Coaching 9v9 Soccer – Ebook

9v9 is one of the most exciting stages in the development of young players and can often be the first time they are truly able to understand positioning, formations and how to play to the strengths of their teammates. This Ebook gives coaches an opportunity to learn all the in's and out's of coaching 9v9, including tactics, formations, and game management.

Best Formations for 9v9 (Podcast Episode)

9v9 is one of the most exciting stages in the development of young players and can often be the first time they are truly able to understand positioning, formations and how to play to the strengths of their teammates. This audio podcast will be all about the Best Formations for 9v9, as modeled after our article Best Formations for 9v9.

Frank Lampard – Chelsea – Tactical Analysis

Frank Lampard enjoyed a successful first season with Chelsea F.C., despite no new summer signings coming through the door. The Blues hovered around 4th for the majority of the season in behind Leicester City, and eventually secured 4th behind Manchester United. Lampard relied heavily on young talent in 2019-20 and the club were rewarded with fantastic performances from the likes of Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori and Reece James. However, although all of those players have potential, they might not be at the level of Premier League champions just yet. Lampard and those above his authority recognized that and responded with several new signings of the highest quality. In fact, very few other clubs have (on paper) done better summer transfer window business...ever. Despite the promise all their new signings have, it remains to be seen how they will all come together and whether or not it's worth it to bench some of the young players that secured their Champions League finish last year, for a heap of new players that have never played together before. So with that, here is a Tactical Analysis of Frank Lampard's Chelsea heading into the 2020-21 season.

Switching Play – The Basics

Although youth players generally don't have the capability to switch play all the way from one end of the field to the other, changing the point of the attack is a crucial element to any format of the game and essential for coaches to teach to their players. It doesn't matter how old they are, players will always try to go into pressure when they can simply change direction and try to switch play to the other side. Here are the basics of Switching Play, in the quest to help coaches translate the necessary elements of the tactic to their players.

Defensive Transitions – The Basics

Transitional moments are an understated, underrated and under-coached part of the modern game. How a team sets up after winning or losing the ball can make or break a team. As a result, today we dissect the basics of defensive transitions. Defensive transitions can be defined as the moment of time between a loss of possession and setting up to win the ball back right away. In more complex terms, it involves the reshaping and restructuring of the team to set up and defend. Although the notion of tactical fouling is technically a tactical approach to a defensive transition, this article will explore how to win the ball back after losing it, and how to set up immediately to stop a goal from going in. This is Defensive Transitions - The Basics.

Attacking Transitions – The Basics

Transitional moments are an understated, underrated and under-coached part of the modern game. How a team sets up after winning or losing the ball can make or break a team. As a result, today we dissect the basics of attacking transitions. Attacking transitions can be defined as the moment of time between gaining possession and going on the attack right away. In more complex terms, it is the reshaping and restructuring of the team to set up for the attack after winning the ball. Attacking transitions are also closely connected to the concept of counter attacking. Integral elements to attacking transitions include the decision of when to dribble vs. when to pass, width, verticality and speed. In this article, we will touch on all of these aspects, with example diagrams to a team's first introduction to transitions at the 7v7 stage, playing 2-3-1.

Pressing From The Front – The Basics

Pressing from the front is one of the most important elements of the modern game. As opposed to a low-block and allowing the opposition time and space to play out from the back, almost every professional team in existence presses high up the pitch, vigorously and rigorously in an attempt to win the ball back and go on the attack right away, closer to the opposition's goal. As a result, coaches of any age group should be looking to teach players young and old the necessary steps of pressing from the front. In order to help guide these coaches, we examine some of the most basic elements of pressing from the front, with example diagrams for a 7v7 team playing 2-3-1.

Playing Out From The Back – The Basics

Playing out from the back is one of the most important elements of the modern game. Not only is it better for development than kicking it long, it is also easier and allows a team fewer risks at losing the ball. As a result, coaches of any age group should be looking to teach players young and old the necessary steps of playing out from the back. In order to help guide these coaches, we take a look at some of the most basic elements of playing out from the back, with example diagrams from a 7v7 team playing 2-3-1.

