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 Thinking Outside The Box Tactically

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Director of Football
Director of Football

Managing : Leigh Genesis

Posts : 175
Career Goals : 13992
Location : Canada

PostSubject: Thinking Outside The Box Tactically   2011-11-24, 21:55

I am gaining a little bit of a reputation for coming up with formations and I thought I would share a few of the principles I follow when I put pen to paper to develop a formation.

I am not telling you to abandon every principle you have or discard the
formation you are currently comfortable with, rather I am suggesting ways in which you can broaden your Football Manager experience when developing formations.

1. Create Tactics For The Team You Have, Not The Other Way Around

Unless you are a national coach or manager at a major team where money literally is no object, you will often find yourself in a situation where you are inheriting a team that someone else built with some money to get a few players. Often times, when confronted with this situation, a manager asks themselves something like "How can I run *insert formation* with these players.

This is the wrong approach.

Instead, start playing around with the personnel you have and seeing ways you can place them on the field. Given the resources you have, you may discover that there was a formation that the majority of them fit into that the previous manager hadn't even considered.

To give an example, when I was picked to take over Cameroon after Javier Clemente, he had built a team with a sweeper and a lot of players in the backfield with a very defensive outlook. Because I hadn't realized yet that I could look at the Best Eleven to fathom which formation he had been running before he got fired, I just started putting players on the field based on their individual talents at each position and discovered that those very same players also came together to make a really attack-oriented 4-2-4.

In terms of transfers, my general rule of thumb is that for most teams you can afford to discard and pick up one position in your first season. What I mean is if you came to a team that had a DM and a backup for that position, I could transfer them out and acquire a starter and backup in a position I had no one in... like perhaps an attacking midfielder.

That way you will be able to better maintain the unity of the team which will have short and long term benefits as the team grows.

2. Orthodoxy Is The Enemy

We all have a set of preconceived notions about what a football formation should look like based on what we see every weekend or what we've had success with in the past.

But to innovate, you have to be willing to try something radical. Whether it is bringing back in whole or in part a formation from the past, playing with a formation that is popular in another part of the world or creating something completely new, you have to be willing to take a risk and try something which may feel wrong based on your experiences.

My own set of orthodoxy is I am really uncomfortable with formations with positions which are assymetrical, meaning that there are things which I would never naturally come up with (such as the Catenaccio). But in realizing that, I can open myself up to new possibilities since I will now try player configurations which seem odd to me at first but which I can see potential in.

You shouldn't be afraid to experiment.

3. The World Has A Lot To Teach You

As I mentioned in the section about Orthodoxy, there are other schools of thought in football outside of England and Europe, which incorporate different ways of playing, including tactical differences which could prove revolutionary in the league you are playing in.

But thinking outside the box also means you can take inspiration from history since it is filled with formations which are not widely used today but which have elements which can surprise an opponent, because at the time they were developed, they were designed with specific problems and solutions in mind.

Take for example, the M-X tactic that I designed that Posh has been using to great success. The backfield is based on the defensive half of the W-M while the forward half is a variation of the 4-3-1-2 which is popular in Argentinian football. And the 4-2-4 that I use as my main formation has ties to Brazilian football from the 50's through the 1970's. It is supposed to be obsolete, but given my results with it, it doesn't seem to be.

And spreading the net further, sometimes even other sports can give you ideas about ways in which you can build a formation or tactical outlook. Basketball, Hockey, NFL Football and other sports all have concepts which with a little adaptation lend themselves to developing formations.

I am currently working on a midfield based on something that is being used by some teams in the NHL.

When you look at the various ways in which managers in the past and present organize their fellow human beings to win games, you can start to see innovative ways in which you can position your own team to take advantage of the weaknesses of your own opposition.

Thinking about your formations in greater depth will likely mean that when you come across an opponent using something you have not seen before, you will be far more capable of breaking it down and making better decisions in terms of touchline shouts, your philosophy and such before and during the game, leading to greater success on the field as well.

It has certainly been the secret to my own Football Manager success.
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Vice President
Vice President

Managing : to do the YMCA whilst under the influence of alcohol

Posts : 1484
Career Goals : 17392
Age : 23
Location : Crawley

PostSubject: Re: Thinking Outside The Box Tactically   2011-11-24, 22:09

This is great mate, and bang on! I have found that it's exactly like this esp the unorthadox approach! Smile

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the deeb
Auld Slapper
Auld Slapper

Managing : to get in the way

Posts : 903
Career Goals : 15901
Location : my front room

PostSubject: Re: Thinking Outside The Box Tactically   2011-11-25, 00:03

This looks like a phenomenal piece of work, WG. Need a bit more time to read and digest, though

2012 European Championship Winners
2012 Olympic Games Gold Medallists
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