Restricted vs. Conditioned Games – Coaching Soccer

Many coaches often add restrictions to games. Restrictions like needing to complete three passes before the team can score or players being locked into different zones on the field can be valuable to teaching certain topics to young players. But restrictions need to be used wisely. Instead of restricting behaviours, coaches should look to encourage behaviours and do so more carefully through encouraging something to happen, rather than restricting it. In this article I will outline why restricted games should be more scarcely used, and why the term 'conditioned game' should possibly have a change of meaning to urge coaches to encourage the behaviours of their players in games without restricting their players.

Maurizio Sarri – Juventus – Tactical Analysis

Maurizio Sarri's career at Chelsea never quite got off to the way the Italian manager might have planned. But that didn't stop the former Napoli man from landing a job at the top club in Serie A - Juventus. Maurizio Sarri's Juventus have been at the top of the table throughout 2019-20 just as you'd expect them to be, and as far as their status as one of Europe's elite clubs, they have continued on exactly where Massimo Allegri left off. However, The Old Lady have been a completely different side under Maurizio Sarri this season, deploying tactics that make Juve a unique outfit anywhere in the footballing world today. This is a Tactical Analysis of Maurizio Sarri's newly revamped Juventus.

Support in Attack (9v9)

Although players are constantly thrust into 1v1 battles on a football pitch, attacking is something that the whole team needs to engage in as a unit. As a result, players need to learn how to support each other in attack, even if they are not directly involved with the play. This article will explore support … Continue reading Support in Attack (9v9)

Support in Defense (9v9)

Although players are constantly thrust into 1v1 battles on a football pitch, defending is something that the whole team needs to engage in as a unit. As a result, players need to learn how to support each other in defense, even if they are not directly involved with the play. This article will explore support in defense for 9v9 teams through diagrams involving the 3-2-3 and 3-4-1 formations.

Best Article of 2019 Nominees

With over 100 articles written this year across The Mastermind Site and its affiliated enterprises, it's time we look back at some of the very best of the year. Here are the nominees for Best Article of 2019 on The Mastermind Site.

Jose Mourinho – Tottenham Hotspur – Tactical Analysis

For the first time in over a decade, Tottenham Hotspur appeared to be absolutely doomed this season. For the first 12 games of the season, Spurs looked nowhere near their usual high-flying, Champions League finalist selves and Mauricio Pochettino had the team slipping further and further down the table. Pochettino was quite possibly the best manager Tottenham have ever had, but with the team sitting in 14th place, it was inevitable that the Argentinean's role at the club was going to be cut short, just shy of 300 games for the club. Looking for instant stability, the boardroom went with the experienced Jose Mourinho to steer the ship back out of safety and the move has proven to be a massive success for Spurs. Since his arrival, Tottenham have won four games from five and now look to be well within touching distance of the top four again. Here is a Tactical Analysis of Jose Mourinho's revamped and revitalized Tottenham Hotspur after his first five games in charge.

Progressive Possession (9v9)

There's a common saying in football: If you don't shoot, you don't score. Well if you don't keep possession of the ball, you'll have a lot more difficulty scoring. Many players that I've worked with over the years have had the common bad habit of simply just kicking the ball the second they get it. Sometimes even older players have this issue. The assumption for these players is if I can get the ball closer to the net then we as a team will have a better chance of scoring. But more often than not, all this does is present the other team with an opportunity to pick up the ball and go on the attack themselves. Players need to learn how to keep possession of the ball, particularly under pressure, and how to turn that possession into a goal scoring chance. Tiki taka football is nice and all, but possession needs to have a purpose and that is exactly what we are going to explore in this article about coaching Progressive Possession at the young ages.

Attacking Transitions (9v9)

Transitional moments are an aspect of the game that most coaches neglect to focus on as much as they should. Transitions both from attack to defense and from defense to attack, are essential and can be a source of both goals and goals conceded. Attacking transitions can be defined as the moment of time between … Continue reading Attacking Transitions (9v9)

Defensive Transitions (9v9)

INTRODUCTION Transitional moments are an aspect of the game that most coaches neglect to focus on as much as they should. Transitions both from attack to defense and from defense to attack, are essential and can be a source of both goals and goals conceded. Defensive transitions can be defined as the moment of time … Continue reading Defensive Transitions (9v9)

Playing out from the Back (9v9)

Nearly every single professional team these days strives to play out from the back. Gone are the days when a goalkeeper would launch the ball up the field to a fast/tall striker to chase on to or nod down. Build-up play has become more and more important in the professional game and youth teams are beginning to take notice too. From a youth development perspective, playing out of the back is far more beneficial for all players than just one player kicking it up the field as far as they can in hopes that a fast, physical player will get on the end of in.

Pep Guardiola – Manchester City – Tactical Analysis

Other than a rocky performance against Norwich City, things have been business as usual for Pep Guardiola and Manchester City so far this season. The 2019-20 season has gotten off to a great start for the man and team who seem to never settle for anything shy of perfection. All the key players are firing on all cylinders and City look well on their way to breaking more records. Here is The Mastermind's Tactical Analysis for Pep Guardiola and Manchester City so far in 2019-20.

Brendan Rodgers – Leicester City – Tactical Analysis

Leicester City have had an exceptional start to the 2019-20 Premier League season, losing just 1 of their opening 7 matches. If it weren't for the all-star cast and crew of England's top two teams, the Foxes could very well have found themselves in a similar position to where they were at this time back in 2015-16 when Claudio Ranieri led Leicester to a league title. Brendan Rodgers has done an incredible job since taking over as Leicester manager for Claude Puel back in late February and has turned the Foxes back into one of England's top sides after a couple of years of nothing more than mid-table success. Here is The Mastermind's Tactical Analysis of Leicester City so far in 2019-20 under Brendan Rogers.

Antonio Conte – Inter Milan – Tactical Analysis

Since Antonio Conte's arrival at Inter Milan, the Italian giants have completely transformed into the most effective side in all of Serie A. Conte's start to life at San Siro has gotten off without a hitch and I Nerazzurri have won all six of their matches to the start off the league campaign. In that … Continue reading Antonio Conte – Inter Milan – Tactical Analysis

Best Formations for 9v9 (Part 2)

Along with the growing popularity of the 9v9 game in youth soccer, is a growing popularity of the examination of different 9v9 formations. We pretty much covered it in Best Formations for 9v9 (part 1), but there are so many formations out there, so might as well explore some of the other best options in this part 2 of Best Formations for 9v9. Enjoy! 

Playing Out From The Back – Full Session Plan and Key Coaching Points

Playing out from the back is far from a new concept, but the importance it has taken on in the last decade has grown immensely in the modern game. Nearly every team strives to play out from the back and with the recent rule change to allow defenders inside their own penalty area on goal kicks, playing out from the back is set to become even more encouraged for every team on the planet. Some less familiar to football may question why teams would want to play the ball around their own half off of goal kicks, rather than just clearing it away to the other half. However, playing out from the back is actually a far less dangerous option...

Coaching the 3-2-3 (9v9)

Over the past year of coaching 9v9 soccer, the 3-2-3 has become my favourite formation to use. I am a firm believer that the formation of any team should not be based around a club identity or a coach's personal style of play, but rather based around the team's style of play and the personnel of the team. However, I have found that the 3-2-3 is fantastic in suiting nearly every type of player and the simple and easy variations that can be created using the formation such as shifting into a 3-1-3-1, allow coaches to tweak and change their style of play to fit the needs of the vast majority of youth soccer players.

The Rise of the 3-1-4-2

In terms of formations and tactics, one of the major surprises of the 2018-19 season in Europe has been the rise of the 3-1-4-2. Although the formation is only a very minor spin on the popular 3-5-2, seemingly a host of teams around Europe have implemented this formation, and not just in Italy where back-three … Continue reading The Rise of the 3-1-4-2

Best Formations for 9v9

9v9 is one of the most exciting stages in the development of young players as it's the first time they are truly able to understand positioning, formations and how to play to the strengths of their teammates. In The Mastermind's hometown province of Ontario, 9v9 starts at the U11 stage and ends at U13, when … Continue reading Best Formations for 9v9

Teaching First Touch in Youth Soccer

The first touch that a player makes after receiving the ball is a highly underrated skill. The first touch can often make or break an attack and in some cases make a break a player's ability to score a goal. Here is a quick-fire guide to teaching young players how to take their first touch.

Top 100 Male Footballers 2019 (10-1)

It’s almost the end of the year, so it’s only fitting that we count down the top 100 footballers of 2019. Check out the start of the list (10-1) below.

Top 100 Male Footballers 2019 (20-11)

It’s almost the end of the year, so it’s only fitting that we count down the top 100 footballers of 2019. Check out the start of the list (20-11) below.

Top 100 Male Footballers 2019 (30-21)

It’s almost the end of the year, so it’s only fitting that we count down the top 100 footballers of 2019. Check out the start of the list (30-21) below.

Top 100 Male Footballers 2019 (40-31)

It’s almost the end of the year, so it’s only fitting that we count down the top 100 footballers of 2019. Check out the start of the list (40-31) below. 40. Ederson Moraes Manchester City have had a bit of a rough go of it this season. As a result, Ederson has also had a … Continue reading Top 100 Male Footballers 2019 (40-31)

Top 100 Male Footballers 2019 (50-41)

It’s almost the end of the year, so it’s only fitting that we count down the top 100 footballers of 2019. Check out the next section of the list (50-41) below. 50. Marcelo Marcelo's career is certainly winding down. He's had an injury-ridden 2019 and was even excluded from Brazil's 2019 Copa America squad. Meanwhile … Continue reading Top 100 Male Footballers 2019 (50-41)

Top 100 Male Footballers 2019 (60-51)

It’s almost the end of the year, so it’s only fitting that we count down the top 100 footballers of 2019. Check out the next section of the list (60-51) below.

Top 100 Male Footballers 2019 (70-61)

It’s almost the end of the year, so it’s only fitting that we count down the top 100 footballers of 2019. Check out the next section of the list (70-61) below.

Top 100 Male Footballers 2019 (80-71)

It’s almost the end of the year, so it’s only fitting that we count down the top 100 footballers of 2019. Check out the next section of the list (80-71) below.