Club Style of Play
The game is forever changing at the top level but if we are aiming to maximize a players full potential we have to start with the highest level in mind. There are key trends that are happening at the elite level which will allow us to predict the future and build our Learning Objectives and style of play around that. As coaches we must move with this otherwise we are spending years preparing players for something that is no longer relevant. The core principles of the game are the same as they were decades ago, however, the increase in resources, education and athleticism has influenced specific changes.
Developing the Player Video
Quick Transition to Attack and get into possession
Look Forward / Play Forward
Patient to create advantage to attack with numbers
Control match tempo and rhythm through possession (Patience)
Create & Recognize advantages/opportunities to penetrate always having options ahead of the ball
Play from the back when possible, having knowledge of why we shift, press how to play against various systems and all pressing styles
Play with width and depth
Trade spaces through interchange and rotation
Have knowledge of how to drag opponents out of all defensive shapes
Be comfortable receiving under pressure
Recognise where the spaces are
Trust each other to play out of pressure
We want our players to be able to outplay opponents 1v1 from a young age so developing the skills that will allow that is high on our priority list.
In order for our players to outplay 1v1, the club have designed the following 1v1 scale. Every player is at different stages of the scale at different times and it is the coaches job to understand where the player is and what the player needs at any given time.
Below are some significant factors we look at:
Without the ball, heat maps show teams at the elite level are defending on average 12 yards deeper than in 2009. There are much longer defending phases on average and Average ball recovery is much deeper. Teams block the center of the field faster, and in a more organised and compact way than ever before. Due to factors such as an increase in athleticism and more organised coaching, players recover behind the ball faster and are more compact and organised than ever before. A top player has to be able to play in tight spaces.
There are generally three defensive blocks that an opposition can be in, regardless of the system or formation, High Medium and low block. Watch any Premier League, international or Champions League game to see this. To further the point of creating players who can play in tight areas and in chaos, look at the best or most expensive players currently in world football: Ronaldo, Pogba, Salah, Kevin De Bruyne. Our style of play is built around the four ‘moments’ of the game.
1. In Possession / 2.Out of Possession / 3.Counter Attack / 4.Counter Defend
Out of Possession
· Minimize space between lines- compact within our ‘Block’
· Highly active defending – fundamental 1v1 & group defending
· Quick pressure in transition with numbers out of possession play
· Reorganize behind the ball
· Contain and direct play to key areas of the field to dispossess
· Be aggressive to create mistakes but be under control
· Stay focused on the details of your job for the team and communicate effectively.
We understand that Every player is different. If a player comes to us at U8 he/she could have over ten years with us. This weekend is not the concern.
The curriculum we have follows specific guidelines. We don’t believe in lines, laps or passing to cones. When Gareth Southgate spoke about the England DNA program he said “whether a player is 6 years old or 36 years old, they don’t particularly want to stand around for too long and have a coach talking and talking and talking. The messages need to be concise, the training sessions need to be enjoyable and within that learning can take place. The time on the grass, we have an hour or an hour and 20 minutes. Lets maximize it and have the ball out for as much as possible”. We follow this belief and want to maximize quality touches on the ball in realistic game situations from the start.
A coaches accessibility and receptiveness can strongly influence a player’s decision to connect with you. You should take the lead and not wait for players to approach you first. A coach can be intimidating. When you step forward and initiate conversation, Our coaches show they care and the impact is greater.
ALWAYS USE NAMES
Really simple principle. When players arrive at any game or session, we greet them with eye contact, a smile and ‘good morning/afternoon (first name)’. It lets our players know we are happy they are there and is a positive way to start the activity.
TAKE A GENUINE INTEREST
A key way to lay the foundations is to take a genuine interest in the player. It can be as simple as asking about family life and then remembering things that are important to them. LISTEN to the answers. Honesty, trustworthy and openness are great traits to have – although they are rare in football!.
We look for positive things to say on a daily basis. No matter how outgoing they are, a lot of players suffer from confidence on a daily basis. It’s an alpha male environment, a survival of the fittest and it breeds a lot of insecurity and uncertainty. a players daily job is to wear the mask and not show feelings or weakness.Whilst constructive criticism has its place, it’s done in a manner that does not offend the player.
HAVE SOME FUN
We personally try to start all sessions off with a fun warm up which changes on a daily basis. Training can become monotonous and the best environments are full of laughs and smiles at the right times. If a player likes being there he/she will commit more to it.
MIX UP ROUTINES
When we are in our comfort zone we tend to do things that are easy and cause little friction. When you mix things up, you force yourself to use the skills of old fashioned relationship building. Spend time in different environments and settings. We have an open training policy and strongly encourage players to train with different genders and age groups for additional training.
Coaches are programmed to lecture and dictate – it is habit. Players love to share their experiences of the game and their opinions when you ask.Our coaches understand this and are always on hand to listen to our players.
It takes a long time to build but a short time to lose. It is related that 50% of relationships falter due to trust failure. Consistency is key here. Players need to know they can count on us to reward them at the right times but also we will clamp down when we need to make them accountable, from this, trust builds. Mauricio Pochettino says ‘deep down, players do not want lunatics running the asylum. They want order.’ You lose trust by telling positive things all the time.
We encourage, promote and stimulate players to invest in themselves away from training. The player has to have the self-sacrifice and self-motivation to do so alone. Our coaches spark this through video, encouraging development areas, having role models to aspire to, etc. The best players never stop learning and developing. Phillipe Coutinho was interviewed and spoke about how he spends time studying Ronaldinho on Youtube to watch how he simulates his use of his shoulders and hips to outplay opponents with the defender in front. Bear in mind that this is a Champions League player who is an international and worth over £120m.
Players should be watching the games from a tactical point of view. All young players should have a role model in their POSITION that matches their IDENTITY.
Each week leading up to a game, after the final day of training Players receive ‘Team Setups’ with Video Analysis. like the one below: