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Help with Shape in 6v6 and 8v8?

Discussion in 'Coach' started by wolfsburgh, Apr 18, 2012.

Moderators: elessar78
  1. wolfsburgh

    wolfsburgh Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2001
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Good afternoon, coaches.

    I coach a U10G travel team playing 7v7; the team would have moved up next season to play 9v9.

    However, new rules are being instituted for the Fall so that U10 will be 6v6 and U11/12 will be 8v8.

    I've been playing a 2-3-1 with my team and had intended to transition to either a 3-2-3 (triangles and diamonds) or a 4-3-1 (more synergies with the 2-3-1 and like the potential to build this out to 4-3-3, with flat back four, FBs pushing up and providing attacking width, three-person MF) for U11.

    But now that we're moving to 8v8, I need a rethink. Any suggestions? I'm leaning towards a 2-3-2 (triangles and diamonds, but also an easy transition from 2-3-1).

    Also, I'll probably help out a new U10 coach next season; any thoughts on 6v6? I think 2-3 is probably most common, but don't like the lack of depth, and to address the depth, you'd essentially end up with a 2-1-2 or a 2-2-1 anyway, so why not start there?
     


  2. equus

    equus Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2007
    If it helps, here's Barcelona's U11s playing 2-3-1 against Valencia. I'd assume for 8v8 they'd go 2-3-2.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJlH4_GEluY"]Bia?e Or?y Cup. U-11. FC Barcelona vs Valencia CF. Part 1. - YouTube[/ame]
     
  3. GAZZA821

    GAZZA821 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Club:
    Chelsea FC
    Our U10's also play 6v6. I tend to play 1-2-2-1. If I want to work on something specific, I tweak the formation to get the desired outcome.

    Our U11's also play 8v8 and we generally start 1-3-3-1. If we are having the better of play or need to put more pressure up top, we move to 1-2-3-2.
     
  4. rca2

    rca2 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    http://www.bigsoccer.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1818009

    Check out the above thread and this one too:

    http://www.bigsoccer.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1816271

    This last thread I mention not because its is directly what you asked about (its 9v9) but because I was very impressed with Elessar78's comments about his approach.

    With only 5 field players and a keeper, I would hesitate to use three lines. I would probably go with 23 but look for players offensively moving to support for diagonal passes (four in a box around player in the center). Going instead with 212 will get them the shape, but will they have any off the ball movement that way? At that age they should be supporting intelligently off the ball.

    I would in your case be sorely tempted to move the keeper into a CB position (variation of a sweeper keeper) and play 231 just like you did this season [(0)231 vice (1)231].

    Twenty26Six had some really impressive comments on systems too, but I can't remember the thread.
     


  5. cleansheetbsc

    cleansheetbsc Member+

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    Albany, NY
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    --other--
    6v6 last year was for me was a 1-2-2, though the only defined position, was the '1' center defender. It was their job to sweep and to be a safe outlet for backpasses/field switches when on offense. The two middies were more winger/outside backs. The middies and forwards were given more flexibility so that we wouldn't look like a fusball table. A lot more freedom to move, provide width and length and pressure/cover strategy, requiring them to work as a team would in a small-sided game.

    This year, I've lost many of the players I had last year (gone on to bigger and better), I'm left with both lesser skilled players overall and less dedicated players for the most part (other sports etc). And to add to it, they are a physically, very small and young team in U-12. Sort of looks like a great next story for 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' it is that comical.

    I'm looking to go 3-3-1 this outdoor season, though I will look for the outside backs to get forward similar to my 6 v 6 set up.
     
  6. elessar78

    elessar78 Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
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    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Interesting . . . I didn't remember making those posts (they all run together) but I'm applying something from those ideas currently. Currently we run a 3-3-2 in 9v9. But I have a blossoming center midfielder. For the past two years, she was always near the bottom of the group. But she's been zooming up the charts this past winter and spring. And she's really found a home at center mid. I like to rotate players, but if a struggling kid finds a position they're comfortable at then I'll let her flourish there and learn the game (more than learn the position). But she's still new at it, and the size of the field is a challenge for her to cover, because she's not the most athletic and strong.