Overlapping Centre-Backs – Tactical Analysis

Any team's style of play needs to fit the personnel and formation. But a relatively new, unexplored tactical innovation arising out of the re-emerging rise of back-three formations is the concept of overlapping centre-backs. Teams like Sheffield United and Atalanta have achieved widescale success utilizing attack-minded centre-backs, who frequently find themselves in advantageous positions, attempting to join the attack and create chances for their teammates. By adopting this style of play, these teams create overloads in wide and/or central areas, and push more numbers into the box, where the delivery of crosses can be a great asset. On the surface, this may seem like a very simple approach. But the concept of overlapping centre-backs is far more complex than just the simple nature of a centre-back running around a wing-back. So let's get right into this Tactical Analysis all about Overlapping Centre-Backs.

Tottenham Hotspur – Premier League 2020-21 – Transfer Market Analysis

After a disappointing start to the 2019-20 campaign, long-time managerial legend Jose Mourinho came into Tottenham Hotspur to solve all the problems they had under Mauricio Pochettino (which were actually few and far between before 2019-20). Now after half a season in charge, Mourinho will be hoping to instill his philosophies on the team to … Continue reading Tottenham Hotspur – Premier League 2020-21 – Transfer Market Analysis

Hansi Flick – Bayern Munich – Tactical Analysis

In his first season at the club, Hans-Dieter Flick has seamlessly achieved success with Bayern Munich in stunning fashion, reaching the Champions League final for the club's first time since Jupp Heynckes was at the helm in 2012-13. The former Bayern player achieved widescale success as Germany's assistant coach, even winning the World Cup as Joachim Low's assistant in 2014. With all his experience at international management, Flick has now taken his former side to new heights, creating the most exciting Bayern Munich team since the days of Ribery and Robben. In the 2019-20 Bundesliga season, Bayern won 26 of their 34 games, scored 100 goals in the process and won the league by 13 points over arch-rivals Borussia Dortmund. In the Champions League, they've fared arguably even better, winning all 10 of their games and scoring 42 goals in the process. That's right, they've averaged over 4 goals per game in the toughest competition in club football this season. So, as we prepare for Sunday's 2019-20 UEFA Champions League Final, here is a Tactical Analysis of Hans-Dieter 'Hansi' Flick's Bayern Munich.

Thomas Tuchel – Paris Saint Germain – Tactical Analysis

For the first time ever, Paris-Saint-Germain have reached the final of the UEFA Champions League. Beating out Borussia Dortmund in the Round of 16 paved the way for PSG to play Atalanta and surprise semi-finalists RB Leipzig upon a return to the competition in August, where they now await German giants Bayern Munich in the final on Sunday. Under the fantastic management of Thomas Tuchel, PSG have been extraordinarily good. Some might argue that their path to the final was a tad easier than previous finalists of the competition, but it would be hard to argue PSG to be undeserving of their place in the final with such a star-studded lineup. The Ligue 1 champions have scored 25 goals in Champions League play thus far, conceding just 5 in the process. Here is a Tactical Analysis of Thomas Tuchel's PSG as we head toward the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League Final.

The Steps to a Perfect Demonstration for Any Activity

The art of carrying out the perfect demonstration is an underrated skill, often neglected by coaches in the quest to get the activity going as quickly as possible. What coaches often don't realize is that by not demonstrating, and by not demonstrating properly, they are wasting time as players are thrust into an activity without having a clue as to what they are supposed to do. The demonstration is probably the most critical component to any activity or game in a practice session, yet many forget about the necessity of the demonstration or neglect to realize a) how important it is to raising understanding and painting the picture for the players and b) how many crucial steps there are to an effective demonstration. As a result, in this article, I will break down every element to a perfect demonstration in helping coaches better paint pictures for their players.

