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Formations Explained PDF

Formations Explained PDF


Helping your players understand what it means to operate efficiently in a team.

The starting formation is typically used by broadcasters to show a team line up prior to the start of a match.

A Coach will also use a formation to discuss roles and responsibilities with their players before kick-off.

The formation, when shown on screen or on paper is where it is most rigid, in reality, a formation is nothing more than a series of numbers.

During a match it becomes increasingly difficult to visualize the neat lines of a 4-3-3 formation due to the fluidity of the situations of play. So, if the formation in its purest form starts and ends on paper, then why do we use them and analyze them so often?

The answer is simple, the formation of the team determines the shape of the team, and the shape of the team influences the style of play the Coach wishes to impart.

There are examples of teams who play with different formations based on their opposition, playing to their strengths and hoping to expose weaknesses within the opposition, often teams will change formations during transitions between attack and defense.

Some Coaches are steadfast in their coaching methods and take their style and formation with them wherever they manage; Antonio Conte has become synonymous with the 1-3-5-2, Jurgen Klopp, for example favors a 1-4-3-3. These managers look to sign the right personnel for their individual systems, and with large financial backing, they are able to create a unit ready to implement their style to good effect.

At youth level, with player development at the forefront of our minds, focusing on optimal player positioning in favor of results is a missed opportunity to help our players improve.

There are development models used by the likes of Luis Van Gaal which work on the principle of Universality – all players are adept at playing each position, and able to fill in for team mates when required during a game, for example; a holding midfielder steps into the opposition half and into an advanced position, a central defender could step up to fill the gap they left in the holding midfield and is therefore able to apply pressure to the ball carrier if possession was overturned to prevent the quick counter attack.

Being able to understand what is expected of you in all positions while you are young will give you a deeper understanding of the field in full. You will be able to have a better grasp of where you are in relation to the ever-changing threats and opportunities every time the ball moves.

Raising your Soccer IQ in this way will help you to be a better teammate, encourage leadership skills and add accountability, leading to increases in enjoyment, team camaraderie and squad unity. For our players to work well as a team, they need to understand the positions they will play in, in order to understand the position, they need to know what will be asked of them in order to play there.

Here is a list of positions including roles and responsibilities, plus some technical/tactical considerations.

While this isn’t a complete list of possible positions, it will work as an ideal reference point for both players and coaches alike to get a basic understanding of the positional requirements. The exact roles and responsibilities will be dictated by the system you wish to play and can be refined accordingly.


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