Coaching Corner

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Post by The Franchise Thu 19 Sep 2013, 00:28

No idea how much this thread will be used, but I thought why not.

I guess this thread can be a place where whoever can in and ask questions, put forward ideas or discuss any aspect of coaching and if enough people take part we might get some decent exchanges.

Dont have to be, have been or want to be a coach to join in but obviously certain things some practical experience gives you a better view point. But obviously, everyone is welcome.


And I guess I will kick things off with a question im pondering right now. Substitutions.

What is your opinion on talking to players regarding subbing them off? Do you/would you explain why you took them off? Straight after the sub or perhaps late on, even next training?

Right now, I usually dont tell players I take off the reasons why. But sometimes I do make exceptions. For example, last week I took off one of my midfielder who scored twice, thus denying him a hattrick. Even though we was winning quite big. Reason was, we stopped passing the ball and started playing too individually, thus letting the opponent back into the game (not on the scoreline but the control over the game) and I wanted to put on a different midfielder who plays cautious passes, rarely dribbles and has defensive presence. I thought, in situations like that an explanation was worthwhile.
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Post by sportsczy Thu 19 Sep 2013, 11:59

It really depends on your management style... some like to get things done using an iron fist and others like to make the players more personally responsible.  I've been coached both ways.  Which one is more effective?  Hard to say.  Depends on the group of players.  As a defender, i liked to be told exactly what was expected of me...  and if there was a problem, i wanted to know what it was.  I didn't mind criticism.  I played better when i was a bit pissed off anyhow lol.

I don't think a manager needs to say anything if the reason is obvious for sub/benching.  If it's something that's open for debate or tactical as opposed to performance...  i'd tell the player.  Last thing you want is for a player to feel confused and start to overthink.  The goal is to get the players to be very focused and very clear on their responsibilities.

Just my opinion.

I will add that there's a lot of case-by-case psychology that goes on between a manager and the different players...  you can't use the same method for everyone.

My last couple of youth years, the manager was the bad cop and was a super-disciplinarian while our coaches were the good cops who kept us positive.  That's another way to do it.
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Post by Kick Thu 19 Sep 2013, 12:22

I think it depends on the situation more than the style.

For example, if a player has a poor game and I drag him early, I'd let him know. But if it's a change because he looked tired or I wanted a new player on in that area then I wouldn't bother.

Then there are players who don't want to be subbed, like the player you mentioned, I would have to tell him why I subbed him otherwise I think he could lose some faith in me.
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Post by The Franchise Thu 19 Sep 2013, 12:39

Good points, both.

The good cop, bad cop routine Sports mentioned is something Rijkaard and Henk ten Cate had at Barcelona and it worked amazingly well. Rijkaard being the good cop and Ten Cate the bad.

Rijkaard has since admitted he is way too soft with players and struggles to criticise them, when Ten Cate left, that is when it all fell apart, because he kept Ronaldinho and Deco under a measure of control.

I personally dont have an assistant, but I am starting to come to the conclusion I need one.



I think the balance between the effect of a sub on a players confidence/mentality and what is best for the team on that day is quite a tough one.

Some players, when you sub them, they take it too personally and it effects their confidence for future games. However, you need a change.

I got a player like that, work his ass off on the pitch, is a leader and constantly talking, one of the better players and plays an important role in the team.

But when I took him off a few weeks ago, he didnt take it well at all. He wasnt mad at me, but furious with himself. Didnt seem himself for the next couple training sessions either.

Eventually got over it, but sometimes it can be tricky.

Of course some players are the other way and a sub motivates them.
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Post by sportsczy Thu 19 Sep 2013, 16:38

What kind of league r u coaching? Are the players vested or is it pure amateur?

If they're vested, then i suggest you get an assistant. You need a buffer for some of your instructions and he/she can serve as someone other than you the players can talk to. It also gives you a different set of eyes so you can compare notes.
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Post by The Franchise Fri 20 Sep 2013, 11:58

Danish division 2, couple of the youth teams. The players take it as seriously as I do, but honestly its been fairly smooth sailing thus far.

I got offered an assistant at the start of the season but I said I preferred to wait to make that decision. In truth I didnt think I needed one at the time plus I wouldnt have an input on who they hire.

Plus part of the reason I think I declined at the time was me and the boys dont speak Danish to each other because I cant speak it and understand little (just singular football terms). It works well because when I give players space they can do speak in Danish and discuss what they need to fairly freely. Im not sure how the dynamics of all that change with a Danish speaking assistant.
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Post by sportsczy Fri 20 Sep 2013, 15:44

If you have a strong team captain that you can rely on, then you can make him the de-fact assistant tbh... happened on a couple of teams i played for. But if leadership is not that strong on the team or you can't trust him, i'd probably hire an assistant.

