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Coaching the Flex: 1-3-3-1-3 Adapting tactics for the modern game PDF

Coaching the Flex: 1-3-3-1-3 Adapting tactics for the modern game PDF

The 1-3-3-1-3 / 1-3-4-3 is an incredibly attacking system of play and a very forward-thinking way to play and I am excited to bring it to coaches from around the world to get their views on it.

I add 1-3-3-1-3 and 1-3-4-3 to describe it also because at any one time that is the formation it can be.

The one big difference in this way of playing is in terms of the wing fullbacks who's positioning defensively can be VERY different to the normal wing fullback set up.
In the normal set up the wing fullbacks play wide and tuck in defensively in the back line (usually a back four) but in this set up they tuck in defensively in the 2nd line of defense (midfield line) working with number (8) and (10) to form a defensive midfield four in this set up asking the number (10) to drop back to help.
Or (10) stays up and the fullbacks (2) and (3) tuck in with (8) to form the 1-3-3-1-3.
Every system or formation has been used over the years and nothing is new.
Playing the 1-3-3-1-3 is not a new system either; in fact, it is more like an older perhaps slightly forgotten about system that deserves to be back to the attention of world football.
Marcelo Bielsa has played it at International Level with Chile and made it into a very attractive and thought-provoking way to play.
This system changes all the time in transition; sometimes a 3-3-1-3 / 3-4-3 or a 2-3-2-3 depending on the moment; or even a 5-4-1 in an ultimate defensive set up.
The way I like to play this system is of course shown in this presentation and is perhaps different to other interpretations but this how I like to teach it.

The changing face of the game now and in the future

  1. The game is changing and we all must keep up with the changes happening if we are to provide a real service to the players.
  2. In my opinion this should start at youth level; but does it; or will it? 
  3. Previously and quite recently teams and “continually in many cases”, played with rigidness, with players staying in position with specialists in particular positions plying their trade.
  4. Now the game is becoming very fluid, flexible; interchangeable, rotational and with synchronization and therefore we must develop multi-functional players compared to the specialists of before; who are able to play multiple roles within the team.
  5. So we teach players to be comfortable on the ball in a number of different positions to suit the philosophy of the team as playing this way means players will often find themselves appearing in quite different positions than their starting point position and they need to be able to adjust and adapt to this and be successful doing it.
  6. Beyond the system / formation of the team, THE STYLE is what it is about also, and this rotational and interchanging of positions on the field is the major change we are observing in the modern world game. 
  7. Therefore what we are discussing here is a style or you can call it a PHILOSOPHY of how to play the game.
  8. “You have to play as a team, you must create multi-functional players, able to play with both feet, have both defensive and offensive capabilities, be physically strong, quick, and have the necessary tactical acumen to function smoothly in rotational football, and ABOVE ALL, put their skills in service of the team effort”
  9. Ok not all players have everything but we as coaches need to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of each player, help players with them and fit them into the team style in the best way possible. 
  10. Is playing the game now about players decision making over the coaches? The way I see it we as coaches set up the framework; from within which the players make the decisions. In this case we set up the 1-3-3-1-3 framework, we teach players various ideas to use within it and THEY decide when; where; how and why to use them. And they create new ideas themselves.
  11. In conclusion this information is aimed at youth teams but also at professional level and senior teams; all can benefit from the information provided and coaches can use it to the extent that each of their teams at whatever level of play can understand. 

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