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8v8 Formation Help Needed

Discussion in 'Coach' started by rscaramelo, Sep 11, 2011.

Moderators: elessar78
  1. rscaramelo

    rscaramelo Coach/Hack Defender

    Joined:
    May 5, 1999
    Location:
    MA
    Club:
    New England Revolution
    Country:
    United States
    Any thoughts on an 8v8 formation for U12's? I rolled out a 3-3-1 this weekend with mixed results. The CMF was instructed to be a little more defensive. I chose to be this conservative because the league's top goalscorer was on the other team and I didn't feel like getting our butts handed to us. We lost 4-3 and held him to 2 goals. Ultimately I think I was overly conservative since I do have some kids who can score too.

    I think I may try a 2-3-2 next game. Any opinions?

    Also, my roster has 15 kids so it was a bit chaotic with subbing kids. Any thoughts on how to pick lines/shifts? This is Rec so not everyone is travel/club level. Where and how should I "hide" certain players?

    thanks!
     


  2. rca2

    rca2 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    Re: 8v8 help needed

    Which formation you use is relatively unimportant. I like the 331.
     
  3. elessar78

    elessar78 Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Re: 8v8 help needed

    You need to give it more than one game to see if it works. Even senior players would struggle in a constantly changing formation. You lost 4-3, a good play here and there would've changed the outcome.

    Substitution pattern: 7 players on the field, 7 substitutes. If you want to keep it simple just do a wholesale change at a predetermined point . . . K.I.S.S. principle.

    I don't advocate hiding players because I don't believe winning a few games trumps their development, but the "outside" positions are less critical to preventing goals scored against you, so stick them there. But do give them minutes in the critical central positions, for their sake.
     
  4. equus

    equus Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2007
    Re: 8v8 help needed

    In my U10 rec team we played 3-3-1 as well. For most rec players it's easier to understand their roles, and you can keep a strong spine (GK, CB, CM, ST)

    I rotate backs and midfielders/forwards, but you can help the more novice players by putting them on the outside until they get more confident, then rotate them to the middle positions. This also works great when you have fatigue and injuries where anyone can sub for anyone else.

    15 is a huge roster for 8v8. If the league requires 50% playing time, you're hand is almost forced to sub all your players at halfway, or sub them in two or three at a time and regular intervals.

    The only issue I had with the 3-3-1 in rec is that the striker sometimes didn't know where to go when the midfield line was attacking together. At U12 you may be able to teach them to make diagonal runs or play the front 3-1 in a diamond.
     


  5. Val1

    Val1 Member+

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2004
    Location:
    MD's Eastern Shore
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Re: 8v8 help needed

    I like 3-3-1 as well, just because players are much more likely to more forward and overlap attacking, following the flow of the ball, then they are to drop back and help on defense. A 2-3-2 which on paper is what I would prefer to play, just leaves you completely vulnerable on any kind of breakaway because the other team's attacking players are going to move forward quicker than your guys are going to drop back.
     
  6. rscaramelo

    rscaramelo Coach/Hack Defender

    Joined:
    May 5, 1999
    Location:
    MA
    Club:
    New England Revolution
    Country:
    United States
    Re: 8v8 help needed

    I hate using the word "hide" for a couple of the kids since it sounds awful. However a couple are so small, I'm thinking of their safety to a certain degree. One would be small on my daughter's U8 team.

    Yes 15 players is huge since I do have to try to get everyone 50% playing time. I felt like doing clock management the whole time instead of coaching.

    No love for the 2-3-2?

    thanks!
     
  7. elessar78

    elessar78 Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Re: 8v8 help needed

    There's nothing wrong with the 2-3-2, just as there is nothing wrong with the 3-3-1. It's not the string of numbers that make a team good, it's the quality of the individual players.

    The string of numbers lasts all of 3 seconds after any kickoff. Take a photo of the whole field in any random soccer game at any random time (not at a kickoff) and it's nothing than a meaningful guess at what the formation is. Plus it belies the point that the formation is more meaningful as a defensive alignment, since on attack players are constantly making runs, dribbling out of their "home", overlapping, overloading areas, checking in/out of areas.

    At the end of the day, they rely on tenaciously trying to get the ball back when we lose possession and when we have the ball, I've taught 'em how to kick, dribble, pass and control a ball. The ideas I teach about the game all revolve around the idea of controlling/exploiting space. The only position I coach specifically is gk.

    The only relevant roles at U12 are 1st and 2nd defender when the other team has possession and Player on the ball and supporting player when we're on attack. If they can understand/process more of the play off the ball then that more power to them and you, I find it rare. Just as the adult game is merely a series of 4v4s (or 5v5s depending on who you ask) the youth game, IMO, is just a series of 2v2s (MAYBE 3v3s).
     
