Taos High Altitude Soccer Training, Located in Historic Taos, NM at an elevation of 7000 feet


Developing Technique, The Young Soccer Player (Excellent Advice)


Soccer Skills, Dynamic Warm Up


Juggling (The Why)


Soccer Skills, Dribbling, Ball Feeling
Soccer Skills, Dribbling, Across The Box
Soccer Skills, Dribbling, Figure 8's
Soccer Skills, Dribbling, Feints To Beat An Opponent
Soccer Skills, Dribbling, Fast Footwork
Soccer Skills, Dribbling
Developing Technique  (Dribbling Exercises, PDF)


Developing Technique U-6 to U-10  (Passing Exercises, PDF)
Developing Technique U-10 & Above  (Passing Exercises, PDF)
Developing Technique Passing Diamond Flow  (Passing Exercises, PDF)
Developing Technique Passing H - Flow  (Passing Exercises, PDF)
Developing Technique Passing Y - Flow  (Passing Exercises, PDF)
Eight Person Passing (Advanced)  (Passing Exercises, PDF)
Ten Person Passing (Advanced)  (Passing Exercises, PDF)
Developing Technique  (Passing Exercises, PDF)


Soccer Skills, Fun Games


Ball Mastery (Rio Vista FC Coaching Symposium 2006, PDF)

Some are born with talent… but talent isn’t enough.

Practice makes perfect, long painful runs, endless hours with a ball.

These are what ultimately set you apart, you may be good but it takes training to be great!


The more technical skills a player has, the better he or she is able to solve any problem situation. Like all top players, every youngster should always try in various situations to use techniques that will achieve the best possible results, so that tactical insight develops to the fullest possible extent.

From the first training session, positive habits, such as a sporting attitude, self- discipline, independence, and initiative should be encouraged. The promotion of these can have a great influence on young players. Even those who are not especially gifted will practice with a ball on their own or with a friend for long periods as long as they are encouraged and stimulated in the beginning. The more successful they are with the ball, the more involved they become with soccer. You will soon see their general self-confidence improve as well.

Obviously, some youngsters will master techniques faster than others. However, those who are not so gifted, and who have to practice more, will develop the ability to practice regularly. Anyone who follows this idea of individual self improvement can go along way in soccer and gain a great deal of enjoyment and satisfaction in playing the most popular sport in the world.

The future of soccer depends on imaginative and effective play. In order to produce exciting, skillful players, who are attack minded, skills and attitudes must be learned at a young age through constant repetition. There are essentially four stages to developing outstanding soccer performance, (1) learning all aspects of ball control, (2) becoming as effective and as skillful as possible in the many different one-on-one situations, (3) beating opponents either individually or with the help of other players in order to create and score more goals, and last but not least, (4) finishing on goal.

Ball Feeling: Most of the world’s greatest players developed their skills as children, by constantly playing soccer and by being in contact with the ball for hours at a time. They have acquired the same feeling in their feet as successful basketball players have, in their hands, for a basketball, and they acquired this feeling through endless hours of training with a ball. These solid skills, “ball feeling,” can only be acquired through repeatedly touching the ball. A few touches each practice session or in games is not enough to produce ball feeling and confidence with a ball.

Good coordination in soccer, as in other sports, is very important. Here, the many different practices with a ball are divided into two categories. The first is developing a “ feeling” for the ball at the earliest possible age. The second consists of those “movements” with the ball used by top professional athletes in real match situations against opposition. These exercises are developed for very young players and should be introduced as early as possible.

Tactics-based methods and a primary focus on passing, at the expense of individual development in these youngsters, will stagnate the growth of the individual. When these skills are fully developed and combination play is introduced the ability to hang on to the ball in pressure situations, will greatly contribute to the overall development of the team unit. Most of the “ball feeling” exercises are suitable for young players to practice on their own, a fun kind of homework. The first steps will, of course be difficult but, with encouragement and practice, young players will improve and acquire a natural feel for the ball. Then, the more skillful they become, the more fun they will derive from the game.

