The Gate Dribbling Game: Sample Activity from the Volunteer Soccer Coach


Session #1: Dribbling to Keep Possession:
Activity #2: The Gate Dribbling Game with Pressureactivity2_session1

Time: Approximately 15 minutes.

Area: 25 x 25 yards (L x W) or larger depending on how many players you have.

Activity: This activity is a progression from the previous one, which will allow you to give your players a quick water break and then get straight back into action. This time, start with a “bandit” whose job is to stop players from dribbling through the gates. Change the bandit every 30-45 seconds (get them to keep score of how many balls they kicked away).

Possible Progressions:

  • Add a restriction whereby players can only dribble with their left foot (or right foot).
  • Add another bandit (2 bandits at a time).
  • Replace some of the gates with pinnies (or different colored cones) and say that players must go through a cone gate followed by a pinnie gate (or different colored cone gate).
  • Add another bandit (3 bandits at a time).
  • Make the gates smaller and/or reduce the number of gates.
  • Add another bandit (4 bandits at a time).
Volunteer Soccer Coach Image
Are you a volunteer soccer coach with a full time job outside football? Then this book is for you! Minimizing jargon and looking to maximize the limited contact time you have with your players, The Volunteer Soccer Coachis a must-read practical book for coaches of all levels.
Utilising a game-based approach to soccer – where individuals actually play games rather than growing old in semi-static drills – author James Jordan offers 75 cutting-edge exercises across 15 detailed session plans which help players develop an attacking mindset, improve their skills, and, most of all, nurture a love for soccer.


Live Wires: Reflections on Brain Research and its Implications for Parenting/Education


Live Wires: Neuro-Parenting to Ignite Your Teen’s Brain by Judith Widener Muir 

“Neuro-parenting: Parenting strategies based on neuroscience research which conforms that the brain wires what it experiences – for good or bad”

On Friday at my school’s in service program, Judy Muir presented on brain research and its relevance for education. It was a wonderfully engaging and inspiring 90 minutes, at the end of which she gave us all a copy of her book. Having devoured the Lives Wires over the weekend, I am left pondering the following: 

  • If learning can only happen in meaningful relationships, then how can we, as educators, provide a learning environment in which these relationships are fostered and not denied?
  • In the current climate of high stakes testing, the college admissions arms race, and increasing student stress levels, how can schools facilitate wellness – a holistic approach to healthy thoughts, habits, and behaviors?
  • Our children’s brains are not buckets to be filled – a metaphor I have never particularly liked. Rather, the brain reconfigures itself throughout life experience. We “use it or lose it” in regards to the connections we make when we undertake new experiences. How do we build curricula that enables students to increase their neuroplasticity whilst maintaining some notion of the “school” model?
  • Are our students getting enough sleep? Teens are supposed to get 9 hours per night; many high school students get between 4 and 6.
  • How do we embrace the “gamer” generation, many of whom will log 10,000 hours of screen time by the time they graduate from high school?
  • Truly, what is the “right” college for a student? How do we get away from the idea that there are only 50 or so (of the 3,000) institutions of higher learning that are valuable?

Planning your soccer practice


In the next few weeks, I will be exploring how people might and do go about planning their practice sessions.

Topics and questions I will be considering are as follows:

How do you determine what to work on in practice?

  • Have a curriculum that you follow (your own or someone else’s)
  • Base it something that you saw (or didn’t see) in a game
  • Decide the week’s practices all at one time based on a progression of some sort
  • Ask the players
  • See what happens when you get out there

How do you put together a practice?

  • Full written plan with diagrams and coaching points
  • Full written plan with coaching points, but without diagrams
  • Diagrams with coaching points but no other annotations
  • Names of drills/activities with coaching points
  • Names of drills/activities without coaching points
  • Coaching points
  • “Theme”
  • All in head/nothing written

What is the purpose of the practice?

  • Fitness
  • Team bonding
  • Technical
  • Tactical
  • Team shape
  • Set pieces
  • Don’t know

What are the different types of practices?

  • Technical 
  • Tactical
  • Day before a game
  • Day after a game
  • High intensity
  • Low intensity
  • Medium intensity (mixture)

What stage of the season are you in? 

  • Pre-season
  • Early season
  • Mid season
  • Playoffs/end of season

How do you reflect on practices?

  • Keep detailed records of what was done, what worked, what didn’t, etc.
  • Keep basic records 
  • Keep no records 

Of course, I may need to refine/change some of these as I write; however, if you have some input or would like a question answered, please feel free to ask.


New Book: Beta Readers Needed


Hi all,

I am looking for a small group of beta readers for my next book (It Pays to Win on Defense), which is a follow up to It Pays to Win on Offense (currently hovering between #4 and #7 on Amazon’s Best Sellers in Soccer Coaching [Kindle] section). The new book is a game-based approach to developing the skills and mindset needed for highly effective defenders.

If you are interested in becoming a beta reader, shoot me an email at and we can set it up.


Beyond the ball


“In football, the worst blindness is only seeing the ball.” ~ Nelson Falcão Rodrigues

What are the things you coach that are beyond the ball? How do you coach them?