Saturday, 27 October 2012

Simple Tactics For Throw-Ins

I find that when young players pick up the ball for a throw-in and are faced by one of their team mates very close to them they usually end up doing a foul throw because they aren’t throwing the ball very far.
The way to stop them doing this is to give them tactics that both the thrower and receiver have practised before the match.
A player too close to the thrower is not in a good position anyway. What you are looking for is a player on the move who can take the ball in their stride and use it to advance your team up the pitch.
Throw-ins are good attacking weapons but you also need to be able to make the most of them when you are defending as well.
I use these four throw-in tactics to give all my teams good basic ideas so they know what to do when they pick the ball up. You should try them too.
  • In diagram 1, player A throws to player B who gives the ball back to player A with the inside of the right foot on the volley.
  • Once your players have done it a few times with their right foot, player B does the same this time using the left foot like diagram 2 – again playing the ball from the throw-in before it touches the ground.

Concentrate on the quality of the throw-in

Player A should always make sure his throw makes it easy for player B to move to the ball and volley back. The throw should put the ball at the right height, in the right spot and at the right pace.
Make sure your throwers concentrate on this, aiming the ball in the general direction of player B is not good enough.

Players shouldn’t be put under pressure

A ball thrown at chest or head height will put player B under pressure, as defenders will have a chance of intercepting as player B tries to control the ball.

How to progress

  • You can progress the throw-in practice, as we have done in diagram 3, by adding a defender and another team mate.
  • Player A must then disguise his throw, so the defender runs to the wrong player.

Support and move from the throw-in

    • Add another defender, as in diagram 4. This time the thrower and his attackers must support each other once the initial throw has been made.
    • Player B receives the ball, passes to player C then supports the pass so player C can pass back to him. Or player C can pass long to player A who has run into an attacking position down the wing.
    • Alternatively, player B can either play the ball back to player A and set up an attack, or retain possession, and still set up a 3v2 situation.

How to Win When You Have Just Lost

Going into our game last weekend, my Under-11s were playing on the back of a seven-match winning streak. That run has been built on a good passing game and the idea that every single player is involved as the ball is moved up the pitch. In the match, we were up against a physically big side… not that my players were put off by that challenge.
And it was the best game of passing football I had ever seen us play, even if our winning sequence came to an abrupt and unexpected end.
Essentially, all our training, practice and repetition of movement has started to pay off. Yet we lost 4-0. But who cares? Some of the one-twos and link-up play were mouth-watering… I counted five back-heels that beat a player and put one of my players into a great position to create a goal.
And yes, we created a lot of chances, but the opposition were very strong at the back and the goalkeeper showed excellent awareness coming off his line to sweep up any through-balls. The opposition themselves played some great football and the match was an excellent advertisement for grass roots soccer.
We gave away a goal on the stroke of half-time, but that didn’t change my team-talk at the interval. I told them they were playing superbly. Sure, they were more concerned about leaking a goal, but even they admitted that the manner of the performance had been very encouraging.
The second period followed much the same pattern – both teams created chances. They took theirs, but we didn’t. That is sometimes how it goes in a match. I was buzzing afterwards because we had performed so well, and so much of what I had coached them had come through.
Sometimes that’s enough in soccer, because while things didn’t come off on Saturday, I know that if the players continue to play like that, they’ll win many more than they lose. And that’s the point – if they go out thinking they have a chance of winning, we have won together as a team – coach and players learning from each other.
The result should never be the main thing. It’s much more important that your team plays to the best of its ability – remind them that for as long as they do that they’re developing and growing, and you’ll find they’ll keep responding, no matter what the scoreline is.

Creative Attacking Through Tight Defenses

By David Clarke

 Modern day football formations make it essential that midfielders and attackers become accustomed to playing in congested areas. If they can display the skills needed to produce short, sharp interchanges of play, the rewards in the final third can be impressive.
This session replicates the free-flowing passing football of Arsenal and Barcelona.
It will provide a platform to help your team find a way through opponents with flooded backlines, as well as those who attempt to break up play by deploying one or two holding midfield players.

