Review your tactics

The winter break is nearly here… it’s been a hectic few months of training and match play but now is the time to sit back and BREATHE!

I’m already planning how to use the days I will get off from coaching over the Christmas holiday period. I find it is a great time to review the tactics my teams use and to plan some sessions that I can start using in the New Year.

The second half of the season can be tough – teams change divisions and either get promoted or relegated. So you have to prepare to face new opponents. Think about how your team plays and then go over the sessions below and work out how they can help your team.

Here are my three key tips for getting your team to understand tactics.

A great starting point for any tactical work is picking 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. One of the most popular formations in the professional game is the 3-5-2 formation – but there is no reason not to use it with youth teams. Five across the middle of the park means teams can “strangle” the midfield, creating attacking threat as well as doing a lot to protect what is a light defence. And three covering the immediate goal area is a formidable obstacle to shoot past.

Within that formation you can also use tactical themes that will help your team to play better, 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.

And what do you do when your team is losing 1-0 against a team that is determined to protect that lead? Do you want your teams to be able to break down defensive powerhouses and teams that park the bus? Switching play helps teams to prepare for a game against a team that comes to defend in numbers, or ‘park the bus’. It gives players help with developing their creativity so they can break down even the most resilient backline.

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