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London Soccer Clubs-Ohio
Jeff Stiffler
1406 Itawamba Trl
London, Ohio

LONDON SOCCER:Coaching Soccer


Thursday, September 18
Coaching Youth Soccer

Coaching Youth Soccer should be a Fun, Encouraging, Learning and often Entertaining evironment!!

Let's please make sure that our youth enjoy their activities so that they will continue to play and be active in the sport!!

Win or Lose, if they Learn and have fun doing it, they will continue to.


I am going to try to put many of the articles that I have written and used in coaching soccer here, so that it can be utlized in helping youth coaches coach this great game of SOCCER!!

Jeff Stiffler 

Tuesday, September 30
Blank Soccer Formation Page for Coaches

You can use this page to help you lay out your formation so that your players can see and understand better!!

Good Luck! 

Handout: Field Position Form - blank

Soccer News
Teamwork & Sportsmanship ...Skills For Life!

Welcome to the London Area Soccer Clubs:

Remember one thing::::
The next season starts the day after the
current season ends.
(don't quit practicing just because the
season has ended, because a new one is about
to begin.)

Keep checking the web site for updated

The London Area Soccer Clubs presents:
Life of

Remember to always make it fun, and enjoy
the great game of SOCCER.

Remember: It takes a TEAM to win!


These Newsletters are a tremendous source of teaching and learning.




Thursday, February 6
Today’s subject deals with early defending.

When a player loses possession of the ball,
frequently the first thing they do is to put their
head down. Next they start to go back to get into
a position to defend.

The thing this doesn’t take into consideration is
that the opposing team is probably going to be
slow in making the transition from defense to
offense so, if the players who just lost the ball
can be quicker in making the transition to defense
than the opponent is to making the transition to
offense, they can frequently win the ball very
quickly. The key is, as soon as a team has lost
the ball they have to have the mentality of trying
to win it back right away. Of course, this has to
be done with some thought and if it’s not the best
place on the field to do it, or because of some
other factors such as spacing this isn’t
realistic, than it might be better to get back and
compress the field defensively.

One of the keys to making the quick transition
from offense to defense is for there to be a lot
of communication. Since the tendency is for a
player to put their head down upon making a
mistake, if the players behind them can encourage
them to make the transition quickly, than it will
be easier for him. Also, it has to be something
that is practiced on a regular basis. Whenever
playing a keep away or possession game in
training, when there is a lot of possession, the
players that lost the ball should IMMEDIATELY try
to win it back. This is the difference of doing a
drill and playing the game. In a drill, when
there is a loss of possession, everyone stops and
does it again. When playing the game (even if
it’s in training) the players have to think about
these transition periods.

The players and teams that make the transitions
from offense to defense and defense to offense
quicker are usually the ones who are successful so
keep this in mind the next time you go on the
field to play.

Thanks Coach Stiffler.

Friday, December 5
By: Coach Jeff Stiffler

“Remember that POSSESSION is Everything” in the Game of Soccer.

        Soccer is truly a TEAM sport. A team’s success depends on its players working together in combination. The need to develop solid passing and receiving skills are very important. The essential skills compliment one another because each passed ball should be received and then controlled by a teammate. Set your sights high, and strive towards your “GOAL”
        Accuracy. Pacing, and the timing of release are critical steps for passing and receiving to be successful. You must be able to receive and control a ball skillfully as it arrives from a teammate. Poor passing and receiving skills will result in loss of possession, and the lost chance for a scoring opportunity.
        A rolling ball on the ground is easier to pass and receive than a ball in the air. The team will benefit more when you make passes on the ground. The three most common and basic techniques for passing the ball on the ground: inside of the foot, outside of the foot, and instep.
The most basic passing skill that should be mastered by any soccer player is the “Inside of the foot pass”. Pushing the ball with the inside of the foot is used when passing the ball over distances of 5 to 15 yards. This pass is very easy, and the pass has a lot more control. Keep one thing in mind: your placement foot (nonkicking foot) should be beside the ball and pointed toward your target. This will help keep your shoulders and hips squared with the ball. Practice this pass with both of your feet.
        There is a time for dribbling, and a time to make the pass. The longer a player retains the ball, the more time they allow the opponent to group together and shut that player down. Excessive dribbling can destroy the teamwork needed to create goal-scoring opportunities. When a ball is in your defensive third of the field, is where you want to clear the ball out and have minimal dribbling. Ideally you want to clear the ball as efficiently and effectively as you can. You want to increase the dribbling the middle third of the field, and take all the advantages you can in the opponents third of the field with dribbling. Remember that if you have too much excessive dribbling on your third (in front of your goal) of the field, the opponent has a very good chance for a goal if they steal the ball from you and shoot at your goal.
        Shielding is another way to maintain possession. Make sure that you keep your body positioned between the ball and the opponent trying to steal the ball from you. As you shield the ball, please keep these things in mind:
   A)Change directions and speed. Sudden changes will throw the defender off.
   B)Use body feints. Use deceptive foot movements, and body movements to fake out your opponent.
   C)Dribble the ball with very close control. Use your lower peripheral vision as a distance.
   D)Don’t get fancy, or try to do too much body movements. Use the skills that you have learned.
   E)Keep your head up as much as possible. Good field vision, and knowing where your teammates are at is important.
   F)Keep your balance.