Why this works

The session requires speedy and decisive passing over short distances. Opposition defenders are used as solid obstacles meaning attackers are encouraged to sidestep their man so as to find an angle for a pass.
The move should prove that the fewer touches each player takes, the quicker and more accurate the pass is likely to be, and with two attacking outlets, the last two defenders will need to make quick decisions as to which player to track.
Try to repeat this move until the attacking players can produce the quick interchanges using only one touch each.
Starting with an attacking triangle, you can adapt the attacking elements of this move to show the freedom of space that players can move into.

How to set it up

  • Four attackers and four defenders are required for the session to work – in the picture above, the attackers are labelled A, B, C and D.
  • The activity is carried out in the final third of the field using the goal and a goalkeeper in position.
  • Players A, B, C and D form a triangular shape.
  • The four defenders are positioned in the shape of an upside-down letter "Y", spread apart from each other but close to attacking players. They must hold shape and allow the attackers to work the angles.

Getting started

  • Player A starts with the ball. He must make an angle to evade the first defender and pass to player B, before making a run towards goal.
  • Player B lays a similar ball to player C, who after laying a pass to player D makes his own forward run.
  • Player D controls the ball and look for runs from A and C, then he lays a pass off to his chosen man.
  • In this instance, player A receives the pass. Making sure to stay onside, he fires at goal with a first-time shot.
  • Player C must continue his run in order to take advantage of any loose balls or rebounds.
  • Vary passing shapes but always ensure a centralised midfield move breaks out into a double-headed attack.

Four Corners Passing Game

Returning Players and Discipline

An email popped into my inbox this week which filled me with dread. The title alone was enough to have me put my head in my hands… ‘Harry wants to come back’, it read. Everyone had breathed a sigh of relief halfway through last season when Harry had decided to leave the team to go on to “better things”.
His parents were quite adamant that this was his decision and that he was going to “a team that won every week”, even though we were on a strong winning streak ourselves. (That said, we’ve never preached that winning is vital to our success.) Harry and his parents caused a lot of trouble – not at matches but at training. The lad rarely attended, and when he did, was one of the most disruptive boys I’ve ever coached.
But during matches he was the model player – very skilful, strong and never gave up. Even if I substituted him he was fine with the decision. But the trouble was getting him to matches in the first place. He once turned up 10 minutes after kick-off and was surprised that I made him sit on the bench for the majority of the game.
Harry’s problem was that his parents were too busy to get him to matches on time and too preoccupied with other things to ensure he attended training. But no matter how often I spoke to his mum and dad, they never reacted in the way I hoped. And Harry’s reasoning was that he couldn’t be blamed for his parents failing to get him to places on time. But punctuality is the first example of player discipline at any football club, and the team will suffer if players don’t turn up for training. It is vital in any squad that all of the players are singing from the same song sheet.
What was wrong with Harry was that – good player though he was – he wasn’t a team player. He missed out on key coaching sessions and the development of my other lads was being hindered by him not realising what he was supposed to do on the pitch. So if Harry wants to come back he does so on a two-month trial. If he sticks to the team rules on match days and at training he will win himself a place in the side.
If not he has to leave.
I’ve put the ball firmly in his and his parents’ court. They have to make it work or Harry will be finding himself another team.

Coach the Supporting Defender

By David Clarke
If you’re facing a team where the attackers are getting good support from the wings, you need your defenders to support each other in dealing with the threat. The supporting defender in this situation is vital for cutting off attacking options.
In this session players learn how to improve the understanding of covering and support between team mates.

How to play it

Set up a 30 yards by 20 yards area and add a 5 yards end zone at one end. Split the playing area down the middle with a row of cones so you can run two drills at the same time and allow more players to participate.
To begin, the defender near the end zone passes to the attacker at the other end. He must then stop the attacker from dribbling back towards him and into the end zone. The supporting defender, standing behind the playing defender, must give verbal support such as, “get tight”, “stand up” or “force wide”.