    So I adjust the formation accordingly. When she's in, I drop one of the forwards into center mid. So the 3-3-2 becomes a 3-4-1.

    Point being, any formation is a good formation at U10 (or just as good as any other) if your players know how to play. Not even "know how to play the roles in that formation" but just play soccer in general.

    For the younger kids at 6v6, two "lines" is good but just emphasize that they should not be standing directly across from each other. Forming triangles is a good, simple guideline so your 2-3 will naturally become 2-1-2. I might even not think of talking about formations as numbers.

    This tradition of talking about formations as numbers comes from the days of radio, when announcers had to describe to listeners how the teams came out onto the pitch.

    Perhaps, and I think it's simpler, to talk about how they line up on the field as "two triangles". It's crucially important to get young kids out of the mindset that the goalie is a whole separate player. They need to see the gk as just another field player who happens to be able to use her hands in the box.

    So, there's your two triangles, a front triangle and a back triangle. Once they get this idea down they can move onto forming different triangles with different teammates as the ball moves around. I think this creates more dynamic players who move around the field more and learn to think in small units that are always around the ball. To me, it's much better than a kid who has mentally labeled herself a "forward" and does nothing until the ball gets near her.
     
  7. Mr Martin

    Mr Martin Member+

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    Philadelphia Union
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    In that thread from last year, I wrote about trying a 4-1-2, or what I really thought of as a "stealth 2-3-2." To follow up on that, we've been playing this 4-1-2 for nearly 2 full years. I'm very pleased with how it's worked.

    My CB's are now playing a very nice 1st/2nd defender; it's probably the most impressive aspect of how we play. My outside backs overlap nicely and are frequent scorers or make some nice crosses for assists. My dual forwards are (slowly) picking up movement into space, checking for the ball, and looking for some combination plays with each other, but this has been tougher for them to learn. One of my central mids has developed a sweet sense of a well-weighted through ball or the square ball to the overlapping back.

    I feel very good about our switch to 11v11 in the fall. I've been able to train a lot of the girls to play outside back or outside midfield. I've got numerous striker options and a handful of experienced dual-CBs. Getting the midfield to click at 11v11 will be my challenge for the fall, but I've got some nice building blocks.

    But to repeat what several others wrote in that older thread, it's really more about teaching skills, small-group concepts, and understanding space than any particular 8v8 "formation." I've liked this "stealth 2-3-2," but there are other formations that should work just fine, with a focus on teaching skills and concepts, not robotic positions.
     
  8. cleansheetbsc

    cleansheetbsc Member+

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    Would be a good topic for another thread, but as someone that also referees, I am dreading U-14 11 v 11. Unless you have a strong team, U-14's are still a bit 'small' to cover the whole field, even 11 v 11. Its a painful exercise.
     
  9. elessar78

    elessar78 Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Had an interesting game yesterday in terms of formations used.

    We started out in a 3-3-2 and I used two players in the center midfield role that are relatively new to it. One was the kid I talked about in the above post and the other is one of who usually plays forward or goalkeeper for me. She'd done a great job acting as a pivot up top, laying off to her striking partner. So I wanted to see if she could do similarly from a little deeper position.

    They did fine but not great. Their positioning was off and their defensive awareness wasn't stellar, so we weren't controlling midfield well. So I dropped one of the forwards back and played with a 3-4-1. That worked pretty well in terms of gaining a firmer hold of the center of the pitch. With the game in hand I pushed my two outside mids up and we played 3-2-3 to close out the game. That was fun too because now my center mids could play to the wide attacking options.

    3-3-2 to 3-4-1 and finally 3-2-3. That's a first for me—I don't think I really changed formations the last 3 seasons.
     