Do not over commit yourself while challenging the opponent for the ball, or you start playing “Chase the ball”. Keep your legs bent and position them at a diagonal stance. Stay on your toes. Sometimes you may want to dribble towards an opponent, so that you can make them commit to you on their end of the field. If your opponent makes a mistake, take advantage of the mistake and you could be in with in a scoring opportunity. (DO NOT do this in you third of the field, or you may end up getting scored on).
        As you receive the ball from a teammate, remember that in order to maintain possession, you must attack with numbers up. Attack with as much help as you can. If you loose possession, all players should close the space down against the opponents. Once you have regained possession, keep you space. Attack and Defend as a Unit, a TEAM.
Remember: That in order to receive, you must see the ball.

Good Luck Team!
Coach Jeff Stiffler.

Today’s subject deals with THE PLANT FOOT.

In many cases, when a ball has been passed or shot poorly the reason is an improperly placed plant foot.

Let’s start with explaining what the plant foot is and how it’s used. The plant foot is the non-kicking foot (for example, if you are shooting with the right foot, the left foot would be your plant foot right before you hit the shot). The plant foot provides balance, aim and helps with power for the pass or shot.

When shooting, the plant foot should be approximately 6-8 inches to the side of the ball upon making contact (this means that if you are shooting with your right foot, the left foot would be planted 6-8 inches to the left of the ball). If the ball goes to high, you frequently hear people yell “get your knee over the ball”. However the real problem frequently is that the plant foot was too far behind the ball, which makes it nearly impossible to get the knee over the ball. If the ball goes too far to the shooters left, it usually means the plant foot was too close to the ball which results in the shooter making contact on the right side of the ball. If it looks like the shooter hits the ball into the ground, most likely the plant foot is too far forward of the ball. These are some examples of how the plant foot directly effects the direction of the shot or pass. The other way the plant foot effects the accuracy of the pass is that the direction the plant foot is facing will usually be the direction the ball will go. This means that if you want to shoot towards the far post, the plant foot should be pointed directly at the far post.

The plant foot also is used to generate power as well.   Many young players seem to think that a long approach to the ball will allow them to pass or shoot it harder. However, it really all comes down to the last step of the approach. If the last step leading into the plant foot is a long hard one, most likely the pass or shot will be hit hard. If this last step is short and slow, the shot will be short and slow. The exception to this is if the last step leads to a plant foot with a straight knee. If the knee on the leg of the plant foot is straight as opposed to slightly
bent, the momentum from the last step will be lost. Also, if the knee isn’t slightly bent, there will be some problem maintaining good balance on the shot.

If you want to improve your passing and shooting, take a good hard look at your plant foot and you will probably be able to improve in a short period of time.

I have been watching a lot of games recently. One of the things that I have come to realize, is how often a team loses possession after a throw in. If each of you start watching very closely, I think you would come to realize how easy it is to take possession of the ball after a throw in.
You must act very quickly, and swiftly. As soon as the ball has been thrown, you need to be on the go towards the player that is going to receive the ball. Most of the time you would be surprised to see how the pressure will cause them to make a mistake and lose possession.

Try it in the next game you play.

Coach Jeff Stiffler.

Marking on Opponent Players!

I went with a coach friend of mine (Mark Ryan) on Saturday evening after the Rapids game on 2/14/04.
Mark is a teacher, and has a student that plays soccer.
The student had been trying to get Mr. Ryan to watch one of his games. Mark had called me and asked if I would like to go. Of course I said why would I want to go watch a soccer game!
I guess it’s because I love the game.
As I watched, I noticed something that I have seen in our teams lately. They had a very young team, and were challenging a team that had some great skills.
The kids never looked upset, maybe a bit disappointed.
It is very hard being a coach that is just a spectator, because you want to start yelling and helping.