Manchester United – Premier League 2020-21 – Transfer Market Analysis

The first half of 2020-21 was not ideal for Manchester United by any stretch of the imagination. But in the final fourteen Premier League matches, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer took Manchester United on an unbeaten run, culminating in a final day triumph over Leicester City to secure Champions League football and third place in the table. It was a finish worth celebrating and with Bruno Fernandes firing on all cylinders, Manchester United fans will be hoping for better times ahead. But another year gone by without Premier League glory, Solskjaer and co. would have been hoping for silverware elsewhere. Unfortunately for the Red Devils, they crashed out of every one of their cup competitions at the semi-final stage. So even with Bruno Fernandes and a powerful trio of attackers alongside him, the Red Devils will undoubtedly be turning their attention to the transfer market for new additions. Anything less than Premier League or Champions League glory is simply not enough to satisfy the Manchester United faithful's. Here is a Transfer Market Analysis of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United and who they can sign to achieve the dream of getting back to that level.

1V1 Attacking & Defending – Session Plan & Key Coaching Points

Over the years of coaching youth soccer, I have seen entire curriculums made up of 1v1/2v2 and activities. Sometimes clubs focus solely on these topics throughout their curriculums, particularly with regards to younger players. For me personally, I love to be more possession-focused and most of my activities revolve around topics of how to get the most out of our attack and time on the ball. 1V1 and 2V2 activities can also be dangerous to implement as a lot of them involve far too much waiting in lines. That said, 1v1 defending and attacking is still an essential session topic to cover in any season, regardless of your coaching philosophy and approach. As the great football pundit and commentator Don Hutchinson once said - "People think it's a game of 11v11. It's not. It's a game of 1v1. Win your individual battles." So with that, here is a session all about both 1v1 attacking and 1v1 defending.

Arsenal – Premier League 2020-21 – Transfer Market Analysis

The 2019-20 Premier League season was Arsenal's worst in twenty-five years. Not since 1995 had the Gunners finished below 8th place in the table and even under the leadership of Mikel Arteta, their form was inconsistent at best. Despite Arteta's tactical nuisances and potential to be a world class manager, Arsenal fans may be feeling skeptical going into the 2020-2021 season knowing that things have gotten worse, rather than better, since Arsene Wenger left the club. Even their FA Cup final victory over Chelsea did little to lift the fans' spirit and their lack of Premier League success has had an impact on their ability to attract top quality players in this summer's transfer window thus far. With all that said, Arsenal are still an incredibly interesting outfit and Mikel Arteta will undoubtedly prove to be a tactician worth examining throughout 2020-2021. To kick off our new Transfer Market Analysis Series, we discuss who Mikel Arteta may look to bring in to strengthen his team and achieve greater success in 2020-21.

Marcelo Bielsa – Leeds United – Tactical Analysis

Leeds United have waited 16 years to be back in the Premier League, and under Marcelo Bielsa that dream has now finally turned into reality for the 2020/2021 season. The Argentinean manager has long been hailed as one of the best in the world, not just by fans and players, but by other managers like Pep Guardiola, Diego Simeone and Mauricio Pochettino. It's easy to see why, as in just two years he has turned Leeds United into one of the very best teams in the Championship and has had the club hovering inside the top two for almost the entirety of both seasons. After a poor run of form at the end of the 2018-19 campaign resulting in Leeds missing out on automatic promotion to Sheffield United, Marcelo Bielsa has just continued to work his magic to the point where they secured automatic promotion this season with two games to spare. Here is a Tactical Analysis of Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds United and the extraordinary exploits his team have pulled off in the 2019-20 EFL Championship season.