How to develop it

Remove the cones to create one pitch. Now two defenders work together in a 2v1 situation against the attacker. The first defender must put pressure on the attacker while the team mate covers and supports.
After the ball has been played, a second attacker enters the pitch from the other side and the defensive roles are switched. The defender creating pressure now covers and supports while the covering defender has a turn at putting pressure on the new attacker.

Turn it into a game

Play as above, but with the addition of a goalkeeper and goal. Now the attackers can shoot from distance so there is extra pressure on the defenders to move across quickly. The goalkeeper can provide additional support, communicating with both defenders.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

U-11 two-touch football FAI Take Note! - Eddie Darcy

I am a firm believer in passing football and try to instill that in all of my players from an early age. I am passionate about my sport and look to other countries and coaches for inspiration in how to improve my coaching ability and also more importantly how to improve my players. It has been discussed for years and finally the FA in England are doing something about it with their investment in St. Georges centre of excellence. England are pushing to close the gap at youth level with Spain and Germany. Doing that should boost the future England team…(food for thought FAI)

Well England may be finally putting things in place to do it but I was surprised by how advanced some teams are across the pond in America. They sure are building for the future. Please take a look at this in the FAI!

An U11 team in California has created its own little area of Spain taking their inspiration from the masters of tiki taka,Barcelona. They’ve called their team Barcelona-USA, and play in the same strips as the Catalan giants.

The video that got everyone purring was Barcelona-USA’s U11 Cal South State Cup semi-final against Arsenal FC – no slouches themselves at this level.

But in an epic 13 minutes of football, these young players executed some of the greatest one-touch, two-touch passing moves that you’ll see anywhere, anytime.

According to their coach: “These performances are no accident. It takes meticulous training, studying, and artistry — a craftsman. You can not just throw 11 players on the field and ‘talk’ about possession. That’s just talking. And anybody can do that… you should be asking yourself: ‘Do I really care, or am I just a talker?’”
Are you watching Trappatoni and John Delaney?

See the video everyone’s talking about below:

Hope you enjoy the quality of football as much as I did - Eddie

Players who perform in Training but not in Matches

I have coached players who make recurring errors during matches but can perform the skill perfectly well in training. They need my support and help. I always start by trying to find the cause of the problem.
Why do performance errors occur?
All players experience anxiety before performing. For many, this enhances their performance by increasing the production of adrenalin. However, in some individuals, it causes them to tense up and has a negative effect.
Players might experience increased anxiety during matches when coaches and parents shout too many negative comments from the touch line.
Tactical naivety
A player might have all the skills, but consistently makes poor decisions when under pressure on the pitch.
This is common in players who are dehydrated or haven’t eaten or slept properly before matches. Tiredness affects the decision making processes and also the body’s physical ability.
Four steps for dealing with performance errors
Speak to the player and use the following four-point process to help them understand and overcome their performance errors.
1. Acknowledge the error
The player needs to realise they are making errors during matches that, given their skill level, should be avoidable. Discuss how they can perform the skills well and how you both need to find out what is causing the match day errors.
2. Review the errors
Work with them to determine how and why the errors occur. Do they get nervous before matches? Are they eating and drinking properly during the build up to matches?
3. Make a plan
Based on their responses, you can put together a plan with the player to make the necessary corrections for the future.
4. Execute the plan
Provide the player with support to execute their personal action plan before the next match. Ensure the player is realistic and doesn’t expect the errors to disappear instantly. They need to understand it is a long-term process and might take many weeks.

Back to Goal Turn-Shoot-Score

Young attackers often find it difficult to turn and shoot when they receive the ball with their back to goal, because they are unsure what is behind them and where the goal is. They will often play it back into midfield rather than go themselves.
What you need to do when you are coaching attackers is to make it second nature for them to be able to receive the ball and immediately turn. This means they need to be aware of their position on the pitch in relation to the goal at all times.
This is a great drill to make attackers aware of the goal and where they have to turn so they can shoot – you can advance it to include other elements like lobbing the goalkeeper, or you can make it easier by not having a goalkeeper. It is a very versatile drill for the coach.
  • Use an 18 yard area for each attacking set up
  • Run two shooting sessions at the same time using the two goal set up in the diagram so your players are getting more time on the ball.
  • The player at the front of the queue on each side plays the ball into an attacker positioned side-on to the passer and with their back to goal.
  • The attacking player lets the ball roll across their body, takes one-touch to play the ball into position before turning and shooting with their other foot.
  • The attackers shoot to score by hitting the corners of the goal. Repeat the session for each player.

