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The importance of specific tactical preperation | Coaching Adults

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Posted in: All other topics on coaching adults

The importance of specific tactical preperation

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  • For those football fans out there, the Euros this year have kept us all on he edge of our seats! One thing that seems to set some teams apart from others is how well they tactically prepare against the opposition. Take Italy vs Spain as an example.. Spain, as we all know, has a squad full of technically brilliant individuals. However, the way Italy set themselves up to play against them was very clever and proved to be highly effective. They do not have the same individual talent as Spain but Italy played as a unit and each player knew their responsibilities.

    What are all your thoughts on this? Do you do the same within your environments? i.e. do you change your style of play etc depending on who you are playing against?

     · Rob Maaye, Sion Kitson and 1 other like this.
     
  • On 04/07/16 12:14 PM, Sara Hilton said:

    do you change your style of play etc depending on who you are playing against?

     In ours (American Football) a team would run (depending on the level!) a core scheme for its offence and defence. At the top end of the sport (e.g. College/NFL) then you might get several, but overall they would have a single philosophy that they are trying to do.

    So on Offence, they might be predominantly more of a power runing game, or a spread them out passing style team. On defence, teams might run different structures such as a 4-3, 3-4, 4-2-5 and so on.

    Within those structures you will get different formations (offence) or coverages (defence), but again, these would all fall under a certain philosophy.

    Changing your style - in terms of changing your philosophical approach - week in week out, can be hard to do. So if you are a team that likes to play double tight with a full back and pound the ball in a smash mouth style running attack, to switch to a spread offence can be very tricky.

    Do you even have the players to do that? Why were you running the smash mouth style in the first place? Probably becuase of the people that you had. This personnel may not be suited to the spread style offence with 5 receivers. 

    Now this isnt to say that you dont change at all. Teams woudl still make adjustments each week depending on the opponent. However, it is usually to look at which plays would work best against them - and potentially tweaking them - rather than wholesale changes. 

    To use myself as a specific example. I would gameplan the special teams plays each week. We had a set of plays and I would look at the opponent and state which I thought we would be using for that game based on what the opposition were doing. I might also tweak elements of them depending on what I saw in scout - maybe changing the blocking scheme to account for a particular opponent, or amending a blitz to take advantage of a perceived weaker opponent player.

    However, the plays would still stay true to the core philisophical values laid out at the start of the season, so were recognisable to the players.

    To conclude, in my experience, the most successful teams have a clear identity and keep true to that. Any changes dont compromise the underlying philisophical approaches of that team. 

     · Sara Hilton likes this.
     
  • Hi there - not footy ( my game is netball ) but yes we mix up tactics 

    Right now I just have them going into specific prep phase so moving more into game specific movements/skills as part of pre season annual plan

    now we are working on some set plays but these will change depending on opposition I.e. If we come Against a holding tall shooter with a driving , space creating goal attack we may switch defensive tactics versus how we would play to combat  a rotating pair 

    similarly if we come against a zone defence we would want a more penetrating space attacking play versus a 'body up' style on a 1v1 defence

    so at this stage we work set plays but add 'what if' options now so when we go into season we are at least players are prepared to recognise need to switch tactics on court themselves 

    however our game PRINCIPLES are the same 

    high, wide & deep options; 2 forward options; working channels and bands; process & performance focus etc 

     · Sion Kitson and Sara Hilton like this.
     
  • Our squad and I work to the OST model of objective, strategy, tactics. Within that the tactics for each match will vary according to the team we are playing, though the overall strategy will remain consistent. 

    We have worked to create an expansive fairly free flowing attacking gameplay but within that we will alter our strike and point of attack to best take advantage of our opponents strength and frailties in defence. Similarly we retain our main defensive structure and framework but adapt the responses and behaviour within that framework for each team we come up against. 

    It is crucial the squad is at ease with its structures and frameworks, if they keep having to change the whole strategy then they will likely get confused in stress situations. Once they're comfortable within the strategy they themselves usually see the need to adapt and alter as they play to cope with the opposition gameplay. 

    We were even able to take it a level further and used our tactics to set opposition teams up showing them one set of tactics in our first games to dictate their tactics for the second matches when we capitalised on their tactical changes to counter our initial tactics which conditioned them to open new areas to attack. 

     · Sion Kitson and Sara Hilton like this.
     
  • Another great discussion. Really good views being put across. Nice job coaches.

    Italy is an interesting one as I actually believe one of their strengths is to counter act the tactics of their opponents thus at times focus on this in training, especially in major competition. If we ever had the chance to ask their players are they happy playing in this way I think most would be and I also feel something innate within them enjoys this element of tactical combat, irritating and stifling opponents. It would also be interesting to know the training split between considering their opponents and their own tactics, again during a tournament when their own preparations are complete this may become more tilted towards their opponents.

    I think Italy are a prime example of how they differ to most teams particularly in tournament football when it comes to specific tactical preparation. They seem to be able to adapt and get the balance pretty spot on between changing playing focus within a game, a trait, that only a few teams seem capable of. 

    For most teams spoiling what the opposition are planning or implementing may be slightly alien to them that actually then distracts them from their own tactical focus. I guess the key is Italy know what they are good at and it is embedded within domestic football very clearly, understand their strengths and way of playing and how each team member contribtues thus enabling the time to prepare for the tactics of their opponents effectively.

    In terms of my own preparation I do encourage and spend time helping my players understand the strengths of my opponents to develop an ability to initiate and recognise opportunities to disrupt and exploit weakness. However, my first thoughts are to control the controllable and that focus is on my players mastering their attributes individually and collectively first, followed by mastering those of my opponent. This is long term and often one season may only begin this process hence International Football is often a good guide to see this journey take shape where styles and identities are conitually reinforced leading up to a tournament.    

    I think tactical understanding at an invidivual level is an area for future coach development that may just lead to many marginal gains especially in team sports.

     · Sara Hilton, Gary Lambert and 1 other like this.
     
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