"Shape vs positions...What
is the difference?"

Shape vs positions...

Shape is how the players will play and positions are where players are assigned to play by the coach.

Positions do not define how the team will play only how the kids will be placed on the field. It does not define how the kids will attack and defend or what kind of style they will play.

  • Goalkeepers
  • Defenders
  • Midfielders
  • Forwards

Players must transition from defending to attacking and back again - young players will chase the soccer ball, so this could hurt the shape.

The 3v3 shape will be the predominant shape we will use as an example...

What is shape

Shape is...

  • How the kids will play is based on how many forwards, midfielders or defenders the team will play with on the field.
  • What will also define the shape is how team will play, such as their passing game or are they more direct meaning they like to get forward in a hurry.

At the younger levels shape can be defined as 3v3, 4v4, 6v6 or an 8v8 shape.

Attacking shape

An attacking shape in a 3v3 would be 1 defender and two forwards or in a defending shape it would be 2 defenders and 1 forward.

The kids can also float between the two shapes 2-1 or 1-2 depending on what is happening in the game. This will help the players understand the game as they grow and no matter where they play they can attack or defend out of that shape.

What will also define the shape is how team will play, such as their...

  • Passing
  • Dribbling
  • First touch
  • 1v1 play

or are they more direct meaning they like to get forward in a hurry.

The smaller game fits into the bigger game so as example if the players play in an 8 vs 8 shape there are little triangles all over the field of 3's and if the players know how to play 3 vs 3 it fits into the 6 vs 6 or 8 vs 8 shape.

Defending shape

Defending shape is how the players will set up when they lose the soccer ball. 

  • Facing play, winning 50/50 balls, 1v1 defending.
  • How will they pressure the soccer ball.
  • How will they defend in a smaller sided games - zonally or man to man. 

At the younger ages the defending shape in a 3v3 game the players will defend with 2 - 1 and 1 - 2.

The players are learning how to win or tackle the soccer ball - not diving in - how to close the players down.

Now you have it - shape vs positions and how they fit together.

Enjoy your coaching!

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