  10. threeputzzz

    threeputzzz Member

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    For 8v8 play our club recommends 3-3-1 or 2-3-2 depending on the collective ability level of the players. 2-3-2 is great for dynamic attacking play at the expense of numbers on defense and is better suited for experienced teams. It allow the forwards to learn to work together to break down a defense, but defenders must be solid as one defender has to be both cover and ballance when their counterpart moves outside to challenge an opposing wing. Also the outside midfielders have to cover a LOT of ground. Less experienced teams (or teams with less athletic players in general) are probably better off with a 3-3-1 formation which takes some of the pressure off every position except forward and frequently creates chances on counter attacks. It also allows defenders to make runs upfield when they have open space to do so without leaving you vulnerable. I like to have outside defenders take throw ins and corners to keep them from holding too far back when using the 3-3-1.
     
  11. elessar78

    elessar78 Moderator Staff Member

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    We play a 3-3-2 for 9v9, but our state assoc is going back down to 8v8 next season so I play on just removing a forward. I kinda don't like the 3-3-2 because, we tie up too many players as defenders. The outside backs can join the attack but they have to get back—I'm not thrilled with that idea.

    But the bigger fields also make it too wide for two backs to manage all that width. Also, the midfield is hard to manage with 3 (L/C/R), the central channel is too much for most smaller, less-athletic kids to handle. Two, IMO, are better. If you run a trio of CMs then you lack width.

    On some level, unless you're spoiled for choice the youngsters should have some flexibility to play in multiple formations.
     
  12. striker2019

    striker2019 Member

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    The USSF curriculum recommends 3-3-1. I use it with two young teams. Well balanced, start to get play with 3 forwards (I usually play the wide mids more like wingers...higher up than the center mid, but lower than the striker), get wide backs pushing forward to support, center mid learns how to support all over.

    2-3-2 has more angles naturally but in my opinion can be difficult to master as you're basically not defending with two players (the strikers) so you can be facing overloads at the back. Most of the teams I end up playing against will drive long balls at you and try to force a mistake or otherwise outrun you to the ball. Not pretty. In some ways it's easier to stop with 2 center backs and in other ways it's difficult to cover the width of the field effectively. Plus you have to get someone from the midfield line to drop into the back line when the two backs shift to cover the flank. In my opinion that's very complicated. But two of the teams that I've coached against this year who were notable users of that system had some struggles at first (u9 and u10) but both are now in the state cup final. So take from it what you will.
     
  13. elessar78

    elessar78 Moderator Staff Member

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    I think any system/formation can work well as long as the personnel can make it work and/or the coach can teach it well enough . . . but then you wade into spending too much time teaching systems of play.

    If you want to be able to focus on teaching technique, then the system has to be simple. At U10 we ran a 2-3-1, but the field was narrow and teams didn't know how to exploit width. Now they're a bit more saavy so two in the back is a bit risky.
     
  14. rca2

    rca2 Member

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    Nov 25, 2005
    I suspect that part of a coaches problem is lack of experience playing small sided matches. I have played a lot of different 11 a side and 6 a side (indoor) systems, but these other odd numbers I don't have much experince with. I have played short outdoors a lot, mostly with 10, rarely 9 and almost never 7 or 8.

    With the short 11 a side, the field doesn't change so we were trying to have the short side fill 11 positions functionally. Generally that meant having 1 person stay in the back line or the forward line to maintain depth and everyone else pushing up (or back) to fill the holes. That is a poor substitute for experience with small sides on a reduced field.

    I don't know about others, but all my tactical thinking and coaching is based on my playing experience. (I am a little strange because I didn't get to play organized soccer until I was 30. I read books on tactics before I played organized soccer.) Anyway my point is that you see lots of posts from coaches asking about systems for 7-, 8-, and 9-a-side, but not so much 6 or 11. Conceptually we can grasp 7-, 8- and 9-a-side but we don't have any playing experience to draw on. Therefore we have questions.
     
  15. de Kromme

    de Kromme Member

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    Just a quick note on using a sweeper at very young ages. I've seen cases at u10/11 when a team that uses a sweeper tends to fall back into it's own box and a veritable shooting gallery ensues because once an initial shot is made, the sweeper is so far back that all attacking players remain onside. My friend's dd's team had this happen and he suggested to the coach (the parent is a soccer guy, so he wasn't talking out his heiny) that instead of a sweeper, use a defensive midfield in front of the back two (a sweeper's role, but advanced of the back line). Let the player roam that zone and stop attacks before the shooting gallery starts up.

