How will your team play next season?

It’s the start of a new season for me and my team and over the next couple of weeks I will work with them on creating an identity in the way we play. It will be a new direction for a lot of the players who haven’t been in a team I have coached before. They will be coached in a way that encourages them to play the way I think suits them and the way I hope will develop the players to the best of their ability.

I am sure there are a lot of coaches who have new teams, new ideas and a new formation to tackle in the coming season. It is key for them to develop their playing style and stick with it in the early matches when things don’t always go to plan. And certainly I know some weeks the team will play well and some weeks will be much more difficult, but you must have faith in your philosophy – you’ll have a better team at the end of the season if you do.

Check out my four key tips for giving your team an identity in the way they play.

Start with a formation – have you got strength up front or at the back? Great midfielders who can tackle back or spray passes all over the park. I always check out a formation like the 9v9 formation 1-3-1-2-1 because it has a lot of different player positions.

Then look at a tactic, such as using high pressing to suffocate the opposition and win the ball in key areas of the pitch. High Press is ideal for this – it’s a great game that gets players trying to win the ball back as soon as it is in play.

Or do you want your teams to be a defensive powerhouse and park the bus so the opposition cannot score? The Pivot/Goalkeeper relationship is vital to having a team that is difficult to break down. If you have players who are good in this role then this is the key for you.

Finally, pay a visit to my AskDave section and read the advice on how to make sure your team is playing better this season than last. I answer questions like “We’re often caught out on the break. How can I get my team to repel counterattacks?”, which will be key to you ironing out any problem before the season starts.

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