500 Soccer Coaching Tips

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Below are links to over 500 Soccer Coaching Tips -

Attacking Tips and Tactics - 37 Soccer Attacking Tips, Tactics & Strategies, How to Score More Goals, How to Determine Why Your Team Isn't Scoring More Goals, 7 Ways Most Soccer Goals Are Scored

Bunching Up - 7 Ways to Stop It

Defense - 3 Things to Teach

Dehydration - 9 Tips to Avoid It

Dribbling - How to Teach - 4 Tips

Evaluate Players and Assign Positions - 25 Tips

Fast Play - 7 Tips, How to Teach Fast Play

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Formations - 11 Tips. Best article. Basics, How to Choose the Best Formation and Style of Play, How to teach a Formation, Depth versus Width, Why the Center is Critical

Formations, 7v7 - 5 Tips

Formations, 8v8 - 8 Tips

Formations, 8v8 - 14 Tips

Formations, 9v9 - 9 Tips

Formations, 11v11 - 5 Tips

Fullbacks - How to Motivate - 4 Tips

Goal Kicks Tactics - 3 Tips

Goalkeepers - 5 Tips

Hot Days Tips - 14 Tips that are Worth a Goal or Two on a Hot Day

Indoor Soccer - 31 Tips

Kick Soccer Ball - How to Teach - 23 Tips

Kick-Offs - 3 Tips

Motivate Players - 12 Ways

Motivational Plan - 4 Tips

New Coaches - 19 Tips

Passing & Receiving - 10 Tips, How to Teach

Positions, Assigning - 17 Tips, Best Positions for Players who are Skilled, Fast, Slow and Timid

Positions Basics & Soccer Kick-Offs - 3 Tips

Positions - Evaluate & Assign Players - 25 Tips

Positions - How to Teach, Coach & Assign - 30 Tips

Positions - Rotating

Practice - 10 Things you Need

Practice - 12 Tips

Practice - 18 Tips

Practice - 29 Tips

Practice - Competitive Training - 7 Tips

Practice Plans - 5 Tips

Praise - How to Give - 8 Tips

Push Up Fullbacks on Attack? - 7 Tips

Receiving - Teach Aggressive Receiving

Scrimmaging - 4 Tips

Skills - 12 Tips

Stopper Importance - 7 Tips

Styles of Play - 10 Tips Your Style of Play is as important as your Formation and can make a huge difference.

Tactics - 70 Tips and Tactics for U8-U18

Tactics, Advanced - 20 Tips

Tactics for Select and High School - 14 Tips

Teach Players - 20 Things to Teach

Throw-Ins - How to Teach - 8 Tips

Toughness - How to Teach

Tryouts - 10 Tips

Tryouts - 14 Tips - Tryouts Evaluation Form

Tryouts - 19 Tips

U4 & U6 - 18 Tips

U4 & U6 - More Touches New Ball - 10 Tips

Weak Teams - 21 Tips

World Cup Lessons - 5 Tips, Defense, Finishing, Tactics

World Cup Lessons - 5 Tips, Attacking, Shooting, One-Touch, Brave Defenders

World Cup Lessons - 6 Tips, Attacking Support, Corner Kick Tactics, Defense, Long Balls as a Tactic

World Cup Lessons - 6 Tips, What makes a great scorer? Pushing Up on Attack, Formations and Tactics, Pressuring the Keeper

Another Way to Find Topics - You can navigate the 400 free pages using the SoccerHelp Dictionary or use the links on the Home Page. There are 400 Topics in the Dictionary.

Soccer Coaching Tips and Tactics

Importance of a Stopper
2-1-2-2 vs. 2-3-2 Soccer Formation
Analysis, Evaluation and Tips
How to Beat a Pushed Up Defense

(The following letter is very insightful and analyzes the differences in play of a U-12 Rec team using a 2-3-2 formation and a 2-1-2-2 formation, and Pushing Up all the time vs. adjusting to circumstances and occasionally Defending Deep. I want to thank Coach Mark who took the time to write. Notice that their record with the same team improved from 3-4 to 5-2-1 and they tied the best team in their league 5-5, an undefeated team that had beaten them 9-1 the prior season. Coach Mark says of that 5-5 tie: "This was a huge victory for us and a personal highlight of my 4 years of coaching." He describes the Style of Play his team used to launch fast counterattacks against the Pushed Up undefeated team.)

Hi SoccerHelp,

I coached my daughter's U12 girls Rec team the last 2 seasons (assistant in the fall season, head coach in the following spring season). I followed the advice of my neighbor (played college and now coaches) along with your recommendations for a 2-1-2-2 formation. Being the assistant in the first half, I created our lineup and convinced the coach to use a Stopper. Unfortunately, the coach played the Stopper forward essentially as a center midfield. My lineup was transferred into a 2-3-2 and we were constantly getting beat in our defensive zone. The spring session I was able to play the kids my way and offer the following report comparing both formations. I also include comments on adjusting this formation for tough opponents and those playing an offside trap. Thanks for SoccerHelp and the helpful information, even for those of us who are not premium subscribers. Your love for the game shows.