How to advance it

  • You can add a defender to close down and pressure the attacking player.
  • Tell your attacking player they must play the ball with both feet – one to control and one to shoot.
  • Instead of a first time shot, get your attackers to run one-on-one with the goalkeeper and try to score.

Change it so they have to lob the goalkeeper

Get your goalkeepers to stand a yard off their line and tell your attackers they have to turn with the ball and try to lob the goalkeeper. This makes it harder for your attackers to score.

Key coaching tips:

  • Tell your players that each part of the session is important – concentrate on passing a good ball to the attacker so they can control it easier and concentrate on the turn and quality of the shot whether they are trying to lob the goalkeeper or drive it low into the corner of the net.
  • Highlight the turn to your attackers. Show them how it must be done, and stop the session if they are not doing it right. You can use one of your more skilful players to show them if you cannot do it yourself!
  • Tell them they must be quick so that in a match they can create a shooting opportunity.

The Two-Footed Striker

Coaches often ask me about getting grass roots players to use both feet – and I have to admit it is hard. The best way is to try and make sure you practice with your players so they get used to using both of them. But it is something you have to work on all the time because they can easily stop doing it in matches.
I have two ways for you to work with your players. The first is from Andre Merelle the technical director of French Football Federation (FFF’s) National Technical Centre at Clairefontaine, arguably the best youth soccer development center in the world.
It is a simple exercise but very effective – plus you get to watch him explain it in the clip below.
He has helped develop players like Jean-Pierre Papin, Thierry Henry, Louis Saha, William Gallas and Nicholas Anelka.
The French focus a great deal on technique……The players must play with the ball as much as possible from an early age, the younger the better.
Check out his simple way to coach two-footed strikers in the video clip below and set it up and try it out with your players. Then move on to my session below it:

Close to goal, strikers can guide the ball into the net, they don’t need to rifle it home. So this exercise is all about coaching your players to be comfortable in front of goal with both feet.
Set this up like the diagram below on a small pitch with two teams of four players. You, or a helper, act as the server by standing on the halfway line at the side.
In the diagram the white shirted players dribble and then pass (1) to the coach. The coach makes a return pass (2) for a first time shot with the right foot (3).
Immediately the player moves across the penalty area and reacts to a pass from a team mate at the side of the goal by shooting with his left foot (5). He then takes the place of his team mate next to the goal.
The dark shirted players do the same thing in the opposite direction. This time the left-foot shot is further out but here just look for direction from the player. Tell him you want to see him hit the target not necessarily score past the goalkeeper.

Creating Space in Triangles


This is a football training session to help players to pass, move, create space and switch play in triangles for use by FA Level 1, 2, and UEFA B level coaches.


To assist players with playing and creating space in triangles. Players will have to play with their heads up, be aware of space, think one step ahead and communicate with each other to be successful in this practice. 


  • Area marked out with cones – suggest that the area is quite small to start with, but if players find it too difficult, make it bigger
  • Supply of balls, Bibs
  • Two teams of 3 players, one ball per team.
  • Team are restricted to their grid and must pass and move within their grid area.
  • After 3 or more passes, the teams must swap balls by passing the ball across the grid. 

