Friday, January 27, 2012

Convention - Palm beach - Events - Transition

February 2012
If you stopped by our booth at the NSCAA Convention we would like to thank you. As I am no longer with the NSCAA I had the chance to spend quite some time in the exhibit area and was struck by the number and variety of services offered at the Convention.
Sixteen people won prizes from our various raffles, drawings and competitions and they will receive my new book in the mail in the next week. To find out more about the new book please access

Palm Beach and Soccer Culture
I will be assisting Palm Beach Soccer Academy for the next few months in beautiful Palm Beach County. My telephone number will stay the same. I have been working with The Palm Beach Soccer Academy for a number of years and have been struck by the many initiatives of President, Gary Walker, to get the various area clubs together for receptions and social occasions. Not only is Gary committed to the development of players and coaches but he is, also, committed to the development of a soccer culture in southern Florida. In addition his work in the local community  has brought together an unusual combination of Parks and Recreation departments with 5 star hotels like the PGA National Resort Hotel and he has raised the profile of soccer in the Palm Beach area with the establishment of the Palm Beach Soccer Cup. The fifth annual Palm Beach Soccer Cup is being played May 11th – 13th and information can be accessed by clicking onto
Gary has, also, asked me to be the Technical Advisor of the Palm Beach Soccer Academy and, if you participate in the tournament I will have the good fortune of seeing you. This is an outstanding tournament in a beautiful part of the country.

“Learning From The Legends” and “UK Premier League Master Class Tour.”

Please access for information on two other spring coaching education opportunities. The first will be February 24 – 26th in Palm Beach County featuring the Irish FA Director of Performance, Nigel Best who, will be presenting a USSoccer approved CEU event called “Learning From the Legends.” Nigel will be looking at the latest developments in coaching education from Europe. He will be joined by myself and Dr. Bill Steffen, faculty member of Ohio University, who will explore Ohio University’s online coaching degree and conduct lectures and field presentations on goalkeeping and sports psychology. USSoccer are awarding 2 CEU's for this event. 

The second event is the March “UK Premier League Master Class Tour” of British Premier League clubs where we will be looking at their player and coach development programs. The tour runs from March 17th -  26th, includes visits to the academies of Everton, Liverpool and Glasgow Rangers and culminates with the world famous Glasgow “Old Firm Derby”  between Rangers and Celtic. We will see at least three professional matches and participate in the Everton “Master Class” coaching education program. Call 816 309 6411 for details or email

We have been looking at counter attacking over the course of the last few blogs. This clip from an FC Porto versus Monaco game features the second most important aspect of counter attacking which is recognizing that the ball has been won and swiftly moving the ball forward before the opposition can recover.

The video highlights the importance of the first movement once the ball is won. That movement will consist of three, basic, choices for the player who first gets the ball after the interception;

1.       Play the ball over the top of the opposition’s back line for the forward to run on to.
2.       Play the ball into the feet of a forward who can turn and attack the opposing backs or combine with supporting players.
3.       Run the ball forward at great speed and attack the oppositions back line.

The decision will depend on the disposition of the opponents and supporting team mates. In this sequence the player who initiates the counter attack has chosen the second option. This was the correct choice because the opposition was laying too deep for a ball over the top and there would be too much pressure on the ball if the attacker wanted to run it himself. This is a great video clip as it covers every aspect of counter attacking and I shall refer to it several times in the future.

The tactical decisions listed above can be replicated in the four versus four exercise featured below. The key to the exercise is that the teams drop back and defend with three leaving one player high. The goal should be fairly narrow so the defenders can drop back and defend in a triangle forcing the opposition to keep passing the ball. We do not want the attackers to have an easy chance to score – we want the defenders to intercept a pass or a dribble and make a snap decision whether to play the ball over the top of the forward, into feet or run it. This exercise will present the players with many opportunities to counter attack and force them to make the decisions they will have to make in a game. Do not forget to make sure there are side players just off the field who serve balls back in quickly to develop the mentality of continual transition opportunities or threats. We are, not only, developing a tactical strategy, we are, also developing a mindset.

