Our team, being new, is less experienced at playing together. To work together it will be very helpful if we speak the same language. So, here we go! This is a basic guide, meant to build on the Hampton Friendly.
Center Mid Center Mid
Fullback Center Def Center Def Fullback
The first thing to know about formations is that the team on the field never looks like the example picture, because there is no ball or opponent in the picture. The picture is a reference point for understanding generally where you play, where everyone else plays (think of it as where you can look for help), and where you should try to get back to after the ball and opponents have made you move. Moving is the right thing to do, you just have to move back afterward.
The above is often called a 4-3-3, but sometimes called a 4-5-1.
Numbers are not important, how the players relate to each other is the key.
Notice for instance that the Def (defensive) MId plays generally behind the 2 Center Mids, forming a triangle. And that they all 3 play in the middle, again for instance and without considering the ball and opponents.
- Her job is to score. This is difficult, requires patience, and very short bursts of very hard work. The striker generally plays on the oppositte post from the side the ball is on, so she can see the goal and the ball. Everytime she touches the ball, it should be a shot if she has positioned herself properly.
- Run and then run some more. If we have the ball (we are "in possession") and the ball is on the oppositte side, she drifts into the middle. If the ball is on her side, she tries to find space wide and forward so we can pass her the ball. When she gets the ball, she attacks the goal. On defense, she runs back and she comes inside to the first player on the other team, and marks her.
- Looks to pass the ball forward, and/or wide. Shoots when she can. Comes back on defense and helps out.
- Keeps the ball in front of her, forces it toward goal. Keeps the Center Mids organized so she has someone to pass to. On goal kicks and punts from the opposition GK she never ever lets the ball go over her head and reach the defenders: this is a point of honor.
A classic DMid play is to make a short pass forward to a Center Mid, use the time without the ball to get her head up and pick out which Wing or Striker is open, and have the Center MId pass the ball back to her so she can one touch long pass it into attack. This is not easy but is not impossible, and is devastating as it bypasses the crowd of players trying to take the ball.
- Helps out. When we have the ball they press forward to the midfiled line, and even beyond if the ball is on their side and they can be useful in the attack. When we do not have the ball they play defense even with the sides of the 18 yard box, which will tend to funnel the ball wide, where it is less dangerous. If the ball comes up the middle, they slide behind the Center Def to help out.
- clears the ball. They work as a pair to stay between the ball and the goal, and when they get the ball they try to quickly get it away from the scary 18 yard box. They look for the Wings, who have come back to provide an outlet: try not to pass it right back up the middle of the field, as that is where most of the opposing players will have gathered to support the attack. Any time she is not being attacked, she is pressing up to midfield.
- much more important than shot stopping is distribution. Try to never play the ball into the middle. Try to play the ball to a wide player who is not closely marked. We will work on making such players available.