  8. Eph4Life

    Eph4Life Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Re: 8v8 help needed

    3 defenders hinders the ability to move forward and attack. We have played a 2-4-1 (diamond at the midfield) with good success. That being said, you need to have good pace on defense to cover the field. Just sayin'..;-)
     
  9. Mr Martin

    Mr Martin Member+

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2002
    Club:
    Philadelphia Union
    Country:
    United States
    3-3-1 seems to be what the USSF is recommending these days. In the past, they recommended 2-3-2.

    I agree that the numbers are not particularly important, and if you teach good fundamentals like 1st/2nd defender, proper support, and recognizing space, plus good individual skills, you'll be on the right track.

    That having been said, after playing the 3-3-1 with my older two childrens' 8v8 teams in the past, I've used a 4-1-2 with my youngest child's team this past year. I view it as a "stealth 2-3-2". I'm working on several concepts like dual CB's playing good 1st/2nd defender, wing backs attacking, and dual forwards combining with each other. I've been very pleased with the way the girls have taken to it, and I'm curious to see if they will transition to 11v11 and a 4-4-2 more smoothly.

    I'm not saying this was better than what I did with my previous two 8v8 teams, but it knocked me out of my rut and stimulated some new ideas. The primary focus is still on skills, so the specific formation just fades into the background after you get underway.
     
  10. rca2

    rca2 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    Re: 8v8 help needed

    Only if you instruct your 3 backs to not move forward and attack. What we expect a 331 to look like on the attack is 133 (assuming an appropriately sized field).
     
  11. Kevin8833

    Kevin8833 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2007
    Location:
    Estero, FL
    First of all 15 players for an 8 v 8 team??? Second to answer your question I feel like a 3-1-3 would be best. With high and wide inverted wings that start wide and come in allowing the fullbacks to get forward just like in a 4-3-3, having a pressing team that gets forward with lots of interchanging and numbers. Put a youth team back line under pressure and you'll have a fun time getting to attack the whole game. Problem is if you don't put pressure they have the time to kick it long to the big fast kid upfront and he torches your defense, but if he can't get the ball it's irrelevant.
     
  12. cleansheetbsc

    cleansheetbsc Member+

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    Location:
    Albany, NY
    Club:
    --other--
    Give it a rest.

    Yeah, sometimes that happens. Rosters are allowed to be 16.

    Not every club is blessed with perfect math for registration and overflowing volunteers to coach teams. Not every U-12 team is high level and in some cases its better to carry a big roster than say 'no' to some kid because his parents were late to register.
     
  13. Norsk Troll

    Norsk Troll Member+

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2000
    Location:
    Central NJ
    Played them both at U9 travel (our first year playing 8v8), and although I would prefer to play 2-3-2 (in order to build up an understanding of playing with two centrebacks, with the outside mids coming back on defense to complete a traditional back four), it has never proved as successful for me at the younger ages (U9) as the 3-3-1. Mentally, no matter how much you are teaching 1st/2nd defender responsibilities (and that needs to take a back seat to individual technique), U9s don't seem ready to handle the responsibilities of the shared center, and they consistently get split by center forwards (like Barca by Milan!!). Also, the outside mids at that age are rarely able to play up and down the full field as needed to provide width, and so are usually behind the play both offensively and defensively. So although you may be getting a second forward, you are often losing both outside mids on the attack. Since you are coaching older kids, U12, your mileage may vary. It is a formation I will continue to work on when situations allow, and possibly by by their second year playing 8v8 (U10 in my Club), they will be able to adopt it successfully.

    As for getting the 3-3-1 into the attack, I don't explain it to the players as a line of 3 backs and a line of 3 mids - instead that it's two diamonds (which correlates with how they played 4v4 at U7), with the central midfielder being the top of the defensive diamond, and the bottom of the offensive diamond. When we go forward, the center back is responsible for pushing herself and the outside backs up to maintain that back diamond, which as a consequence puts the outside backs in a natural supporting position for the outside mids. With this formation, my outside mids have more freedom to consistently participate in the attack, giving me four scoring options, and if my backs stay focused enough to push up, we can compress play pretty well into the attacking half of the field. We played up against U10s this weekend in four games, and scored 7, giving up only 2, so I would say it was fairly successful.
     
  14. Eph4Life

    Eph4Life Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Re: 8v8 help needed

    RCA you are still the smartest guy on here..;-)
     
  15. rca2

    rca2 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    Re: 8v8 help needed

    Smart enough not to recommend that someone try teaching U12's to play a system with 5 central players and only two wide players.
     
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