3-2

LUSC: 6v6 Team Shape by Brendan Donahue

*While researching images for 3-2, I found this wonderful article from Brendan Donahue.  I emailed him and received his permission to re-publish it here.  Thanks Brendan!

This is an article to provide coaches a few options to consider. It is NOT intended to be a training session for young players.

 The transition from the 4v4 game with no goalies to the 6v6 game can be a bit overwhelming for players and coaches. It is the first time the goalkeeper is introduced as a member of the team and throw-ins and goal kicks are introduced to the game. All of these new facets of the game can make for a difficult transition for everyone involved. Although the technical development of the players MUST remain the priority of all coaches, it is helpful to understand various ways you can align your team. Please note these formations are something a coach should be aware of, but not spend a great deal of time focusing on. Please encourage players to cover spaces and not remain in a certain position!

Remember to rotate all players so they experience playing in different areas of the field!

Here are a few options to choose from and reasons why you might select to align your team in this fashion. I have inserted triangles to show how players should remain connected to one another. This includes the goalkeeper:

Option 1: K-2-2-1 (back to front)

2-2-1
2-2-1

This formation will allow you to maximize the width of the field, while still having a strong amount of cover at the back (notice the keeper should not be planted on his goal line). One area you’ll be conceding in this system will be the central midfield. This might not be the best option at the youngest age groups. The single player up top can become isolated from his/her teammates and the team may struggle to create goal scoring opportunities.

Option 2: K-2-1-2

2-1-2
2-1-2

If you choose to align your team in this fashion you’ll be in a good position to control the middle of the field, while conceding the space out wide. Defensively this is a better option for young players. They learn to remain compact and not get beat down the middle of the field. If they move as a group they’ll be able to limit the space for the opposition to attack through. However, it is difficult for players to learn to “widen out” and create space once they regain possession. This can be a good option to select if you are playing against a stronger opponent. You will also have closer support when one of the players up front receives the ball.

Option 3: K-3-2

Let’s examine this formation a bit closer!

3-2
3-2

This (K-3-2) would be my preferred playing style.   You have excellent cover at the back while having good numbers to control the middle of the field. One of the keys components, if you choose to align your team in this fashion, is that you encourage the flank players at the back to “attack the space” in front of them.

(Pictured Below).

3-2 Building from Back
3-2 Building from Back

“Building out of the back” (pictured right): Notice how when the right wing player attacks the space with the dribble that the two other players at the back slide over to protect the space at the back. One of the reasons I prefer having the additional player begin at the back is that young players are generally more comfortable when they can see the field in front of them. If you start players higher (K-2-3) up the field, the front players will spend a lot of the game facing their own goal.

3-2 Shape
3-2 Shape

Midfield or beyond (pictured right): When the team is in the opposing half of the field it is okay for the central defender to step into the attack if he is under no pressure, but the other players at the back should recognize this and “pinch in”. Please observe how the goalkeeper does not remain on the goal line, but instead moves toward the top of the penalty box to remain closer to his/her teammates. 

Opposition in possession (below):

3-2 poor shape
3-2 poor shape

In this picture you see an example of poor team shape! White is defending too much of the field and the players are “disconnected” from one another. It is important when the opposition is in possession of the ball that players learn to try to get “compact” and defend as a group.

 Proper Team Shape (Below):

3-2 proper shape
3-2 proper shape

(Pictured right) Notice how the white players limit the space for red to play through by remaining closer together or more “compact”. If the central defender steps closer to the oppositions forward, it will discourage the opponent to play into him. Observe how the keeper adjusts his/her position when the central defender moves forward. The two forwards (on white) should try to remain close to one another and begin to work as a group.

Ball on the flank (opponents’ possession):

White continues to remain “compact” by shifting to the “ball side”. This will limit the attackers’ options on the “near side” of the field. By remaining as a unit you will give the opposition far less open space to play through and create more opportunities for your players to regain possession.

Final thoughts:

Before deciding on “What system to play” or focusing on your team defending you must recognize that defensive success is first and foremost based on quality 1 vs. 1 defending. Getting pressure on the player with the ball is vital if the rest of the team is to carry out their defensive responsibilities. Only when this pressure takes place can the remainder of the players get “compact” and take away space from the attacking team.