Julian Nagelsmann – RB Leipzig – Tactical Analysis

Julian Nagelsmann never made it as a player, thanks in large part to knee injuries that forced him to retire before his career even got started. However, that change of path allowed the German manager to take up coaching at a young age and after briefly working under Thomas Tuchel at Augsburg, Nagelsmann worked his way through the ranks at 1899 Hoffenheim, leading them into the UEFA Champions League for the first time in their history. After three incredibly successful years with Hoffenheim, Nagelsmann departed the club in 2019 for RasenBallsport Leipzig. Due to his fantastic success with a club that is now firmly one of Germany's elite clubs, Nagelsmann is now one of the most sought after and respected coaches in the world, at 32 years of age. This is a Tactical Analysis of Julian Nagelsmann's revelations with RB Leipzig, as he looks destined to become the next big thing in football management.

Diego Simeone – Atletico Madrid – Tactical Analysis

Few clubs over the past decade have developed as succinct of a style of play as Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid. The 4-4-2 and 4-4-1-1 formations have practically become synonymous with Simeone's side, as he's taken Atletico to two Champions League finals and one La Liga title. Although 2019-20 hasn't been the best of seasons for Los Rojiblancos, they've continued their usual defensive prowess, conceding the second least amount of goals this season in La Liga and beating Liverpool in both Champions League Group Stage encounters. Here is a Tactical Analysis of Diego Simeone's 4-4-2 system and hard-working Atletico Madrid team.

Lucien Favre – Borussia Dortmund – Tactical Analysis

The suspension of all football activity has been a unfortunate for Borussia Dortmund as they were on a stunning run of form in the Bundesliga before the break. Favre's newly introduced 3-4-2-1 has changed the way Dortmund play for the better, while simultaneously providing more defensive support, the area of the field in which they needed reassurances the most. The formation has given the likes of Achraf Hakimi and Raphael Guerreiro the freedom to go on and create more magic and has also given Jadon Sancho and Thorgan Hazard a necessary boost at a crucial time in the season. This formation suits the players and personnel that Lucien Favre has at his disposal tremendously well and it will be very interesting to see if they can continue to play to such great heights when the season comes to a conclusion. Check out or Tactical Analysis of Lucien Favre's stellar 3-4-2-1 formation with BVB.

Gian Piero Gasperini – Atalanta – Tactical Analysis

If you had told Gian Piero Gasperini at the start of his reign in charge of Atalanta that he'd make the Black and Blues into one of the most lethal attacking sides in European football within three years, he probably wouldn't have believed you. But with a stellar recruitment process and hard work on the … Continue reading Gian Piero Gasperini – Atalanta – Tactical Analysis

Chris Wilder – Sheffield United – Tactical Analysis

Sheffield United have been the surprise package not only in the Premier League in 2019-20, but arguably anywhere in Europe's top five leagues. The recently promoted side went from 2nd place finishers in the 2018-19 EFL Championship to one of the most resilient Premier League sides in 2019-20, currently sitting in 7th place in the table with a game in hand. Chris Wilder meanwhile has gone from a manager virtually unknown, to one of the most celebrated in European football this year. His 3-5-2 system of play has been consistently one of the most well-set-up systems in the Premier League this season and every single player just seems to fit into it like a puzzle that has come together better than anyone could have dreamed of. Here is a tactical analysis of Chris Wilder's robust 3-5-2 formation and style of play with Sheffield United.

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.

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 8v8

Before the USSF switched to 9-a-side for U11 & U12, 8-a-side was the common standard. Today, 8v8 is not a common playing format. However, it is useful to discuss from a 9v9 standpoint, to elucidate what formations might be useful when a team has to play short. Here are the best formations for 8v8, a … Continue reading Best Formations for 8v8

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

32 Greatest Canadian Men’s National Team Players of All Time

Rhys is joined by Canada Soccer expert Sam the Man to discuss the 32 greatest players to ever play for the Canadian Men's National Soccer Team. Players discussed include the likes of Atiba Hutchinson, Dwayne De Rosario, Julian de Guzman and Canada's latest star - Alphonso Davies. Follow along with the bracket as you listen via the link below! This post is reposted from the Round of 32 Podcast!