Finishing on Soccer Breakaways

Scoring on Soccer Breakaways

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(Below is correspondence with a Premium member whose U12 soccer team had not lost a game in almost 2 years, but was having trouble scoring on soccer breakaways. He followed our suggestions and increased his scoring to 19 goals in 3 soccer games, whereas they had only scored 8 goals in the prior 3 games.)

Dear SoccerHelp,

I have been a member of the Premium site for about 2 years now and it has just been the greatest resource I have run across in a long time. Thanks for all your work putting this all together.

I have come to ask for suggestions for practice games. I coach 11-12 yr old girls, a Rec team, but they are VERY competitive and have not lost a game in almost 2 years now, in fact, they have only had 8 goals scored against them the whole time (thanks in large part to Premium). However, I am always looking for ways to improve upon their skills and play.

The problem I am seeing now is that when they have breakaways and are running with the ball, they all tend to kick it too far in front of themselves and end up losing control of it or they have it taken away by the defense before they have the chance to shoot or make a pass.

What Practice Games can you recommend that will help them keep better control of the ball when they have a breakaway toward the goal, or even when they are bringing it up from the midfield area?



Hi Matt,

Thanks for the letter and for being a Premium member, and congratulations on your success.

This is a common problem.

Your players need to learn how to "Speed Dribble". The Practice Games below are "self-teaching". All you have to do is motivate your players to want to win the Practice Games. Below I explain how you can use our patches to motivate them to learn what you want.

I can think of 4 ideas for you:

  1. Here's my best idea, and trust me this will work: Do you use our iron-on patches? If not, buy some of the Star Patches. You only need about 45 -- buy 30 of either the Blue OR Red Stars (your choice) AND 15 of the Gold Stars, and use the Blue and Red Stars to reward the winners of the games below and use the Gold Stars for proper execution in a real game. Let those be the only ways they can earn those patches -- do not give them for anything else, they must be the most coveted patch.
  2. Play "Dribble Across A Square", but make the square 15 steps wide. This will force your players to "Speed Dribble" (i.e., kick the ball and run to it when they get into open space), BUT they will have to keep it under control in order to make their turn, or they will lose (if they kick it too far, they won't be able to make the turn). Play Dribble Across 3 times to start each practice for the next 3 practices and give the winner of each game a blue or red star.
  3. Play "Dribble Around Cone and Pass Relay Race". This game also requires "Speed Dribbling" (kicking the ball in front and running to it) BUT they MUST still keep control, or they will lose. Play this 3 times at each practice and give a Blue or Red Star patch to the winners.
  4. If you want another game, try "Pass To Space, Run With Ball and Shoot" game. Also, give a Blue or Red Star Patch to players on the winning team.

I'm very confident this will work, but please let me know. I'll be very surprised if it doesn't work.

David at SoccerHelp



I wrote you about 5 weeks ago concerning our 5th and 6th grade girls Rec team. They always seemed to be kicking the ball away while on the attack, remember? Anyway, we took your suggestions, used them, and they definitely worked. At the time I wrote we had won our 3 previous games by scores of 2-0, 2-1, and 4-1......after implementing your suggestions and working on ball control, our next three games were won by scores of 7-0, 4-2, and 8-0.....the two end games could have easily been double digit wins but we had to move players around so as to not run up the score too much more.

I have been a member of SoccerHelp Premium for about 2 years and so far, everything has worked. I have coached 2 different rec teams in the last 2 years , one 8v8 league and one 11v11 league, and my record is 22-1-1 (the single loss was my very first game so it almost doesn't count!) There is no way I could have done it without Premium.

My daughter has now moved up into a U-12 travel team and I am unsure of my coaching status, but rest assured if i am ever asked to assist or even head coach, I will be turning to this site often.

Thanks again for all your work.



Hi Matt,

Thanks for this letter. I'm really glad my suggestions helped and that Premium has helped you over the past 2 years. Truly, it pleases me greatly. I remember the frustrations I had before I developed the SoccerHelp Program and letters such as yours encourage me to continue to improve Premium. I've spent 10 years now developing the Soccerhelp Program and it has been a huge amount of work, but letters such as yours let me know it has made a difference.

I think it's great that your daughter has become so good that she made a U-12 travel team. I hope her new coach continues to work on her skill development. Show them some of the Practice Games you like... "Dribble Across A Square" and "Dribble Around Cone and Pass Relay Race" would help her team. Please let me know how her dribbling skills compare to the other kids on the travel team . I suspect her dribbling skills compare favorably even though she has been on a Rec team. In my city, it would be unusual for a player to make a travel team at U-12 because their skills would normally be far behind the kids who had played travel for 2 or 3 years, so I think it's a compliment to you as a coach.

Thanks for the credit to SoccerHelp, but I know from experience that you must be an excellent coach and motivator to have such a good record over 2 years. To be 22-0-1 for your last 23 games is amazing... that means you had to have your team ready to play for every game, and that's hard to do with a Rec team where you aren't even sure who will show up. Obviously, the kids enjoyed playing for you and you made it fun, or your record wouldn't have been so good.

Best wishes,

David at SoccerHelp