Constant repetition is the key to ball control. Using both feet is essential. Young players have tremendous energy and a thirst for knowledge. As long as the coach is imaginative and encouraging, these repetitive exercises will be the key to improvement. The designated skills are to be done slowly at the start and then each exercise or movement is gradually brought up to speed.

One-On-One Development: The “ moves” of the great players of soccer form the basis of all the initial exercises. All the moves have one thing in common; they are used to beat players one-on-one. In one-on-one situations, good dribbling skills, and ball control are essential, if effective attacking players are to be produced. These moves are not only useful in game situations, they also improve general body coordination and flexibility; this can also help prevent injuries. All the moves should be learned with limited opposition, so repetition is uninterrupted. Then opposition is gradually increased until there is full pressure on the player with the ball.

There are many moves, and young players will soon select their favorites. It is essential, however, that young players practice all of the skills that they have learned and that they are encouraged to do it in small match situations. Ultimately, skills must be used under one hundred percent pressure to be successful.

Technical skills are easier to teach to players under the age of ten. After this age, it becomes progressively more difficult to teach what should be done spontaneously in games. Young players throw caution to the wind, while older players are largely influenced by what is safe or not.

One-on-one play is possibly the least practiced skill in soccer, strange, when it is the skill most possessed by all of the world’s best players. Not only is it wonderful to watch a player outwit an opponent with skillful play, but it is also a way of creating more space and time for the player and the team.

Getting possession of the ball and keeping it is an important part of soccer. Players with good ball-control and dribbling skills have the ability to keep possession of the ball and to play attractive, exciting, attacking soccer. The emphasis on technique is for all players; defenders also will improve by practicing the very skills that they will find themselves defending against. They will appreciate what needs to be done to defend against skillful players. They will also learn that if they become more skillful with the ball, they too, will contribute to keeping possession and playing attacking soccer.

Combination Play: Once individual players have learned the individual moves, they are encouraged to combine with teammates to beat opponents. One two’s and overlaps are taught. Above all, young players appreciate that individual moves give them an option, either beating opponents individually or in combination with teammates. With these options they will become more valuable to the team. Many exercises for practicing combination play include, for example, three against one, four against two, or five against three, so young players have a clear picture of the value of combining with each other. Once ball feeling is acquired, by practicing the moves and ball exercises, you will see that players kicking, passing, and receiving abilities will improve dramatically. Receiving the ball well is crucial to creating more time and space.

Creating Chances and Finishing: Once players become more skillful, especially in one-on-one situations, more goal scoring chances will be created. Certainly, the higher the level a player reaches, the less time and space will be available. The better control, the more goal scoring chances there will be.

Heading: Heading of the ball is not recommended age 10 and younger. Once players are over ten years of age, heading exercises can be introduced. Again, repetition is important. In most of the heading exercises, jumping and bounding are key. Not only do they improve the power and accuracy of the heading, but also they have the added benefit of improving the acceleration of young players.

Shooting: Repetition training is essential to improve shooting. At first, accuracy is all-important. Being able to shoot with both the right and left foot will be made easier by the earlier ball feeling exercises. Volleys, half volleys, ground shots…one thing is certain young players love nothing more than shooting on goal. Can you imagine playing basketball without working on lay ups or shooting? Just as in basketball shooting needs to be worked on in every session during your soccer training.

Games: Small sided games, three on three or four on four are essential for player development. The games can be conditional, for example; before a shot on goal there must be a move or an overlap, or a certain number of passes. Restrictions should have age and skill considerations.

Young players should be encouraged to be creative; playing with flair and initiative, is essential for the developmental growth in these youngsters. These qualities are not only important in soccer but in society as a whole.

Developing Technique, The Young Soccer Player Printable Version

Juggling will not make you a great player.

But all great soccer players can juggle extremely well.


Juggling in soccer is the art of using your body to keep the ball in the air without the use of your hands. A player uses his/her feet, thighs, shoulders, and head to control the ball. Juggling is an essential skill. It will make you more comfortable with the ball as well as developing your touch and control. The development of this skill will give any player the confidence and ability to see the field and control the ball at the same time. Good jugglers develop a natural instinct for controlling the ball with any part of their body and setting it up for the next touch. This skill is invaluable during a game when a player is under pressure from an opponent. Whether a ball is passed on the ground or in the air, a player can bring it under control and direct it away from the defender.