Here are my observations and analysis:


2-1-2-2 lineup with a strong, aggressive, defensive minded player as Stopper and at least one sharp shooter as Forward compared to a 2-3-2 formation.

Analysis, Findings and Tips:

The 2-1-2-2 formation provides greater depth and flexibility than 2-3-2. If the other team's offense manages to pass one line, the next line is there to prevent further progress forward. This deep formation helps to keep the Center of the Field (length of the field net to net) in your team's control. If the opposing team goes up the side, your team can simply shift left or right while still maintaining control of the central field area.

This formation enables your team to instantly adjust to an opponent's strategy and abilities. If an opponent is not exceptionally strong, push midfielders up for a dominant offense. If an opponent is strong, adjust the stopper and defenders back further and pull the midfield back as additional defense. This latter tactic is especially useful in two cases:

  • When the opponent is "Pushed Up" to create an "Offside Trap" - When the opponent is very good (maybe even more skilled than your team) and/or playing 2 defenders well forward (relying upon the offside rule for "protection"), the remainder of their team is in your zone with a dominant offense. By playing your Midfielders back deep with your Stopper and Defenders, players on both teams are evenly matched (although in your zone) but your team has an advantage for potential breakaways (a fast counterattack against their "Pushed Up" defenders). To counterattack, play your Forwards just onside of the opposing defenders and instruct your team to kick long passes or lobs behind/over the opposition. Your forwards can breakaway the moment the ball is kicked (not before the kick or they'll be offside) and beat the "offside trap" with a great scoring opportunity.
  • Preventive defense - When it's time to close out the game with a narrow lead it's easy to shift each line back to a defense posture and still maintain a deep lineup centrally on the field. You can maintain at least one Forward pushed up as a threat (still onside of course) to keep opposing defense at bay.

Summary of Results for 2-3-2 Formation vs. a 2-1-2-2 Formation (U12 Girls Rec League):

The 2-1-2-2 proved to be superior over the 2-3-2: I had the same basic core team in fall and spring but the Stopper was pushed forward in fall (effectively making the line-up a 2-3-2) and played back on defense the following spring (true 2-1-2-2).

  • Fall record: 3 W & 4 L (last game rained out). We gave up many goals because the Stopper was not able to get back in time to cover breakaways and the remaining 2 defenders were often outnumbered. We played the best team in the league only once and were beaten 9-1 (they were undefeated).
  • Spring record: 5 W, 2 L, 1 Tie. Rotating our most athletic players in Stopper and Forward positions, we kept the ball out of our zone a majority of the time. There were some games where the opponent did not get a single quality shot on goal because they couldn't penetrate our zone. Stopper played defense at center line and was instructed to clear the ball out of our zone immediately.

Analysis of Wins and Losses Playing a 2-1-2-2:

3 wins were major shutouts, 2 other wins were almost shutouts (we gave up only 1 goal each). One loss was only by 1 goal to a fairly strong team.

We lost 1 and tied 1 to the undefeated team which was played two different ways:

  • In the Loss we used Standard Midfield positioning. We were tied at the half but gave up 5 goals to lose in the second half.
  • In the Tie the Midfield played back with Stopper and Defense: They Pushed Up and we used the approach described above to launch fast counterattacks and beat their "offside trap". The result was that we tied 5-5. This was a huge victory for us and a personal highlight of my 4 years of coaching. Our level of play was much better.


Retired Coach Mark

(David's Reply)

Hi Mark,

Thanks for writing. Your letter has made my day. SoccerHelp is a "hobby" job for me -- I have a day job too and it re-energizes me to know that SoccerHelp is helping coaches. And thanks for the kind comments.

I've received some criticism from Travel Team and College Coaches for my ideas such as "Defending Deep". Some people think there is a "one size fits all" approach and that Rec teams should try to play like college teams. I think each team should do what is the most fun and allows them to be successful and to achieve their potential. In my experience, most kids would rather play a good game and would rather win than lose. It's discouraging to get killed and not have a chance. That's why some leagues try to balance the teams so they are competitive. My guess is that the "best" team you played had more fast, athletic players than your team and that is part of why they won so easily when your team "Pushed Up" -- they were simply faster. Your story shows that good coaching and motivation can allow an underdog to have a chance against a stronger team. When a team plays well against a stronger team, it gives them confidence and they start to listen to the coach because they see he can help the team play better.

Your analysis is very insightful and it's obvious that you are a student of the game.

You say you're "retired" from coaching -- that's a shame, you're an excellent coach.

I've set up a free 1 year Membership for you to Premium.

Thanks again and please share any more good ideas -- you're insightful and a good writer. I hope you coach again sometime or share your knowledge with other coaches. I will coach my granddaughter next year in U-4, so I'll be coming out of retirement.

David at SoccerHelp