Door 13: It’s a game of position, not possession

Today we have already reached the halfway point of this year’s advent calendar.

Therefore, I thought it would be a good idea to present a few basic game forms that can be used to introduce basic principles of positional play to players of all levels.

For this purpose, I would like to present two trainings that are in the group tactical area and one somewhat larger one where one can make the connection to 11 vs. 11.

Training idea 1: 4 vs. 4 + 3

The 4vs4+3 is probably the best way to train positional play. Nearly all major clubs use this exercise regularly. In the following, I will
highlight the numerous implicit and explicit coaching points of this form, with a deliberate focus on the offensive aspects of this coaching method, as these are the more important ones if you want to develop a functional positional play offense.

The structure of the 4vs4+3 is quite simple. Two teams of four play in a rectangle to keep the ball. For this purpose, three neutral players support the respective team in possession of the ball, so that a continuous 7vs4 outnumbering situation is created. The three neutrals are positioned at the two ends of the field and one in the centre. The field dimensions are of course to be adapted to the player’s level (I do use 22 x 11 or 24 x 12).

Implicit Coaching Points

– Attract pressure to overplay (Attract on the inside – overplay on the outside // Attract on the outside – overplay on the inside)

–  Quick orientation, positioning & Gegenpressing after losing the ball

– Time your pass right – “When are the passing lanes open for a successful shift?”

– Looking for target player

– Playing into depth / support after playing deep

Explicit Coaching points

– “Open body position”

– “First look – deep”

– “Provide support after playing into depth”

Training idea 2: 3rd men principle FCB

The second exercise I would like to present today also combines the elements of possession/combination play with opponent pressure and various defensive aspects, such as Counter-Pressing. This exercise, too, finds its application, in the most diverse variations, throughout the football world.

Could a gap be created between the defenders through dribbling or clever positioning of the offensive players, the goal was to find the target player and pass through him into the other half.

Implicit Coaching Points

– Attract pressure to overplay

– Time your pass right – “When are the passing lanes open for a successful shift?”

– Looking for target player

– Playing into depth

– Using “Third man principle” to progress the ball

Explicit Coaching Points remain the same

– “Open body position”

– “First look – deep”

– “Provide support after playing into depth”

Training idea 3: Final Training Game DB

One of the most important questions to ask yourself as a trainer when planning your week is the following:

How can I best prepare for the upcoming opponent with all of his strengths and weaknesses, but at the same time preserve my principles and develop my players holistically?

First of all, it has to be said that this of course depends very much on the degree of my professionalism. In lower leagues, there is often little to no information about the opponent’s playing style. In addition, the focus there – due to time constraints – should be on fun and game forms.

The same applies to the youth sector, of course.

Basically, in my opinion, you should always try to play every game within your own principles and just adapt to your opponents in a way that you can exploit thear weaknesses with

Furthermore, adaptations are of course also related in the professional field to the respective preparation time for the match and the general training time in the respective week.

In this form of play, I can simultaneously preserve my principles, but within them consciously play to the opponents‘ weaknesses and thwart their strengths.

Red plays on the big goal and can, for example:

  • Resemble the opponent in the basic formation
  • Play with one or two players in the front line?
  • Start their press higher or lower

In this way, I can already introduce certain game situations in game forms and at the same time preserve my own principles.

Reward specific actions

For example, I found out that my opponent has weaknesses when counterattacking from the far half after losing the ball.

If the white team now manages to play through the blue goal on the far side of the ball, they receive two points (compared to one point if they play through the blue goal on their side).

If they succeed in finishing after this shift to the other goal, they even receive 3 points for the entire action.

The basic idea here is very simple and the options are endless. Nevertheless, it allows me to introduce different aspects of the opponent close to the game and to show sensible options for action, which my players can orientate themselves on (and rub against!).

Über Daniel Bähr

Verfechter des Juego de Posicion, Marcelo Bielsa & radikalem Offensivfussball. Ansonsten Literatur, Philosophie & Studium in Mannheim.
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