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I recently had a debate with a group of coaches around the subject of rotating positions in football. Giving all players the opportuniity to experiencethe demands of each position.
Is this something you actively look to do or dont do? Why?
I have a few arguements for rotating positions, but want to see what your thoughts are......
An intesrting debate that seems to always pop up. I quite firmly sit in the camp of rotating players altough I understand alot of the counter arguments.
Nick Levett from the FA wrote an intersting blog on this a couple fo years ago. I think the below qoute from the blog sums it up for me
'Develop a policy with your club, involving all the different groups to do what is best in the development of the players.
That simply has to be the focus – developing a long term love of football and an all-round ability to play in our wonderful team game'
You can read thh full blog here http://www.thefa.com/news/my-football/players/2013/dec/to-stick-or-twist-141213
Would be intersting to hear your thoughts Michael?
Hi Michael - great question!
My answer is yes (though you do need to consider levels and stages of developement, etc).
My philosophy is very much pitched around the Ajax/Dutch philosophy, where they have often rotated players through positions in their development and academy systems. My thoughts are the impacts are:
- by playing in different positions, you can gain an udnerstanding around what is involved to play there. A centre forward playing at centre half should (and I emphasise should!) suppoer understanding of how to play, think and feel in that role - this can be mirrored across any other position on the pitch.
- it also creates an awareness of the visual pictures of the game and positions. If players understand the dynamics of the game from different positions, it should support what passes, runs and position to take up for the benefit of the team
- you, and the player, might find a player could be suited in a different position. While I was University, I interview Tony Pickerin, who was head of the FA School of Excellence at Lilleshall, and he highlighted Sol Campbell started as a centre forward - but his strength at centre half was supported by this fact he started as an attacker.
- It is important to have players comfortable in any position. Jordan Henderson spent the 2nd half at the weekend at full back - I must confess though at that level I am keen to put a round peg in a round hole, but the end result maybe justified it...but that is a whole other debate!
It comes down to what is best developmentally for the players... and the joy of coaching is that we are all different and all players are different...and we all have a differnent opinion
I am a big believer in rotating positions - the first time the under 11's I coach played a 9-a-side match, I wrote down all the positions (including substitute/goalkeeper) on pieces of paper and the kids drew them out of a hat. The benefits are obvious if, as others have posted, your focus is on development ahead of winning...
I strongly agree with you all!
Nick Levett undertook a lot of research for The FA around a lot of youth football and most of that has helped in forming the new youth structure.
I often use the idea that if you consider yourself a striker then why not play in defence and learn from opposition players. Something that seems to work nicely.
Andy, I like how you allow the players to pull out of the hat, I have used Match Attack cards in the past and the kids really buy into this. Another great way of giving ownership over this topic is allow the players to create their own formation and pick who starts, in what postion and when the subs are rotated. The learning goes much deeper than just football - big emphasis on social skills.
In my recent delivery with coaches I have noted that this is something they are still struggling with and still opt to play the 'stonger kids' in the 'core' positions!
A few years ago I gave a piece of paper to each of my U14 players after working with them for one season as assistant coach before taking on more ownership of the team the following season.
I asked them to feedback to me -
1. What position they felt was their best
2. What position they would like to try that you've not experienced before
3. What alternative postion would help you best develop as a player
This gave some very interesting responses and allowed me to try some new ideas. It gave them the confidence to try these things out whereas before they had felt pigeonholed or obliged to play one position.
The longer term outcome as they enter their U17 season is anyone can be asked to go and play a variety of postions in a range of systems of play without worrying. Some of them have played at our older teams and county squads and been praised for the adaptability, say compared to a young lad who has only ever played RB in a 'stuck in the 80s' 442! By introducing flexibility in positions and formations it provides great fluidity in the team and ownership on the pitch.
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