Category Archives: Tactics

‘Variable’ Goal Game [mine]

[I was looking for this and couldn’t find it, so I either have never written it up or didn’t categorize it very well.]

I find this a great way to teach and assess adapting to changes in play and changing the point of attach, as well as focusing on specific kinds of attacks (crosses, 1 v 1s, overloads, etc.), all of which can be easily incorporated into the game.

  • I’ve usually done this with three goals in a slightly shortened half field, but any number more than two would do (though I suspect anything more than four or five would become unwieldy; with that said, the more goals involved, the more the game emphasizes the mental aspect).
  • (The shortened half field is because I usually only have one full-size goal, and so I pull the cone goals away from midfield.)
  • Can be played with any kind of goals, but preferably different types, e.g. one full size plus Pug-nets, etc.


  • Each goal is numbered 1, 2, and 3. I usually start with the full-sized goal as 1 and move clockwise from there.
  • Teams of between five and eight depending on size of field. Can be played with more than two teams but this can get unwieldy.
  • Essentially a game of keep away.
  • As play develops, the coach ‘activates’ one of the goals by calling out the number.
  • Once a goal is activated, the game is live: the team with the ball attacks and the team without defends.
  • The live game can go as long as the coach wants, i.e. it can go back to keep away once the attacking team loses possession or the defending team can attack the activated goal if they gain possession.
  • The game goes back to keep away and the coach continues to ‘activate’ goals throughout.


  • You can see how the activation of goals can create specific situations in the natural flow of play.
  • If, say, everyone is focusing on goal #1, I can activate one of the other goals to force them to change the point of attack quickly.
  • If two players find themselves isolated, I can activate the nearest goal to create a 1 v 1 situation and talk about both offensive and defensive support.
  • If the ball ends up on a wing, I can activate the full goal to focus on crosses and/or wing play.

Coaching Attackers in a 3-5-2 [from The Coaching Manual]

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 7.27.50 AMScreen Shot 2016-08-22 at 7.28.03 AMScreen Shot 2016-08-22 at 7.28.15 AMScreen Shot 2016-08-22 at 7.28.27 AMScreen Shot 2016-08-22 at 7.28.36 AMScreen Shot 2016-08-22 at 7.28.48 AMScreen Shot 2016-08-22 at 7.28.56 AMScreen Shot 2016-08-22 at 7.29.04 AMScreen Shot 2016-08-22 at 7.29.13 AMScreen Shot 2016-08-22 at 7.29.26 AMScreen Shot 2016-08-22 at 7.29.37 AM


Coaching Defenders in a 3-5-2 [from The Coaching Manual]

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 9.19.52 PMScreen Shot 2016-08-17 at 9.19.59 PMScreen Shot 2016-08-17 at 9.20.08 PMScreen Shot 2016-08-17 at 9.20.16 PMScreen Shot 2016-08-17 at 9.20.29 PMScreen Shot 2016-08-17 at 9.20.38 PMScreen Shot 2016-08-17 at 9.20.48 PMScreen Shot 2016-08-17 at 9.20.57 PMScreen Shot 2016-08-17 at 9.21.06 PMScreen Shot 2016-08-17 at 9.21.16 PMScreen Shot 2016-08-17 at 9.21.25 PMScreen Shot 2016-08-17 at 9.21.39 PMScreen Shot 2016-08-17 at 9.21.47 PM


Defending in all Thirds of the Field [from @YESsoccer]

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 8.10.46 PM

Leave a comment

Posted by on December 22, 2015 in Defending, Diagram, Tactics, Uncategorized


Tactical Analysis of Real Madrid’s Defending v. Barcelona, 8-2014 [from]

Screen Shot 2015-06-07 at 9.46.44 AM Screen Shot 2015-06-07 at 9.46.52 AM


Penalty Kick Positioning

I was watching the Spurs – Liverpool game this morning and Liverpool was given a PK in the 48th minute. As both teams were jockeying for positioning on the 18 and the arc, I started wondering about where the most advantageous point would be. Of course the intersection of the arc and the 18 is ostensibly the closest point, but it occurred to me (and I don’t know why it never did before) that a running start from above the arc might be an interesting approach, i.e. you hit the arc running (or I suppose the 18 at an angle as well) as the kick is being taken so that you have a head start on the other players for a rebound.

Interestingly enough, Henderson did just that. He started a bit closer to the arc than I had envisioned (he was maybe three or four steps above it) and he clearly entered the arc before the kick was taken, but the ref didn’t call it and he was the first one in. Interesting.

1 Comment

Posted by on August 31, 2014 in PKs, Tactics


Germany v. Brazil How the Game was Won [7.8.14;]

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 10.44.56 PM Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 10.45.04 PM Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 10.45.16 PM Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 10.45.23 PM Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 10.45.30 PM Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 10.45.37 PM Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 10.45.44 PM Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 10.45.52 PM Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 10.46.01 PM Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 10.46.12 PM Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 10.46.18 PM Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 10.46.24 PM Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 10.46.30 PM Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 10.46.35 PM Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 10.46.43 PM Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 10.46.49 PM Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 10.46.56 PM Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 10.47.03 PM Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 10.47.10 PM Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 10.47.18 PM