Key Coaching Principles:

  • Good passing and movement to find space
  • Creating space in triangles.
  • Head up to see team mates and the other team
  • Encourage the players to keep a triangle shape and keep their space with their movement
  • Keep passing simple
  • Good communication
  • Encourage rotational movement
  • Timing and accuracy of passing
  • Timing of the pass to switch play and swap balls
  • Decisions on control and pass or first time pass 


  • For older players condition to one touch passing when possible
  • Make area bigger to encourage different passing techniques
  • Introduce a passive defender in each grid area to make it 3 v 1, progressing to 4 v 2 and 5 v 3

Hitting the Target Everytime - Skittle Shooting

How often do you watch your striker reach great attacking positions only to then delay his shot, offering enough time for defenders to get back and put in a tackle? It’s a frustrating part of the game and something that’s certainly not exclusive to youth football!
It’s important to give players the confidence to shoot from all parts of the penalty area rather than them trying to walk the ball into the net. So below I’ve put together a great practice that, quite simply, encourages players to shoot at the earliest opportunity from all areas of the pitch.
How to set it up:
  • You will need six target cones and seven balls, plus additional cones to mark out a pitch. You’ll also require bibs and a goal.
  • Create a pitch measuring 35×25 yards.
  • Three yards in from each end touchline, and halfway up the area, place three cones in a triangular shape.
  • Each cone has a ball placed on top of it.
  • The game can be played either 3v3 or 4v4.

Getting started:

  • One team starts on the left, one on the right. Each defends the cones as they would do a goal in a normal match, although there is no keeper.
  • Players must try to knock the balls off the cones at their opponents’ end of the pitch while defenders need to ensure their own cones do not come under threat.
  • If a player shoots and gets a "strike" (knocks all three balls off with one shot) the team gets six points, otherwise it’s one point scored for each ball.
  • Should all three be dislodged, the balls are set up again before resuming.
  • Play for three games of six minutes, ensuring that players are ambitious in their attacking play and do not hang back crowding around their cones as a defensive tactic.

Developing the session:

If you have three or four teams, play so that the side getting a strike knocks the opposing team out, and another comes into play. Teams waiting on the sidelines act as ball boys.
Note which teams are the best at winning a strike – undoubtedly this will be because of the frequency of shots and from all distances – and point out to the other teams why they are so successful.

How to advance it:

  • Put a goal and a keeper at one end and set up a bowling alley-style group of six cones with balls on at the other end.
  • This is a straight knock-out, with one team trying to knock all the balls off the cones and the other trying to score three times past the keeper. Which team will fulfil its task first?

Why this works:

The initial practice encourages players to shoot at targets from all areas of the pitch. Teams defending cones will also be pushing forward trying to attack, so the scoring options should be plentiful.
Direction and power are of course vital to a team’s success, while the set-up ensures that players are aware of the need to shoot quickly and positively. Should they not, a tackle could see the other team attack and complete their task first.

Tony Carr: Getting the best out of your Widemen

Getting best out of Widemen - Video

West Ham United’s academy director, Tony Carr, shows you how to terrorise the opposition from out wide

Wingers come in all shapes and sizes, with a range of skill sets. You have the lightening quick pocket rockets such as Aaron Lennon and Theo Walcott, then there’s the precision specialists like David Beckham and Angel di Maria. And of course there’s Ronaldo, who can do it all and rattle up goalscoring tallies more akin to the school playground.

Whichever area of expertise a wideman possesses, the challenge of the coach and their team-mates is to play an expansive system that gets the best out of their strengths.

This requires the team to stretch the opposition and feed them a regular flow of ammunition. Then, it’s about movement – not only to lose markers and find space for a shot, but to create room for the winger to exploit and deliver crosses from.

To show you how to achieve this objective, FFT linked up with West Ham United academy director, Tony Carr and the Nike Academy, to observe a training session on getting the best out of your widemen.

"In this drill you don't want the attacker to the ball in first time, you want them to take the ball to the byline and as he's running with that ball, look for the option,” explained Carr.

"You will have a three versus two in the box, with the midfield player supporting, so he's looking to place it right across the face of goal, looking for the cut back for the late run into the box or the chip to the back post.”

With the tools in place, it ‘s then up to the player in possession to stay calm and pick out an unmarked team-mates.

"The decision is with the winger, it's not the coach's decision, the set up is there, but it's up for the wideman to make that decision for himself and choose the right option,” added Carr.

"You're trying to unlock a packed defence, get round the back and show that bit of composure and not force the cross.”

