Soccer Training Lessons for Coaches in the U.S.

Soccer Training Lessons for Coaches in the U.S.  I spent time with Cruziero U15 Team when I was in Brazil.  The session was 3 hours long.  The first hour was in the gym.  The time was split with a half an hour of weight training (upper and lower body) and then one half hour of core training and stabilization training for injury prevention.From there they headed out to the fields for their tactical and technical work.  The technical work consisted of about 30 minutes with the ball and stretching.  Ball work included passing back and forth and working the 5 heights (ground, feet, thighs, chest, head) with volleys, and the like.From there they headed to the main field to work 1-½ hours on tactical work. They broke the teams in half to play 11 v 11 on ¾ field. The first team started off going to goal and the 2nd team had to pass through one of five gates on the ¾ field line. Something very interesting is taking place in Brazilian Soccer right now. Traditionally they have gone with a 4-4-2 box or diamond midfield that took a 4-3-3 shape in attack. Most of the Cruziero teams are playing a traditional 4-3-3 with one holding midfielder and two central attacking midfielders. That seems to be an emerging theme in Brazil, and it will be interesting to watch the U17 World Cup in Mexico coming up and see what the Brazilian Team is doing.Being a coach and a student of the game, I couldn’t help but critique the play of the U15 Team. One thing that really stood out was the difference in speed between the U14 and U15 teams. 13 to 15 is about the time the boys go through puberty so they naturally get faster, bigger, and stronger and it really shows with those two age groups here.

The U15 boys are so talented and so good on the ball. If there is one thing American Coaches should focus on with their kids it is ball, ball, and more ball.  Technical/tactical work via small-sided games for creativity and improvisation–it is really that simple!  Not the repetitious and boring analytical technical training most are doing now with cones and a ball.

Their ability to possess and control the ball buys them time do just about anything they want to do. They can dribble out of trouble, possess the ball, and hit a 30-yard ball to switch the field…the fundamentals are so sound.

However, as a tactical unit, there is still much work to be done with this group. Again, we have to remember that they are just 15-year-old kids. They only attack with 5 players, which leave very large gaps between their lines. There outside backs don’t get wide enough to open up the game and offer proper support. They have a really rough time transitioning from defense to offense and offense to defense. Thus, the support isn’t where it needs to be, and that seems to be part conditioning. However, it is really hard to critique and criticize because they are so talented individually that they buy time and always make something out of nothing.

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Coach Randle

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