The Process Of Winning
Every team has its strengths and it’s weaknesses and every coach should be aware of these, even more so than the opponent, being aware of what areas can be exposed and which areas can be leaned upon in order to gain success. When organising a side to play in a game a coach must first analyse his/her own team, as well as the opponents strengths and weaknesses.
Organising teams can be a long and complexed task, as well as an ever changing task, having to adjust and adapt to on going scenarios and ensuring that the opposition isn’t countering the adjustments you have made, in effect the game of football can be seen as a giant came of cards. However I have seen a growing trend of coaches who are dealing with the problem they see, and not with the source of the problem.
I have seen very clear examples of this, teams who struggle to deal with the ball tend to worry about the initial header, and the covering and supporting of the initial header, than actually looking at the long ball and working out how that ball can be cut out.
This leads on to forcing opponents to do things they don’t want to do, a team that play long and direct probably have a physical presence in the final third that can cause problems to centre backs but don’t have the players who are technically able to play out from the back, so why not encourage them to play out from the back, giving away easy possession, but preventing the direct ball that your team fears.
This idea protects both your weaknesses as a team, and nullifies the opponents ability to play to their strengths.
If the opponent is using high wide players that are using the space in behind, why stay high and press the ball as team? Why not part press? Why not protect the space in behind by dropping deep and encouraging the wide player to play in a compact area, whilst still trying to prevent the initial pass by pressing the player the opposite way. Now every action has a reaction but it is vital that coaches understand the importance of playing to their strengths whilst minimising the opponents ability to play to theirs.
These are just simple tactical duals that I have seen neglected, by coaches who are determined to stick to a strategy that just needs tweaking, planning and adaptive planning can make a huge difference.