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Walrus

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Reply with quote  #1 

Hoping for some newer opinions on this as i searched the forum for some older options.  Ive been given the U18 boys to coach this year by our club.  Good news is, they are a very good team.  Bad news is, the are moving up to the top division possible for their age and are NOT at the same level as their opponents.  Our season doesn't start until early May, so i have some time to work a few things out.  

Here is the basics.  They finished 2nd in their division (think of it as coming 2nd in the championship league) and now they move up to the top league (think of it as moving to the Premiership).  We basically have the same team but have added 3 players that are very good but as mentioned we are not at the same level as 1 of our competitors.  What i don't want is to get blown out every game, because that will quickly discourage these boys and it will make for a long season.  Id like to be competitive, draw and even losing 3-0 or so realistically isn't that bad.  So of course one of my issues is FORMATION!.  Was thinking 4-2-3-1, as that might be the best way of being compact at the back while still threatening offensively.  Was even thinking of dropping our entire team behind center when the ball goes to our opponents keeper for fear opponents might tick tack pass through our team and send a through ball through our back 4 and score.  Was thinking if we are all behind center maybe defending in a  4-4-2 for 4-5-1 style maybe we can catch teams on the counter.  All options are more than welcomed.  Maybe some of you have been in this position before and can help?  Thanks in advance

mbiyenm

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Reply with quote  #2 
There are several ways to approach the issue.
What would your formation look like when you pick the 11 best players?  Then you practice team work.
coachkev

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Reply with quote  #3 

Its the same process no matter the age:
Assess your players strengths and weaknesses
Are they fast or take their time?
Can they pass well or do they play more direct?

Once thats done THEN you add in the psychological factor
i.e. How do they handle going a goal down, a more talented opponent, even winning?
THEN you look at a system of play that uses those abilities the best and 'sell' this to the players and then practice practice practice

I've always looked for the Spine of the 7 best players in your opinion, occupying the following positons:

             LCB             LM            STRIKER

GK

             RCB             RM           STRIKER

The other players can play anyway really, as long as these 7 positions are covered
Most formations can be achieved by this 'spine'

Walrus

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Reply with quote  #4 
Kev thanks for the advice.  Im a little surprised that in the midfield you wouldn't go with a strong CM and not worry so much about the LM and RM since the outside of the field is somewhat covered already by our LCB and RCB already
Walrus

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Reply with quote  #5 
Sorry, that should say, the outside is already covered by the outside backs who will get up in the play not the CBS
BobC

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Reply with quote  #6 
Walt, Kev has it right, you want your strongest players up the middle. Maybe don't think so much of specific positions; think three vertical channels. Whatever formation you use, you want your strongest players in the central channel, putting a high priority on the back line. Your center backs should be two of your fastest & most athletic players. If you are only playing three across the back, then this goes for all three of them.

They need to be able to defend aggressively, and on offense they need to be able to build from the back. If the competition is as good as you suspect, your center back(s) are going to get a lot of action and hopefully a lot of touches. A key to your team having success is all of your back line players having good passing & distributing skills. Play a lot of what I call "offense vs. defense" which is your keeper, back line and two or three mids defending the full-size goal and attacking two small goals at midfield; the other players doing the opposite. Start play with a keeper distribution. This will give your back players lots of reps in building from the back. Be ready to give tips to help them with their decisions, both on and off the ball.

This will also give your attacking players lots of chances to work on things to break down what will hopefully be a very organized defense (your players), as they will most likely be seeing a lot of this from the teams you play. Skill-building activities and other tactical games would be good too, but the activity above will give your players a lot of valuable training experience, and give you a chance to see them perform in a match-like setting.

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When a flower doesn't bloom, fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower

Walrus

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Reply with quote  #7 
Bob.  Thanks for the input and options.  Much appreciated.  I need to defiantly go with 4 at the back.  My two CB  are solid and the 2 outside backs can defend well but are very offensive minded and i know they will get in on attack.   It's more the midfield/forwards that im worried about.  Was thinking some type of 4-1-4-1 as well as that would keep the middle of the core strong?
coachkev

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Reply with quote  #8 

Be careful about selecting a Central Defensive Midfielder (or screen)
It can be ruined if the 4 in front all go attacking and leaving the CDM exposed to a 2v1
It ALL depends on the players strengths and weaknesses

Keeping the 'Spine' going means the two in the midfield have to possess both qualities of creativity AND ruthlessness when challenging.
If you have creative players being the first to challenge when possession is lost, then you will have a better chance of success
So I tend to fluctuate between a flexible 4231 and a 4312 depending on variables such as:

* Current score
* Speed of opponents
* Current environment
* Physical strengths/weaknesses of own team
* Current attitude/psychological aspect of players
* Is the current Game Plan working? or do we need Plan B?

 

Walrus

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Reply with quote  #9 
Thanks for the advice Kev.  Im assuming your 4-3-1-2 would basically be a diamond midfield, or do you personally play it differently?
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