Monday, January 25, 2010


I would like to thank all the coaches who have sent e-mails regarding their results and thanks. I’m glad to know these strategies are being used. It’s always fun to read your success stories.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Most Important Thing

Throughout this 3v3 blog, I’ve discussed several skills and strategies to help coaches prepare players for 3v3 tournaments; but the most important thing coaches can do is prepare players for life.

I try to instill the value of practice by showing how all the successes on the field directly relate to the amount of hard work and effort put in. I remind players of what they were like when they first started or what happened when they first tried a fancy move they since mastered; and I explain how all these same principles, regardless of soccer, can apply to other areas of their life. To achieve dreams, set goals and work hard; but to really enjoy achievements, they should follow the path of a good person.

It’s sad to see what some coaches teach their players. Perhaps they don’t realize the influence they have. I’ve had opponents disqualified when I proved their players were overage. (The head coach of my son’s team tried to place an overage player on our team, claiming it was okay because the player wasn’t good. I removed my son from that team and started my own.) I get frustrated if coaches don’t speak up to rectify blatant rule violations. In one game, a referee reversed three blatant calls against us when I showed him the rules sheet, but instead of the other team helping, the coach remained silent while his parents yelled at me and asked the referee who was calling the game. The coach knew the rules, yet he refused to help. On the other hand, I’ve often sided with opponents. For example, I saw an opponent’s player cross midfield, shoot and score, tying the game against us, but the referee couldn’t remember if the player had crossed the line so he disallowed the goal. The other coach argued, and I spoke up on his behalf. They got their goal. We still won the game, and it showed my players we could be honest and still win. At one Nationals, one of my players got a yellow card; but the father wanted his son to switch jerseys with another player in case his son got a second yellow and would have to sit out games. I told the father, “If your son gets another yellow, he will sit out.”

If coaches allow cheating and dishonesty, their players will think it is okay to cheat in other areas of life. Always remember the influence a coach can make. Teach your players to win the right way.

[I hadn’t planned on writing another entry, but I discovered some of my old rival teams recently having players thrown out of games and their teams disqualified. They often asked my teams to join them or for me to help train their players; but I always refused, not because they were rivals, but I didn’t want my players to catch their ideology. This week my son disqualified himself from a golf tournament after he realized the scorecard he signed was three strokes better and would have placed him with the leaders. While I wasn’t happy he assumed the other boy had written the scores correctly, I was proud that he came forward, because no one would have known otherwise. I take that back. He would have known. And I can’t help to think that the way we played soccer all those years influenced his behavior.]

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

3v3 Soccer Tips

3v3 is a skills game, hence my focus on 1v1 skills that teach touch, because touch is key in 3v3. If players can’t receive the ball and control it quickly, they waste valuable time collecting the ball, which allows the defense to come closer and reduces the time for scanning the field for options. Controlling the ball quickly makes your team faster and more effective. I’ve attached examples of exceptional control: Maradona, Zidane, Ronaldinho and Cruyff...

Learn to perform 1v1 moves fast or on the move so the defense doesn't catch you from behind.

When in Doubt, kick it Out.

On defense, contain and wait for separation; don't stab.

Forwards shouldn’t stand behind their opponent’s back player for a cross. If the back player stops the ball, your forward is now out of the play. Instead, be ready to collect any rebound off the back player.

Let the ball go out if your momentum will take you off the field. Trying to keep the ball in while you leave the field sets up a 3v2 scenario for the other team.

For really young teams, your back player should stand offset of the goal, so a missed back pass doesn’t accidentally roll in.

Shots on goal from opponent's free kicks or kick-ins that aren't touched twice can be allowed to go directly into your goal rather than risking a missed touch that accidentally deflects into your own goal. If they kick the ball in, it's a goal kick. If your player touches it, it's an own goal.

Refrain from shots or crosses from your opponent's corner as intercepted balls mean a 3v2 scenario for your opponent.

If you see a foul, continue playing (or kick the ball out) until you hear the ref's whistle. (I've seen players stop playing and allow a score because they expected a whistle that never came because the ref didn't see the foul.)

For 2v1 backdoor plays, dribble wide to open the back door.

If a forward loses the ball, they must RUN back on defense.

Forwards don’t stand wide when the other team kicks off or your opponents can simply dribble up through the middle.

On defense, if a player is chasing a ball and coming toward you, if you can time your lunge to get to the ball first, cut to either side. Some players kick the ball into the opponent’s legs and the ball bounces behind the defender.

Recruit Fast, Focused Players. [Great players often play-up, so don't forget to search older age brackets.]

If two defenders are on you, what does that mean? A teammate is open!

On sideline restarts, your back player should not take the kick, especially sending a crossing pass. I've seen far too many balls intercepted and shot on open goals.

Don't get down if your opponents score. 3v3 Soccer is a fast-paced, high-scoring game.

Each 3v3 tour has its own set of rules with some differences. Be sure your players know the differences.

Good Luck!