an example of a bad triangle: O1 has ball, O2 are teammates, D are defenders
an example of a non triangle shape which is much better
Agreed on the first example. What is important is that the players are in good defensive positions, not the shape of the triangle. Player D2 is not in the best supporting position if we are playing 3v3. For that matter, D3 is not either. However, if you were just showing me 3 defenders on an 11 man squad which are playing a flat 4, I would be force to just make minor adjustments.
In the second example, D2 is in a better position but D3 is not if we are playing 3v3. I would want D3 to provide better coverage of 02 since D1 already has support. Or perhaps D3 should have supported D1 and D2 moved over to cover 02. However, if this is part of an 11 person squad and there are midfielders involved but not shown, it is possible that this is showing good defensive positioning in a flat 3 or flat 4 zonal defense (although they are too tight in spacing perhaps in relation to the goal.
I agree that in a 5 v 3 soccer situation, forcing the ball into a corner isn't a bad thing--if there is a defender there to get in the way of a crossing pass. However, you don't want to let the ball get down the touchline and into the corner unopposed. That creates a high percentage chance for the attacking team.
As for the importance of a triangle shape as opposed to "the principles of defending", that's been the item that has led me to different viewpoints than others here (see triangle three discussion). Yes, players can apply the three principles as a way to react to any situation. However, to translate from my language to yours, a triangle is a useful shape defensively because one player is pressuring the ball and two are providing cover on either side of the ball. I'm suggesting that having cover on both sides of the ball is very useful, and when that is done you have a triangle shape that's very difficult to crack. It's also strictly a zone concept, which is important when discussing a 5 v 3 situation. So the idea of "marking the next most dangerous defender" wouldn't be something I would say.
Russ- Probably a good thing I have stayed out of this triangle 3 discussion. I like the way you think out of the box and test your theories. And, I will admit there are situations where your triangle as you described it would work. But not because it is a triangle, but because players are in good supporting positions for the pressuring defender. And in the absence of other defenders in your discussion, this theory has "major" flaws that no doubt have been pointed out to you by AFB, JimN and others. It's just too simple by itself to replace sound defensive principles.
consider it 8v8, 3-3-1 alignment, flat back 3
in my zonal back 3 or back 4, D3 would be flatter relative to D2, but I would debate that it's OK to protect the middle more than marking the players. I don't like to "back up, back up, back up", but if O has just gained possession of the ball and my defenders were in my original shape (which happens frequently), I would debate it's a good way to maintain organization while the other team is countering.
I am curious why D2 and D3 are considered tight? I have added a condition that all players are in offensive third of the field. This might change your answer.
I have done **some** research on zonal systems prior to implementing, but I am sure someone with more experience could fine tune what I know.
| -----------mid line-------------------
This is a zonal system to allow counter attacks, IMO.
the rotation I generally teach is someone delay O2, with D3 not allowed to move in front of D2 unless there is communication ("I'm back"). D1 is responsble for covering second defender, in middle of field. The few times we didn't communicate has led to shots by opponent, so I know there might be something missing.
This rotation happens frequently if D1 is attacking at top of box and D3 is covering back, then ball gets crossed with no offensive player able to get wide (maybe cross is missed and 2-3 of "D" team are inside 18).
There is a good chance D2 would be on pass first and D3 would be covering to middle. The goal is an open pass to 3rd player back when we regain possession, this accounts for some of logic for teaching this to U10's. if you find this violates certain principles, I'd love to here why. As we get closer to defensive third, we are less verticle (BTW, very few teams get into defensive third during league play on skill, so there is a reason we might be getting away with this).
| D1 ^ (d3 rotates up if he knows d2 is covering)
| \ /
| \ D2 ----> /
| \ /
| \ D3
| d1 (d1 rotates back)
wow, first touch, I think I disagree on this one. What you call a bad triangle looks great to me. There is support on both sides of the ball, whether it's indoors or outdoors. No danger at all to the defense. Much better than your three players on a line, which also has the play stopped cold at this moment but might not in the next moment. A run to the left, behind the pressure, looks disruptive. And on a pass to the right, your balancing third defender will be further from the action then my supporting defender to the right.
