8v8 (U9 – U11)
With fewer players more touches on the ball. Also means that players must perform offensive and defensive duties more regularly.
Improving technique is the main aim of these age groups.
The 2 systems we want all of our teams to play in 8v8 are 1-3-3-1 or 1-2-3-2.
- 3 defenders evenly spaced across the back
- Central defender assumes responsibility of last defender
- 1 central midfielder, who when defending marks oncoming attackers and when attacking plays behind forward.
- 2 wide midfielders, who join the attack when going forward.
- 1 forward, who must play on side of the ball.
- Lots of cover at the back
- Wide Midfielders can get forward to support forward
- Natural transition to 1-4-4-2
- Allows the forward to play on one side and combine with the midfield.
- Allows for overlapping attacks from the fullbacks.
- Forward is often isolated at the younger ages as midfielders and defenders struggle to transition forward quickly
- 2 central defenders, one pressures, the other covers.
- 1 central midfielder, who marks oncoming attackers in the defence and plays as a holding midfielder when the team is attacking.
- 2 wide midfielders, who drop back to play in a back four when defending, but who push on as wingers when attacking.
- 2 forwards, who must play as a pair.
- Allows two forwards to support and play off each other
- Stresses importance of pressure/cover at the back
- Natural transition to a 1-3-4-3
- Emphasises transition and the tactical awareness of this.
- Requires wingers to cover back a lot.
- Very demanding on the players
- Considerable demand of vision and communication required
- Good understanding of zonal defence is mandatory.
- Vulnerable at the back
11v11 (U12 onwards)
For the most part we would like our teams to use either 1-4-4-2 or 1-4-3-3. We have included 1-3-5-2 as an additional formation that can be used.
- Midfielders and defenders able to cover width of the field on both attack and defence.
- Players able to play in pairs all over field (LB with LM, CF with CF, etc)
- Easy for interplay between forwards.
- Back four covers width in best way and full-backs can push on still leaving coverage at the back.
- Forward always has close support.
- Can manoeuvre between formations with ease.
- Slower to launch counter attack than other formations
- Less triangles to support teammates
- Diamond midfield (attacking and defensive central midfielder)
- Flat back four or sweeper stopper.
- Out and out wingers with two defensive midfielders
- One withdrawn forward
- Natural triangles across field make for good passing combinations
- Good balance in defence and attack with good spread of players.
- More attacking than 1-4-4-2 with 3 attackers
- Can easily manoeuvre into a 1-4-4-2 or 1-4-5-1.
- Good counter attacking formation.
- Vulnerable in midfield.
- No wing (depending on how you set-up)
- Centre forward can become isolated when ball is switched to wide players.
- Can be outnumbered in midfield if those players play wide (better option to play with 2 of 3 forwards wide).
- Width can come from 2 wide forwards (out and out wingers), or wide midfielders
- One withdrawn forward, which makes it a 1-4-4-2
- Two wingers drop deeper, making it 1-4-5-1
- Transition to offence quickly
- Can control midfield with more ease
- 3 central defenders gives you good cover in the center.
- Works well if you have a defensive midfielder, who can cover middle when central defender is pulled wide.
- Can be exposed on wings in defence
- Very high work rate required from Wing players.
- If not performed well can leak goals easily.
- Need very specific players to play this formation.
- Sweeper behind 2 defenders.
- 3 central midfielders can be adjusted in many ways.
- Defensive midfielder dropping into central defence
- Centre backs defending wide areas, or pull wingers back
- Wingbacks, or out and out wingers? With wingbacks it is theoretically a 1-5-3-2.