    I know this isn't exactly what the original question was about, but I personally don't like the idea of the sweeper much anymore, and if you hope to get to a flat back 4 (or increasingly a back 3), a sweeper doesn't set you up for that, and the skillset your sweeper learns isn't immediately transferable.

    We used one on my older daughter's team last season when we were 9v9 (sweeper behind two defenders) and while our sweeper is excellent (reads the game well, excellent skill, competitive), we have now moved up to U13 champions and play 11v11. Our defense now has a flat back 4, and this past weekend our opponent had several rushes upfield, right down the center of the park, and our entire defensive line literally backed up in unison for 30 yards, with no one challenging the ball. It's as if they all overreacted to not having the sweeper there (i.e. not one wanted to step up and challenge the ball carrier because they knew there was no one behind them to bail them out.) So it's a bit of a different reaction than what I described above with my buddy's team, but the connection is that I just think the sweeper confuses things. In my opinion, sweeper at the early ages just sets you up for having to relearn the idea of coaching and playing defense at a later date. It seems like a good idea, but only if you're overriding concern is winning games, and for me at the earliest ages it shouldn't be about that. I'd sooner lose some games and set a foundation from which we can get more sophisticated out of a standard defensive set up, rather than having re-learn things. Of course, many HS and college teams use sweepers, so the sweeper concept does survive into the older ages, but I think most of us agree that using a sweeper is a rather unsophisticated method which HS and colleges use to win games but not develop players (it's definitely not Beckenbauer-esque). But that's personal preference.

    So anyway, just some tangential thoughts. Cheers all.
     
  16. wolfsburgh

    wolfsburgh Member

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    Pittsburgh, PA
    Thanks for all the comments. As I mentioned in the OP, we play a 2-3-1. Some of the comments about the 2-3-1 have been interesting, and I thought I'd add my own borne from my experience (many of which have been mentioned above).

    First, virtually every team we've played is playing a 3-3. What that means is that I've got 1 striker going against three defenders. It also means the opponent has three strikers attacking two of my defenders. And finally, it means we've all the numbers in midfield (interestingly, the one time we played another team playing a 2-3-1, it was an absolute stalemate, with neither team able to control MF and maintain possession and neither team able to sustain an attack; 0-0 at half, each team scored a scrappy second half goal, and the opponent won in the dying stages on a goalkeeper punt that bounced over my defenders and was hammered home first time by the other team's forward).

    How has that translated in practice? We generally control midfield and control possession. We have a tough time getting people forward into the attack and scoring goals. And we have been vulnerable to teams playing very directly.

    So how do we deal with those issues? Possession is good, of course, and we've tried to get the girls to hold and maintain possession while the outside midfielders (I call them "wings," since I don't want to condition the players into thinking they are "offense" or "defense" or neither) get forward. That's been difficult to teach at times, since the mindset is to go forward and go forward quickly (and that in and of itself isn't something I want to discourage, since attacking quickly is something to be promoted). Indeed, out best success this season in terms of attacking has been when balls are played wide to the wings in midfield, who then proceed to dribble and take on defenders (it should come as no surprise that the two outside defenders in a 3-3 often end up being the other team's weakest players). The effect is that everyone catches up while the winger is taking on the defenders and takes an attacking posture, giving us the numbers that we don't have when we attack more directly up the middle.

    The flip side is that defensively, we need to get the "weak side" wing to get back and be the balance defender, and we also get the center midfielder to function as a d-mid or even a sweeper type in front of the central defenders. The result, then, is that we'll get four players back on defense: the two central defenders, who are trained to move from side to side with the ball in tandem (pressure/cover, although we'll concede the edges of the touchlines down to the corner, because players at this age just don't have the abilities to create problems from that posture on the field), the wing, who provides balance on the "weak side," and the center midfielder, who is pressing in front of the central pairing (with the pressure defender, the center MF essentially doubleteaming the player on the ball).

