Triangle tips and skills for small sided games

Shapes are important in soccer and the strongest shape is the triangle, with a player at each corner. The following soccer coaching tips will help you make triangles work for your team.

Tips to coach triangle skills

You can beat anyone if you know how to make triangles work for you, but get it wrong and the triangles will fall apart.

Playing 3v3 brings up situations that often occur in small-sided and 11-a-side games. It illustrates how poor shape has an effect on the other players, making their own job much harder.

The triangular shape in midfield is very much something soccer coaches can use to great effect all over the pitch. But you must use it properly.

Have a look at these situations in the diagram and I will show you what I mean:

2 part diagram showing benefits of strong triangle positioning


Diagram one

In the top situation in the diagram the white team have the ball and have to bring it out from their own goal. The grey team has adopted the shape of a triangle, however, the middle player has dropped back deep to protect his goal, in effect becoming a sweeper behind the other two grey team players.

This means that the white player bringing the ball out is unmarked and can either directly attack straight down the middle or create 2v1 situations with his team mates.

The two grey wingers have a problem. Do they mark their player or go towards the man with the ball?

By moving away from the player they are marking they leave themselves open to a simple wall pass and leave the goal at their mercy. If they stay, this creates a 1v1 directly in front of their own goal. Or the white player can elect to move towards one of his teammates creating a 2v1.

Diagram two

In the bottom diagram the grey team is still in a triangle but the middle player has moved up to the man on the ball. This gives the man on the ball an immediate problem as he tries to bring the ball out. He is under pressure to pass the ball because he dare not dribble past him.

Passing is difficult so the grey team are more likely to win the ball. The grey player can also force the player to pass one way or another by moving slightly to one side, forcing a pass and allowing a grey team mate to intercept.


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