Or you can go US style... they have 10 assistants and none of them know a thing about footy Laughing
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Post by aleumdance Sun 22 Sep 2013, 17:44

guys I got a question

do you have to be European to train and receive classes for the UEfa pro coaching license?
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Post by The Franchise Sun 22 Sep 2013, 18:52

No, but before you even get to the level to do the UEFA pro licence, each countries F.A have their different lower level coaching courses you probably need to do before hand. But of course, not every country is set up the same way so it depends where you are.
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Post by The Franchise Fri 27 Sep 2013, 21:03

How reasonable do you think a 3 man backline is?

The easy answer is depends on the players, which is obviously true, but some pro's and con's yall think are relevant?
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Post by I Have Mono Sat 28 Sep 2013, 02:56

Some of this is hard to put into words and have it make sense but In General I feel playing a four man back line makes more sense especially in amatuer/semi-pro situations you can not find many wingers for that level who can attack and defend  at a high enough level to make a 3 - 5 - 2 or whatever version of a 3 man back line useful as well as the fact that back 4's are a lot more common.

However I think it's useful players knowing multiple formations and a 3 man back line can be useful if you're chasing a game allowing you to sub on more attackers.

Usually a 4 man back line turns into a 3 man back line in attack because either both fullbacks push up, the Centerbacks spread out and a center mid drops inbetween (ala barca alba and alves push up pique and puyol spread out and busquests fills the hole); or 1 fullback(essentially a wingback) pushes up while the other sits like a traditional fullback with the two Centerbacks(such as Madrid with Marcelo pushing high and Arabelo generally holding/ or Chelsea with Ashley Cole pushing and Ivanovic holding etc).

Formations are more for defense shape than anything i think.  I cant say ive seem a game that starts Which doesnt have at least 3 players(not including the goalie)[obviously this changes when people are chasing a game (less players back) or protecting a lead (back 4 flat and a defensive mid holding)] positioned to defend/slow a counter and allow for everyone to get back in their position on defense.



I can try explain a little better if you don't understand or disagree just let me know.

If you just want straight pros and cons i guess my con for a 3 man defense is if everyone isn't on the same page it's easier to *bleep* up, the wingback can get double teamed very easy if he does t get support from one of the 3 centerbacks or a centermid
Another con might be your two wingbacks need to be in very very great shape as the essentially have to control a whole flank

Pros you can put 5 men in midfield and overwhelm other teams
Another pro is you have less people dedicated to defense and thus are able to commit better attacking players forward(might be confusing, makes sense in my head and I can try to clarify)




On a completely different note do you feel that people are beginning to go overkill in terms of breaking down formations ?
Let me try to explain.
A 4-1-2-1-2 / 4-4-1-1 etc are really just a 4-4-2 , while 4-1-4-1 or a 4-2-3-1 are really a 4-5-1. I feel breaking formations down by more then defense/midfielders/forwards is overkill.

I think breaking formations down past that is useful for not so intelligent viewers but pointless for someone who can tell the difference between a diamond 4-4-2 and and box-box 4-4-2.

What do you guys think ?

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Post by Sri Thu 03 Oct 2013, 00:56

@I Have Mono wrote:
On a completely different note do you feel that people are beginning to go overkill in terms of breaking down formations ?
Let me try to explain.
A 4-1-2-1-2 / 4-4-1-1 etc are really just a 4-4-2 , while 4-1-4-1 or a 4-2-3-1 are really a 4-5-1. I feel breaking formations down by more then defense/midfielders/forwards is overkill.

I think breaking formations down past that is useful for not so intelligent viewers but pointless for someone who can tell the difference between a diamond 4-4-2 and and box-box 4-4-2.

What do you guys think ?
Umm.. I'll give my view on breaking down formations, but I doubt I'll add much more than what might already be obvious to posters on this thread (past/present/future coaches, etc. - I am none of these, just a fan who watches Arsenal and plays a little Fifa).

I don't think it's overkill. At the end of the day, apart from the goalkeeper, there are 10 players on the outfield and it's purely permutations/combinations of how they line up. These permutations/combinations are limited when you consider the fact that some of the players play defensive roles, some play attacking roles, and the rest are effectively a bridge between the two in the middle of the park.