    The result is that we've been very successful at defending in numbers, and we've struggled to mount sustained and effective attacks, e.g., we've only conceded one goal in the last five halves, but we've only scored one goal in those same five halves (before that, we had scored six goals in the first three halves of the season to none conceded).

    So, to dovetail with some of the comments made:

    1. Yes, it is a lot of running for the wings, and they've done the defensive running but not enough of the attacking running.

    2. It hasn't been offensively dynamic for us, but that probably ties into #1.

    3. We haven't been exposed defensively. Part of that is because the wings are getting back and the CM is working back as well. Part of that, I'm speculating, is that at this age teams just don't have the personnel to exploit the gaps in the defense (e.g., longish switches or longish diagonal passes or long flighted balls down the wings).

    4. The team is a mixed bag, and most certainly is not the athletic and uber-talented team that some suggest a 2-3-1 is geared to.

    5. We've improved significantly over last season playing the same 2-3-1.

    6. One more thought: in a 2-3-1, there is no place to hide a player the way there is in a 3-3. I need contributions from everyone out there.

    I'm still leaning towards going with 2-3-2. If the wings continue to check back, I'm cautiously optimistic we can continue to cover the gaps effectively (although as noted above by a poster, I do have some concern that as our opponents mature, they'll be better able to exploit those gaps), and the extra attacker can't hurt (in fact, this will enable much of the 2v1 or 2v2 stuff we work on to actually have some practical application to the game; right now, if the forward gets the ball, she is often isolated). Plus, I lke the 2-3-2 for building to a 4-3-3. The central defensive pairing is getting good training for playing in the middle of the back line and are becoming increasingly proficient at pressure cover. The wingers are getting good training for playing outside fullback in the back line (in terms of getting forward and supporting the attack), and are getting good training for playing wings in the front line (in terms of getting back and helping out in midfield). Not sure how much the paired attackers will benefit in this regard, but it is an opportunity to really focus on small group attacking tactics (e.g., 2v1, 2v2, wall passes, overlaps, takeovers, etc.), and those are useful no matter what. Plus, the angles in a 2-3-2 are nice for attacking.

    I'm not in love with a 3-3-2 or a 3-1-3. Admittedly a personal bias, but I don't like the idea of playing three defenders; I'd rather play with 2 or 4 (and four is too many in 8v8). It seems to me that three defenders would be most effective if you are playing two central defenders and a sweeper. That still leaves the space down the wings to exploit, I'm not a fan of playing a sweeper, and I'd rather have the CM/DM "sweeping" in front rather than in back. Plus, I'm not sure how well the tactics and techniques of playing a three person defense translates to a 4 person defense. Plus, the HS here plays 4 in the back.
     
  17. elessar78

    elessar78 Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Like you said, you have numerical superiority in the midfield. Lure their defenders into the midfield, before playing a breakout pass to the forward who is now playing 1v2 or 1v1.

    Or you place your best dribblers in midfield and let them run at the defenders.

    At young ages the attack can be effective exploiting 2v1s. So a midfielder working with your forward could create this situation. So really you don't need too many numbers involved in the attack and you can keep 4 players back to control their counters.

    Also, immediate pressure is usually enough to blow up a counter.

    Yes, the weak side wing should get back. But I don't really believe that young kids can a)hit the switch accurately enough and b)have the opposite side attacker recognize the situation, make the run, control the incoming pass all before a defender can close him down.

    More than the "tactics" just get numbers around the ball. Challenge them to beat 4-5 defenders and make them earn that shot on goal.

    How often are you training with small group attacks (2 or 3 players)?

    Do you think your lack of production stems from a technical issue rather than a tactical one? Attacking in soccer comes down to the basic question of "Why didn't we score?"

    1. We lost possession before we got a shot off.
    2. Our shot was blocked, saved, or missed the target.

    Merely improving your players' shooting range should increase scoring, duh. It's a massive goal to cover for a small goalie, but young ladies are reluctant to hit it from 10+ yards. There's a psychological barrier about the box. Beyond the box is "far".

