Coaching Soccer Blog

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CB & Defensive Center Mid: Functional Training:


This is the next progression to the previous post on my blog.  The two center backs split in possession getting wide and passing the ball back and forth with minimal touches, speed and correct foot passing.  The CB’s can now choose to hit the ball through the channel (marked by the cones) or cross field to the far CB (on opposite side of field).  Once the ball is played long to the other side – the CB will 1-touch to the DCM who 1-touches it to the other CB.  Play will then continue as the CB’s widen out and play back and forth until they decide to hit the forward ball.  There are many variations that can be added into this exercise functional training exercise.

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Simple Center Back Technical Functional Training:


This simple exercise comes with many variations and progressions.  The blue center backs in possession open wide and switch the ball very quickly between each other. The players must play efficient and quickly – playing hard firm passes to the back foot of their partner, receiving the ball with hips opening up, not taking extra touches and being accurate with all passes.  The first drill has one CB drive the ball through though a gate to the opposite player on the other side in red.  After passing the ball both the center backs should step up and move closer together.  This simulates what actually happens in a game.  The CB’s in possession always open up wider.  When Vidic was at United he has a 93% passing percentage for the entire season.  That statistic alone shows how important passing ability is a center back.  I will go over the progressions of this training in my next post.

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Defensive Transition To Attacking Transition: Great Small Sided Exercise:


This exercise works defensive transition and attacking transition.  The numbers are 8 blue, 8 black/orange and 1 red neutral player – the neutral always helps the team in possession. The game starts with blue and the neutral red playing 9v4 2 touch in the blue teams half of the field.  Black/orange team send 4 players to pressure and win the ball. If black/orange intercept the ball they immediately try and play into their half (4 black/orange players already in their half and other 4 and neutral are running to help).   If they complete 3 passes they can score on any of the 3 goals on in their half.  After scoring they keep possession of the ball.  The blue team upon losing the ball will send 4 defenders as quickly as they can, trying to stop the black/orange team from completing 3 passes and scoring.  If the blue team intercept they will try and play to their half and make 3 passes and score before the black/orange team can stop them.  This game is fast and furious.  It demands a high intensity level, focus, discipline and quick play.  The defensive group must pressure the ball immediately and take up good covering positions for each other.  Quick transition in this game is essential.

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Counter Attacking Exercise: 3v2 to 2v1


3v2 Counter Attack:

Play starts with the black/orange player passing the ball towards the mannequin.  The Blue player steps in and intercepts the ball.  This leads to a 3v2 for blue looking to finish on goal.  If the blue team turns the ball over it becomes a 2v1 for black/orange against the blue.  The blue player who gives the ball away becomes the 1 defender.  If blue shoots the ball and the keeper saves it – the blue player who shot will become the 1 defender as the other 2 blue players will jog off the field.   Consider making a time limit of 5-6 seconds to get a shot off to encourage quick attacking movements.

Attacking Passing Pattern:


Attacking Passing Pattern: In this pattern the passing center mid#8 on cone A plays into the Attacking Center Mid #10 making his run off cone B.  The #10 plays 1-touch back to #8 who plays a ball into the Forward coming off of Cone C.  The Forward 1-touches the ball back to #8 who hits penetrating ball to the winger running in.  Every player rotates one space forward. There are many variations you can add to this pattern – it provides a general outline of how to set-up attacking passing patterns.

ELASTIC BAND DEFENSIVE TRAINING: Soccer Smart Training Online Cognitive Coaching Course

6v4elastic 6v8elastic

This is a unique way to train team defensive units.  The back “4” are all connected with long elastic bands that are held in each players hands.  The back “4” unit must move together in coordination to be effective.  The players are not allowed to let go of the band at any time.  The exercise starts 6v4 and progresses to 8v6 (2 center mids added).  Eventually the exercise can build up to 10v8 and then finish 10v11.  There are a number of progressions that can be used- when the ball is intercepted by the red defensive team, they can drop the bands and play the ball out into either goal located at 1/2 field in 6 passes or less. Another progression is to have the back 4 can use the band while the midfield unit 4 will be free.

This is a fun exercise for the players and at the same time it re-enforces the point that group must work as a unit.  If you are relating this to the 4 phases of the game – it would be defensive organization working into attacking transition when the ball is re-gained.

Be sure to check out my cognitive soccer development website and coaching courses at

10 Second Vision Scanning Cognitive Possession:

10 Second Vision Scanning Possession

Grid: 35×25 yard field with 6 small sided goals

Players: 7v7


This possession game can be played with many variations. The game is a small-sided game in which each team has 3 small-sided goals to score on. The only condition to start is that the scorer must be able to name 3 of the sides players color cards that were being held up. The outside players change the card in their hand every 10 seconds on the coaches command. This forces all players on the field to constantly be scanning the field. Once a goal is scored – instantly the outside players must lower the card – so the players can’t look over for a quick answer! The next progression would be for the scorer to identify all four outside players cards that were held up.


Be sure to visit my website – online cognitive soccer coaching diploma course offered every month.  It is a unique course with information that will make you re-think the way you view coaching soccer.


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