Soccer Tactics, A great, fast Forward on an otherwise average team. The Forward was so good the opponent assigned a shadow marker (between him and the goal) to him and had their Sweeper play 10 yards behind him. The Forward only pushed up to the halfway line, but in this case, he should have pushed as far as the Sweeper would back up.

Strategy For Pushing Up A Fast Target Forward vs. a Sweeper

soccer offence strategy, Doing so would have stretched the Defense, which would have been to his team’s (the attacking team’s) advantage, and he would have taken defenders with him, which would have given his team an advantage. Even if he pushed up too far to receive a cleared ball, his teammates (Offensive Midfielder’s) could have been in a position to receive the ball, and with a numerical advantage, his team would have had a better chance of moving the ball into their Attacking Third.

Weight Training and Speed Training

Not long ago I was watching a high school game and talking to the father of one of the players. The son had impressive tactical skills in soccer and good instincts and field vision. The father said the 16-year-old son wanted to go to Brazil this summer to train.

In hindsight, in tactical soccer training, what the player needs to work on is not his skill, but his strength and speed. Many, if not most, high school players don’t spend enough time on weight and speed training. At higher levels, skills are similar, but the bigger, faster, stronger team has an advantage.

Passing to Open Space and Movement Off the Ball

Being able to pass to open space, anticipating passes to open space and “movement off the ball” is critical at high levels. Players who can play this way have an advantage over those who can’t. Playing this way allows a team to have a much faster, more fluid and more creative attack.

soccer coaching strategies, Coaches should encourage this style of play and teach it at younger ages. It is a way of thinking, as opposed to “passing to feet”. A player who can only pass to feet and who doesn’t know how to pass to space or move to create space is very limited. See “35 Attacking Tips, Tactics & Strategies” in Premium. Try the “Pass to Space, Run With Ball and Shoot” and “3 Man Direct, Wing Attacking” games in Premium.

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If Your Style of Play Isn’t Working, Adjust

We recently watched a high school game where one team was good at Fullback and Forward, but weak at two of the midfield positions. They kept trying to make short passes thru the midfield and kept losing the ball. This went on for the entire game and they lost 4-0.

best soccer tactics, They had very fast forwards and I believe the coach should have adjusted and had his fullbacks bypass the midfield by sending long, lofted passes to the forwards. At least, they would have had a chance by using a different style. They had no chance by trying to make short passes thru the midfield, that style of play simply couldn’t be successful.

Practice Passing Quickly and Playing at a Fast Pace

understanding soccer tactics, At advanced levels, the game is played faster. It is a tough adjustment for players to increase the speed of their play because they must make decisions faster. One common problem is holding the ball too long and losing it. Encourage travel and high school players to play at a fast speed and to not hold the ball long. If they try to hold it until the last second, they will lose it when they play faster than the normal team.

Flat Back 3 or 4 vs. A Sweeper

In High School play, using a Sweeper is often better than a Flat Back 3 or 4. There are two reasons:

The differences in speed. The attacking team usually has one or two very fast forwards, while most High School teams don’t have 3 or 4 very fast Fullbacks. If the FB’s push up to the Halfway Line, there is a long distance between the FB’s and their Goalkeeper (say 40 yards). This gives a very fast forward advantage over slower FB’s. This problem is solved by using a fast Sweeper who plays behind the FB’s.

Using a Sweeper allows the FB’s to play more aggressively and to mark closer and take chances to win 50/50 balls because they know they have a Sweeper backing them up.

best soccer tactics, Strategy for Playing Against A Team That Has A Better Midfield.
If you are playing against a significantly better team, it usually means they are better in the midfield. This makes it unlikely that you can beat them by passing the ball thru the midfield. Your odds are really not good. Your best bet is to play long balls and try to get the ball into the opposing Penalty Box as much as possible. Try to get 2 or 3 players into the Penalty Box and hope for a lucky break or a Penalty Kick.

Free Kicks

If you have a Fullback or Sweeper who is good at Free Kicks, have him or she take them when you are in the Middle and Attacking Thirds. This will give you an extra receiver. Obviously, tell the kicker to drop back to a defensive position after taking the kick.

If You Can’t Move The Ball Thru The Midfield

If you can’t move the ball through your midfield by short passes (because your midfielders don’t have the skill, can’t win the ball, muddy field conditions, or whatever the reason), your best option is to put your fastest players at forward and play long balls (ideally behind the opposing Fullbacks).

If you can go “over the top”, at least you will turn the opposing Fullbacks around, back them up, stretch the defence, your Forwards have the chance to win the ball or capitalize on an error, and you get the ball off your side of the field.

It is surprising how many coaches try to stick with a controlled short passing game even when they are behind and it isn’t working. If one style of play isn’t working, try something different if your team is capable of it.

Formation and Styles of Play

Choose the formation and style of play that gives your team the greatest chance for success. This may vary, somewhat, from game to game. For example, if you can’t be successful playing an indirect “Possession Style” of play, consider a counterattacking style that uses quick through passes or long balls.

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Another example: if your Fullbacks are slower than the opposing Forwards, it is dangerous for you to push up your FB’s and the farther you push them up, the more dangerous it is. As an alternative, consider playing a “Sweeper” who plays about 5-10 steps deeper than the opposing Forwards, or just have your Fullbacks “Defend Deep” and use a formation such as a 3-2-2-3 that provides depth.

Playing Teams That Are Much Slower Than Yours Can Slow Down Your Team’s Play

soccer strategy and tactics, If you watch a lot of soccer you will notice this is a potential problem. If you play a slower team, consider playing your substitutes or second team, or find a way to make your team play fast; for example, require them to not hold the ball for more than 2 seconds. The reason is that against a much weaker or slower team, your team can goof around, hold the ball longer than normal, dribble more or play more slowly (they have longer to think and make decisions).


This can cause a problem when you play a good team because it will take your team 10-20 minutes to adjust back to the faster game speed and it is during that time that they are likely to give up a goal. A one-goal deficit against a tough opponent can be difficult to overcome.

tactical soccer Another idea is to require that your team only score on crosses or only score inside the Penalty Box, or move your Fullbacks up to forwarding. The best approach is to not play teams that are much slower or weaker than your team.