At our end of year conference in December, we mentioned and highlighted the fact that the new FFA coaching scheme these days does not appear to mention the 'Principles of Play'  under the format we taught on courses over many years.

From my own personal point of view, I was introduced to coaching through the Principles, have coached for many years- 38 years actually- through the Principles and today still attempt to solve problems on the training ground via the Principles.

So what are these Principles of Play???

At some point, in the near future, we will devote an AFCAT practical session  to show and attempt to explain these Principles but in the meantime, this is the written procedure we followed and may I say, still very much has a place in today's modern game when attempting to pass on knowledge to players in whatever system of play they may be lined up, in order to solve problems posed by opponents.

There are basically 5 Principles of Attack and 5 Principles of Defence

ATTACKING PRINCIPLES- Ball Possession or BP in today's terms

PENETRATION...DEPTH or SUPPORT...MOBILITY...WIDTH...IMPROVISATION

DEFENSIVE PRINCIPLES- Non Ball Possession or BPO in today's terms

DELAY...DEPTH or SUPPORT...BALANCE...CONCENTRATION...CONTROL/ RESTRAINT

 

Let's first take a  look at ATTACKING PRINCIPLES. We will look at the DEFENSIVE PRINCIPLES at a later time.

 

PENETRATION

 

  1. THE FIRST ATTACKER( BALL CARRIER) ATTACKS THE SPACE IN FRONT  OF HIMSELF/ HERSELF BY EITHER

 

a) SHOOTING

b) TAKING ON THE DEFENDER BY DRIBBLING/ RUNNING WITH THE BALL

c) PUTTING THE BALL AND SUPPORT ( 2nd Attacker) SIMULTANEOUSLY INTO THE SPACE BEHIND THE DEFENDERS ie THRU PASS

d) PUTTING THE BALL AND SELF SIMULTANEOUSLY INTO THE SPACE BEHIND THE DEFENDERS BY MEANS OF A COMBINATION PLAY ie WALL PASS

e) LOOK TO RUN AT ANGLES

 

2) IF NECESSARY CREATES SPACE BEHIND THE DEFENDERS BY

a) COMMITTING THE DEFENDER TO CHALLENGE

b) ENTICING THE DEFENDERS FORWARD AND CREATING SPACE IN BEHIND HIM/HER, THEN TAKING ON THE DEFENDER

c) PUTTING THE BALL AND SUPPORT (2nd ATTACKER) SIMULTANEOUSLY INTO THE SPACE BEHIND THE DEFENDER

d) PUTTING THE BALL AND SELF SIMULTANEOUSLY INTO THE SPACE BEHIND THE DEFENDER BY MEANS OF A RETURN PASS

 

3) KEEP POSSESSION BY:

a) KEEP THE BALL MOVING AND AWAY FROM THE OPPONENTS TACKLING RANGE

b) TAKING THE BALL AWAY FROM THE DEFENDERS FEET WITH THEIR FIRST TOUCH

c) MOVE THE BALL INTO SPACE

 

DEPTH/ SUPPORT

  1. THE 2nd ATTACKER/ SUPPORTING ATTACKERS( other players around the ball) HELPS THE PLAYER ON THE BALL BY:

a) SUPPORTING AT VARIOUS DISTANCES IN THE 1st ATTACKERS VISUAL FIELD and POSSIBLY SIDE ON

b) SUPPORTING ATTACKERS MUST GIVE BALL CARRIER A GOOD ANGLE AND A CLEAR LINE( Passing Lane) TO RECEIVE A PASS. LOOKS TO RECEIVE A PASS WITH A BODY SHAPE THAT ALLOWS FORWARD PLAY WITH THEIR FIRST TOUCH WHENEVER POSSIBLE

c) WHEN 1st ATTACKER( Ball Carrier) TAKES ON A DEFENDER, SUPPORTING ATTACKERS HELP BY MOVING AWAY( this forces 2nd defenders to move away; 2nd defenders have to compromise between covering 1st defender and covering movements of supporting attackers)

d) SUPPORTING ATTACKERS COMMUNICATE WITH 1st ATTACKER and EACH OTHER

e) SUPPORTING ATTACKERS CREATE AS MANY OPTIONS AS POSSIBLE BY TAKING UP POSITIONS WHERE THE BALL CAN BE RECEIVED and PLAYED FORWARD