Hoping that you enjoy your coaching and we get to see you in Palm Beach.
Best wishes, Tipp

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

                                              NSCAA Convention January 11 - 15 2012.
                       Win a Donovan, Bocanegra or Howard signed shirt at booth 735 

If you are attending the NSCAA Convention please stop by our booth - number 735. Purchase my new book, "Drills and Exercises to Develop the Elite American Player" and you will be eligible for a drawing for a signed shirt from an English, or Scottish, "American" Premier League player.

Following my departure from the NSCAA last year I produced a book and two dvd's. After forty years of training American players and coaches I thought my ideas on ways to improve American players might be interesting. I am not so sure that the European and South American system will work here and this is discussed in the book

We will have drawings for the book and the dvd's - at noon and 5pm on Friday and noon and 3pm Saturday.

As noted above the book is titled "Drills and Exercises to Develop the Elite American Player"
Decided to put the word "Drills" back into my lexicon after a conversation this summer with a coach who was tired of entertaining the players all the time by playing "tag games". Having so many players with poor technical skill we both agreed that repetition is what our players need and no word better represents the word repetition like the word "Drill" I used it for my book.  

The dvd's are titled " Brazilian Passing and Receiving Exercises." and "Six versus six - A Great Player Developmental Model." I think they both deal with important issues for player and coach development.
If you are interested in receiving a copy of the book or a dvd's please contact Chrissie at

Strategy of Counter Attacking.
One of the considerations in developing a counter attack strategy is what to do with the forwards once the ball goes past them. This is important and needs careful reflection. I saw the Danish team in Euro 1988 playing with one forward high and the other in a low “mirror” position when the Danes were defending.

They, therefore, had a short pass available when the intercepting player was under pressure and a long pass to a high CF when pressure was broken. As you will see in the diagram the forwards for the red team have shifted to “mirror” the position of the ball in case it is won. This is the kind of strategic thinking coaches must consider when putting together a counter attacking strategy.

Landon Donovan explains his thought processes in a video interview which encourages all of us, to think, as coaches about this important issue.

More notes and observations about counter attacking on the next blog.

Coaching Education Events

"Learning From the Legends"
February 24 - 26
US Soccer CEU Event
Palm Beach, Florida

We shall be hosting a coaching education event in conjunction with Palm Beach Socccer Academy in southern Florida in February. PBSA have arranged for accomodation at the fantastic PGA National Resort Hotel. USSoccer have approved this event for two CEU's. Nigel Best, Performance Director of the Irish FA,  Dr. Bill Steffen, On Line Faculty Director of the Ohio University Coaches BA Program and NSCAA Staff Coach, and I will be the insructors. Interested in earning CEU's, finding out about online coaching education, enlisting on a UEFA course in Ireland, or just want to get more helpful oaching information you may want to visit my website at and access "coaching events."

English and Scottish Premier League
Coach Study Tour
March 16 - 25th, 2012

On this nine day tour we will study three Premier League Academies, Everton, Liverpool and Glasgow Rangers and will include the Everton "Master Class" Coaching Award. We will watch three professional games including the famous Glasgow Rangers - Glasgow Celtic " Old firm Derby" on March 24th. For more information please visit website at http:// and access Tours

Friday, November 25, 2011

Transition In the Modern Game

Transition In The Modern Game
Gerard Houllier, former coach of Lyon, Liverpool and Aston Villa says that “The most important moment in the modern game is when the ball is won or lost.” Houllier is referring to the moment of interception of a pass, a goalkeeper’s save, a tackle in free play, or the ball going out of bounds. The reason this moment has become so critical is that defenses are so well organized that many teams can only be scored upon when they are attacked before they get into their defensive shape.
The Dutch FA highlight the four main moments in the game;
1.       We have the ball.
2.       We lose the ball.
3.       They have the ball.
4.       They lose the ball.
Moments 2 and 4 are vital moments and I would like to focus on these two scenarios in my next couple of blogs.
Some teams have a counter attacking strategy which involves player positioning, forcing opponents into predictable areas of the field etc. I hope to examine "Strategic Transitional Play" in upcoming blogs. There are incidents, however, which happen in a game when a transitional situation develops just by the sheer flow of the game. Here is an incident from an EPL game in which a ball is miscontrolled and the white team take full advantage of the blunder by the reds. This sequence is what I would call “Incidental Transitional Play” as the action begins from an unforced error which the white team pounces on. All teams should be trained to recognize those moments where the opposition commit an error and leave themselves exposed for an immediate counter attack. The key here is that the white team swarm forward as a collective unit and get bodies in the box before the defending team can recover. Lightning strikes from unforced errors should be in the mindset of a team and should be constantly coached in training. I know by experience, and from asking the question at scores of coaching schools, that few coaches train their teams to deal with a counter attack of this nature.