You can generalize and say that effectively, all formations are 4-4-2/3-4-3/4-3-3 or variants of these. However, saying it's a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3 gives more perspicuity on how a side is lining up; and not just to the the uninitiated noobs.
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On a side note, what do you guys think about fluid midfields? It's something I have seen AW try a few times before, though its usually with a false LW in Arsenal. However, playing 5 center mids last night against Napoli, it was almost impossible for me to determine who was playing where in the first 15 minutes with all the one-touch-passing and the incredibly fluid movement.


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Post by The Franchise Thu 03 Oct 2013, 11:57

I feel a problem with midfield's like that, who roam and take up different spaces at different times is usually those players are like Ozil's, Santi's, Silva's and so on.

The problem is, when one of two things happen.

1. The opponant defends narrow and deep. Doesnt allow space behind and gives the flanks to close the middle lanes.

When you have those players, you find none of them give you genuine width and stretch the pitch horizontally. The play gets congested into a smaller area because of all those guys like to have the ball at their feet rather than run off it. When the opponant gives up possession, drops the lines and narrows, the lack of true width shows the most.

2. Its alot of off ball movement, eventually the players will slow their runs and take up more static positions simply due to fatigue.
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Post by sportsczy Fri 04 Oct 2013, 20:57

Talk about coaches with sophisticated tactics... look at Carlo. He's trying to implement a disciplined, non-roaming, Italian style 433 and 442. All you need to know is that he has Pepe, Ramos, CR7, Bale and others to contend with Laughing You can actually see those guys trying to get their dormant brain cells going...

The reason we're struggling a bit is that everyone has specific gap responsibility with specific teammates + real estate responsibility for defensive shape. Nothing can be done randomly by players or the system gets screwed up.

Just as an example... Isco is supposed to play LCM with specific situations where he can attack. What are those situations? If he's going to make a run towards a forward position, he has to make sure that the fullback is not too far forward that he can't recover into Isco's defensive area. Once that fullback makes the adjustment to cover Isco's run, then Isco has to jump into the spot the fullback vacated and catch up.

Well, despite scoring, Isco was not doing his job and got benched the last 2 games. He was too far forward and that left gaps in the midfield thus exposing the defense.

The players just aren't reading each other fast enough and the passes + runs are happening late. Everything looks in slow motion Laughing

Thankfully, Madrid is winning. But this is going to take a while. You're trying to transitions from a "player game winning" philosophy to a "system game winning" one. Meanwhile, Flo Perez forces Bale on him who is in no way the type of player Carlo needs Laughing

Interesting to see if he can get the discipline and overall team flow to get this to work.

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Post by The Franchise Sat 08 Feb 2014, 11:53

Anyone got any interesting drills or practices they would like to share? Done themselves or experienced from playing.

Always interesting to see things done in different ways.
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Post by sportsczy Tue 11 Feb 2014, 18:22

Coaching Corner Ajax-10-passes-combination--300x270

Here's one I used to do.  This is set up in a 433... but it can be done in any system (we did it in a 442 setup).  The idea is this:  The players are setup in the specific zones shown.  We had the additional difficulty of having cones places in the passing lanes.

You're supposed to:
-  Pass the ball as shown by the numbers on the image.
-  The pass must be done from in the inside on the foot and the ball is not allowed to bounce... your pass must be flat on the surface.
-  Depending on the day...  we had to make first touch passes or were only allowed one touch before passing.
-  The coaches wanted to see us make eye contact with the person we were passing to next before receiving the ball.
-  We had to be prepared to make the pass.  Namely, when the pass was release to us, we needed to have our shoulders directed towards where we were going to make the pass... or if we could not do that, we needed to take the one touch, get our shoulders in the correct position and then make the pass.

We changed distances and the player positions also rotated regarldess of what our natural position on the pitch was...

It's a tiki taka exercise designed to develop funademental passing technique.
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Post by The Franchise Wed 12 Feb 2014, 01:18

That's a nice one, a different take on similar techniques and one in which I have not seen but would definitely incorporate.

Am I right in thinking, at the end of the passing sequence (10) it ends in a finish on goal?
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Post by sportsczy Wed 12 Feb 2014, 12:44

yeah... you put a keeper there and the final player takes a shot on goal.
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Post by Rossoneri Ninja Thu 13 Feb 2014, 12:08

Convenient thread is convenient.

I have the honor of being appointed my primary school's football coach, now for the love of god help me teach these children how to football. Laughing 

Some info about my team ; age group under 14's  but most of them will be between the ages of 13-12. They don't have allot of experience with football as the two dominating sports we have at the school are Rugby and Cricket.

