Look Receive Pass

Look Receive Pass

When you look at a top level midfielder you may notice that their head is swiveling all the time. A midfielder has to master the game from a 360 degree perspective – receiving ball from back players,  playing ball to wide players, changing the point of attack and relaying the ball from the backs to the forwards. They are only able to do their job well if they are constantly looking around and scanning the field to see who is open, where are the opponents and how can they make themselves available to receive the ball.

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The Virtues of 1 Versus 1

The Virtues of 1 Versus 1

The game of soccer can be broken down into a competition of 11 players vs 11 players, or small groups of players, 2 versus 2 players, 3 v 3 etc. The real heart of soccer is the 1 v 1 duel. These duels happen all over the field for the full length of the game. The team that wins the most duels will, in all likelihood, win the game.  1 attacker versus 1 defender is the ultimate player challenge and coaches are well advised to practice 1 v 1 on a regular basis.

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4 Stages of Technical Development

4 Stages of Technical Development

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.

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Transferability & The Skills League

Transferability & The Skills League

Winning is, without dispute, good for morale but if the wins come by just kicking the ball and running after it this is not going to be very effective, developmentally, in the long run. During a game, keeping track of how many times the players use a move which you, as the coach, introduced during the week is an ideal alternative to the constant emphasis on winning games. Nothing replaces the development of skills which players will be able to incorporate into games in future years. That is what youth development is all about.

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Liverpool F.C. U18s vs Southampton F.C. U18s

Liverpool F.C. U18s vs Southampton F.C. U18s

This game, between two clubs with a reputation for player development, provided a soccer spectacle which left no doubt that great players are forged in the crucible of fiercely contested competition against top level opposition. Gareth Bale, a graduate of the Southampton Academy and now the most expensive soccer player in the world and Liverpool Academy’s Stephen Gerrard, captain of England and Liverpool are the products of games and occasions like this. Played at relentless speed, and with splendid demonstrations of guile, dribbling trickery, sublime passing and defensive discipline, observers were left with no doubt as to the significant developmental value of playing at this level, week in and week out. 

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