I have attached an exercise to help in the development of this mind set. This is a two versus two game on a long and narrow field which encourages looking forward and making vertical passes. The goals are four yards wide. The two players MUST play the ball to their target players who are standing outside of the goal the opponents are defending. These target players rebound the ball back to their team mates for a goal to be scored. In addition there are side players whose responsibility is to feed balls in immediately, when a ball has gone out of bounds. When done at a high pace the exercise can last for 90 seconds before the players in the middle begin to experience fatigue. The objective of the exercise is for the players to realize when the ball is about to turn over and use every means they can to catch the opposition flatfooted with a penetrating pass which is quickly supported.
A DVD of the entire counter attacking exercises are available if you would like to contact us at Thanks to CoachFX, based in Glasgow, Scotland, for providing the diagrams.

                                                            UK Premier League Coach Study Tour
March 16 – 25th 2012
We will be conducting a Coach Study tour in both England and Scotland arriving in the UK March 16th and departing March 25th. We will begin the tour with a look at the Everton Developmental Academy games on the morning of March 17th and attend the Everton – Arsenal Premier League game in the afternoon. The coaches will then have the opportunity to attend the Everton Master Class course on the Monday, travelling to Liverpool’s training facility on the Tuesday. We shall go to Manchester United on the Wednesday and then leave for Glasgow on the Thursday where we will attend the famous Glasgow Rangers Academy and conclude the tour by attending the “Old Firm” Glasgow Rangers – Glasgow Celtic derby match on the Saturday. Coaches will depart back to the USA on the Sunday. For more information contact us at or call 816 309 6411 and ask for Christine.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Coach Is The Most Important Person In Football"

“The Coach Is The Most Important Person In Football.”
Aimee Jacquet – French National Team Coach, 1998 World Cup Champions

I read with great interest the recently completed U.S. Soccer Curriculum – the proposed way forward for soccer in the USA. The author, former national team captain, Claudio Reyna, provides a template for the development of players. Maybe the document is, specifically, addressing the needs of the American player and it does a fine job of that. I see nothing, however, on the development of coaches which is essential for the future success in the game. Nothing in the document addressed the coach of the future and the skills coaches need to stretch and challenge and excite players. A significant amount of time should be spent on this topic. We need thousands of high quality coaches in the USA who, not only teach the skills of the game, but turn players on to a way of life. This would include watching the game. Our players do not watch enough soccer and the important learning step called “modeling” is absent in the development of many American players. Coaching development is an activity dear to my heart and something I spent the last thirteen years of my life doing. A massive document could be written on coaching development – and one of the items I would inject into that document is a section regarding the virtues of Position Specific Coaching – P.S.C.

I became interested in P.S.C. when I visited Steve McCLaren, then of Middlesborough FC in the English Premier League. Steve had introduced a coach for attacking and a coach for defending and was about to introduce a coach for restarts. My interest was ignited at that time and the curiousity regarding P.S.C. has proliferated since then. I have received a number of enquiries over the years, from Premier League managers, about setting up visits to NFL teams. I see Harry Redknapp, of Tottenham Hotspurs, recently wrote an article on the virtues of P.S.C. in an English newspaper. This is futuristic thinking.

Seems to me that this model of coaching should be adopted as a template for our soccer clubs and coaching community and could be one of the best ways to produce the players we need to become a world class power. Having a coach for the backs, midfielders and forwards, as well as a goalkeeper coach, is, in my view, the missing link in the development of American players. Position Specific Coaches would report to a head coach and be experts in their positional assignment. In some cases, the head coach may coach one of the units. Not only do players get more specific feedback they are, also, given more highly specialized training sessions. Dick Bate, the world’s #1 Coaching Educator, has developed courses in P.S.C. for the English F.A. and suggests that clubs should have special nights when the players are broken up into positional groups and trained for a period of time functionally. For something to tickle your thinking read the late Bill Walsh’s book “Finding the Winning Edge.” A superb book by an American Football Coach on staff and player management. Comments are welcome.

