution I came across a DVD called Blast the Ball. I finally sat down and spent some time watching it after having it for several months (yeah I know, I’m a procrastinator).

First off all, it was 2 hours long which really blew me away. I didn’t know there was that much scientific technique to kicking a ball. I always just had good form and a naturally strong leg.

The video broke down the soccer hop, load, impact and follow through in a step by step manner. But here was the real kicker (no pun intended). It provided drills that worked on each specific part of the kicking motion.

It also discussed common technique failures and how to correct. From watching this DVD I was able to pinpoint two problems in Donovan’s form…improper loading technique and a hiccup in his follow through.

I took Donovan down to the soccer field and worked on his kicking motion. We were able to use the drills shown in the DVD and in about 15 minutes had him literally blasting the ball harder than he ever had before.

He was especially excited when he ripped a shot so hard that it knocked his brother’s arm back and zipped into the goal for a score. He had never done that before!!

It took a bit of time to make his kicking stroke second nature and program his muscle memory, but knowing what to do made all the difference.

I’m took these same techniques and applied them to my younger son Deven. He is 10 now and plays for the U11 team at the same club as his older brother.

Not only does he have very pure technique, but he is equally adept with either foot. In fact, he is so confident in his kicking motion that he even took a corner kick lefty last season (and he’s a natural righty).

I’m not usually one to plug somebody else’s product, but if you are a coach, parent or player that is looking to develop an accurate and powerful shot, then you need to take a look at the Blast the Ball DVD.

You can check it out at:

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U11 Youth Soccer Drills

October 3rd, 2011 by Admin

Recently I had the opportunity to run some sessions for the U11 boys team at our club. This team has several very talented returning players as well as some new players who are just coming up from rec ball. They have potential to be an excellent team, but like all young players they do need some refinement.

One issue that I noticed right off the bat was that several players needed some work on being more coordinated with their movement. They need a steady diet of agility exercises as part of their warm up.

I’ve posted the session below:

1) Dynamic warm up

2) Agility ladder

3) Circle drills

4) Game to goals with restrictions

5) Open play

I began with a pretty standard dynamic warm up. Even though kids this age are amazingly flexible and really don’t need too much of a warm up, it is a good idea to make a good warm up a habit. This way it will be second nature to them when they are older. It also serves as a time for them to get focused on the task at hand.

I ran a series of simple agility drills on the ladder to work on their coordination. I won’t go into details in this post, but you can click here for soccer ladder agility drills to see some examples.

We then moved on to some circle drills. These are some of my absolute favorite youth soccer drills as they incorporate passing/receiving on the move and communication. The set up is simple. You can either use the center circle, or make a circle using cones. Align the players around the outside of the circle.

Circle Drill #1

This one is pretty simple. Player 1 passes to Player 2 in the center of the circle. Player 1 then takes his place in the middle. Player 2 passes to Player 3 on the outside of the circle and then takes his place.

Youth Soccer Drills

Soccer Circle Drill #1

Player 3 starts the sequence over. Once the players get the hang of it, you can put a 2nd player in the middle and introduce 2 balls to the mix.

Circle Drill #2

Now we are going to add just a little bit of complexity. Player 1 dribbles into the circle and passes to Player 2. Player 2 plays it back 1 touch to Player 1. Player 1 then finds Player 3 and passes him the ball. Player 3 dribbles into the circle and starts the sequence over again.

Soccer Passing Drill

Circle Drill #2

When you introduce a second ball, communication becomes key. Encourage players to use terms like “Bounce it” when they want to receive a one-two pass, and “take it” when the player is supposed the bring the ball into the middle to restart the sequence. When you get two balls going, this activity becomes a great deal of fun!

After the circle drills, I moved into a simple small-sided game. We played 6v6 with keepers to big goals on a short 40 yard field. In order to score everybody on your team had to be over the half-way line. In addition all finishes had to be on one-touch (this encourages the players to pass).

We played 3-5 minute games.

We ended with 2-5 minute games to goals with no finishing restrictions and no requirements to get over the half-way line. The players still worked the ball well and stayed connected. A perfect example of manipulating player behavior by the environment they practice in.

I hope you enjoyed this session.

If you would like to see more sessions like this, please check out Ciplified Soccer 2.0 – click here.

Did you like this session? Please comment below and let us know what you think!

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Soccer Coaching Dilemma – A Good Problem to Have

September 23rd, 2011 by Admin

UF Club Soccer TeamI coach the men’s and women’s  club teams at the University of Florida. The men are always good and so are the women. The men have had more success, as they reached a national final and two quarter finals in the last three seasons. The women finished in the quarter finals last year with a very good team. This year the women look amazing. I am always very humble with my expectations, because what you have on paper does not always translate to success on the field.

This year I have my work cut out for me, because if we fail it will be my fault. The team is so deep with talent that I honestly do not know who to take and who to leave at home. They are all good enough.

