Developing Your Style of Play Podcast Review
In this episode of Coaching Soccer Weekly, Tom Mura tackles the pivotal questions of how a coach can effectively develop their own style of play as well as how they can structure training sessions to support this style.
Style of Play vs System of Play
Mura first starts off by making sure that there is a clear understanding of the differences between a coach’s style of play and their system of play. A style of play is closely related to the principles you determine to be of greatest priority to you and your team’s success. This is vastly different from a system of play, which highlights the ways a team’s formations may be organized.
The first step needed in developing your style of play is to answer this question;
‘What is the goal of your team?’
Think about whether it is more important that your team consistently wins or that player abilities are developed further?
You may find that both areas are important to you as a coach, but do yourself a favour and set one of these as your primary goal and the other secondary. Distinguishing the difference between them will help you to better understand and identify the key principles that will define your style of play.
‘How would you like your game played, sir?’
Once you have determined what the most important goal for your team is, you can take the next step towards developing your style of play. Next you should consider how you like the game to be played. Do you prefer to attack and then quickly counter attack? Do you favour a series of crosses to open the field up and keep the ball moving? No matter your preference, by identifying how you like the game to be played, you can now begin to organize your team.
The organization of your team should highlight your priorities as a coach. Keeping your priorities clear will help make the development of your style of play easier to manage. This will also help as you communicate these principles to your players and assistant coaches.
Your System of Play
As you develop your style of play, begin to build formations, also known as a system of play, for your players to follow. Formations often make it easier for your players to follow your style of play and to feel confident moving about the field. Know that any formations you utilize can be adapted based upon the needs of your style of play. You may find yourself using multiple systems of play at the same time in order to adjust your offense and defence to meet the needs of the moment.
The final piece to developing your style of play is to help players to recognize the importance of each player’s role in a successful team. This will also help your team to recognize the responsibilities of each player can help them to develop unity amongst themselves. Since you have already identified what is most important to you and your team, the individual functioning of each position can be easily defined and understood by everyone.
If you are of the opinion that games are won by a strong defence, you will tailor your style of play towards that goal. Think that strong shots on goal are the only way to win games? Develop a dynamic offense to meet that need.
Training players doesn’t need to be a guessing game at all. With a firm understanding of what you style of play demands, you can focus each training session on only the skills that matter. Spending time on the key areas needed for success will make the time your players spend together more beneficial to their performance in games.
You should only focus on what you are going to play. This will build the necessary skills required for your style of play to function properly. Do what you can to make your practice areas mimic an actual game setting by whatever means necessary. The goal is to make your players feel confident and comfortable performing these plays with the hope that these targeted practices can translate to success on the field.
No matter your opinion on how the game of soccer should be played, it is of vital importance that you prioritize what is most important to you. Without a clear picture about what you are after and what you want your players to do, you will only provide an inconsistent message at best.
Remember that your style of play is the foundation for your team’s success.