In any event, when I speak of defensive triangles, I'm no longer speaking of geometrical shapes for this is offensive to people. I'm simply speaking of "cover on both sides of the pressure." "Triangle" is just fewer syllables.
Yes, in the first example you stated that you are playing a flat 3. My comments about a flat 4 would apply and agree with you that adjusting D3 would help. HOWEVER, like with Russ you are leaving out the rest of the players on your team when discussing defensive positioning so that you look like you are talking about a 3v3 situation, when actually you are not. Remember that in an Italian style flat defense, the midfield line will take on roughly the same shape as the defensive back line... so essentially you will have 2 lines and 02 would be covered by a midfielder.
On my comment on the tightness of spacing... it actually emphasizes my point by adding the midfield line. Let's say 01 has the ball and drops the ball to 03. What do you do if 02 makes a wide run into the flank and the ball just gets played over your D3 defenders head? D3 still has to provide balance. I use the 50% rule. In a flat defense, D3 has 50% responsibility to cover D2, but also 50% to cover his area. In the case of 02 making a wide run, you would have D3 100% covering D2 and 0% covering his area (zone).
Please keep in mind that I deal with older and more competitive players and what may work for younger less experienced players with limited visibility and range will not work very well with older higher level players. This would be my comments to Russ on what I see with his explanation to me about the triangle 3. However, it is our responsibility as coaches of younger players to teach them the proper skills for the long run, rather than what necessarily works but may not be proper technique in the short run.
I believe strongly that the concept of "cover on both sides of the pressure" is a useful concept, and that it has no age or ability limitations. I use this concept with my adult indoors team, which includes several players with Division I college experience.
Russ- If this is my older girls team, they just scored on you. 01 plays the ball to 03 and either my striker or attacking mid has a shot from the 18 or a 1v1 with D3. Good defensive principles will tell you NOT TO ALLOW 1V1 SITUATIONS ANYWHERE ON THE FIELD... especially in front of the goal! Pull D2 to the goal side and you have a chance.
IMO the players I coach are good enough 1v1 that if someone goes outside because there is no outside cover, we will win that matchup. cover the middle, win 1v1 matchups.
Russ- You are a stubborn one and I realize that I cannot change your mind because many have tried. Let me just say that as somebody who has used Italian style defenses quite a bit in the past, your idea makes sense... but only in a vacuum. I hope you triangle 3 is part of a much larger system that covers the obvious weaknesses brought upon by this style of play. Such as an Italian style 4-4-2 with flat backs and mids.
I guess it's about time for this question to pop up again. This topic has been beaten to death numerous times here and elsewhere.
Keith, as is usual, has given stellar advice for the development of your young charges. IMO, you should read and re-read his post until it makes sense.
Think about the attacking and defending principles and how they relate to trying to use a "formation" while playing 7v7.
What 7v7 (6 + GK) formation can you use to achieve useful depth and width?
None really. That is the whole point and the true beauty of playing 7v7.
U10 is still really more about learning attacking soccer than formations and defensive schemes other than relatively simple PCB and looser than normal 'roles'. Done right, it will develop players that have no problems playing in more than one role on both sides of the ball instead of the usual "I play offense" and "I play defense" 'bots' we often see later on.
Plenty of time for formations and learning the finer points of organized defense later on.
CB, obviously the three players in the back is just the beginning. They must accomplish as much as possible, for there will be times when they're on their own. But if they can slow down the attack, their teammates will have time to get back. The roles of the outside mids, the center mids, the defensive mids, must also be explained to the players so that they're all on the same page.
In any configuration you set up of three defenders, there could be a moment when some defender is caught in a one v one. That's particularly true with sweeper systems. However, if you visualize a pressure defender with a cover defender on both sides, creating the infamous triangle, you'll see that each player always has at least one teammate who can back him/her up--after a step or two, at least.
Not if the ball is switched quickly to the far side of the field by a team with solid technical skill
Thoughtsoc- I will just reiterate one point and then move on since my comments were really for the benefits of others, not for changing your mind. Will your triangle work. In some situations yes. It is very similar to the Italian flat back 4 where there is coverage on both sides of the ball. However, as I stated, this is just part of the Italian defensive format and it looks entirely different in different situations. In other words, the Italians have figured out that it is not the best method of supporting your teammates in every situation. The same is true for your triangle 3.
