Coaching the 4-3-3 PDF
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Coaching the 4-3-3 PDF

 Formations are described by how the players are categorized in accordance to their positioning along; and not across, the pitch, with the more defensive-oriented players listed first. For example, the formation 4–3–3 means four defenders, three midfielders and three forwards. Typically, goalkeepers are not included in these types of descriptions. However when they are, they are simply listed first, such as 1-4-3-3, using the example above. Traditionally, those within the same category; the 4 midfielders in a 4–4–2, for example, would generally play as a fairly flat line across the pitch with those players in the wide positions often playing in a slightly more advanced role.

Coaching the 4-3-3 PDF


 However, in many modern formations this is no longer the case, which has led to modern formation interpretations splitting certain formations down into in two separate categories, some even being broken down even further into four or even five additional numbered formations. A common example is the 4–2–1–3, where the midfielders are split into two defensive and one offensive player. This formation is also considered a kind of 4–3–3. It was not until the 4-2-4 system was developed and then implemented in the 1950s that the numbering system was put into place.

The “How” of Formations? 

Every formation can be separated into one of four different types. However, each can be included in one or all four of the different categories, dependent upon how the formation functions. In addition, the different aspects of a single formation can also be broken down into the same four different criteria. The choice of formation is often related to the type of players available. 
The four different categories that formations can fall into or be broken down into are: 
Narrow formations, Wide formations, Attacking formations and/or Defensive Formations. 
Narrow formations. Teams with a surplus of central midfielders, or teams who attack best through the centre, may choose to adopt narrow formations such as the 4–1–2–1–2 or the 4–3–2–1, which allow teams to field up to four or five central midfielders in the team. Narrow formations however depend on the outside backs (the flank or outside players in the "4") to provide width and to advance up field as frequently as possible to supplement the attack in wide areas. • Wide formations. Teams with a surplus of forwards and players who are best suited for outside attacking positions may choose to adopt formations such as 4–2–3–1, 3–5–2 and 4–3–3, which commit forwards and outside attacking players high up the pitch. Wide formations allow the attacking team to stretch play and cause the defending team to cover more ground. 
Teams may change formations during a game to aid their cause: 
Change to attacking formations. When chasing a game for a desirable result, teams tend to sacrifice a defensive player or a midfield player for a forward in order to chase a result. An example of such a change is a change from 4–5–1 to 4–4–2, 3–5–2 to 3–4–3, or even 5–3–2 to 4–3–3. 
Change to defensive formations. When a team is in the lead, or wishes to protect the score line of a game, the coach may choose to revert to a more defensive structure by removing a forward for a more defensive player. The extra player in defense or midfield adds solidity by giving the team more legs to chase opponents and recover possession. An example of such a change is a change from 4–4–2 to 5–3–2, 3–5–2 to 4–5–1, or even 4–4– 2 to 5–4–1.
 Formations can be deceptive in analyzing a particular team's style of play. For instance, a team that plays a nominally attacking 4–3–3 formation can quickly revert to a 4–5–1 if a coach instructs two of the three forwards to track back in midfield.
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