Juggling should be introduced at the earliest possible age. Juggling initially can be very discouraging, but with persistence youngsters will soon see their improvement and their confidence will grow. Being able to practice this skill nearly anywhere, juggling will then become both fun and challenging. Begin by having the youngsters drop the ball on the laces of their shoe and kick it back to their hands. Have them drop the ball on their thigh and direct it back to their hands. Have the player’s kick the ball up so that when it falls it drops on their shoelaces. To practice stalling the ball, bounce the ball on the ground and catch it with the laces of the shoe. Do these drills with both feet so they can learn to use their left and right foot equally well, this is an invaluable skill that also builds coordination.

Be realistic, 5-7 year olds may only be able to reach highs of 5-10 juggles all year. As a child improves, set achievable goals and measure their progress. Maybe start with five, then ten, then fifteen, and so forth. Keep a chart to show progress. Give rewards as the youngsters reach new levels. By the time a player is ten he/she should be able to get to a hundred and perhaps much higher if they are dedicated and practice on a regular basis.

If you are a parent/coach, juggling should be included as part of your warm up. Juggling can be practiced just about anywhere so encourage your child to juggle daily, just 15 minutes or more a day can improve development. Another fun way to improve juggling is by counting how many juggles a player can do in a specific amount of time (you can use, one, two or three minute time frames). The pressure of time, forces a player to move quickly when they lose the ball (record their progress).

As players progress, have them juggle with a partner. A player can juggle once or twice, then pass the ball to their partner, who in turn juggles the ball and then passes it back. They can use any part of their body to juggle and to pass the ball back and forth. Juggling will help players learn how to control the ball on the ground and in the air. It will give them the confidence to maintain possession of the ball even when they are under tight pressure.


Most importantly have fun juggling, and remember the ball is your best friend!


Juggling Printable Version

GOAL SIDE AND BALL SIDE:  The first rule of defense! Always position goal side, between the opponent you are marking and the goal you are defending. Be sure to shade your opponent to the side of the ball. From here you will be able to see both the opponent and ball, as well as cutting off their passing lane.


CLOSE QUICKLY, APPLY PRESSURE:  Quickly close the distance to the opponent you are marking when you see that he or she is about to receive the ball. Ideally you should arrive at your mark at the same time as the ball does.


SET AND JOCKEY: Slow your approach as you near the opponent to maintain optimal balance and body control. The faster they are coming toward you the more space you will need to set and jockey, gradually moving backwards with your opponent channel them in the desired direction. Remember space equals time, therefore the less space you give your opponent the less time he or she will have to make decisions to play the ball.


DEFENSIVE STANCE, SIDE ON:  “Set” in a slightly crouched posture with knees bent and a low center of gravity. Use a staggered stance with your feet a comfortable distance apart and one foot slightly forward (much like a boxers stance). From this position you can quickly change direction in response to your opponent’s movements. The “side on” position will also prevent your opponent from playing the ball through your legs i.e. Nutmeg.


CHANNEL:  Slightly shade your opponent forcing he or she toward the sideline, toward a teammate, or toward their weaker leg (i.e. make a right footed player dribble to the left.


LUNGE:  Once you are channeling your opponent in the direction you desire you can lunge at he or she to force them to make a decision with what they are going to do with the ball. When you lunge at the attacking player it is important that you immediately drop back several yards so as not to let your opponent explode past you. If the attacking player does not react and commit his or herself you now have control of the attacking player and will be able to step in and win the ball. 


MARKING DISTANCE:  *Ability of the opponent; Give the opponent a bit more space if he or she has great speed and quickness. This will prevent him or her from merely pushing the ball forward and out racing you to the goal. Mark more tightly if your opponent relies on a high degree of skill. Deny him or her adequate time and space to use those skills to beat you.                           

*Area of field; as a general rule, the closer the opponent is to your goal, the tighter he or she should be marked. An opponent within scoring range of your goal must be denied the opportunity to shoot or pass the ball forward.


