Dave Clarke’s Soccer Formations Made Simple

Whether your team is 4v4 or 11v11 the answers to those complicated formations questions are all here...
Dave Clarke

A comprehensive explanation of the most popular formations for every age group you are likely to coach, plus how to coach them, from U6 playing 5v5 (or 4v4 without keepers), through to youth and adult teams playing 11v11.

Soccer Formations Made Simple shows you the strengths and weaknesses of each formation, outlines the key roles of defence, midfield and attack, and explains how playing in each formation can aid and add to the development of your players.

Knowing the most commonly used formations is key to understanding football. Read how Jose Mourinho uses the famous 4-2-3-1 formation and discover Pep Guardiola’s love of 3-4-3.

Most importantly, this manual contains all the information you need to make decisions about which of the 37 formations covered that you may use. There are variations for each of the following formations: 4v4 and 5v5, 6v6, 7v7, 8v8, 9v9 and 11v11, so you can easily find the best formations for your team.

Everything is explained in straightforward coaching terms and is designed in a bold landscape spiral-bound format that’s easy to follow and a pleasure to handle.

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Clear selection

The success of your team not only depends on the skills of individuals, but also on their ability to read the game, make quick decisions, and communicate with their team mates – it all boils down to an understanding of strategy.

Central to this strategy is the shape in which you set the team up – how you position your players on the pitch and how you tell them to play. For example, how many defenders are you going to have? Who’s playing in midfield? Do you want to push wide players forward? Will you have one attacker or two? Or maybe three? All these decisions go into deciding the formation that your team will play in. Soccer Formations Made Simple has the answer to these questions.

As coaches, we are unable to get on the pitch, so the formation is a vital way for us to enforce our vision on the players. The type of formation we choose reflects the sort of football we want our team to play. The formation we decide on can be the reason the team is not as successful as it should be or the reason it wins every week.

Express yourself

As with all things in coaching, however, nothing is set in stone. Think of formations like templates, they provide a great framework and overall foundation, but there is custom work and tweaking needed. Although a formation may seem like it has a strict set-up, remember that you, the coach, are the artist and the formation is merely the colours on your palette, not what the final painting is
going to look like.

Remember, too, that formations are an important part of the development of your players – play one way and they may be successful, but try something else and it may not suit everyone in
your squad. In the development phase of a player’s soccer experience he or she should learn to play every role on the pitch. By using different formations you can see if players understand the roles and also identify where they need to develop their skills.

React and change

Having the knowledge and confidence to change a formation during a game also gives you the ability to move to a “Plan B” when things aren’t going your way. It may be that one formation works against one team, but a different formation is required against another, because you have to adapt to the different strengths of different opponents. For example, you are 1-0 down and want to go for all out attack but don’t want to leave the back door open for opponents to counter-attack and kill the game off. It’s not as simple as just changing your players – you need to change
your formation to do this, and Soccer Formations Made Simple will help you do that.

Formations are the blueprint for the way your team plays, which makes them vital to your team’s success on the pitch. If you take on board the information I’ve set out in this manual, that success will be easier to achieve – don’t be afraid to try!


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1 review for Dave Clarke’s Soccer Formations Made Simple

  1. Abdul Samad

    This manual is easy to understand not only for me, but also to my fellow colleagues assigned as soccer masters for under-14s, under-16s and under-20s.

    The students also benefited from the manual. They started knowing and understanding the formation in terms of players’ role and its variations of smaller mini-games especially 2v2, 3v3, 4v4 and 5v5 for all the age groups.

    I have bought various coaching manuals from Soccer Coach Weekly and I applied the same process of putting theory into practice.

    – Abdul Samad – Tampine Junior College

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Dave Clarke is the former head coach and editor of Soccer Coach Weekly.

As well as being a skilled journalist and editor, Dave has excellent coaching credentials, having coached U9s – U16s at grassroots level for over 20 years.

He holds a UEFA B license and is qualified in FA Youth Award modules 1, 2 and 3, as well as the Coerver Youth Diploma Module.

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