Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Buddy System

Despite a disappointing result on Tuesday, the last quarter of the game illustrated how we can play when we put our minds to it - flowing passing, good communication and players supporting their team-mates and reading their game.
I'm still investigating pitch availability to get back to some training. I'll get back to you as soon as I have some results.

In the meantime, I want to get you thinking of actively implementing the Buddy system

For those of you who either didn't get , or mislaid the Buddy chart, here it is again - click on it to enlarge, and print off if you want.
It's quite simple.

On the chart positions are numbered 1-11. They don’t correspond to shirt numbers, just to the area of the field.
A player has two buddies on the pitch (grey numbers next to the principal number). Each player should at all times be aware of where these players are on the pitch and be ready to pass to and receive a pass from them. The idea is to build up a tight formation where players are sure of support at all times.
It also ensures that if a sub takes their place, that they immediately fit in to the position, sure of passing support and aware of who is relying on them for support.
For all players apart from the central midfielder, the players you're partnered with also include the players who have you as a partner so you only have two team-mates to concentrate on.
The central midfielder has a tougher job -he's partnered with 6 and 8, but 3 and 4 are partnered up to him as well and he must be aware of the striker, No 10. Being in the centre of the field, however he shouldn't be lacking for support at any time in terms of passing.
The graphic below shows the team layout and who's partnered with who.
The second graphic concentrates on No's 5, 7, 8 and 11, and shows a simple passing manoeuvre:
5 passes to 8 and moves up to support. 8 passes to seven and moves to receive a return if necessary. 7 passes to 11 and moves to the defence line ready for a pass through. 11 returns to 8 and moves across the defence line staying onside and ready to break behind the defence as soon as 7 (at point 6) taps the ball behind the defenders.
What this requires more than anything is being able to read the runs and intentions of your team-mates. It would be good if you could talk about it among yourselves before the matches and make sure you understand what to expect from each other.

Speed is what wins games. Either outpacing the opposition by sheer stamina or by playing clever and using passing to do the work for you. The latter is more realistic for us.
Below are some clips of passing moves that involve good teamwork.
Don't be put off by the silky footwork in some of them.
I want to draw especial attention to the clips that start on: 1.21 1.36 2.26 2.45 and 3.05 because they're simple and involve only four or five passes. These are the type of moves that we're more than capable of doing.

Lastly, for your entertainment, a clip of Ronaldhino. Once you get beyond the wizardry and technique, you'll notice that most of the time he doesn't even have to look at where he's passing to. He's already located his target peripherally before he receives the ball. With the Buddy system, you only have to make sure you know where two people are before you get the ball and likely as not, one of them has just passed the ball to you. Can't be too hard, can it?!