9v9 Formations

Formations can help teams to play to their strengths – but you need to know which one suits your team. To help you, we look at 3-3-2. This is one of the best formations to coach young players as a good, solid base to defend and attack.



PROS: The simplest of all formations for 9v9, 3-3-2 is easy to understand, good for wide players and has good recovery lines when the ball is lost.

CONS: This formation is weak in attack and relies on good support from midfield for attacking success. It also relies on good support from fullbacks to the midfield.



As a formation, 3-3-2 is naturally a defensive shape. After losing the ball, a team can quickly recover and get tight, shrinking the space in midfield and defence.



The midfield must link the defence with attack and also support the attack, which has only two players. The formation offers a natural route for wing play from the two wide players supported by the two fullbacks.



The weakest part of the formation, the attackers will usually be outnumbered and need support from the midfield. They will have to work hard to press the opposition defence when they have lost the ball.



In most teams you will have some players who are more developed than others. The theory is that by putting these players in the centre of the field it will give them the best chance to be directly involved in the play.

From an individual’s development viewpoint, you want to give them some time out wide because it gives the players more of a 1v1 situation than they would experience centrally and there is more space for dribbling.

The midfield triangle in the centre of the pitch can be reversed, with two defensive midfielders and one offensive one (see defensive diagram), or one defensive midfielder and two offensive ones (see attacking diagram), in accordance with the coach’s game plan and what’s happening on the pitch.




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