We are going to compete in 3 tournaments this year, 2 national and 1 local. My expectations are fairly low, although i expect them to make some progress as the year goes on. My goals this season are to increase their overall skill(passing,shooting,defending) and confidence/ interest in the sport, also i want to build some foundations for the season's to come.

There are some hurdles to overcome;
- such as most of my players come from poor households and won't be able to afford even the most basic of football equipment.
- No  proper football pitch to play/practice on, the town and school does have sports grounds but they are rugby and cricket pitches. I suppose we can make due with the rugby pitch but the surface is quite horrible.
- Most of the players would also be participating in other sporting codes at the school such as Rugby and Cricket, which would disrupt my team's progress.
- The school's best athletes play Rugby, i want them.
- Physically my group of players are relatively small.

Seeing as i don't have any competition for the role as coach my appointment would seem to be permanent.

I humbly ask that the GL members be my assistants/critics/assessors in this endeavor. Once i have formed the team i will post in detail my team's progress and tactical overlay.

I have a few questions with regards to team/squad setup
* How many players do you think i need? I was thinking of having a squad of 15-18 players
* How should i approach the coming tournaments, play to compete or for the love of the game? I should point out that there will be provincial and national trials held after the completion of tourneys
* Should i get an assistant to help manage the team?
* If the situation arises that i have too many players say an excess of about 20 plus players, should i cut the ones that don't show much promise  from the team?
Bonus question:
Tiki taka , Hoof , catenaccio
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Post by sportsczy Thu 13 Feb 2014, 13:29

ok.... just a few random thoughts for you.

Find a 30 meter x 30 meter area somewhere and personally put it into great playing condition. You need to do some things on a flat pitch.

That said.... playing on rought terrain is the best possible training for learning control and quick reactions. That's why Brazilian players are so good... they play on the beach and horrible pitches as kids and learn how to deal with those conditions.

I'd get an assistant because you want one of you to be the tough teacher and other to be the shoulder the kids can cry on Laughing You can't be both.

If i were you, i'd concentrate on stuff that you can't teach later in life... namely technique and fundamentals. Results can wait and they'll come naturally anyhow.

Make them play beach football if you're close to a beach... in fact, hold some training sessions on the beach if you can.

Implement tiki taka training and tactics. Even if they suck at it to begin with, it's the best training for kids.

Just some random thoughts...
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Post by The Franchise Thu 13 Feb 2014, 13:44

First of all, congrats.

My opinion.

How many players do you think i need?

It depends on how committed the players will be to training and matches. For example, of my 2 teams, for 1 I have only about 13-14 players but they are all very consistent and are always there for training. The other I have about 22-24 but I cant count on them all at all. I would say 15-18 is a good number.


How should I approach the coming tournaments, play to compete or for the love of the game? I should point out that there will be provincial and national trials held after the completion of tourneys

At that age, and with football not being the main sport...I feel like its important to create and fun atmosphere where results are not important, especially not for the time being. The group will reveal itself eventually and you can judge what is needed and how seriously they want to take it. Emphasis playing well, playing as a team and being proud of effort.



Should i get an assistant to help manage the team?

That depends on you. For example, for neither of my teams do I have one. I have been offered one (I believe either a young guy or a parent) and have declined. Some days I feel like I could use one, other days I feel like it's better I dont have one.

I think the plus of having one would be that there is another voice besides yours. Sometimes the players want to hear a different tone and different voice, the same one becomes easier to tune out...and no matter how much you know, if noone is listening, its pointless.

Also a plus is training, if you have a big group you can divide activities easier and have someone there to check the players progress and giving them feedback. This is the main reason I would have one, because I cant be in two places at once and sometimes I need to split the group for something specific (be it game related, or different types of drills/practices happening at once) but it becomes difficult.

For me, a downside is a having another voice who doesnt have the same expertise or simply idea's as you. Yes, your the coach and you have a way of doing things which assistants are happy to confirm with. However, your assistant is not a clone of you and something you have taken weeks to drill into plays can be undone rather quickly by even good intentioned help.

I myself care alot about details, for me the assistant would have to also. I will get on a player if they give a pass which doesnt roll along the floor the entire distance of the pass....likewise, I insist whenever possible, the players pass to each others strongest foot. Would an assistant demand such detail? And if not, do I want to spent the time going over them all with him/her?



If the situation arises that i have too many players say an excess of about 20 plus players, should i cut the ones that don't show much promise  from the team?

For me, no.

