Team shape is the ability of players to maintain the team’s formation during a game, especially on defense. Maintaining team shape is actually harder than it sounds. In this post we describe a simple exercise that will help your players to position in the field and maintain team shape.
This drill simulates real game scenarios. Therefore, practice it in a real football pitch with a full 11 aside team if possible. You only need half of the field. If your squad is over 20 players strong, you can have your substitutes practicing the same drill in the other half of the pitch.
The setup is simple, using cones, create a grid in one half of the pitch. Mark 3 to 4 rows, but not more. The number of columns depends on your preferred formation. In the picture below, the team uses a 4-4-2 formation, with a defensive midfielder and a creative midfielder. This means that a minimum of 4 columns is required. In our example a 5×3 grid is demarcated.
The objective of this drill is to maintain shape as much as possible by limiting players movement. The exercise also encourages simple passes. To achieve this, players must provide support from a short distance. The basic rules of the game are:
Be creative and add your own rules. For example, you may want to allow long crosses in attack but only from the last row. You may also want to play with unlimited touches. Whatever changes you make to this drill, keep in mind the objective: maintaining shape and players supporting each other from short distance.
The main idea of this game is for players to get used to the preferred team formation by using a grid system. However, there are many other lessons to highlight:
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