The problem I saw is a problem that the London Teams are having. We let our guard off of the opponent. There is the same amount of players from both teams out on the field. We must mark up on each player on the field. The keeper may be an exception and perhaps not if they are open and available to receive a back pass with no opposition.

We need to make sure that we keep ourselves close enough to the opposite team, so that they cannot receive the ball very easily. We must oppose them and not allow them to gain possession of the ball. A good team that can make and receive passes, only needs 3 to 4 feet to work in. If we stay close, and not allow them to receive the ball, we are doing great.

The team with the possession will usually win.

If we do not mark them close, the end result will be a GOAL for the other team.

The Team played very well for being a younger team.
They played a team that was very well trained, and organized. It will make them better players, and a better Team, to challenge teams like this, but we all have to remember not to let the other TEAMS PLAYERS OUT OF OUR SITE.

Great Job SWSA.

Coach Jeff Stiffler. London Soccer.

Sunday, February 29
Today’s topic deals with keeping your head up
while dribbling.

One of the hardest things to do when dribbling is
to see the ball and also to see what is happening
around you. If you watch really good players it
looks like they don’t have to look at the ball
when they dribble and when you look at lower level
players it looks like they have to stare at the
ball when dribbling.

The reality is that even top players have to see
the ball when dribbling but the difference is they
know they can see the ball and also see the field
at the same time. The good news is that this is a
“skill” that can be worked on and improved.

Start with a soccer ball on the ground right in
front of your feet. Look straight ahead and see
if you see the ball at your feet. If you can,
that means you can dribble the ball while
looking straight ahead and still see the ball. If
you can’t see the ball while looking straight
ahead, then slowly lower your head (the key here
is to do so lower) until you can see the ball with
your peripheral vision. This is the point where
you will be able to look forward and also see the

Once you determine how far ahead you can see while
watching the ball at your feet, the next step is
to practice dribbling while keeping your head up
to the level where you can still see the ball.
This can be done by dribbling randomly in an area,
or dribbling around cones or really by doing any
type of dribbling you want.   The more you
practice dribbling with your head up, the more you
realize how much you can see while also watching
the ball

Learning to see many things at the same time will
help you become a much better soccer player.

Saturday, March 20
Getting back defensively

When a defender is marking a player with the ball
and that player passes the ball, there is a
tendency to do one of two things. Either the
defender decides to chase the ball to wherever it
was passed OR they stop playing and relaxes with
the idea that their job is done.

Generally speaking, both of the above decisions
are the wrong ones. The reason players shouldn’t
automatically chase after the ball is that the
ball can travel much faster than the player so it
turns into a useless chase PLUS it frequently
results in the defender getting caught so far out
of position that not only can’t they put pressure on
the player with the ball, but they also can’t help
mark the player they just left. There are a few
occasions when following the pass defensively is
the right decision and those are usually when the
pass is an EXTREMELY short one and there is
defensive support behind but this situation is
much less frequent than defenders think. The
problem with the defender relaxing after his
player passes the ball is that it allows the
player he is marking to make a run to get behind
him and at that point, he is beat (for example, a
wall pass will beat this type of defender every

As a general rule, the proper thing to do when a
player you are marking passes the ball is to get
back quickly. By doing this, it eliminates the
chances for success of a wall pass plus allows the
defender to provide support by becoming the second
or third defender.
Getting back defensively after a pass is hit is an
easy thing to do IF you remember to do it! This
is where communication becomes vital since players
behind the defender (keeper, sweeper or other
defenders) should be directing the defender what
to do as much as possible.


Friday, June 15
Dribbling with a lot of space in front of you:
Dribbling with a lot of space in front of you:

When you receive the ball with a lot of space in front of you, your first touch would be a controlled touch into space, and then the next touch would be a big push into the space (with the instep) and then running after the ball. Then, if there is still a lot of space, continue to push the ball out in front of you until you get closer to opposing players at which point you will want to take another controlled touch to keep the ball closer to your body.

Too often, players will kill the ball with their first touch and then take the next couple of touches close to their body. The problem with this is it gives the opposition too much time to close the space before they can get very far.

Use the control touch to get the ball going in the proper direction and to get your momentum going that way as well. Then, exploding into that space with a hard touch (or touches) and the controlled touch when approaching opponents and you will find yourself using the space in front of you much better.

Thanks and Have A Great Day.

Coach Jeff.




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