The different levels of individual tactics
In football there are different levels of individual tactics. I’ve identified five of them. Most professional players get stuck somewhere around level 3-4. It’s interesting to understand the different levels of tactics, because this tells you something about where the player is in his development process and how you should coach him.
Let’s start with an overview of the levels. The five levels that exist:
1. The ball is football
2. Understanding time and spaces
3: Understanding of formation and team tactics
4. Understanding the individual role within a team and within tactics
5: Understanding the roles of the individuals around you within the team tactics.
Ideally I would switch level 3 and 4, but the way things are setup now it is often that players learn formation and team tactics before individual tactics. The reason I would want to change this around is that by learning individual tactics first, you can always adjust this in different team tactics, because you know the role. But if you only know the team tactics and not the individual tactics of this role, you will have trouble adjusting if you come in a team that has different team tactics.
So what do I mean with the different levels of tactics.
Level 1: The ball is football
You know how in youth football all the kids run after the ball. This is level 1 of football, the ball is the most important thing. Then usually there’s one kid that starts to recognize space. He moved on to level 2.
Level 2: Understanding time and spaces
Knowing that when you’re in space there’s a bigger possibilities for receiving the ball, or for defending players that get through. This usually starts to come around 12 years old. Around this time formations and team tactics get introduced and players move to level 3.
Level 3: Understanding of formations and team tactics.
Around 14-15 coaches start to coach formations and team tactics. Players understand how a team plays, what a team will do against other formations. Also what kind of tactics they play as a team will be more clear. Many players keep hanging in this level though, or they only move partially on to level 4.
Level 4: Understanding the individual role within a team and within tactics
What I meant with partially moving on to level 4 is that players understand a part of their role within a team. A center back might understand his role with defending certain situation for example, but lacks to understand his role when attacking. But in general level 4 is the understand of a players own role within a team. There are only some players that move on to level 5, examples of this are Johan Cruijff, Pep Guardiola, Xavi, you which players these are.
Level 5: Understanding the roles of the individuals around you within the team tactics.
This is the ultimate level of understanding tactics. You understand your own role and the roles of everyone around you. When you understand this one, you start to dictate matches and influence the whole dynamic of a game. You see the names I named up here, most of the players that reach level 5 also become good coaches.
So these are in my eyes the levels of tactics in football. If you would like to add one or add something to a level, let me know.
Are you ready to take your tactical skills to the next level? We’ve created a series of webinars that will revolutionize the way you approach Tactics. And the best part? These webinars are already online and available for you to access! Don’t wait any longer, click below to access the webinars now.