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Systems of play

Soccer Systems of Play

Choosing a system of play and game strategy is the most important and often the first decision a coach must make for the team. There are two main philosophies and both have their benefits. See below the pro's & con's of each!

About Our Soccer Systems of Play Book

The idea for this book quite frankly came from feedback we received from our website, Coaches sent us e-mails asking questions as basic as:

"I have never coached full field; how do I line up my team?" or "I am playing a 3-5-2 and am concerned about my defense; any advice?"

So we did some research in the libraries and on the web to see why coaches were coming to us with these questions. What we found was astonishing. There were either very in-depth resources such as entire books or videos on one system, such as a 4-4-2, or videos and books on zonal play. At the other end, we found very superficial information on systems of play.

What was missing was a single source of information that covered current systems of play and gave some basic information about them. Nor was there much information for coaches on what the team requirements are, what the coaching requirements are and how to adapt strategies based on game situations and the opponents.

So we set out to define the most common systems of play for full field soccer (11v11), and small-sided soccer (indoor 6v6 and outdoor 8v8). Each system and its variations are explained on a single page and a second page shows the basic line-up, typical defensive, transitional and attacking situations, including positions and development of plays.

This book is not meant to treat each system in great depth. Rather it is designed to give the coach a tool firstly to decide which system to pick for the team and then provide enough information to get started and adapt.

The practices and drills in our Print & Go Practice Books available at are adaptable to practice for any system.

Our Philosophy

Choosing a system of play and game strategy is the most important and often the first decision a coach must make for the team. There are two main philosophies:

1. The coach insists on a particular system and recruits players who fit that system, or trains available players to conform.
2. The coach evaluates the players and their talent, the opposition, and then picks a system that is best suited for the team available.

Both philosophies are valid. What is important is to recognize the particular situation and choose the appropriate philosophy. For example, in situations with a short pre-season and little or no recruiting, philosophy # 2 is more appropriate. On the other hand, with a long pre-season and the ability to recruit prior to training camp, philosophy # 1 is appropriate.

The idea for Print & Go Practices came from the recognition that something was missing for soccer coaches amongst all the training materials and resources available.

Most soccer coaching resources have lots of soccer practice drills but do not to put them into an effective and entertaining practice plan. We've done that for you and ensured that our soccer practices work by testing them with real teams.

What about the next soccer practice? What about a season plan? What about the team need and focus? Fitness training: yes or no? During soccer practice or separate sessions? Scrimmages? Speed and mental training? Where are the soccer specific drills for that? How about flexibility and stretching exercises? Any difference between age groups?

You will find these questions answered comprehensively only in our soccer practice plans.

We have a tool to develop hundreds of additional soccer practice plans. You decide on a focus for the season and a theme for the practice and combine the drills to make it happen. If you want to run a practice involving more passing, use exercises with passing themes. Or sequence warm-up-technical-technical-tactical-scrimmage.

The printed material is supplemented by pictures of soccer specific stretches and soccer moves and by the soccer tips published.

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