When the 7th and 8th field players are added, the lines can be varied for attack, midfield or defence.
More flexibility has been added into the system now. The players are now able to “interchange” with one another and also share responsibilities throughout the different thirds of the field. The coach can and should devise a formation that suits the capabilities of his players the best.
The easiest and most common system for transferring from 6 field players is probably the 3-3-2. The third midfield player is added, while the three defenders development is continued.
It is possible for the central midfield player to take on the added responsibility of moving into the defensive line when the need is recognized. Tracking the forward runs of the opponent is the additional midfield player’s role that will become very apparent.
When the defenders regain possession, which will be the case quite often, they should play out starting from the back. Just two attackers will probably be facing them, so they should learn to combine with their midfield players in order to advance forward through good shape and with good possession.
The addition of another forward player provides an opportunity to teach the two central striker roles. There will be numerous opportunities for creating space for midfield player forward runs, playing back to the goal (or posting up) and combining with one another. The timing of releasing passes to supporting midfield players will become apparent as well.
Another possible option would be adding one of the two extra players to be a defender to play 4-3-1. That encourages the “passing on” or “zonal” methodology among the back four. For example, sliding across the field in order to cover certain areas in order to prevent penetration by either a pass or by runs. It also allows for forward runs from the outside backs in order to offer both width as well as number up opportunities at midfield.
The same is true for the central defender, who should also recognize when to step into midfield in order to create the number up opportunities. This in turn enables one or two midfield players to push forward in order to support the one striker.
At that stage in a player’s and team’s development, a game plan can be introduced. Simple and easy to understand methods like:
- Affecting the shooting attitude
- Effective execution of restarts and set pieces
- First look needs to be forward, then sideways and then backwards- Low or high pressure defending