Offensively, it is easier for young players to find space on the flanks. It is important that coaches encourage this in training by choosing exercises such as the Four Goal game. The exercises should allow the players to “discover” the answers for themselves without constant instruction from the coach.

Comments and feedback are always welcome at bdonahue@lexingtonunited.org

Brendan Donahue

Al-Pacino

Learning as a Soccer Coach: And you thought you were good

Biggest problem in professional development, no matter the profession, is an unwillingness to recognize that you can still improve.  Masking inadequacies with over-confidence is all too common.  It is a disease the infects all types of work, even soccer coaching.  As a coach, are you open to new ideas?  Are you considering how you can improve individually?  Are you willing to collaborate and share with others things you have learned and honestly ask for help in areas you know you are weak?

The last phrase is the kicker because if you do not know where your weaknesses are then you will improve at a snail’s pace.  Are you willing to self-evaluate?

I was reading a profile of Al Pacino (The New Yorker, Sept. 15, 2014, “Caught in the Act”) and one of Pacino’s comments struck me.  Comparing Pacino’s rise and success to Brando, the author quoted Pacino as follows:

I believe I have not reached my stride, which is why I persist.  The day I turn to you and say, ‘John, what I just did in this role was a real winner,’ I hope you’ll have the courage and decency to throw a wreath around my head, and then so very quietly and compassionately shoot me.

This is from an actor who has been nominated for 6 Academy Awards (winning one).  How great does he think he is?  How great do we think we are?  If you think you are, then you are done growing.   Are we “persisting?”

1107_gsoccer1 01

Lawsuit Seeks to change Heading Rules for Youth Soccer Players

1107_gsoccer1 01I always follow this theme – and have posted several times before – as there are not many activities in life that require you to bang your head into something else.  In soccer, the activity is unprotected.  I appreciate the efforts to add publicity to the risk of heading balls at young ages (or even older) and the risk of heading to concussions.  Ask yourself this:  how many things have you used your head to hit in the last 12 months?  Now, if your child plays soccer, how many have they?

Here is the article with information on the lawsuit.  This is a similar track to the football litigation.  The lawyers will go after the large entities, FIFA, potentially US Youth Soccer, etc., as they have proceeds to pay.  That is why you see them linking to FIFA in the suit.

Hopefully, this will continue to bring awareness.

Article regarding lawsuit

Blog topic regarding heading.

My prior posts on the issue:

February 28, 2014

June 11, 2013

March 8, 2013

May 9, 2012

 

Out-of-Town Tournaments Doubly Expensive for Traveling Teams

Here is one other issue I have.  Some clubs require out of town teams to schedule their overnight accommodations through a booking agency.  Hotels get placed on the list of available hotels by agreement of the Tournament Director and host club.  The club receives a percentage of the revenue from the traveling teams.  In many instances, the hotels and prices made available are not the cheapest options available.  And, since the only way to book a room is through the agency at set prices, parents cannot use websites like priceline or hotwire to secure cheaper options.  Oddly enough, the State Association (STYSA in the Houston area) has to approve the tournament and , vis a vis, approves of the practice.  So, why is this inequitable?

The reason is obvious.  The teams that are already spending more money to be at the tournament are being asked to spend more.  While staying overnight is not a requirement, it is a requirement to book through the club’s agency IF you do stay overnight.  Some tournaments have gone so far as have the team manager sign a sworn statement that his team has complied with penalties of forfeiture, expulsion, and preclusion from future events if the host club discovers the parents booked their rooms on their own.

Take Houston for example.  In a typical Houston tournament, 60% or more of the teams participating are from Houston and do not use the booking agency or stay overnight.  The other 40% or less are already incurring costs in travel and food.  But, to tax more costs on them, clubs are allowed to force them to purchase overpriced hotel rooms or risk exclusion.  So, the out of town teams, the ones that are traveling in many cases because they lack the competitive opportunities in their areas, are forced to shoulder a disproportionate share  of the fundraising fees.

Writing about youth soccer, player development, and the professional game.