The Coerver Coaching Method

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The Coerver Coaching method was created and developed by Dutch soccer player and coach Wiel Coerver. It was Wiel Coerver who believed young players could learn the game and become great soccer players through training with the ball.


People often say that a soccer player’s skills are like a gift from above. Players like Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Neymar and Lionel Messi seem to have been blessed by higher powers with brilliant moves and skills on the soccer ball. It’s like they didn’t even have to train or practice on their own – and what they had as far as talent, you couldn’t learn or teach to others.

For a long time, this was the general feeling of many soccer coaches. That you couldn’t teach what these unique soccer players could do with the soccer ball. Soccer talent wasn’t something you could really develop and those who played the best simply were greeted as though their talent was a gift of God and couldn’t be duplicated.

Much changed in the 1970’s when the Coerver Coaching Method was introduced. A Dutchman, Wiel Coerver, felt that soccer skills could be analyzed and taught from an early age. In many ways Wiel Coerver is the father of soccer training. Utilizing the brand new television and slow motion replay technology of his day, Coever studied the game of soccer from a new perspective. He watched all-time greats such as Johan Cruyff and Pele, and then dissected their moves so he could teach them to young players.

Coerver realized that so much of soccer, especially 1 on 1 situations, depended on anticipation. When a defensive player feels that his opponent will move the ball in a certain position, he or she will react and move in that direction in order to create leverage to block the ball. What great players master is the ability to pretend to be moving in a certain direction but then do something totally different. This catches defenders completely flat-footed and leaves them in the dust as the playmaker has now progressed past a defender and has likely found yards of space ahead.

One of the best known Coerver moves is the Cruyff turn. This cut back is one of a number moves and fakes that is at the heart of Coerver Coaching.

You can see the benefit of such soccer skills as Johan Cruyff was able to completely separate from his defender and put in an open cross to his strikers.

Another excellent move that can trip up a defender is the step over. Watch a video of some great step over skills highlighted by current master, Neymar, who it now looks like he’s destined to pay for Real Madrid or Barcelona – both teams fight for his rights. And then of course Cristiano Ronaldo, who could do 1000 step overs in his sleep.

As you can see, the whole idea behind the Coerver Coaching Method is to catch defenders off guard. For professional soccer players, this is the only way to break free. Nearly all soccer stars are fast enough to chase you down, so to succeed in the game, you must make defenders lose balance by integrating these kinds of moves and feints into your game. In the few seconds it takes for the defender to regain his footing, you could have sprinted 10 yards further up the field.

The Coerver Coaching method also incorporated passing drills, receiving drills, and had a large emphasis placed upon high speed of play. As every team tends to find these days, a mistake on one end of the pitch can be punished by a goal on the other end in a matter of just a few seconds. Counter attacks are deadly in the modern game of soccer.

Wiel Coerver found great success when he incorporated his new method to his team, Feyenoord Rotterdam. In 1974, the team won the UEFA Cup tournament in Europe. When Coerver retired from coaching he continued teaching his new method in schools and academies throughout the Netherlands. The nation now boasts a massive talent in the sport considering its rather diminutive population and size. Most recently, the Dutch national team was finalists in the 2010 World Cup where they lost to Spain.

Sadly, soccer lost this great iconic figure known in many circles as the “Albert Einstein of Football” this past April, when he passed away at the old age of 86. His legacy and his coaching method will last for eternity and the game truly is better now because of him.

Learn more about the Coerver Coaching Method

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