    Losing possession can be a tactical issue, but more often than not it's poor passing, poor receiving, inability to dribble to possess/penetrate. The good players I coach simply do not lose the ball easily. They can hold the ball long enough to create for themselves or a teammate. Also, not coincidence, 6 out of the 7 can hit a screamer from 15-20 yards out.

    Develop players that won't cough up the ball and can hit the long bomb?
     
  18. wolfsburgh

    wolfsburgh Member

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    Aug 6, 2001
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Interesting points, several of which I addressed directly or indirectly in the post, so I won't go over those again.

    Re. luring their defenders into MF and having the MF dribblers take on the defenders, two comments: (1) in principle, a good idea, but if the defenders are staying back, as is often the case, the more expedient solution is to attack with numbers from MF, e.g., 4v3 or, if we're attacking down a wing, 3v2; and (2) that's one of the reasons we've had success with the wingers (i.e., outside MF's) taking people on, because it has the effect of slowing things down and allowing us to get numbers in the attack.

    Re. the MF working with the forward, we've had some success this season but also last season with that. The idea is that the Center MF can combine with the F, isolate the center defender 2v1, and if the other team is not well-drilled in pressure/cover or is slow to react, it creates some opportunities.

    Re. immediate pressure blowing up a counter, agreed. The trick, really, was to get the two defenders to think and move in tandem. What was happening is a direct ball would be played to a winger or the center forwards, and my defenders would be too far apart to pressure/cover, creating 2v1's or 1v1's which could be exploited. That problem has been largely addressed (knock on wood).

    Re. the weakside defender, I think we both agree that the switch isn't particularly viable at this age, but: (a) it's still good training to get the weak side wing to get back on defense; and (b) there are at least a couple occasions each game where the ball somehow works its way from one side to the other and the weak side wing can clean up and start the attack. Our game this past Sunday was interesting, because the other team was conditioned to get the ball to their right winger (in a 3-3), who was a good player, and that resulted in fairly persistent efforts to switch fields, and our wingers (the outside MF's) consistently frustrated the tactic, either by intercepting the pass on the run back or, at a minimum, slowing the attack enough that our central defenders were able to slide back into the play or pushing the player wide. Of course, the defensive demands on the wings may have had a role in our inability to score. Interestingly, for the last 10 minutes, I had our left wing push up (defensively, our C MF had settled into a more defensive posture than usual because, as it turns out, her foot was bothering her, so that gave me some more cover defensively) to see if I could draw their right wing into a deeper position. It didn't work, but the left wing created havoc taking on their defenders - our best chances of the game were generated in those last 10 minutes.

    Re. numbers on the ball, that's what we do. The pressure defender is on the ball, the CMF is doubleteaming, the cover defender is close by and a wing is usually working her way back into the play as well.

    Re. training small group attacking tactics, it has been a focus this season. Not every practice, but probably once a week (we practice 2x), and at least three practices have been devoted almost entirely to small group attacking tactics. Attacking centrally, attacking down the wing, overlaps, wall passes, a little on takeovers, avoiding the square pass in favor of a diagonal pass, playing the ball into space, attacking with back to goal and wings running on, etc. Now, that being said, the girls continue to struggle with these concepts. The attack remains predictable, too linear, too casual and too ball-centric, so obviously we need more work, but I don't expect the proverbial lightbulb to go on this season.

    Why can't we score? It's not really a possession thing. That's not to suggest we don't give up the ball too easily, have heavy first touches, etc., because we do, but generally speaking, we possess better than our opponents.

    Tactics? To some extent. The way we're playing the 2-3-1, it tends to be more defensive. We're never going to score 5 or 6 goals in a game. But we should still score more than we have, so I don't think tactics is the answer as to why we've struggled to buy a goal over the last five halves.

