U9/U10 6 v 6 Formations

Discussion in 'Coach' started by GBrunko, Oct 5, 2004.

  1. GBrunko

    GBrunko New Member

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    I coach a U9/U10 Boys' Traveling team, and like most coaches for that age, I have tried to work out the best formation for 6 v 6. When we began in the spring, I used a 2-1-2. We had some success with that formation but lost a bit of control over the midfield when our one midfielder got caught up on the attack. This fall, I have switched to a 1-3-1. The formation relies on the midfield not only to conduct the attack but to come back, particularly the left and right midfielders. to mark forwards on either flank. I had hoped to use the single back as a sweeper but with the short season have not got the formation set like clockwork. In reality, the center midfielder tends to be a stopper.

    I'd like to know what formations other coaches have used, and what has worked.


  2. DUTCHVIZ

    DUTCHVIZ New Member

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  3. napalm_dave

    napalm_dave New Member

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    6 v 6 is usually played on a small field. Why are midfielders necessary? The defense should push up to support the attack. The attackers should come back to help out on defense.
  4. Prairielander

    Prairielander New Member

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    I like a 1-3-1 for a couple of reasons:

    1. It gives 4 of the 5 players defined spaces. The back stays back, forward stays forward, and outside mids play their side. The biggest problem with kids this young (and playing on a small field) is spacing and this formation seems to work best.

    2. Having 1 forward player assigned to only attack (no D except to harrass the other team as they move out of their half) always gives us a target and forces the other teams' defense to stay back.

    3. Having 1 player always assigned to defense prevents getting caught "flat" across the back and limits break aways.

    I should probably point out that at this age my practices focus soley on technical development and fun. We don't even talk about tactics and never spend practice time on tactics. In games, I just try to provide a structure that best allows the kids to put their technical skills to work and have some success.


  5. napalm_dave

    napalm_dave New Member

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    Do you want to define spaces for the kids or have them learn how to define spaces for themselves?

    I play in a small sided adult soccer league. Typically we play 8 v 8 but we have played 6 v 6 when teams have been short handed. At the start of a 6 v 6 game, we designate a couple of players to be more defensively minded. We are all experienced players and after the whistle blows our positions are very dynamic. Defenders will help out on the attack and attackers will help out on defense. You may start out on the left but after a while, you realized that you are now playing on the right. Ultimately, what is important is how each player spaces and marks not how space is is defined for him. This is how the game is played. On such a small space, if we had a coach who limited our space or kept us in lanes, he would only be screwing us up and hurting the team.
  6. GBrunko

    GBrunko New Member

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    If you play a 1-3-1, the defender acts as a sweeper with the midfield becoming the defenders and the center mid being a stopper. If you play a 2-1-2, either a midfielder or a forward must come back to cover as a defender. The problem with a 2-1-2 is that you often leave the far post unguarder and the forwards come to believe that the midfielder should cover defense.

    An issue I have with the 1-3-1 (which we are using this fall) is that for U9's especially, it is a difficult concept to learn about coming back after an attack and for the sole back to act as a sweeper. It is also difficult to teach the center half to play as an attacker and as a defender. This position takes a lot of experience.

    I agree with you that the attackers should come back to help on defense: when the opponent has the ball, all players are defenders.
  7. GBrunko

    GBrunko New Member

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    Dutch, thanks. I've book-marked the URL you gave and plan to study it. I've worked a lot with my boys on the Coerver moves, and I am impressed with Wiel's approach, again, a Dutchman.

    I noticed that your favorite team is Ajax. I saw Cruyff play in Minnesota back in the late 70s/early 80s. He made what is for me the most brilliant goal I have ever seen. Cruyff brought the ball down the left flank; he was marked by the Kick's Gary Vogel. At full speed, Cruyff pulled the ball back and then pushed it forward. He gained about two steps on Vogel, and then shot using the left side of his left-foot instep. The ball corkscrewed around Tino Letteri, the Kicks goal keeper. All Letteri could do was watch it go in. Smashing!
  8. timberley11

    timberley11 New Member

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    My question to you, would be, Start thinking ahead, "What formation are you going to want these players to learn and play in when they eventually start playing 11 v11"

    Is it 4-4-2, 5-4-1, 3-4-3. Once you have estbalished that you should then break it down to the smaller game, and how the smaller game fits into the bigger one
  9. napalm_dave

    napalm_dave New Member

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    It is my understanding that the "Great Fathers" who determined that U-10s should play 6 v 6 instead of 8 v 8 did so to eliminate the midfield. And I agree, you don't need to designate someone as a midfielder when playing 6 v 6. Yes, it is difficult to teach an eight-year-old to make the transition between offense and defense. But, now is the time to learn not when he's U-16.
  10. napalm_dave

    napalm_dave New Member

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    And explain to me how you plan to dovetail your U-10 tactics into a 4-4-2 or 3-5-2?
  11. Mr Martin

    Mr Martin Member+

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    Based on a few years of sporadic indoor 6v6 play, and several years of recreational in-house 6v6 play, I have come to like a very simple 3-2 formation. I agree with others who wrote that the "midfield" isn't really needed at this point. Forwards come back to help with the midfield roles when the other team has the ball, and defenders move forward to do the same when we have the ball.

