Tactical Dynamics

Tactical dynamics are the fundamental concepts that underlie how space can be used by a team. A team can apply the tactical dynamics by using playing positions and playing methods.

Primary Tactical Dynamics

The primary tactical dynamics are the three distinct tactical dynamics that all other tactical dynamics are derived from. They are tactical shape, which relates to the positioning of a team's players, player movement, which relates to the movement of a team's players, and ball movement, which relates to the movement of the ball by a team's players.

Tactical Shape

Tactical shape is the combination of a team's players' tactical positions.

A player's tactical position is his general position relative to his teammates in vertical and horizontal space. A player's playing position gives him an initial reference point and this is refined to give him his tactical position.

The deepest positioned outfield player in a team's tactical shape typically has a tactical position that is horizontally level, or fairly level, with that of one or more of his teammates. The horizontal line of players formed by a team's deepest outfield players is known as the team's defensive line. A team's defensive line is usually formed by players in the centre back playing positions and may also include players in the full back playing positions.

Tactical shape gives a team a basic structure that enables it to more efficiently occupy space in different areas of the pitch and therefore helps it to achieve all of the main tactical objectives.

Player Movement

Player movement is the movement of a team's players through vertical, horizontal and aerial space. Each player can move in different directions, to different extents and in different ways. Player movement is specifically movement that occurs in addition to the movement that occurs as a result of a team simply maintaining its tactical shape as it moves as a whole; for instance, into more advanced or deeper areas.

Player movement can cause a team's players to tire more quickly and lead to them making mistakes, as explained in the Player Behaviour guide. In particular, defending team players can tire more quickly from player movement made in response to the attacking team's player movement and ball movement.

Player movement enables a team to dynamically occupy space and therefore helps it to achieve all of the main tactical objectives.

Player Movement & Attacking Objectives

Player movement helps the attacking team to achieve the main attacking objectives, as follows:

Player Movement & Defensive Objectives

Player movement helps the defending team to achieve the main defensive objectives, as follows:

Ball Movement

Ball movement is the movement of the ball by a team's players through vertical, horizontal and aerial space. Each player can move the ball in different directions, to different extents and in different ways.

The tiredness of a team's players is largely unaffected by ball movement. However, as detailed above, defending team players can tire more quickly from player movement made in response to the attacking team's ball movement.

Ball movement is mainly applied by the attacking team, as only attacking team players have control of the ball. However, it can also be applied to a small extent by the defending team.

Ball movement does not help a team to achieve all of the main tactical objectives, as some can only be achieved through the positioning and movement of players.

Ball Movement & Attacking Objectives

Ball movement helps the attacking team to achieve the main attacking objectives, as follows:

Ball movement is not related to retaining solidity and retaining compactness.

Ball Movement & Defensive Objectives

Ball movement is related to restricting space in the immediate vicinity of the ball, as a defending team player must move towards the ball in order to move the ball. It helps the defending team to achieve the main defensive objectives, as follows:

Ball movement is not related to protecting space and retaining compactness.

Attacking Dynamics

Attacking dynamics are tactical dynamics that underlie how space can be used by a team in the attacking phases.

The main attacking dynamics are:

Attacking Shape

Attacking shape is the combination of a team's players' attacking positions.

A player's attacking position is his general position relative to his teammates in vertical and horizontal space in the attacking phases. A player's playing position gives him an initial reference point and this is refined to give him his attacking position.

Off the Ball Movement

Off the ball movement is the movement of off the ball attacking team players.

Off the ball movement is a particularly important aspect of player movement as it relates to the movement of multiple players at any given time.

On the Ball Movement

On the ball movement is the movement with the ball of the player on the ball.

On the ball movement is also an important aspect of player movement as it combines it with ball movement. However, it only relates to the movement of a single player at any one time and it restricts the speed of ball movement to the speed of player movement.

Passing

Passing is the movement of the ball from the control of the player on the ball to a teammate.

Passing is a particularly important aspect of ball movement as it enables the ball to be moved more quickly than the speed of player movement.

The player on the ball can pass either through aerial space above other players or through a passing lane. A passing lane is a channel of available space, starting from the player on the ball and ending at a possible recipient teammate, through which the ball can theoretically travel unaided.

Shooting

Shooting is the movement of the ball by the player on the ball when having an attempt at goal.

Tempo

Tempo is the speed involved in the decision making of attacking team players when making decisions regarding the application of player movement and ball movement.

Attacking Mentality

Attacking mentality is the level of attacking risk involved in the decision making of attacking team players when making decisions regarding the application of player movement and ball movement.

Creativity

Creativity is the freedom allowed (from their attacking instructions) in the decision making of attacking team players when making decisions regarding the application of player movement and ball movement.

Defensive Dynamics

Defensive dynamics are tactical dynamics that underlie how space can be used by a team in the defensive phases.

The main defensive dynamics are:

Defensive Shape

Defensive shape is the combination of a team's players' defensive positions.

A player's defensive position is his general position relative to his teammates in vertical and horizontal space in the defensive phases. A player's playing position gives him an initial reference point and this is refined to give him his defensive position.

Each defending team player essentially has his own defensive zone, which is the area around his defensive position that he is primarily responsible for restricting space and protecting space in.

Pressing

Pressing is the movement of defending team players relative to the ball.

Defensive Line Movement

Defensive line movement is the movement of the offside line by the defending team's defensive line.

Marking

Marking is the movement of defending team players relative to off the ball attacking team players.

Restraint

Restraint is the movement of defending team players, and their movement of the ball, when in the immediate vicinity of the ball following player movement from the defending team or ball movement from the attacking team.

Defensive Mentality

Defensive mentality is the level of defensive risk involved in the decision making of defending team players when making decisions regarding the application of pressing and restraint.