4 Stages of Technical Development

4 Stages of Technical Development

Accidents occur, frequently, at the airport and, often, involve a stick shift rental car driven by a person from a country where people drive on the right side – like the USA for example! It takes a while to adjust to driving in the UK. You really have to think about it!

I have learned that soccer players go through a similar process when learning a technique. Whether driving in the UK or learning the techniques of soccer there are four developmental phases which will need to be tackled. Let’s stick with soccer and forget the driving thing for the moment.

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Soccer is a Sideways on Sport

Soccer is a Sideways on Sport

Baseball, cricket, boxing and golf are all sideways on sports. Baseball players, cricketers and boxers are sideways on because they are one sided, right or left handed. This is not the only reason they are sideways on, however. Players have much less capacity to shift weight if they are flat footed and standing square. Shifting weight from back foot to front foot is one of the secrets to impact power. This is true of soccer players also but the reason we call this section “Sideways On” is because soccer is a 360 degree sport with high levels of activity going on all around the players and they need as wide a scope of vision as possible. Being sideways on gives soccer players the ability to see a comprehensive field of view and gives them many more choices than if they were facing the wrong way receiving a straight pass.

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The Power of Improvisation

The Power of Improvisation

As coaches, we are all trained on the importance of planning and organization. When I first started coaching, I would typically write a training session plan on a Monday night and revise it numerous times between then and Saturday’s training. To deliver a good session, I thought, I simply had to follow this process. 

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Pressing and Trapping with Forwards

Pressing and Trapping with Forwards

An essential part of team defense tactics is pressing and trapping in the attacking third.

Attacking player pressing is an aggressive form of pressing. It's objective is to completely trap opponents inside their own half, in order to either win the ball or force opponents to play long, uncontrolled passes. Your opponents are constantly under pressure, without time or space to build an attack. One misplaced pass in front of their goal can create an opening for a shooter.

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Possession Under Pressure

Possession Under Pressure

Getting players to maintain possession of the ball under defensive pressure is a vital soccer skill. If your team has the soccer ball you are more likely to score and the other team cannot possibly score without it. Here are three drills from Dick Bate to help your team improve their ability to maintain possession under pressure.

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How much time should young players spend with the ball?

How much time should young players spend with the ball?

Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger may, over the past few years, have come under considerable criticism for first team results. But most observers of the game agree that since arriving at the North London club in 1996, he has “Gunners” as a world leader in youth development. Out of the last 100 players that have made their debut for the first team, 49 have progressed through the Arsenal Academy.

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1 v 1 Receiving and Turning Drill

1 v 1 Receiving and Turning Drill

Receiving and turning is a technique that every player in every field position must have in their locker.  The sooner they are taught this ability the better; that is why we focus here on such young ages. 

Which way do they turn? Too many players turn into opponents rather than away from opponents so coaches should emphasize this in their training. Also, do they turn with the inside or the outside of their foot or with both? They must practice both ways and with both feet to be effective as they gain more understanding of the technique that becomes a skill when decision making is added.

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A Game Situation for 1 v 1 Defending

A Game Situation for 1 v 1 Defending

Divide the teams up into two 3 v 3 games with teams attacking the short side lines to score a goal. Play with one ball then two balls so there is some 1 v 1’s and also some support play. Then they attack the long sides as targets making it a little harder to defend successfully.

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Soccer Awareness: Basic Principles of Development (One Touch Play)

Soccer Awareness: Basic Principles of Development (One Touch Play)

Linking foot preparation, body position and mental preparation to the technique involved in making a one touch pass leads us to a discussion on one touch play and its benefits.                     

One touch play teaches the value of being able to take your eye off the ball when keeping your eye on the ball can be a disadvantage.

To make this work, players need to have good teamwork and positional sense and therefore must work hard for each other.

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Making Space for the "Go To" Player

Making Space for the "Go To" Player

Every center midfield partnership should have a ball winner and a “Go To” man. The ball winner is self explanatory, his job is simple, close down the opposition, win the ball and give it to the “Go To” player, the creator, the distributor, the potential match winner. Some teams may have more than one, some teams don’t have any.

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Individual Attacking

Individual Attacking

The following training session comes from Ian Mulliner, Technical Director of Massachusetts Youth Soccer Association and a presenter at the 2015 Soccer Champions Coaches' Clinic.

Purpose: To improve the technical ability of the player in possession of the ball specifically dribbling, passing, receiving and shooting.

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