The Simple Habits That Win Games

We believe that the game of soccer is sometimes overcomplicated and that there are six basic, yet often sometimes overlooked areas that can win your team games.  They include goal kicks, throw-ins (2 types), counterattacks, the keeper rule, and the “five” rule.

  • Goal Kicks:
    • Keepers don’t have to take them. If you have a back that can crush the ball, have him take them (my pride kept me from doing this for the first 10 years of coaching.. I have now had a keeper that is back to back All-Region and he took no goal-kicks).
    • If your CB is bigger than your holding mids, switch him out with a holder.
    • If an opponent has a huge kid that wins all GK’s, hit a diagonal so at least he cannot  head it as far.
    • Set your team up as a bullseye around where you expect the ball to drop. Everyone should be within 20 yards of the middle of the bullseye.
    • Never let your opponent go short on a GK, make them earn possession back via a GK. Of course, the opposite is true.  If they let you go short, always do so.
  • Attacking throw-ins:
    • Don’t switch off during these throw-ins.   Pick it up and throw backwards fast if you can. The defender can kick it further than you can throw it so always go far.
    • If throwing forward, throw as far as you can.
    • Throw-in shape should look like your normal attacking shape. If you have not told them this, they probably are doing this wrong.
  • Defending Throw-ins:
    • Don’t switch off on these either. Never allow the opponent to throw the ball in uncontested. One forward sprinting five yards to cut off their negative throw forces them into a 50/50 throw-in situation.
  • No counterattacks:
    • Allow quick-attacks but never counter-attacks. Counter attacks always come because a team that is in possession of the ball is “out of balance” and so can get countered. The primary spot counter-attacks occur is the ‘hole’ that sits 10 yards in-front of the centerbacks. We also have at least 1 player sitting here, protecting the centerbacks.
    • Generally, we defend in a 3-1 position, allowing one of the back four to go forward and attack and keeping one holding midfield sitting 10 yards in-front of the back remaining three backs. This midfielder is also used to switch the point of attack.
  • The Keeper Rule:
    • For the first five minutes of a game, we don’t try and “play soccer” until the opponent’s keeper has touched the ball (or we have scored). This can look like us being incredibly direct to start a game.
    • Our purpose is to immediately instill doubt into the opponent’s psyche.
  • “Five”:
    • When we score, we yell “5” as we want our players to immediately try and win the ball back with-in 5 passes of the tap.