Should we be using formations at U7 and under 8'S? I'd really like to get some views on whats best practice ? Thanks guys

I'm finding that not everyone agrees with using formations at such a young age. I'm aware of not playing children in the same positions and letting them explore every possition on the pitch to find out what they enjoy. I gave my group some positions as they wanted support with where they should be on the pitch during kick offs and set plays. Would be great to get some views. Especially as they'll move up to 7 aside going into U9. 

  • Hi mate. I found that the earlier you get them using formations the better. Once they start getting used to positional play you’ll find it easier to figure out what the best position is for each player. It will also help to stop them all running around like sheep and chasing the ball altogether. 

  • Hi Oliver, 

    I think this is a good approach. It's vital that young players have the opportunity to play in lots of different formations and positions as they learn the game.

    It’s very difficult to predict which players will play in what position when they’re older and they should all be given the opportunity to develop their understanding of a wide variety of positions.

    Many formations in the modern 11v11 game are fluid and require players to understand how to operate in different areas of the pitch, and no doubt there will be even more change to systems and formations in the future. Therefore it’s crucial you give your players a varied education of formations and positions, like you are doing.

    This article may help with transitions between the age groups - ? Hope it helps. Thanks, Tim

  • I tried something for the first time this weekend with U8/U9 by using pitch markers to denote an 'end zone' in each half. The idea was each team would have a respective defender/attacker in each zone at all times. I had to abandon it pretty quickly because most (but not all) of the kids did not get it. And, in truth, while it lasted, I don't think it brought any order to the game. Talking to the senior coach afterwards, he correctly identified that some basic tactical awareness is still lacking in our teams, e.g. kids bunching together, turning their backs on play when their goalie has the ball, etc. I suspect that until these fundamentals are ironed out, trying to play formations in 5 v 5, 7 v 7, etc, with these age groups has limited value.