Soccer Tactics Information

soccer tactics, soccer formations, soccer positions, soccer training

What are Soccer Tactics?

So what are soccer tactics? It’s easy really, a tactic or strategy is more or less they style in which a team plays. Some teams keep the ball, others play long ball, and some play a more defensive game while others are more attack minded.

One coach’s tactics can be completely different from the next and the beauty of it is both can have success.

Tactics can include a team’s formation, areas on the field to exploit, how they play when they have the ball and when they don’t and many other factors as well.

A team’s strategy goes hand and hand or foot and foot should I say with its tactics.

Is It Better To Be An Attacking Team or Defensive Team?

What came first the chicken or the egg? This is an age-old argument that really depends on who you ask. Some will say defense wins championships, others will say if we attack and have the ball the whole game then the other team can’t score.

So who’s right here? Both! Sayy what? Your tactic in terms of when to attack and when to defend can change game to game based on your opponent, conditions and situation.

Whichever type of team you may be every team needs to be strong in both areas to truly excel.

What About Barcelona All They Do Is Attack?

You may look at a team like Barcelona and think, man they are so attacking minded and keep the ball the whole game not giving the other team a chance to do anything. This is true, their tactics clearly work for them but other things go un-noticed by the untrained eye about them.

They are very defensively sound and tactically aware. Next time you watch them play, watch the teams tactical decision when they lose the ball, they are pressuring the ball as a collective unit the second they lose the ball. that’s a tactical choice that has worked for them to give the opponent minimal chance to create something and get settled in.

What Types of Soccer Tactics Are There?

Here are a list of the more common tactics a team may try to impose on their opposition:

Attacking Formation

All guns blazing, taking it to the other team is what an attacking formation is all about. Playing with two or three strikers and having fullbacks join in the attack is one soccer tactic that asks several questions of the opposition.

Defensive Formation

Defensive formation does not always mean bunker, bunker, bunker. But the idea here is we can’t lose if they don’t score and we make no mistakes.

High Pressure

Sense some weakness in the opponents backs or ability to keep the ball? Putting them under pressure is something to consider then, lets hope your team is fit like fiddles.

Low Pressure

Eleven men behind the ball and defending as a collective unit at a much lower line is what’s being done here. Cut the field in half and make them break you down is the name of the low-pressure game.


Keep it, keep it, keep it. We dictate the pace of this game, oh! and by the way we have the ball so you can’t score without it. Keeping the ball and dictating the rhythm of the game is a possession oriented soccer tactic.

Counter Attack

Wait for it, wait for it…… NOW! Sitting back and sucking a team into your half before hitting them on a counter before they are set is the basic idea here.

Long Ball (Direct)

Got speed but no players that can really create and keep the ball for you? Then playing direct may be for you, balls over the top route one as we call it.

Exploiting Personnel or Areas of the Field

Seeing weak members of the opposition that you’d like to key in on is an important part of understanding soccer tactics and where to focus your attack on.

Where Can I Learn Soccer Tactics?

There are coaching licenses from D to A and others that help a coach learn about the tactics and strategies of the game.

These courses can range in price but are extremely valuable tools in your development as a coach and expand your knowledge of the game in several areas.

The USSF and NCSAA are the two most popular and recognized organizations that run such coaching courses. Almost every A License coach you meet in North America has gone through one of these organizations to get their certification.

Who Decides the Tactics for a Team?

To put it simply, the coaching staff decides and trains a team to perform certain tactics in a match. Some teams have difficult styles to match up against for many different reasons.

Some teams are just strong in all areas and it’s difficult to find weaknesses so adjusting your team’s tactics for that match may prove to be difficult.

Other times you just don’t have the personnel to accomplish what you want from a tactical standpoint and that proves to be a challenge at times.

Soccer tactics are always up for debate and no matter how much you know about the game your knowledge of strategy and tactics will change game to game and season to season so having a versatile side that can adapt to several situations is key. Good luck Mourinho.

Return from Soccer Tactics Page to Soccer Formations Page

Return to Soccer Training Methods Homepage