Leaside-East Toronto Soccer Club

193 Randolph Rd, Toronto,ON, M4G 3S6, Telephone 416 481 6425 Email John@leasidesoccer.net


Following are some resources put together for people of all ages interested in coaching prepared by Toru Kotani, a coach and player with the Leaside-East Toronto Soccer Club. It is presented in the hopes to stimulate your interest and help in finding resources to understand this very important part of the game.

Internet is a great source of information. It is a bit of a "buyer beware" world, however, since there is no quality control. Another big problem is the danger of the holy grail trap. Because of the abundance of information available in the internet universe, you are seduced into thinking there must be a "perfect solution". All you have to do is find it. Unfortunately there is no such "solution" on internet, at least, concerning soccer. A soccer coach has to solve his or her team's problem by coaching the team on the field, not by researching on the internet.
Having said that, internet is a good tool for educating yourself on coaching soccer if you use it wisely. This is a list of materials on internet with comments which will help you understand soccer better.

1. Laws of the Game
If you want to teach your child how to drive, I am sure you teach traffic rules first. If you coach soccer, you have to teach soccer rules to your players. Sadly some coaches lack a sound knowledge of soccer rules. Take a hand ball, for example. Some coaches don't know a hand ball has to be "deliberate". If a ball hits a hand accidentally, it is not a hand ball.
These 5 short videos explain the Laws of the game concerning 5 "hot" topics that crop up frequently in any given game.
Hand ball
Goal Keeper
Dangerous play
Throw in

2. Coaching philosophy
"Player Development philosophy - Georgia Soccer Coaching" (35:11)
This 35-minute video uses game footage of American and Brazilian youth games to explain the impact of different coaching philosophies in the US and Brazil. This video shows that coaching philosophy is not an abstract theory, but is reflected in the way we play the game. This video is very informative.

3. Theory of the game
"Soccer Coaching, 4 v 4"
theory 1
theory 2
theory 3
theory 4
theory 5
theory 6
This excellent series (6-part videos, about 5 minutes each) on the theory of the game is presented by Larry Paul who explains principles of the game simply and clearly, and systematically. This is a must-view series.

4. Analysing a game situation
Understanding theory is not enough for coaches. A coach has to apply theory to an actual game situation, and figure out why the game is going well, or badly, for his or her team. The following two videos show you how top pro teams put a "triangle" into practice in a real game.
"Juventus Chelsea 2012 Tactical Analysis SBS" (3:01)
And this video below is used as an assignment of a game analysis in a UEFA "A" license course. This is graduate school level coaching. But it is always good to aim high. If you are a Scot, however, you may want to miss this one because Scotland played really badly.
"UEFA Advanced License - Match Analysis: USA vs. Scotland" (11:39)

Since volunteer coaches normally don't have time to watch many games, I recommend you watch MLS Highlights on Youtube once in a while. MLS highlights are usually about 8 minutes. Unlike the English premier league highlights that show just goals and saves, MLS highlights show an entire build-up play that led to a scoring chance. Pick any one game, and treat it like a kind of work book. This is an exercise you should do. The moment one team wins the ball, freeze the screen, and look at the "shape" of both the attacking and defending teams. You predict where the attacking team should pass, then watch if you "read" it right. If you get the hang of it, try to see if there is a possibility of connecting 3 passes. Studies show the most number of goals are scored with 3 passes after a team wins the ball. So you try to predict if that will happen or not. If you do this less-than-10-minute exercise once a week, your ability to analyse a game will improve quickly.

5. Techniques
Instep kicking
This is about kicking with power. The most important aspect of this technique is to keep the toe of the kicking foot down all the way. The biggest flaw among many players is that the toe starts to move up before the kicking foot make contact with the ball. If the toe of the kicking foot is pointing at the sky after the follow-through, it means the ankle of the kicking foot got loose before impact. If the kicking foot's ankle is not locked, it is like hitting a base ball with a broken bat.
These two videos explain the instep kicking technique clearly.
"Biomechanics of Power Kicking" (11:28)
"How to strike the soccer ball with the laces" (1:56)

6. Exercises
There are numerous videos about soccer exercises on Youtube. But most of them are short, and with very little explanation, and therefore are often difficult to understand. But I can recommend videos under "Football Association Coaching" on Youtube. These exercises are used in the English FA coaching courses Level 1, 2, and 3. These computer-graphic videos explain coaching points in detail. For example Level 3 videos are small-sided games. They point out where a coach should stand to watch the practice. If you take the Level 3 course, an examiner will mark your "positioning" while you run a practice. So you should know where you stand during a practice!!


These inexpensive titles are available as e-books from Amazon Kindle Books. And Kindle lets you download the first chapter as a free sample.

"44 Secrets for Great Soccer Coaching" by Mirsad Hasic ($2.99)
This short book is about how to coach, not what to coach. The author lives in Sweden. My guess is that English is not his first language. Despite some awkward English and typos, however, his advice about how to coach is spot on. It is worth every penny.

"Playing Better Soccer Is More Fun" by Larry Paul (99ยข)
Yes, it is only 99 cents. It is unbelievable this excellent book costs so little. Larry Paul is the coach who appears in the Youtube video "Soccer coaching 4 v 4". The author believes that small-sided games are the best way to teach players how to play soccer. I am in his camp. This book is excellent because it not only shows you many small-sided games, but also explains very well how these games should be played. It is worth many many times more than the price.

The following two e-booklets are published by the soccer web site called Inside Soccer. This site used to be free. Sadly it is now for paying members only. But if you are really serious about coaching soccer, it may be worth the membership fee. This site is a sort of coaching forum for top professional clubs. Its "member clubs" include the likes of Chelsea, Tottenham, Ajax, Boca Junior, New York Red Bulls, etc. Most of the coaching videos feature these clubs' youth coaches and players. There is no issue of "quality control" on this site.
"Creating Your Own Space: Making the most of restricted areas for practice" by Jeff Bookman ($2.99)
This is about 30 pages long. But this booklet explains well how to use space for a practice. You have to choose the right size of space for whatever exercise you choose. If the space is too big or too small, an exercise may fall apart. For example, if it is an attacking practice, and the space is too small, attackers will not succeed. In a defending practice, the space is small enough for defenders to succeed. This book is the only one I have come across that teaches coaches how to use space wisely.

Player Intelligence : The Winning factor - Teaching Players to Think" by Mark Hefferman($6)
This roughly 60-page booklet deals with decision-making. One big reason few Canadian players succeed in top divisions in Europe is that most Canadian players cannot make a correct decision quickly enough at that level. Today improving player decision making is at the frontier of soccer coaching. This book may be difficult for beginning coaches. But this is what Canada needs.