Steve McClaren


As we approach the playoffs in N America I wanted to feature one of the most amazing reversals in team fortunes I have ever witnessed. As their new $200,000,000 stadium could not be finished until June, Sporting KC, Kansas City’s MLS team, played all of their games away from home. They were dead last in their division with an 1-6-2 record and looked in serious trouble. When I visited their training facility a shadow hung over the complex and the Kansas City newspapers began to do what newspapers do best – speculate when changes in the coaching staff would begin. Then, Sporting KC had a 4-1 away win at Dallas and began a run of wins and ties which rocketed the team from the bottom of the division to the top. Sporting KC’s Livestrong Stadium opened on June 10th and, this past weekend, celebrated SKC's first divisional championship when the home team defeated NY Red Bull 2 – 0. To begin the season so poorly and end up winning the division is a testimony to the coaching staff and players and I asked Sporting KC Head Coach, Peter Vermes, what his advice he might have for coaches in a similar situation to the one he faced in June. I think his answer is quite interesting.

The playoff system itself is an interesting topic for discussion. Winning the league, such a massive accomplishment in Europe, merely leads to receiving a favorable playoff seeding in the USA. A league or divisional champion, if defeated early in the playoffs, does not get a ticker tape parade or trip to the town hall…that will be reserved for the team that won the playoffs, in some cases, despite being defeated by the League Champion several times in the regular season.
To a European this arrangement is bizarre. Winning the league is what it is all about and there are no playoffs. However, this is not Europe and, due to the peculiar cultural development of American sports in the early twentieth century together with the size of the country, together with the scholastic conference system, winning the playoffs is what it is all about in N. America.
Anyway best wishes to Sporting KC on what has been a remarkable turnaround.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Jeff Tipping Blog 2

The Soccer Club As An Agent for Individual and Community Improvement.
When I visited Lyon Football Club as the guest of Gerard Houllier in October 2007 I arrived at the training facility just before the players came in from their morning session.  Big clubs often employ greeters to meet with international visitors and Lyons’ greeter shook my hand and took me to the Player’s Lounge to wait for Houllier who was getting showered.
Players lounges frequently have pool tables, dartboards, coffee makers, cookies, newspapers, sofas, tv’s, chairs etc. so that the players can come in and relax and wait for lunch to be served – eating meals in the clubhouse is also a feature of professional clubs. As I sat in the corner, sipping a cup of coffee, the players began to arrive following their post training shower. Without hesitation, when they saw that I was a visitor, the players walked over to shake my hand and, in some cases say, “Welcome to Lyon.”  This struck me because every player who walked in deliberately came over to me and did this. As a total stranger to them this was extremely impressive.
This was not the “Lackies and Lads” Sunday morning pub team…this was five time French Champion and UEFA title contender Olympique Lyonnais. I reflected on the probability that the players had been schooled by Houllier, the consummate gentleman, to do this for all guests.
Club hospitality is a vastly under rated commodity in the USA and all clubs should develop a culture of respect and hospitality to guests, visitors and opponents. Not every club can have a clubhouse but I suggest that a local restaurant or pub could serve as a sally port following a game or practice.
It should not be forgotten that many of the famous international clubs began as church teams in the late nineteenth century, Everton and Glasgow Celtic to name just two. Both began their journey as church teams caring for the poor of Liverpool and Glasgow and providing them with protection, sustenance and education…not to mention healthy exercise.

