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Coaching Soccer Blog


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Cognitive Soccer – “Perception-Action Coupling” – From My Books “Cognitive Soccer & The Sports Brain”

Perception Action Coupling In Soccer

I have heard the argument that developing “Game Intelligence” must be trained only in game like situations. I would agree, training that simulates the exact conditions of a real game is necessary and needed. However, I also believe components of drills can be directly translated and carried over into the real game. In soccer, a player that scans backwards while tossing a tennis ball to the next player (standing behind him), and then receives a pass to feet, is in fact training himself to scan the field before receiving a pass. The skill of scanning the field can easily be transferred over to the actual game and therefore is realistic game training. I would recommend that drills be executed at a high tempo once players have proven they can execute it perfectly at a slower tempo. However, training at slow tempo and fast tempo each have value. Training at a slower tempo allows players to breakdown the finer parts of the technique, while training at a faster game tempo will better simulate the demands of the real game. Both slow and fast tempo training serve different purposes and are needed.   In the martial arts, fighters perform forms called kata’s. These kata’s do not involve real fighting, but instead mimic the actions of fighting movements. Even though there is no opponent, there is still a direct transfer of skill from kata’s to actual fighting. During any type of useful practice, players will pick up certain cues from trainings and will be able to associate those cues with certain actions. When a person combines multiple cues, it is called “Perception-Action Coupling”. As the player couples together the cues, it will trigger a specific action. The result of that action will be evaluated and processed (based upon success & failure) and guide future actions/decisions. This process can also be looked at as vision, processing and action. In essence the player see’s what is happening on the field, then he processes the information while thinking about what to do and finally based upon the decision he performs the appropriate action. Lower level players often get stuck processing each step to slowly. Higher-level players go through these three steps without hesitation, never stopping or delaying. Players that take to much time to scan, process and act will give away possession, fail to take opportunities, get caught ball watching and find themselves out of position disrupting the teams play. I suggest some of training contain drills that require the players to perform game realistic transferable skills. The next part of training should involve playing games that place players in realistic situations and circumstances (developing their grid cells and exposing them to game cues). The realistic game situations do not have to be limited to 7v7 or 11 v 11 scrimmages. Try playing the game in all sorts on all different sized fields or courts, use different numbers of players, change the rules and use varying tactics. Remember, in order to ensure cognitive growth, the brain must always be challenged.


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Corner Kick Basics: Attacking & Defensive Corner Standard Set-up

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Standard Set-up for Attacking Corner Kick: Can build in many variations off this standard set-up.

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Standard Set-up for Defensive Corner Kick: 5 players are man marking & 4 are zonal with 1 striker staying high.

These are the basic sets that my team will learn first.  We do add variations as needed.  I find teaching these two standard set’s helps all players have an easy understanding of basic corner responsibilities – especially when substitutes are brought into the game – we are all on the same page.  From these basic sets we can add a variation on a weekly basis so teams that scout us will not know whats coming when we add the variation.


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Slide Presentation For The Innovation of Youth Soccer Development

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Above are some slides I put together for my book “Inspire”.  “Inspire” is my attempt to express unique developmental ideas into the world of youth soccer development.  The slides represent a quick snap shot of the ideas in the book.  The book goes into detail in terms of setting up your your youth team and club.  I hope the ideas are useful.  The book is for purchase in ebook and paperback – click on “Purchase Books”.


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4v2 Rondo to 3v2 Counter to Goal: “Attacking Rondo”

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4v2 Rondo into 3v2 to Goal: After 4 consecutive passes in the 10×10 yard rondo grid 3 of the blue players attack goal vs 2 defenders and the keeper.  This is a great way to incorporate rondo training into the a real game situation.


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Counter Attack Passing Patterns: Deep Ball To Forward: Attacking Transition

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Counter Attacking Passing Patterns: Deep Ball To Forward: Attacking Transition

If your working on the counter attack with your team these two passing patterns are excellent exercises to incorporate.  The pattern plays short-short then the break is on with a longer ball (the deep pass is the one to the forward).  The exercise simulates the moment the team wins the ball back and is attacking transition looking to break down the opponent who is in defensive transition.


Finishing Drill From My New “10 for 10 Coaching Series:

Exercise #3

Combination Through Ball Pass & Shoot

Grid: 35×45 yards

Instructions & Key Points:

This exercise involves simple combination play with a properly timed penetrating ball leading to a shot on goal. Emphasize the weight of the pass for the penetrating ball, quick movement off the ball, striking the ball on target and coordination and rhythm between the groups.

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Shooting, Crossing & Finishing and Passing Exercise: “Pro Soccer Finishing: 10 for 10 Coaching Series”

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The first pair of blue players pass the ball between the cones as they move towards the first goal.  After the 3rd pass the player touches the ball forward on his 1st touch and shoots before the last cone on his 2nd touch (18 yards out from goal).  The player that shoots runs around the goal – receives another ball from the coach (red) – then drives the end line and crosses to his teammate who has made the run around the far cone and crashes goal near post. Players should rotate positions each time around.

My book “Pro Soccer Finishing: 10 Training Ground Exercises  Part of The 10 for 10 Coaching Series” will be out soon on amazon.com

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