Tony Carr: Playing out from the Back

Playing from the Back - Video

Make the leap from shovel-footed donkey to defensive pass master, thanks to this drill from Rio Ferdinand's youth team coach

The emergence of Rio Ferdinand marked a shift away from the traditional English centre back.
When the boy from Peckham broke into the West Ham United first team in the late nineties, he dispelled the idea that defenders were just there to kick lumps out of the opposition striker.
Ferdinand’s athleticism and technical ability demonstrated that not only could he mix it with a bulldozing centre forward, but he can also receive a pass into feet, side step a would-be tackler and launch an attack with a pinpoint pass.
Ferdinand’s ball playing skills were honed in West Ham’s finishing school, under the guidance of the Hammers’ academy director, Tony Carr.
FFT joined Carr on the training ground with the Nike Academy as he took the players through a drill he worked on with the England international.
“What we tried to establish was the principle of getting your defence to spread wide, to get your full-backs to push on and play in advance of your centre backs,” he explained to FFT.
“You want to your centre backs to be confident on the ball and not be afraid to receive it into feet and play their way out.
“The key to it is confidence and being patient with the ball. Don’t try and force it and don't be afraid to play into players that are marked. The player must have a picture in their mind before they receive the pass. It takes a high level of skill, but that can be coached.”
Rather than panic and hoof it long, learn how to upstage the playmakers with the help of this training video.

Tony Carr: Playing off the Target Man

Using the Target Man - Video

West Ham United’s academy director, Tony Carr, shows you how to get the best out of your target man

The role of the target man has evolved in modern day football. Sure, the traditional job spec remains – being able to hold the ball, bringing team-mates into play, winning headers and making sure the opposition’s defenders don’t get an easy ride.

But they’re no longer just big lumps to hoof the ball up to, they also have to be mobile, technically adept, athletic and tactically astute. Didier Drogba encompasses the 21st century man-tank.

The Chelsea striker is equally adroit at throwing his weight about in an aerial battle, as he is at receiving a pass into feet and linking the midfield and attack.

Practise playing through your target man with short, sharp, incisive passing and your lone striker will play like more like the Drog than Emile Heskey, says West Ham United’s academy director, Tony Carr.

Working with players from the Nike Academy, Carr took FFT through a drill built to improve playing off the target man.

“In most teams you’re going to have a player that plays predominately in a central position who is the fulcrum of the attack,” said Carr.

“The striker who plays this role has to be able to play with his back to goal, have good shielding skills, a good first touch and the ability to knock that ball off with one touch.

“What we tried to do in this situation is condition the practise so that every movement had to come off the striker.”

To see the drill in full flow watch this video.

Cross with Precision, Pace and Accuracy

Get your full-backs and wingers to combine and deliver goals from out wide with this drill from Jimmy Gilligan, head coach of the Nike Academy


Pair up your full-backs with wingers and have them start the drill hugging opposing touchlines. Position them midway between the edge of the 18-yard box and the halfway line. Have three strikers take up central positions between the 18-yard box and the centre-circle.


On the coach’s command, the winger takes control of the ball and drives off the touchline and infield. As he does this, the full-back overlaps and sprints for the byline and the three strikers start to make separate runs into the box, towards the front post, penalty spot and back post. The full-back now plays a reverse ball to the winger, who receives the pass and delivers a cross into the box for the strikers to finish. If the goalkeeper makes a save, the strikers have to try and convert the rebound. The drill then restarts on the other side.

How it helps

The wingers learn to get their head up and make the right decisions with their delivery, while honing interplay with their full-back. When crossing, the wingers’ focus should be to eliminate any defenders and select the striker in the best position.


Add a defender and instruct them to pick up one of the strikers. The forward who’s marked needs to try to drag that defender away from where they think the ball will go, making space for one of the other strikers to score. This will help their movement and interaction.

How to turn crosses into goals every time

Deploying an overlapping full-back in the final third of the pitch is ideal for counter-attacking football.

For this to work, defenders need to get the ball to the central midfielder quickly, and from there, out wide to a winger.

This is where the drill kicks in, with the reserve pass and overlapping run. If you want to use the overlapping full-back in general play, ask your wide players to stay high up the pitch and create space in behind the defence by dragging the opposing full-back out of position.