    1. Many opposing teams play "hockey style" 2-3 lineups, so by using a 3-2 I get 1v1 matchups all over the field. In small-sided play for pre-teens, 1v1 matchups are a key both tactically and for individual development. These are the years where they MUST learn how to attack 1v1 and to defend 1v1.

    2. Playing three backs allows me to teach all of the backs that they need to join the offense when we have the ball. Defenders who only play defense is a pet peeve of mine, so I try and break the kids of that right from the start. I find the 3-2 helps me teach and encourage that concept.

    3. Playing 2 forwards helps me teach more creative attacking movement. The two need to learn how to move diagonally and to switch sides. They need to learn how to read the gaps and spaces. Plus, gaps and spaces are where the defenders will learn to slide into and join the attack.

    So, in addition to focussing training on individual skills (footwork, dribbling, 1st touch, shielding, 1st/2nd defender, etc.), I can also use the simple 3-2 formation to get across a very few key tactical concepts of how defenders and forwards should move. That is PLENTY to try and teach the younger kids.

    Good luck.
  12. FFCinPCB

    FFCinPCB New Member

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    And nearly 5 years later, I'm here to say, "Very well explained." I'll let you know how it goes after tomorrow.
  13. CCSC_STRIKER20

    CCSC_STRIKER20 New Member

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    The 1-3-1 also provides your team with the concepts of depth and width.
  14. rca2

    rca2 Member

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    System and shape are two different things. Depth and width need to be created by movement on the field if the kids are to learn how to play. Perhaps I misunderstand, but any system should result in depth and width.
  15. CCSC_STRIKER20

    CCSC_STRIKER20 New Member

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    Yes, you are correct.

    But certain shapes make it easier to push kids toward a system that you are trying to implement.

    I have always felt that the 1-3-1 is extremely useful in teaching kids about depth and width. You can give different instructions to your forward, center back, and right/left midfielders. If they follow your instructions they will be able to see the system you are trying to implement.

    The other positive is the number of triangles and passing channels created by a 1-3-1.

    Finally, to simplify things. The 1-3-1 let's the kids have fun. The 3 midfielders can run up and down the field in their space. It teaches them basic responsibility. The defender learns to stay back because he/she knows it is just him/her back there. The forward learns to work hard and score goals. And the midfielders learn the simple form of personal and team balance.

    I have tried other formations. 2-1-2. 2-2-1. 2-3. 1-2-2. But, in the end, I like the 1-3-1. I get the best results from the 1-3-1. I also get the most coaching moments from the 1-3-1.
  16. cleansheetbsc

    cleansheetbsc Member+

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    For a young U-9 team, this seems natural. Most 4v4 U-8's play a diamond formation. This is the same thing, except you are introducing the CM to the match.
  17. FFCinPCB

    FFCinPCB New Member

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    I think Senor Martin had it pretty much fleshed out.

    The 3-2 worked great, but really whatever you want to call it, you end up shifting around so much it could be a 3-2, 1-3-1, unbalanced 1-2-2, etc., etc.

    We won 7-1, and the idea was to get our defender on either side to move up when the ball was up top on the opposite side. That seemed to always create another option behind the other striker when the ball was being crossed into the middle.

    Our central defender was far and away the most important defensive player, snuffing out any counter attack possibilities, but he hardly ever moved up past midfield. Your left and right defenders/wingers end up running and passing the most, and it is fun to watch.

    U-12 match coming up. Guess I'll find the 8-a-side post from five years ago for tips on that!
  18. rca2

    rca2 Member

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    I would like to disagree with you (about the amount of instruction involved and by implication the restrictions imposed), but in thinking back to what I did coaching that age and I have to agree that I did the same thing as you for matches. It was many years ago and I was stuck playing 11v11. I used the 433 for a number of reasons but the built in attacking width was one. But each practice I had 15-20 minutes of small sided games with the kids free to move. I can see how the 131 would make a good foundation for teaching future 8v8 and 11v11 systems. But I would prefer using the keeper as a sweeper.
  19. CCSC_STRIKER20

    CCSC_STRIKER20 New Member

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    The amount of instruction and the restrictions can be different. 9's and 10's are a weird age. Because there can be a vast talent differential. Some kids get it (technical and tactical) while others don't.

    My team was pretty good. This was three years ago mind you. So I don't exactly remember how I did everything, but I know the first half of the year it was simple. But when the kids started to get bored. I pushed them more to try and understand other things about the game.

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