Club soccer is growing leaps and bounds in the USA. Their purpose should be much more than helping players get scholarships. It would be nice to see clubs performing the community functions which are the charitable heritage of soccer. The ethical development of young people is, often, more effective when reinforced by club policies. Leagues for players with disabilities , food banks for the poor and visiting the elderly in nursing homes are some of the charitable efforts where club players can help. 
The summer is fading fast and the sound of balls being whacked around college campuses is an indication that college soccer is about to begin. What an amazing treasure college sport is! The ability to get a degree and still be able to play high level, highly organized and meaningful soccer is one of the wonders of the western world.
When Sporting Kansas City took the field against DC United last evening, ten of the twenty two starters were college graduates and another six had twenty two years of college soccer between them.  The game was an exciting, rugged and enthralling encounter with the American college players featuring  in many of the decisive scenarios of the contest – quite different than the days of the NASL when American college grads sat the bench or played in low profile positions.

College soccer has detractors but I can, personally, vouch for the liberating feeling of going into professional soccer with a college degree in my back pocket. To have options in life is sometimes seen as negating the hunger players need to succeed. I think this is nonsense. As Anson Dorrance says, having a university degree provides the possibility of chasing life’s other dreams if the dream of professional football does not work out. In this video with Chris Coleman explains why, as manager of Fulham FC of the English Premier League, signed so many American college players.

Technical Area

I am presenting some sessions on "Mannequin Training" this week to a group of coaches in Biglerville, Pa. Thanks to Pennsylvania State Policeman Rudy Grubesky who coaches at the Biglerville HS and the Biglerville club. We are presenting a power point presentation "The Da Vinci Coach" at the High School at 5.30pm and a field presentation on " Training Attacking and Defending Movement With Mannequins" at 6.30pm. If you live in the area and would have an interst in attending please contact Rudy at
An illustrated workbook will be available thanks to Coach FX who are my official still and animated illustration partner.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Soccer - A Way of Life

Arsene Wenger

“ When we coach we are not just teaching players about the game, we are teaching them about a way of life.” Arsene Wenger

Here are four thoughts about this very interesting quote:

1. Mentality. The mentality of soccer people should be one of optimism and brightness. The massive scope of the sport we are involved with is, in itself, cause for optimism. According to Sepp Blatter, our global sport touches over 2 billion people. ( Players, parents, grandparents, supporters, referees, aunts, uncles, managers, administrators, journalists, etc. etc.) The sheer numbers of people touched by the game we love is awe inspiring.
In addition our sport is an impressive vehicle for reconciliation. I remember being at a European coaching conference and sitting for coffee with a Macedonian, Serbian, Montenegren, Croatian and Albanian, discussing the game and the profession of coaching only a few years after the devastating Balkan civil war which pitted a number of these countries against each other.
In addition, the sport, itself, demands a positive approach. The sport favors those with the ability to rebound, to move forward against the odds. Whilst acknowledging the accomplishments of the past, our sport is all about tomorrow – and even teams with the worst record in the land can still look forward to tomorrow.
A positive mentality also comes from being involved in an activity which encourages fitness, sharpness and cooperation – as noted below.

2. Belonging. When human beings go through any event which is difficult, stressful and requires sacrifice a sense of community develops. People who have never been on a sports team will never really appreciate the glue which binds the members of a sports team together – especially a group which has been successful against significant odds. Members of the group defend each other against criticism, incursions from other groups. They will, often, cover for each other even when the criticism or attack is justified! There is an expectation that team members will protect and guard each other.

3. Personal Fitness. Soccer is a game of energy, strength, endurance, agility and speed. Soccer players tend to be wiry and slim above the waist – albeit it powerful and developed below the waist, especially in the thigh, hamstring and calf areas. Physical fitness and economical movement should be a lifelong characteristic and a way of life for soccer players, current and former.

4. Interdependence. The nature of the sport cuts the umbilical cord to the coach and forces the players to rely on each other. The development of group support is an understood aspect of soccer culture.

                                                 METHODS OF COACHING

The following video shows UEFA A License candidate, Greg Ryan, coaching the Michigan club team. The method Greg uses is called "Phase Play". This method of coaching links two units of the team to play together in one half of the field. In basketball we would call it, "attack versus defense."

One of the great features of Phase Play is that the coach can see everything without having to scan the whole field. One of the disadvanteges of phase play is that the defending back four almost never get to the half way line and end up parked outside their own D so it gets a little unrealistic!
Greg is working with his midfield defenders and is correcting a player's speed of approach. Greg shows the player exactly how he wants it done with his demonstration. In coaching a picture is always worth a thousand words.