Tactics and technique

We do a lot of work on technique in grassroots training but just as important are the tactics that put the technique to good use. While it is important that the two are worked on separately at training don’t forget that they mutually reinforce each other while playing the game.

So while technique is all about movement and skills it does not take into account the opposition factor – this is where tactics comes in. Tactics help a player find the right position in a team because they make a player perform best in a situation that shows off their particular physical characteristics. A defender pushed into attack can show skills you previously had never seen because you only played them as a defender.

Tactics also help players make the right decisions in game play situations.

You can use these sessions and advice to coach tactics to your players. How do you train them to cope with a team that presses high up the pitch? Or one that sits deep and invites pressure?

Tactics are a great way to create team togetherness and promote communication in all areas of the pitch.

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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