The wide player’s movement and first touch infield are both indicators to the full-back that they need to make their overlapping run: once the winger moves infield, that’s the full-back’s cue to break forward.

One thing to remember: one of the strikers has to be intelligent enough to offer an option inside for the winger, in case the picture changes and the reverse pass is not on.

Develop a Deft First Touch

Stop the ball dead and pick out a team-mate with this drill from the Nike Academy's head coach, Jimmy Gilligan


Four 5 x 5-yard service areas are marked out with a control zone in the middle, 12 yards from each service area. Position four servers inside the service areas, three of them with a ball each. Place a receiver in the control zone.


On the coach’s command, one of the servers plays a sidefoot pass into the receiver, who has to control it inside the square before passing to the spare man. If they fail to keep the ball inside the zone they lose a point. Then the next delivery comes in from a different server. To progress the drill, tell the servers to play passes in with their laces, and then to chip the ball so the receiver has to control and volley it back into their hands. Change the receiver every 45 seconds.


As well as working the players’ first touch, you’re challenging them to show awareness and precision to find the spare man.

Shooting like a Pro

Hit the target every time

Introduce this drill to your training sessions and you'll be shooting with deadly accuracy come game day, says the Nike Academy's head coach, Jimmy Gilligan


Mark out a shooting zone of 5 x 5 yards just inside the area, in line with the penalty spot. Select a shooter to stand in the shooting zone and two servers either side of the goal, each with a supply of balls. Divide the goal into three sections using two poles.


On the coach’s command, one of the servers plays the ball into the feet of the shooter, who has three touches to bring it under control and shoot. The player gets two points for scoring at the nearest post to their shooting position, one for the centre and three for the far post. Progress the drill by chipping the balls into the shooter so they have to either bring it down and strike or hit a first-time volley.


The drill’s scoring system challenges players to focus on accuracy. This drill will train them to control the ball and pick their spot.

Havent Posted for a While - Apologies

Hi There

Havent posted anything for a while now mainly due to the fact we have been working away in the background developing other things for the club website etc which will soon be coming to fruition. however we are now going to be publishing regular blogs on all topics football, you will probably be sick of seeing notifiactions from us.

Thanks for your patience

Hanover Harps Webmaster

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Pro-Skills Improve your Touch and Technique

The absolute best Soccer Skills Drill and quickest way to improve your soccer touch on the ball. Taken from professional training grounds this skill circuit is for anybody trying to improve or perfect your touch.

Ready for the skill challenge? Ready to see what your touch is made of? This 10 set skill circuit is just what you need to see if you have the touch of a god, or of a goat!

Follow the instructions exactly of this Soccer Skills Drill and see your footwork improve in front of your eyes. Want to gain master control? Then do it right and do it more than once a day if you're really serious about it.

Remember you can do these anywhere you have a space and a ball. Go through it 5 times and tell me how you feel, hold on hold catch your breath and then tell me how you feel. Ready..? GO!

This Soccer Skills Drill was designed for players that are serious about testing their touch, Pro's in europe can do this without one error on the ball. Count how many errors you have when you're done it 5 times.

Under 5 errors is exceptional, Under 10 is good, 10-20 means your touch is about average, 20-30 your touch needs work and 30+ means registration for the chess tournament next weekend is down the hall and to your left.
(each drill should be done in reps of 20 and circuit repeated 5 times)

Soccer Skills Challenge

This is for those looking to add a touch of class to their game. This workout can be done alone or with a partner for a bit of competition.

1. Inside of Feet - Touch the ball with the inside of your feet back and forth 20 times (10 each leg). When you progress with it and get more comfortable you should then try and not look at the ball then eventually with your eyes closed.

2. Triangle Touch - Ball starts in front of you, place your foot on it, roll it back towards you and pass it over to the next leg then back to the starting position. The ball will travel making a triangle. Switch feet after done 10 each side.

3. Pull a 'V' - Ball starts in front of you and to the left. Put your right foot on it, drag it back towards you and open up the other way. Making a 'V' pattern with the ball. then switch feet and go the opposite direction.