Here is my gut feeling on you Russ, and my gut feelings are usually right (and I say this knowing that I have supported your right to express your ideas without personally attacking you, and hope you do not think this is a personal attack as well). I think you have found that this triangle 3 works with younger less experienced teams and so therefore think it is good soccer. The problem, of course, is that younger less experienced teams have limited vision and range. You have mentioned that you have trained adult teams with this as well. All I can say is that they could not be of a very high level. The top state level teams by the U14 level can easily dissect this triangle 3 with quick ball movement and exploitation of space, of which you give away quite a bit by compacting your 3 defenders so closely together. A quick play down the flanks, after which I can just picture in my mind your 3 defenders running after the ball to form your triangle, and a quick cross to our weakside forward or wing player and it's a 1v1 to goal with the keeper. The Italians have come up with a much better way of defending in this situation.
But like I said, I really don't think I can change your mind, or anyone else for that matter. And since we already have too many post on this subject lately, it is time to move on.
I'll reserve future comments about triangles to the post on that subject.
I researched the Italian zonal system and this is what I understand:
O1 has ball
M is mids on defense
D is defenders playing defense
| O2 O3
| O1 M2
| D1 M4
| D2 D4
if O3 receives pass from O1... someone pressures ball (M2 or M4 are likely candidates. in this case we see double "coverage" because ball is more central. D1, D2 drop, D3 and D4 move up (piston motion).
goal is to make checkmark like defensive shape.
| M4 O4
| O1 M1 D4
| D1 D3
Alas, promises are made to be broken here. Actually, in your first diagram the triangle is flawed. The base of the triangle isn't "even", ie, the two players are at different depths. The defender to the right should move forward a bit to be level with the defender to the left. He'll have a larger impact then, and he'll restore a two-player offside line which is usually useful.
Flawed triangles come in several types. The base can be uneven. The triangle can be too flat or too steep. And the triangle can point the wrong way.
doublerunner, do you find that the sweeper sometimes has difficulty covering the width of the field in the back? Aren't there many moments where he's pulled to one side and the other is open? That's why I avoid having one player in the back, although it certainly frees up more players to attack.
Ah, there's quite a difference, Keith. The point of the triangle can't cover the entire width anymore than a sweeper can. But he doesn't have to. He has other teammates coming back to help, and he has two teammates to back him up as well. When the width isn't covered in the very back, a goal will usually be allowed.
But just for the sake of argument, let's suppose I am arguing "just for the sake of argument." I assume this means that I'm maintaining a particular viewpoint not because I believe in it but because I enjoy arguing? I'll have to add that as another choice on my next quiz about why I dialogue here, along with: 1) self promotion 2) insanity 3) altruism. To some degree, I probably do enjoy a good debate, pitting my opinions against other opinions, trying to meet halfway and remain civil, communicating, listening. I don't think it would be enjoyable, though, if I didn't really believe in what I was saying.
I NEVER want my two back players flat. I want vertical seperation to cover more space. If either player gets ball, they need a passing option, and the central players are more apt and pulling a one player trap, than getting two players to step up.
The few times my "back two" were flat led to some good scoring chances for the opponents. A good thru pass. indecision on who goes to ball on crosses, and the trap ae three seasons I suggest not playing flat in the back.
This is also why I am not a fan for th inverted triangle 3- two players flat in the back in my league is a defense we EXPLOIT. We look for it and attack it. It's easy to put a thru ball between defenders if 3 attackers can set it up, or a wall pass can do this with 2 players.
One additional benefit to staggering players in the back is when we gain possesion, the outside forward player will probably make a "run" to the ball and create space for a player checking back, giving two quick passing options to help keep possession.
It's very different when your team has possession rather than the other team. No need for the two defenders in the back to be flat at that point, and it violates the principle of effective positioning to provide support (impressive knowledge from my D course).
Why have two defenders level with each other in the back? Why create a two-player offside line? If one hangs back significantly behind the other, open space becomes available behind the other. And it's more difficult for the two of them to pull forward in unison in order to place an opponent in an offside position. Your point would perhaps be that if one hangs back behind the other, only he has to pull forward to create an offsides trap. If that's what you're saying, I'm cool with that idea also. Just not my way of doing things.
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