A game idea – how to incorporate in the game model

Nowadays there is a wide range of books, websites, blogs, everything you want. We, as coaches, need to select really well what we want, that detail, that situation or exercise that will bring a little extra to our game idea, and consequently to our game model. This is because coaches today are more and more their ideas and their success depends more and more of it – their own creativity. This is important because coaches are made off their own ideas and their success depends more and more of the creativity.

According to the team we have at our disposal and their culture, we need to evaluate what’s best for it:

  • When we have the ball what should we do? Direct attack, counter attack, positional attack?
  • When we lose the ball? Recover position? Tactical foul? Pressure the ball?
  • When we recover the ball? Take the ball quickly out of the pressure? Take advantage of the opponent´s disorganization? Play behind and prepare a positional attack?
  • When we don’t have the ball? Pressure and cause error? Get back and defend?

After we think about it, we have to think about the player´s specificities:

  • When we win the ball – Should I give priority to the offensive transition if my forwards are slow?
  • When we have the ball – Should I make a positional attack if my players are technically undeveloped?
  • When we lose the ball – Should I press after losing the ball if my players are not very aggressive?
  • When we don’t have the ball – Should I defend a pressing zone if my players are not that good interpreting this phase of the game?

Regarding the game ideas, the exercises must apply to the game model. It’s becoming more frequent to see coaches searching for exercises of great teams and applying it to their own. Does this make sense? For example, U18 making U8 exercises. It does make sense, but we must adapt the exercises to our team, in terms of content and complexity.

There must be a planning adjusted to the team and player´s needs. We must solve collective and individual issues, sectoral and cross- sectoral, always aware of what’s being accomplished, not performing decontextualized imitations. We must exercise the brain and create our own training model adapted to our game model. Being creative, understanding the team’s needs and adjusting the model accordingly. 

In practice, the real game situations are in fact increasingly important, such as:

  • Drills to defend well in transition – What we do when we have the ball and we lose it
  • Drills to defend well – Starting from big field to defensive transition
  • Drills to attack – Starting from small field to offensive transition

All this situations must be part of the coache´s exercices ideias, because they represent “the reality of the game”. Teams not prepared to be out of balance, are not prepared to control the game.

Did we ever thought if the transitions were eliminated, when there would be times of imbalance? It would be a constant homeostasis, mostly predictable and balanced.

Let us imagine the game model as a house. It would be something like:

  • Foundations of the house – Defensive organization and defensive transition
  • Structure of the house – Offensive organization and offensive transition
  • Roof of the house – Set play effectiveness

To build the house we need  to go through a lot of work, and the more foundations we have the less problems we can have in our structure. 

In short, we can check books, videos, attend lectures, etc, but we must always bring our personal touch – our brain, and be original in our training sessions and our game model. Because the club culture and the characteristics of the players in question so dictate – they are unique.

Be smart and intelligent, to overcome the challenges ahead.