Soccer coaching tips for a formation plus one rover

A lot of soccer coaches have problems finding a formation to suit their team. It’s never easy getting young players to accept formations and harder still getting them to stick to them. Use these soccer coaching tips to approach the issue from a different angle.

One formation you won’t find written down in the text books, but one I know a lot of soccer academies use is where you have one player who is free to move wherever the team needs them. That player could be needed in defence, midfield or attack.

Often coaches find there is one player in their team who is just that bit better than everyone else in all areas of the pitch. It’s the equivalent of the all-rounder, and it isn’t easy to pinpoint their best attribute. In this case, let them be a “rover”, going where the game tells him or her to go.

If the game is balanced, the rover plays in midfield. If the team is struggling, they may find themselves at the back of the team. Wherever the game needs a player, that’s where they go.

At the moment I am playing this formation with my U10s team. We are playing seven-a-side and the best way to keep the field balanced is to use a 2-2-1 formation with one floating player.

Soccer coaching tips for formations with a rover

Formations for different numbers

  • For 7v7 play 2-2-1 + 1
  • For 8v8, play a 2-2-2 + 1
  • For 11v11, play a 3-3-3 + 1

Key soccer coaching tip

Always remember that systems do not win games, but your players’ ability to carry out the plan does – which is where you, the coach, come in!


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Click the link for soccer coaching tips to help you introduce formation play.

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