The two most popular systems of play in the world at the moment are the 4-3-3 and the 4-2-3-1. Both are predicated on creating a connection between a group of three midfielders. Getting these players to understand their roles and work together are the key factors that will contribute to the success or failure of the team.
Our latest book, Triangle Midfield tells you everything you need to know about Continue reading ‘The Triangle Midfield’ »
One of the factors that always kept me from moving away from the 4-4-2 was a concern for how to cover the wide areas using a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1. Once I understood how to teach my players to recognize cues and cover for each other I saw how the systems could be used to teach players more about the game. Requiring them to make decisions is the best way for them to learn rather than just putting them in a formation that has strictly defined roles where they just, ‘do their job’.
Stevie Grieve’s latest book, Coaching the 4-2-3-1 Advanced Tactics, does a great job Continue reading ‘Defending on the Sides in the 4-2-3-1’ »
This blog post from Vasco Mota Pereira of ‘Combination Play‘ got my attention recently. It contends that the 4-3-3 formation may come back into vague despite the popularity of the 4-2-3-1. It’s an interested point of view that I thought you would enjoy.
Football, like most (all?) things in life, has its trends. Not that many years ago, playing anything other than a plain 4-3-3 would be sacrilegious (let’s leave England alone, for now). In fact, when 4x2x3x1 started rearing its head, with Quique Flores its main champion, it was a bit criticized (including here) for numerous reasons. On the other hand, just like the two-man midfield, a three-man defense looked all but dead, some reminiscence from the Beckenbauer times. As this text is getting to you, it seems impossible to get away from either 4-2-3-1 (or 4-4-1-1, which is basically the same thing) or some version of a three-man defense (especially in Italy), nowadays – and there is hardly any team playing a true version of a 4-3-3.
A typical 4-2-3-1 formation
It is often said (with good reason) that games are not won on paper, sincethere is no one given tactical system that is Continue reading ‘Is the 4-3-3 Making a Comeback?’ »
No formation will fit every group of players. A coach that plays the exact same formation with every team will be frustrated by certain players inability to, ‘fit the formation’. For years my teams always played 4-4-2. There are some variations you can used depending on how you play your forwards and your central midfielders but that’s pretty much it. Sure, you could play sweeper/stopper with the center backs but very few teams play with a sweeper in the modern game. You can change every
formation to a small degree but I feel that the 4-3-3 is the most customizable of all of the popular formations.
There are so many ways to vary the 4-3-3. You can play with the midfielders spread across the field with a right, left and center. They can be in a Continue reading ‘A Variation of the 4-3-3’ »
It’s hard to believe that the end of the soccer year is coming so quickly. Our State Cup is June 1/2/3 so were in review mode to prepare for the biggest tournament of the year. We want to do our best to be successful because the winners of State Cup attend the Regional Tournament to play against the best teams in our Region. The players learn so much for that type of experience that I want the girls to have that opportunity.
We’ve covered a lot this year and I’ve really seen Continue reading ‘Preparing for State Cup’ »
Can you teach creativity? Some coaches believe that players are either creative or their not. Certainly there are players that we can all name that appear to be, ‘naturally’ creative but I believe that most players need to learn to be creative.
I don’t think that you could have put Mozart in front of a piano at seven years old and he could just start playing. Learning the basic patterns and structures is vital first step in the process. Once you understand the framework and basic skills you can start to put things together in new an innovative ways.
I take this same approach when working with my teams when it comes to ideas for attacking. I like to give them a number of different attacking patterns to work on before freeing them to see what the defense is giving them and deciding how they can take advantage of it.
Since this is the first year I’ve implemented a 4-3-3 formation with any of my teams, I turned to an expert for idea on both the attacking and defensive Continue reading ‘Attacking Patterns in the 4-3-3’ »
As I’ve written about several times, I’ve been going through the process of training one of my teams to play the 4-3-3 formation. I’ve always used a 4-4-2 or a 3-4-3 in the past so this has been a learning experience for me as well as the players.
I began with the defensive phase of the game to give the team a foundation to build on. They now have a good understanding of their responsibilities when we don’t have the ball and that has made us a tough team create chances against. As a part of this we’ve worked a great deal on getting our wing backs involved by pushing them forward when we win the ball. This put emphasis on our wide play and we’ve been able to generate a lot of our offense by attacking the flanks with both our wing backs and wingers.
The area that we have been lacking Continue reading ‘Teaching the Movement of the Forwards in the 4-3-3’ »
Every formation weakness that other teams will look to exploit. It’s important to know what other teams might try so that you can prepare your team to deal with them. With this in mind, I read David Platt’s, ‘How to Play Against and Beat the 4-3-3‘. Platt suggests that the best way to deal with a team that is adept at playing the 4-3-3 is to play a variation of the same system, the 4-3-2-1.
This excerpt of the book focuses on how to attack against the 4-3-3 beginning in the back and working through midfield.
Playing with a 4-3-3 system enables that team to be press high up the pitch and limit the ability to play out from the back. Clearly this is something Continue reading ‘Attacking Against the 4-3-3’ »
Every systems has it’s strengths and weaknesses. In previous posts I’ve described why I feel that the 4-3-3 is a great system to teach players the game. While I believe in playing our own best game regardless of what the opposition is trying to do, playing against other systems provides challenges that the players need to learn to deal with. In the next few weeks I’ll show you how I’ve taught my teams to handle these differences.
Teams that know you are playing with three in the midfield might try to overwhelm these players by having five in the Continue reading ‘Defending Against the 3-5-2’ »
I’ve written about my teams transition to playing a 4-3-3 in previous posts. The process has been going really well. I’ve been very pleased with how we are defending with the system. This was a concern for me because I could see how we were going to be able to deal with the other team’s wide players. The girls have done well sharing this responsibility between the winger, attacking midfielders and wing backs.
We’ve been able to create a lot of offense using the wingers and wing backs getting forward. The player we haven’t used much is our center forward. The spaces in the middle have been so congested that it’s been easier to get the ball wide and attack from there.
This week I want to work on attacking combinations in the middle of the field. We have a number of good resources for this type of session. An article in the September Magazine Update to our Member Drills Database includes a great session from Jan Pruijn of Ajax International. The session was originally presented at the Nebraska WORLD CLASS COACHING International Coaching Seminar held last February in Lincoln, NE.
Another great resource is Player’s Roles in the 4-3-3. One of the two books focuses on Continue reading ‘Shooting from Central Areas in a 4-3-3’ »