The popularity of switching play as a tactical concept has long been a dominating strategy in the world of football. Its popularity is exemplified by the many different forms and names it has taken on over the years such as changing the point of attack or playing across the direct game channels. Even at the younger ages, switching play can be an essential tactic to deploy with any team. Concepts like maintaining width, crossing, and shifting the ball from left to right are universal to the sport, regardless of age. Here is an updated session plan all about one of the most essential session topics in youth soccer/football – Switching Play.
Leadership, a word comprising many characteristics and traits, is likely one of the broadest words in the English language. People have been studying the concept of leadership for some time and it would be hard to come up with a definitive definition of what leadership truly is. What the word means to each individual may differ and include varying aspects of teamwork, culture, management, communication, motivation, guidance, authority, control, etc. Recently I have been thinking about leadership characteristics more and more in my everyday life, constantly reflecting as to how I can be better within my professional role as a Technical Leader of a soccer club. In my reflections, I have come to the realization that just about everything, every aspect of being a good leader, centers around inspiring others to have fun. Simultaneously, I think this has likely been under-appreciated in the research and literature surrounding the concept of leadership, in favour of other buzzwords like "guidance", "influence" and "power" that are also too broad. Here is why fun is so important to leadership, and likely an underrated aspect when considering what makes someone a "good leader."
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 to win the ball back high up the field through putting pressure on their opposition. In order to help guide these coaches, we examine some of the most basic elements of pressing from the front through a session plan all about this essential topic.
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.
In Canada, there has recently been a move toward the terms "old school" and "new school" to describe a shift in coaching behaviours. The terms have developed as a result of the abandonment of "old school" methods like yelling at kids, focusing on a select few talented players rather than all, and punishments like push-ups, laps or "benching" players. But still, everywhere I go, I still see coaches looking for ways to punish their players. And so today, I write this piece, with the bold statement that you should never punish your players. I am usually one to avoid saying the word "never", especially in respect to coaching. I may want to tell coaches that I mentor and develop to never do elimination games or to never limit a player's number of touches. But there may be a time and a place where it could be beneficial or logical. But when it comes to punishments, unless someone has something really compelling to say and wants to try to convince me otherwise, I believe you should never punish your players. Here are three reasons why!
Over the past couple of weeks, much of youth sports around the world have been postponed due to COVID-19 and the ongoing spread of the virus. For both coaches and athletes this presents a unique challenge, as self-isolation and social distancing makes practicing a team sport particularly difficult. That said, it's not as though nothing can be done in this time of self-isolation or as though players must spend all day on their phones. Here are some ways to keep your players engaged during this time.
Recently I had the privilege of helping teach a coaching course at my university institution to eighty students, most of which had never coached before. Not only was it (hopefully) a valuable learning experience for the students, it was also a great learning experience for me and my development as a coach. Across the course, the students adapted well to the teaching methods of the course. However, a few common mistakes could be found in nearly every single session that the students delivered. As a result, I have developed this list of the most common mistakes coaches (not just beginners) often make. This list should be a helpful reminder to all coaches on how to be better in their roles and ensure participants get the most out of their experience.
This winter, I had the privilege of helping to teach a coaching course at my university institution. The experience was absolutely amazing and better than I could have ever hoped for before beginning the course. Here are five things I learned from the teaching experience.
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.
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)
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.
One of the key skills to learn in the modern game, particularly for young players, is the art of composure. Many young players have the habit of kicking the ball up the field without looking or thinking that they always have to go forward because that is where the goal is. However, if players can harness the ability to know when the right time is to go forward and when the right time is to keep possession and maybe go backward, their ability as a footballer will skyrocket. Here is an entire session plan all about playing forwards vs. backwards and some coaching tips along the way.