CONTROL AND BALANCE: A good dribbler will use deceptive body feints and foot movements to unbalance you, and to get you leaning one way or another. Strive to maintain good balance and body control at all times. Keep your weight centered over the balls of your feet. Don’t lean back on your heels and don’t challenge for the ball in a reckless manner.


PREVENT THE TURN:  Try to prevent your opponent from turning with the ball to face your goal. Once turned, he or she will be able to send penetrating passes into the space behind you or attempt to beat you off the dribble. Your marking should be tight, but not so tight that the attacker can spin with the ball and roll off you. Always be in a position to see the ball and be ready to step forward to win the ball as your opponent turns.


CONTAINMENT:  If your opponent does successfully turn on you with the ball, your immediate priority is to deny penetration. Channel the opposition into areas where space is limited (i.e. Toward the sideline or into a nearby teammate), or force him or her to pass the ball square or to drop it back toward his or her own goal. If you can delay penetration via the pass or dribble, even for a few moments, your teammates will have time to recover to positions goal-side of the ball to support you in defense.


LEAP FROG:  In the event you are beaten by your opponent, do not stand there and do not chase the ball, immediately get to a goal-side position of support for the teammate that has covered for you.




Individual Defensive Technique Printable Version

Most people don’t equate water with good nutrition, yet it is second only to oxygen as a substance that is essential to human life. Water comprises 70% of the weight of a healthy adult body. We can live without food for 2-3 months, but only several days without water. Yet most people do not drink enough water to maintain even marginal health.


When the kidneys remove wastes, those wastes must be dissolved in water and transported via water from the body. If there is not enough water, wastes are not effectively removed and kidney damage may occur. Water is essential for digestion and metabolism. Water helps regulate the body temperature through perspiration. Water carries oxygen and nutrients to the cells through the blood stream, which is largely water, and it lubricates the joints. Water is even required for breathing. The lungs must be moist to facilitate the inhalation of oxygen and the exhalation of carbon dioxide. Each day the body can lose 500ml of water by exhaling. Through excretion and perspiration it loses another 3 litres.


When water intake is insufficient to replenish the needs of the body, the body will interpret this deprivation as a need to store water. This compensation will cause fluid retention. Other problems resulting from not drinking enough water are poor muscle tone, small muscle size, decreased digestive and elimination efficiency, increased toxicity in the body, joint and muscle soreness (particularly after exercise) and excess body fat. Remember, lacking adequate water, the body cannot metabolize fat.


An athlete’s water intake should be spread over the entire day. If one waits until he or she is very thirsty to drink water, the body is already dehydrated. Your body requires ½ an ounce of water per pound. If you weigh 160 pounds then you require 80 ounces or ten - 8 ounce glasses of water. For an athletic individual you require 2/3 ounce per pound. Athletes should be drinking 2-3 glasses of water 2 hours before any game, and more just before the game, if it can be tolerated.


Can juice be substituted for water? The answer is no. Unfortunately, fruit juice, particularly apple juice, has as much sugar as soda (14%). A litre of juice has as much as 25 teaspoons of sugar, and one of the sugars - sorbitol - is particularly hard to digest. If you drink enough, you can experience juice indigestion something that is more common with the popularity of juiced based drinks, especially with teenagers. Juice should be limited to one glass a day. Some juice is fine but the extra juice vitamins come with a lot of sugar that is hard to digest. What about unsweetened juice? Unsweetened juice actually has more sugar than the sweetened variety. Unsweetened juice is made from higher quality fruit with a lot of natural fructose and sorbitol. Manufacturers add sugar to their lower price juice to give it the sweetness of the natural stuff. Most juice is made from windfall fruits. Fruits that have fallen to the ground and that are usually bruised and moldy (sorry). Bottom line, nutritionists recommend we eat the whole fruit rather than relying on juice. The sugar eaten as part of an apple is released more slowly and the body absorbs it more easily.   


Best advice - Drink Water or scientifically researched Sports Drinks!!!!!


Hydration Printable Version