    Player rotation: Players rotate through all the positions (although unlike many coaches, I rotate through on a game by game basis, rather than a sub by sub basis, e.g., if you're a "winger" to start the game, you'll most likely play wing the entire game, and then the next game you'll play defense, and so forth), and sometimes I have kids in positions that aren't a good match to their strengths, and other times the combos just don't work. That's an occupational hazard at this age group, though, at least for the coaches who insist on exposing their players to all the various facets of the game.

    Talent/Skill/Technique: I don't have many players who fit the prototype for "goalscorer." Two girls, probably, and one of them, despite having the skill set, just hasn't put it all together yet (I think when she does, she'll score consistently, although she's also developing into a heckuva defender, too). One other girl has a penchant for scoring scrappy goals, and another girl has some potential, but she's so small and so young (seven years old). One thing I will say is that the majority of the girls have dreadful kicking form. Except for a couple girls, a shot from outside the penalty area is just giving away possession. I think I'm going to have a "kicking camp" this summer and try to work on technique, but we have worked on encouraging the players to take longer shots this season, particularly in the last couple weeks.

    Anticipation/Agression: We just don't anticipate goal scoring opportunities and aggressively seize those opportunities. By the time we get to the party, they're usually cleaning up. We're reactive, not proactive.

    DNA: Maybe it's just in this team's DNA to be defensive-oriented. I put a girl at center forward, tell her to stay high, and in a minute or two she's working in tandem with our CMF in a defensive posture. I have yet to find someone who's consistently willing to play high. Even my laziest players will creep back to the MF and be lazy in MF rather than be lazy in a F position.

    But let me add that none of this is frustrating or off-putting. It's part of the process, and we'll keeping working to improve.
     
  19. elessar78

    elessar78 Moderator Staff Member

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    May 12, 2010
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    good stuff wolfsburgh. I was thinking about our two back "problem" and I remember reading something out of Brilliant Orange.

    " . . . two mobile and intelligent defenders can neutralise four attackers simply by standing in the right place and moving smartly. "You see? In this position, you can cover this player . . . But if you stand here, it is twice as good . . . Why? Because in this position, you have ninety degrees to play. If I stand here, I have 180 degrees. Pure mathematics, simple mathematics. And the only reason players don't do this is that they don't know. Everyone does it the bad way, the stupid way. To do it better means they have to move. They have to go this side or this side. They have to run a little. This man must go a little nearer to the ball, the other one a little further away. But you can do it with two defenders . . ."

    -Barry Hulshoff, former Ajax defender.

    So may be we can train our two centerbacks to play smarter?? Easier said than done, but possible.
     
  20. rca2

    rca2 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    I think with U-Littles you have to remember you are not teaching positions. You are not creating centerbacks. You are developing fundamental skills. They are learning pressure, cover, and balance whenever there are uneven numbers. If you think of it that way, then you should realize that its an advantage to start with 2 backs. A first defender and a second defender who must provide both cover and balance. Sounds complicated, but there is really only two different choices: play on the ball or off the ball. Learning to play in pairs first, will make it easier to learn to defend in a line of 3 or 4 later. In fact learning to defend in pairs is the basic building block of the modern 2-lines-of-four zone defense.

    And working on defense is not just about marking and tackling skills. Basic athletic skills are very important as well. It is wonderful agility work.
     
  21. elessar78

    elessar78 Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    It doesn't have to be center backs, per se. More along the lines of "how do we teach two defenders to neutralize four attackers?" It can happen any where on the field or even in a 4v2 game of keepaway.

    There are activities that I run out of that Van Lingen book where the intial set up is 5 attackers vs 2 defenders+GK. Sadly, the two defenders can be pretty effective.
     
  22. rca2

    rca2 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    "Sadly..."? :) It is great training. And the principles learned are important when they eventually play the adult game. You cannot defend everywhere all the time. So you defend what space is important at the time. And that is where anticipation becomes important.

    Working in pairs is the cornerstone of defending in the adult game. That pair represents the 1st and 2nd defender. Everyone else after that pair is just one or more 3rd defenders. To me its amazing the extent to which young kids can learn these concepts through guided discovery. They may not be able to explain the concepts, but they can demonstrate them in practice.
     
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