 

MOBILITY

  1. THIRD ATTACKERS( other attackers away from the immediate playing area) HELP THE TEAM BY

a) MAKING RUNS ON THE BLIND SIDE OF OPPONENTS IF THEY WANT TO RECEIVE THE BALL

b) MAKING RUNS IN FRONT OF DEFENDERS TO MOVE THEM AND CREATE SPACE FOR OTHER TEAM MEMBERS TO RECEIVE THE BALL

c) ATTACKS THE SPACE BEHIND DEFENDERS WITHOUT THE BALL( late or early runs)

2) THESE ATTACKERS RUN AWAY FROM DEFENDERS AND/OR THE BALL SO THAT

a) IF DEFENDER GOES WITH 3rd ATTACKER A SPACE IS CREATED

b) IF DEFENDER DOES NOT MOVE 3rd ATTACKER IS FREE TO RECEIVE PASS

c) THE OPPOSING DEFENCE IS DISTURBED/ DISRUPTED/ UNBALANCED

d) COMES FROM BEHIND WHERE THEY ARE INITIALLY UNMARKED or POORLY MARKED TO ATTACK THE BACK OF THE DEFENCE

e) CALLS or MAKES SILENT RUNS

f) RUNS NOT REWARDED WITH THE BALL ARE AS ESSENTIAL AS RUNS WHICH RECEIVE THE BALL; BOTH RUNS MUST BE ENCOURAGED FOR THE GOOD OF THE TEAM

g) CREATE AS MANY OPTIONS AS POSSIBLE SO THAT THE DEFENDER'S "BALANCE" IS DESTROYED

h) COMMITS THE LAST DEFENDER BY ATTACKING HIM/HER AND RUNNING PAST

i)ALWAYS LOOKING TO INTERCHANGE, TO DISRUPT DEFENDERS

TIMING OF RUNS ARE VITAL, PARTICULARLY IN FRONT THIRD, TO AVOID OFFSIDE

 

WIDTH

a) BY MAINTAINING WIDTH, DEFENDERS CAN BE PULLED OUT OF COVERING POSITIONS CREATING SPACES BETWEEN WHICH DEFENDERS  CAN THEN BE EXPLOITED BY OTHER ATTACKERS

b) IF DEFENDERS STAY COMPACT THEN WIDE PLAYERS CAN RECEIVE PASSES IN AREAS THEY CAN EXPLOIT  WITH DRIBBLING MOVEMENTS INTO THE PENALTY BOX OR DANGEROUS CROSSES INTO GOAL SCORING POSITIONS

c) BY MAINTAINING WIDTH ATTACKERS CAN GET OUTSIDE OF DEFENDERS VISION CAUSING FURTHER ISSUES FOR DEFENDERS TO COPE WITH

 

IMPROVISATION/ CREATIVITY

I DO NOT BELIEVE THIS CAN BE COACHED. RATHER COACHES NEED TO CREATE THE ENVIROMENT AT TRAINING AND ENCOURAGE PLAYERS TO DO THE UNEXPECTED- A BICYCLE KICK TO A CROSS GOING IN BEHIND AN ATTACKER, A BACK HEAL TO A SUPPORTING PLAYER or A LOOK AWAY PASS. HAVE YOUR PLAYERS READY IN THE FRONT THIRD TO EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED.

 

THE PRINCIPLES of PLAY HAVE REMAINED CONSTANT AS THE GAME HAS GONE THROUGH MANY CHANGES WITH PLAYING STYLES, FORMATIONS and PHILOSOPHIES. FOLLOW THEM AND YOU AND YOUR PLAYERS WILL REAP THE BENEFITS. DISREGARD THEM AT YOUR PERIL.

WILL BE BACK AT A LATER DATE WITH THE PRINCIPLES of DEFENCE.