Soccer Coaching & Consulting

Three Defensive Strategies Using Virtually Any Formation

This video gives three different defensive strategies using virtually any formation.  The three defensive set-ups can be transitioned from one to the other very easily.  The reason I made the video is to demonstrate how coaches may want to look at the idea of formations in a different way.  I see to many coaches get stuck on the idea of a 433, 442 diamond, 4231, 343, 352 etc.  My point is that a formation is just a starting point – I use the example of these three different defensive set-ups to help prove the point.  Be sure to check out all my books on (under my name) and visit my cognitive soccer instructors website at

Partner Rondo 12v3: “The Science of Rondo” – available on

I really like this exercise 12v3 “Partner Rondo” – player’s are always extra motivated to play this game.  Player accountability is at a maximum.  If you give the ball away your entire team must become the defenders! No hiding in this game! Make it into a cognitive exercise by adding rules and conditions. Examples: no passing to your teammates, no passes to the player standing next to you, 1-touch only etc.  Be sure to check out for my “Online Cognitive Soccer Coaches Instructors Diploma Course”.

Soccer Psychology “Made Simple” For Coaches: Coaching The Brain & Body

Below is an excerpt from my new ebook: Click to Purchase: Soccer Psychology “Made Easy” For Coaches

The Coaches Quick Five

Simple Psychology Tips For Better Coaching

 1) Routine & Distraction Control: Have a set routine in place for training and games. Make sure the environment that you are stepping into does not distract you from your routine and game plan. You are playing the opponents not the environment. When a team steps into the University of Alabama Football Stadium, the first thing they notice is the tradition and greatness of the past Alabama teams and coaches. It is important not be distracted by this and to stay focused on your routine and the game plan. You are not playing the past history, fancy banners and tradition of Alabama football, you are playing their current team only. Stay focused and carry out all the same pre-game preparations while executing the game plan. Do what you would normally do and just focus on the moment at hand, nothing else.

2) Clear Instructions & Responsibilities: Make sure everyone involved with the team has clear and concise responsibilities, roles and instructions.   Each and every player must understand their specific role in the game plan. Without clear instruction and responsibilities teams will not feel 100% confident and ready.

3) Have A Clear Plan For Success: Make sure you lay out a logical plan for the players, explaining how the team will achieve success, especially if you’re coming into a new situation. Players need to buy into the beliefs and methods of the coach. Once the player’s buy into the system, success isn’t to far away.

4) Dealing With Defeat: Defeat is never final and success will never last forever. Handle each setback one game a time. Look at the reasons why you lost but never make it a blame session. Acknowledge all the positives in defeat as well.   Do not prolong a defeat. Move on after you have looked at it.

5) Build Players Up: A coach finds a way to get the best out of people. Try not to be person who just points out the negative. Players will respond better if you let them know something positive along with a correction or criticism, there does not have to be a negative emotional tone attached. I often find myself observing training sessions where the stress level is to high and every comment by the coach is negative (yelling with emotion that indicates he is not satisfied). Those types of environments eventually become demotivating and players lose interest in playing.

Table of Contents

  1. Understanding The Brain & Cognitive Development In Soccer
  2. 10 Soccer Psychology Strategies That Will Make Your Team Better
  3. The Coaches Quick Five
  4. 12 Keys To Creating A Practice & Game Learning Environment That Develops The Mind & Body
  5. The Power of Thought & Soccer Coaching
  6. The Use of Self-Organized Learning Environments In Soccer Coaching
  7. Adapting The Concepts of S.O.L.E.S for The Purpose of Soccer Development
  8. Technical Training & The Brain
  9. Rapid Skill Acquisition

Pep Guardiola Positional Soccer Grid: Used For Cognitive Shadow Play

This is the full field grid Guardiola uses to teach positional soccer.  I adapted this into a cognitive shadow play training exercise.  You can do this with one team or two teams of 11 at a time.  Two team shadow play will require another coach to direct the second team.  I personally like two team shadow play because the teams must avoid one another, forcing players to play with their heads up to scan the field.  The coach directs the exercise by yelling the color zone (marked by color cones) the team must transfer the ball into.  The coach must adopt a quick  rhythm and logical pattern to the zones being called out in order to keep play realistic.  After 8-12 zones of calling passes – announce free play and the team can finish on goal at anytime.  After finishing the team will jog back to their end of the field and start another shadow play movement.

Be sure to sign-up for my Cognitive Soccer Instructors Course at



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