4. Backwards Ball Roll - Simple rolling the ball backwards as you're back pedaling. Switching feet constantly.

5. Ball Roll - Rolling ball to the side 10 times then switching feet and doing it again.

6. Toe touches - the ball does not move. switch feet with the balls of your feet touching the ball then switching feet.

7. Juggling - simply keep the ball in the air for at least 20 touches and resume to the next foot skill, you can even do this in between any or all of the drills.

8. One foot inside outside - Stand on one foot and with the other foot touch the ball inside and outside with the same foot only over and over again for 20 seconds. Then switch feet.

9. Inside outside - start the ball beside the outside of your right foot. Touch it with the outside of your right foot then inside of your right foot then over to the outside of the left and then inside of left. Drill should be done quickly and in sync. If you're confused remember the ball should be touching your feet as follows, outside inside switch feet outside inside constantly.

10. Scissors - Just do scissors over the ball, touch the ball to one side after 3, stop the ball and repeat drill.

Mastered it yet? Didn't think so, give it another go, faster, sharper and less errors. Good luck and remember to remember what's important, seeing the improvement of your soccer skills.

Friday, 27 July 2012

How to Volley Like Van der Vaart

Make sure you are firmly rooted to the spot

“One of the first things to remember when volleying the ball is to make sure your non-kicking foot is firmly planted. If it isn’t, you could be off balance when striking the ball, which will affect the subsequent shot. Once set, it’s all about balance: this is why Van der Vaart has his arms spread wide – it keeps him poised as he gets set to follow through. His ankle is firmly set – essential for power and control – and he has eyes only for the ball. This is important because with defenders closing you down, it’s easy to get distracted.”

Swing through the shot

“When striking any volley it’s useful to think of your foot as a golf club; when playing golf, you’ll want to follow through with a full swing. When connecting your shot, you want to aim to strike the ball near the top to make sure it doesn’t end up sailing over the crossbar. With his foot lower in this shot than the first, it shows that he’s come down on the ball, rather than striking parallel to the ground, which again ensures the ball stays down.”

Don’t look up too early

“As you follow through you can look up to see if your shot is heading for its intended target. Looking up too early, though, could mean you disrupt your balance and miscue. This is why volleying is such a difficult technique: get one small thing wrong and you won’t score. One final thing to remember is that to pull off a volley like this, you’ll need to stretch your groin before the game so you have that flexibility through your knee and leg.”

The Drill

If you haven’t got the Dutchman’s technique just yet, don’t worry: this simple three-step exercise should help
Stand a few feet from a wall, drop the ball and as it bounces, make contact with your laces, concentrating on technique before catching it on the rebound. Repeat this 20 times with your right, then left foot.
As you get better stand further back from the wall and hit the ball harder, again catching the ball on the rebound. Repeat this movement 20 times with both your right, then left foot.
Throw the ball against the wall and try and volley it as it comes back to you, aiming to hit a specific target on the wall. Repeat 20 times with both feet.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

1st Official Post

So Hi and welcome to the Official Hanover Harps FC Blog -

We know that there was a blog that was active in the past however for accurate and offical club information please only refer to this blog as your point of reference.

The new website construction is well underway and new features will be appearing on a weekly basis. We are currently compiling pictures for our Gallery and our Chief Archivist Tom Begley is prepring a club history piece to go onto the site.

We will also be introducing a club shop where you can purchase Hanover Harps FC official teamwear.

Dressing Rooms:
Are nearing completion and your help and support would be greatly appreciated in pushing them over the final hurdle - would be great to have them ready for the start of the season.

Senior Training has begun and numbers are on the increase please view the website NEWS section for training dates.

Club Information:
If you want any club or team information displayed please email and allow a couple of days for the info to be posted - likewise if you think you have an article worth posting on the blog please submit it to the same email address. We will be posting Coaching Tips and Drills articles of interest, match reports, some humerous posts amongst others so get those emails in just reference that you want it to appear in the blog not the website.

So thats all for now we will be posting our first article this weekend - enjoy