First of all, you never know when you may need them. I once had a game where I had 8 players (9 a side game) and therefore had to play with one less player on the field and no subs for an entire game. And I coach at a club, players take football seriously...but shit happens and next thing you know, you need the lesser players.

Second of all, when you have alot of players if gives you bigger opportunity to play 11-aside matches in training. Which I believe to be an underrated thing. I think teams suffer when they constantly play small sided games, the space in the bigger pitch becomes alien to them. Also, I like to work alot on in game situations and what better way to do that then when going live in a full scale environment.

I only have one rule, thats honesty. I try my best not to lie to the players. I have said to a couple of players, "look, right now we have 2-4 options in the position you want to play in and they are doing very well. I cant fit you in right now and cant tell you that I have match time for you. I still want you in the team and will try and find ways to use you. If you want to gain more playing time I need you to show me something you can bring we dont have in our team (I might tell them things we lack and they may have the skillset for) or perhaps change your position."

I can think of only 1 player in my team I absolutely cant use because he is too far behind everyone. I owe him a conversation which I am unsure about at the moment.

Bonus question:

Depends on the level of your players. The easy route is alot of defending in numbers and counter attacking. However, even this I have seen come undone because having less talent with the ball doesnt mean you have more off it and being organised and not diving into tackles foolishly is a difficult thing to get the players to understand at that age.

Look at the players you have and I am sure you will notice some strengths. I have my way of how think football should be played and I teach my players that thinking and that reflects the way we play. However, the fact is for one of my teams I have 2 guys who play striker or at least second striker and the best player is an attacking midfielder. Thus, playing 433 with two wingers and 3 midfielders is trying to fit square pegs in round holes. Its my job to find a way to mesh players into my idea of playing while they retail their identities as players.

So, basically its all on you to find out what works best. One thing I will say and wont back away from...hoofing the ball aimlessly upfield wont work. You might win a game here or there by defending well one day while scoring off a opponent mistake trying to deal with the long hoof but over the long haul it just wont work.
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Post by Cruijf Mon 12 Oct 2015, 05:02

How early would you start teaching children tactics? I coached a U8 recreational team and tried to keep things very basic to building technique and fundamentals, but it got me thinking about when you should start locking people into positions, working on shape, etc.

Thoughts?
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Post by The Franchise Mon 12 Oct 2015, 14:21

Its a "big" debate within the youth coaching world.

The general rule I have heard is, you dont teach tactics to anyone under 12 years old. Seems a bit simplistic and arbitrary to me.

My stance and the way I work is like this;

Tactics are a very general term and we have to look at them more closely.

When your teammate presses the ball near the sideline, should you not support him in a way which discourages the opponent from passing the ball into the middle and away from the pressure?

For me, this is a "tactic" but it is also football fundamentals and I think after young players reach the level of understanding required to process this information, they should begin to learn these things.

What age that is, to me doesnt matter. What is more important is what their level of understanding is. I have seen 12 year olds (and younger even) with a much better innate understanding of the game than 15 and 16 year olds. Its about their level, not their age, in my opinion.

In terms of locking people into positions, its slightly different. I enjoy the way Ajax do it and think it is ideal. You are obliged to learn 3 different positions on the field and be competent in each of them. In fact I believe its mandatory, not an obligation. I think this is ideal, because generally the 3 positions will be linked in some way (for example I know Frank Do Boer learnt CB, LB and the number 6 position) to each other and therefore the player will continue to master the skills he is fundamentally good at while improving the intricacies in roles which are different but have some overlapping skill traits.

In terms of working on shape can be more than one thing. I think learning the basic defensive and offensive positions of a formation is important at any age. But when you get into the really complex things which differ from team to team depending on your (as a coach) game model (for example a striker who must move into the space between the left back and left center back if the right winger has the ball).

For things like this, we are talking about not being in the development phase any more but being towards the performance phase and it requires some critical thinking which advanced players have.



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Post by Cruijf Sun 18 Oct 2015, 15:36

Thanks for that, very helpful. The thing I've always worried about is dumping too much information on players too young to handle it, but I agree that some things should be drilled in at a young age. Having your winger tuck in when defending for example is seen more as fundamental football intelligence than in depth tactics.
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Post by Cruijf Sun 18 Oct 2015, 15:40

Related question: when would you start to prioritize performance over education? As in, when would you stop worrying about teaching players the 'right' way to play and play as cynically as possible in order to get a result?

Where I live I've always felt the major problem with our national team is they never learned how to play football. From a young age all that mattered was winning, so they played the most athletic kids they could find and resorted to extremely direct football to get results. When is that justified?
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