Recently I have heard much in the way of what I would classify as "misinformation" regarding the readiness of youth players to learn tactical concepts like switching play. Switching play as a tactical concept ultimately comes down to recognizing space and making decisions based on that spatial awareness. Switching play doesn't mean crossing a long-ball forty/fifty yards from one side of the field to the other. It is about recognizing the space to see the opportunity of when space is condensed, versus when space is available and what to do in both of those situations. It is therefore an essential concept that can be taught to players of just about any age. Here is a session plan and key coaching points to match, all about spatial awareness and switching play!
After breaking onto the scene with FK Molde in 2018, Erling Haaland has had a quick rise to becoming one of the very best footballers on the planet now in 2021, at the tender age of twenty years old. This season the Norwegian striker has taken his game to new heights, scoring a remarkable thirty-two goals in twenty-eight matches across all competitions. He's particularly impressed in the UEFA Champions League, leading Dortmund into the Quarter Finals with ten goals in six matches so far. Here is a tactical analysis of one of the greatest phenoms in the history of the Bundesliga - Erling Haaland.
If you're a frequent visitor to this website, or a visitor at all, chances are you probably love to watch football. For years and years I watched football mainly for entertainment. But increasingly, as I've coached the game more and more, I've developed a love for watching football, not just for entertainment, but for intellectual reasons as well. Football is more similar to chess than most other sports, and like chess, there are so many different ways to get to a single correct outcome. Football is a game that involves a countless number of complex decisions within each and every second for the twenty-two players involved both on and off the ball. This is why I love watching football. If you've read any of our Tactical Analyses, you may be wondering how to watch football with that same tactical lens. So, this article will cover how to watch the beautiful game like a tactical analyst.
Marcelo Bielsa is one of the most fascinating managers in the world of football and is currently tearing it up in the Premier League with Leeds United. After earning promotion from the Championship to the top flight last season, Bielsa's side sit only 14th in the table. But the performances have been far better than the results and his side have achieved impressive performances and results against the likes of Arsenal, Man City and Aston Villa so far this season. Either way, the football that Leeds play can be described as genius, and simultaneously as one of our readers described it - madness. With that, here is a Tactical Analysis of Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds United and the impressive exploits his team have pulled off in the 2020-21 Premier League season.
With all the restrictions going on in the world of COVID-19 right now, small group training sessions are becoming more and more common-place, as coaches are forced to split their groups into smaller numbers. Here is a session plan all about scanning & spatial awareness for 4 players.
It's practically undeniable that a striker's number one role in a team is to score goals. But the actual art of scoring goals is so much more complex than many think. It comes down to far more than just finishing ability and instinct. Movement, particularly movement done off the ball, is so important to a striker's ability to score goals. The very best are masters of the art. Some are incredibly adept when it comes to movement in deep and linking up play with others lower on the field. But this article will explore those that are particularly adept at timing their runs into the box to perfection and scoring goals from their stellar movement off the ball. Here are 7 different movement patterns the world's best strikers often use in games to score goal after goal, game after game.
Although they should be considered completely different topics, coaches often link passing and moving together as items that need to be improved together. As every youth coach of ages 4-10 has found out, players in the initial stages of their soccer development often have trouble "spreading out" and understanding basic concepts of passing and moving. So with that, here is a session plan from The Mastermind Site all about passing and moving for ages 6-10!
The popularity of switching play as a tactical concept has long been a dominating strategy in the world of football. Its popularity is exemplified by the many different forms and names it has taken on over the years such as changing the point of attack or playing across the direct game channels. Even at the younger ages, switching play can be an essential tactic to deploy with any team. Concepts like maintaining width, crossing, and shifting the ball from left to right are universal to the sport, regardless of age.
All of the best professional teams in the world have attack-minded fullbacks deeply rooted into their system and style of play. The likes of Liverpool have achieved much success with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson bombing down their respective sides from their positions as fullbacks. Between the two of them, they've assisted 42 goals in the last two Premier League seasons, breaking records left and right as Liverpool have completely dominated the league. But it's not just Liverpool. The growing importance of fullbacks further up the field has been one of the most popular revolutions of the modern game and it is no longer just the very best of the best that deploy these types of players. Defenders at the youth level often see themselves as only defenders. They tend to believe that there is an imaginary line that they simply cannot cross. But this is not the case! Fullbacks can make a massive difference to the attacking prowess of a team and if our youth teams are to achieve greater attacking success, the fullbacks need to be more heavily involved. This session plan provides coaches with an opportunity to start to develop that attacking-mindset in fullbacks.
All of the best professional clubs in the world have some clearly defined method of combination play in the final-third of the pitch. Although our youth teams might never be able to achieve the attacking flair of Borussia Dortmund or Liverpool, working hard on the training ground on Combination Play can still be tremendously helpful in the quest for greater attacking prowess.