Creating a Style of Play

Excerpt from 'A' license assignment 1.3 - Leadership Competencies


My Style of Play.

I have this section broken into two:

1 - A developed understanding in the necessity of a game model / style of play, and

2 - The creation and versatility of it.


So, 1 -

I grew up playing English soccer. Not pretty, definitely long, but notably without a defined model in almost every team I played in. Playing the game in a way that was universally accepted, but not in a way that suited the players - notably me. We knew to just score more goals than the opponent.


There was one exception to an identified style and that was my University team, but with a ‘route 1’ model of putting the ball in the corner behind the defenders which our manager called ‘the best ball in football’ - cheers ‘Budgie’.


Recently I saw a comment from an Antonio Candreva interview sharing how he feels playing for Antonio Conte at Inter. “Conte clearly has a model and a style of play in which his team plays” and for Candreva, it makes everything easier because he has several choices in any circumstance. This, along with other moments of enlightenment helped reinforce the need for a model - I also remember a moment in my early time of coaching telling players to play a specific way from a certain area of the field. They felt like they had been given a ‘cheat code’ to be better than the other team!


And, 2 -

Understanding that the model would need to be versatile. It needs to be something I believe in but also, fitting to the players I work with. I have coached in several clubs and listen to the ‘curriculum’ speak and the player development philosophies that come with it, but I have only once heard someone talk about their actual players or have been asked for my input into a model / style of play. So, to be flexible, I need to understand my environment and the players I work with and know it is relevant right now, to these players only.


So, In my current world the majority of kids I work with are from affluent environments and are predominantly white, analytical kids. They like to think, enjoy the ‘complexities’ of problem solving and want to be competitive. Therefore the style of play I implement will have a significant impact on their experience. They don’t like to kick and run because they see it as giving the opponent a chance to have the ball easily. They like to keep the ball, create overloads and understand that 2v1 should result in a win for the two. Now that I have begun to understand their world, I can tailor the model with my core beliefs, to them.


More material coming soon!

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