Principles of attack in football.

A principle is a known way of behavior.

It should be DELIBERATELY taught so that an individual knows and understands what, when, where, why and how to behave.

Attacking in football is best understood and efficient when player(s) as an individual or group understand how to apply the principles of attack.

These are; penetration, mobility, width, depth (support) and improvisation.

Penetration is moving the ball forward. The moment a player gets the ball, the first choice should be to determine if penetration can be achieved by passing forward, shooting, dribbling and running with the ball forward.

Mobility is when players move to create space.

A player on the ball can apply mobility by dribbling or running with the ball to commit available space.

Players off the ball should move to destabilize the opposition defense, to avoid being marked and to create space for themselves or team mates.

Width is using the whole pitch from left to right.

Players in the attacking team should ensure to spread out to make it hard for opposition players to mark them out of the game.

Width helps the attacking team to stretch the opposition defense which creates space for the attacking players to penetrate.

Support/Depth: players in the attacking team need to support the player on the ball.

The most important aspect in supporting a player on the ball is angle, speed and distance of support.

Distance has to be appropriate, not too short to be closed down by one player, not too far to make it easy to intercept.

The correct angle of support is making it easier and possible for the ball to get to you within one pass.

Speed of support is taking up supporting positions to the player on the ball in the shortest time possible.

Depth means offering supporting using the length of the pitch.

“Supporting is one of the most misunderstood principles as most players think that it’s coming closer to the player on the ball.”

Improvisation is where a player on the ball needs to come up with a way to mount a successful attack and get out of trouble.

It includes dribbling in 1v1 situations, buying a foul (comes with experience), it’s mainly players being creative and applying ‘tricks’.

It can also be applied by teammates in the attacking team using combinations like 1-2 passing, wall pass or the third man running off the ball.

Football players that have been taught and understand the principles of attack will find it easy to perform the roles of attack during a football match.

It’s important for all players to be taught the attacking skills in football.

These include; Shooting, passing, receiving the ball in all ways, attacking headers and traveling with the ball because without learning those skills it is almost impossible to execute the principles of attack.

It’s important for players to be coached how to understand and be able to interpret when in the game a particular principle of attack can be applied.

Principles of defending in football.

A principle is a known way of behavior.

It should be DELIBERATELY taught so that an individual knows and understands what, when, where, why and how to behave.

Defending in football is best understood and efficient when player(s) as an individual or group understand how to apply the principles of defending.

These are; Immediate chase, delay, control, depth, compactness then control and restraint.

Immediate chase: the moment a team loses possession, the nearest player to the ball in the defending team has to apply pressure on the player with the ball.

Applying pressure on the ball denies the attacker space and time, forces the attacker into mistakes and prevents the attacker from looking up to make a good decision.

The player can also make a recovery run to get behind the ball (between the ball and defending goal).

Delay: the pressuring defender forces the attacking team to slow down in order to allow the defending team to re-organize one of the skills required to perform good delaying is jockeying, poking the ball, and peddling backward.

Depth (cover): This’ the immediate organization of the defending players behind the ball (between the ball and goal they are defending) and the pressuring defender.

The defenders offering cover should be positioned within an appropriate distance from the pressing defender to enable them to react fastest in case the pressuring defender is beaten by the attacker.

The covering defender should be able to communicate verbally and issue instructions to the pressuring defender.

Compactness: as defending players recover towards their goal, they have to concentrate in the area where the ball is to limit the opponent’s ability to directly attack the goal.

Recovery runs should be as central to the defending goal as possible.

Compactness is meant to deny attackers penetration and to force them to take the longest route towards goal.

Control and restraint: defending players have to be in control of their actions to avoid easily being beaten.

While challenging for the ball, they should use controlled aggression as poorly timed tackles make it easy for attackers.

Defenders should stay on their feet unless if they are very sure that they can win the ball.

“It’s very important that all players are taught and can apply the principles of defense in the right way because at some point in football all players will be required to defend.”

Players that have been taught and understand the principles of defending will find it easy to learn the roles of defending in football.

Principles of defending are a necessary basic if players are to play at a very high level.

Players should be taught defensive football skills like tackling, peddling backward, jockeying, blocking, intercepting, defensive heading and poking the ball before they can be taught principles of defending because the principles cant be effectively applied without quality execution of defending skills.