In the opening of this week’s podcast I describe an incident from one of my games last weekend. It’s a story that’s better heard than read.
This week’s question comes from Evan. He’s asking about formations.
“This high school girls soccer season has just begun where I live, and I coach a local JV team. As the JV coach, I view my job as one with two parts, soccer development and confidence building.
Normally, I have the girls play a 4-1-2-1-2, partly because it’s a simple enough formation for inexperienced players to understand (we are a no cut program), and also because the tactical knowledge translates well to the varsity system, so it feels helpful for swing players and girls who will play there next season.
This year, however, I have been blessed with a large group of freshmen who are technically and tactically superior to groups I’ve coached in the past. The problem is, they all think they play outside back or up front (there are some egos involved). And, after watching a few scrimmages and trying different setups, I think that they will have the most success in their natural positions.
So, my question is, should I change my system to say, a 4-1-2-3, to get all the players in what seem to be their natural positions, or should I stick to my old system and have the players learn something totally new?
If this were a U12 group, I wouldn’t have this issue, as I am a massive proponent of having players experience the game from different positions. It just feels like at this level, there might be value in adjusting my system to the players’ strengths. My first soccer objective, nonetheless, is to have the girls develop as soccer players, not just as goal scorers.”
Thanks for the question Evan!
I would change the formation to fit the players but I would look for games during the season that give you the opportunity to introduce your usual system since it’s one that they’ll see when the move to varsity. If you try to fit round pegs into square holes you risk losing the player’s enthusiasm and confidence.
When you have a game that you have control of at halftime I would consider changing the formation. I would be sure that it’s a no-risk situation where you can teach the concepts of your usual system without the players worrying about the result. After doing this a couple of times you’ll have the option of using one or the other depending on the situation and the players will be prepared to make the transition to the varsity system.
In This Episode
Today I want to talk about dealing with poor play and lack of effort. I’ve had this issue come up twice already this season so I’ve thought a lot about it. Today I’ll share how I decided to deal with it and whether it worked or not.
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I’m kind of taking my podcast topics as they come right now so I’m not sure what next week will bring. Tune in to find out.