I have a former youth national team player on the team this year and the scary thing is… she is not the best player I have. She is probably number five. This should give you an idea of the talent pool. I looked at a Division one women’s game in Tampa a few weeks ago and I am sure we are at least as good as the teams I observed. We have a tournament this weekend and I will not be surprised if both teams meet in the semi- final or final.

I have been coaching for a long time and I have not been this excited about a group of players in a long time. The chemistry is fantastic, the girls respect each other and they collectively believe that they can beat anyone if they respect the principles of the game. The work rate in practice is fantastic.

There is a healthy competition at every training session. I will keep you posted on our progress. This weekend will hopefully test our character. This is the final piece to the puzzle, because Lord knows we are talented enough. Wish me luck picking the first team.

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Playing Time – Entitlement or Earned?

September 19th, 2011 by Admin

Soccer playing timeI had two parent meetings this week.  Both sets of parents were unhappy with the amount of time their children were on the field at a tournament they attended  two weeks ago. Some concerns they cited were that they were spending a significant amount of time traveling, paying for meals for the family, hotel accommodation and they were not satisfied with the return in their investment. They were concerned that their children were not playing as much as they would like.

This is what they thought they were paying for. Not to watch their children sit on the bench. We had to explain that they were paying for the training environment, field maintenance, referee fees, coaches salaries, league fees, uniforms, and registration with the state. Not for  playing time. I also mentioned that the coaches would like a return on their investment of time and energy they put into helping the kids improve and teaching them life lessons.

Both players play for the same team, so this was quite interesting. They are both very talented but they are U16 players now, so I expect much more from them. I do not coach the team, but I am very familiar with the players. To make a long story short, one of them is lazy and the other has a low soccer IQ. I explained to the parents that if we guaranteed playing time of 50% at this age, then why would anyone want to excel?

The incentive for proper practice habits is playing. Nothing given to players is appreciated, because they do not acknowledge the work required to play at the competitive level. We want everyone to play, but they all have different strengths and weaknesses.

Certainly at the younger age groups we want all kids enjoying the game through participation. The players have to understand as they become older that they earn the right to be on the field. This promotes proper training habits. This is of the utmost importance because without it there is no enjoyment of the game and no fulfillment derived.

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Treating Soccer Ankle Sprains – Quick Rehab

September 8th, 2011 by Admin

I was playing soccer last night with some friends when my right foot found a nice little divot in the ground. Crunch! There goes the ankle. I’ve sprained my ankles numerous times in my playing career. So many times that for several years I taped up every time I stepped onto the field.

Soccer ankle sprain

Coach Bert's nicely swollen ankle

I’ve been working to strengthen my ankles and have gone the last year without taping up. In fact I was just commenting to one of my fellow players about how well my ankles have been doing right before we started playing. Guess I forgot to knock on wood!

So last night I started some aggressive rehab. I didn’t want to just post today to cry about being hurt, but to instead share with you a resource that I have found to be invaluable.

Several years ago when I had a similar injury, I began to do a lot of research on the Internet to find a treatment program that would get me back playing quicker. I came across an ebook called  the “H.E.M. Ankle Rehab System.” It’s inexpensive at only .95 and enable be to very quickly get back on the field. Swelling was reduced almost immediately and my range of motion improved overnight.

This ebook is one that you want to have in your library even if you aren’t presently injured. It worked wonders for me.

Click here to read more about it.

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Change – Why Don’t Soccer Parents Like It?

September 2nd, 2011 by Admin

Why is it that so many soccer parents are reluctant to change? They facilitate every complaint from their kids when we try to develop a better environment for the players. Why do we have to train more? Why are the age groups training together? Why are we in this league and not the other?  Why are wearing new uniforms? Do we have to buy it? I do not like the colors, so can we wear the old set?

Working with Soccer Parents

Last season was our most successful as a club. A large part of it was due to the fact that we had teams train together, so that we could address 11v11 issues at practice. None of our teams have two keepers. They also do not have enough to finish like the real game. The only time our teams had the opportunity to play 11v11 was Saturday at the game.

The player’s soccer IQ improved, they got fitter and we established chemistry. Seven of our teams made it to the end of season tournament final. Three of them were crowned champions. Our U19 boys made it to the final four in State Cup. This is the best a boys team has done in the history of the club. You think the parents would leave it alone. They still question why we do things. They will never understand. I am convinced of that now. People always say you have to educate the parents. Hard to do when they already know everything.

It is not just the parents though. They relay information from players. Some players do not like the competitive atmosphere. They have become comfortable with the hierarchy of their team and do not like having to prove themselves every day. They do not wish to be corrected or reprimanded for lack of soccer discipline. They are also threatened when younger players are better at everything accept physicality.

I will continue to do what is right for the players. The results are becoming increasingly evident. I have to do what is best for the players with ambition. Mediocrity will not become the norm.

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