Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Basic Principles of Individual Attacking

In general, attacking is much harder than defending. Why? Because attacking usually requires more advance (and advanced) thinking. In other words, a defender reacts - while an attacker has to have a plan if he is going to have a good chance of success. In addition, attacking requires better ball control than defending, because it is difficult to keep possession long enough to get within scoring range by just whacking at the ball. As a result, the coach must spend a lot of time in developing the ball control skills of his players, and in training them in the various elements of individual attacking.

Individual attacking has 3 basic phases. The first phase is what is commonly known as the First Touch phase. The quality of the First Touch, and the planning which goes into this First Touch, often will be the key difference between a successful attacker and one who constantly bombs out. The second phase is the  actions required to beat any field defenders, so that you are 1 v 1 with the keeper (called "field attacking"). The final phase is the actions required to beat the keeper and/or last field defender blocking the ability of the ball to "see" the goal so that you can put the ball in the net. This final phase will be called Finishing (although it is important to bear in mind that the other phases may be compressed into this single phase, with a ball received in a way which allows the very first touch to be a shot on goal).

Indeed, any time that an attacker realizes that the ball is going to come to him, his first decision should be "do I have a decent chance at scoring a goal with my first touch?" If the answer is "yes", then he must always make the attempt to score. As noted later, a player misses 100% of the shots which he does not take, and it is critical to educate young players early in the notion of thinking about a shot first.

If no shot is "on" with the first touch, then the player must get the ball under control and take another look to see if a shot is now available (because defenders move around - so a momentary opening may have arisen). If a shot is still not "on", then he must figure out the best route to take to get into a good scoring position, then look once more for the chance for a shot. In other words, he needs to remember that his ultimate objective is to score goals.

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Tuesday, 9 April 2013

How to Take a Penalty Kick

The penalty kick…the ultimate in pressure situations. Often the penalty kick comes at a critical juncture in the game where there is nothing between the two teams but 12 yards from the spot. Many World Cup, Champion’s League and MLS Cup game has come down to converting from the penalty spot after teams remain tied after extra time.
A solid, well struck penalty kick is almost impossible for the goalkeeper to stop, yet we often see misses and amazing saves. A well directed, firmly struck penalty in soccer is almost impossible for the goalkeeper to save, and yet penalties are frequently missed.

To be successful at converting from the spot, there are two key components that must be mastered…the technique and the mentality.

You can pretty much split up penalty takers into two categories. There are those that go for a well placed inside of the foot shot, and those that go for an all out blast that shakes the net. Both are effective, but each one has it’s strengths and weaknesses.

“A well-placed ball, high to the corner, will not be stopped by the goalkeeper even if he anticipates it” says Professor Tom Riley, Liverpool John Moores University.

“There is not enough time to react, so a kick placed in this area would have a 100% strike rate.”

“Some players blast the ball straight down the middle, assuming that the goalkeeper will move, but it’s not always successful.”
Upper 90 penalty zones
The upper 90 top corners may be a sure thing if you hit them, but that shot is tough and there is a lot that can go wrong. However, it has been shown that putting it in this spot makes it just about impossible for the keeper to save.
Lower 90 penalty zones
Conventional wisdom says to go for the the side netting (lower 90), low and just down inside the post. While this is an easier strike, a keeper that guesses correctly can get to the spot and make the save as Lehmann does in the photo above.

One key to perfect penalty kicks is having perfect form. If you have the correct form with your soccer kicks, you never have to worry about accuracy. 

Mentally, it’s important to stay calm and ignore the goalkeeper. The keeper will most likely be jumping around trying to distract you. It is a good idea to make a quick check of the keeper’s position just to make sure he isn’t lined up properly, but other wise don’t look at him.

To enter a state of flow or ‘being in the zone’ when taking a penalty shot you need to stop thought. Sure you can have a pre-decided idea as to where you are going to blast the ball. But thought or any self consciousness about what you are doing will just block your success.

In order to be able to reach this state consistently, you have to practice under pressure. As a coach, you should place your players in mini games where there are consequences for losing. Split your players up into teams and have them take penalty kicks with the loser running extra sprints or something of that nature. The pressure side of penalty kicks is almost as tough as the execution side so put your players under pressure in practice and they will deliver in game time situations.
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Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Offside’s Trap During Your Opponent’s Free Kick

Free kicks sometimes become dangerous for your defense as they are the most probable chances to score during a tough match. They are taken by the best players to create the best chances to score goals. To make them gone wasted, you should be able to create a space so that the best free kick can be wasted or declared an offside ball.... 
When the other team has a free kick that will land around your defensive third line, the defense should position its last line of defense where the ball will land. (Figure 1) To catch the opposing team off-sides, just before the kick the defense should sprint out of their end of the field and leave their offensive opponents alone behind them(Figure 2)

    The off-sides rule states, there needs to be two defensive players between the receiver and the goal at the time of the kick. The goalie is considered one of the two defensive players. If the defense pushes forward before the kick, then the offensive receiver remaining will be called off-sides at the time of the kick (Figure 2) and the defense will earn a free kick from the point where the receiver was called off-sides. 

A team leader like the sweeper in the last line of defense will need to call this play. Everyone back on defense will need to sprint forward on his call. If one defensive player hangs back during the play, the offensive receiver will not be called off-sides because there will be two defenders (this defensive player and the goalie) between the receiver and the goal at the time of the kick. Here the strength of your defense will be out of position sprinting forward rather than remaining back defending against your receiving opponents.

Once the ball leaves the kicker’s foot, the on-sided offense can make runs behind the defense to retrieve the ball. This is why it is important the defense push forward early before the kick is taken to catch the offense off-sides. The defense needs to be alert to the team leader’s play calling, but also the team leader doesn’t want to advertise the play to his opponents so they attempt to stay on-sides.
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