If there’s one standard possession game that just about every coach uses it must be 5 v 2. It’s a great introduction to possession play because the intensity of the defending is easily controlled by the size of the area. The attackers have enough of an advantage that they can gain confidence from being successful but it is still a challenge. Once the players achieve a certain degree of comfort you can put a limit on their touches and challenge their ability to think quickly and read where the open pass is.
The most common way I’ve seen the game played is with five offensive players Continue reading ‘How Do You Play 5 v 2’ »
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’ »
There is no one formation that will work for all teams. Most coaches understand and accept this. But I also believe that no one formation is always best for a team.
Prior to the start of the season my U16 girls team experimented with a number of different formations: 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1 and 4-4-2. The 4-4-2 formation proved to be the best fit for us given the talents and qualities of our players.
The team had a fairly successful fall season. They finished second in their league and competed well in tournaments. In the winter league we were placed in a division with teams that were simply more talented. The girls played hard and to the best of their ability but we were simply out classed.
The last game of the season we played a team that was a three time State Champion and Regional Runner up. The girls and I both knew that it would be a difficult game. To give us the best Continue reading ‘Switching to a 4-2-3-1’ »
The 4-2-3-1 formation has become the system of choice for many of the worlds top professional and national teams like Real Madrid, Manchester United and Brazil. As coaches at every level have watched these top teams play they have looked for ways to implement the system with their college, high school and youth teams.
The first step in introducing a new way of playing s to break the system down and identify the most important components. The was done very well by Continue reading ‘Advanced Tactics for 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’ »