Tactical Organisation

A team's tactical organisation refers to how well positioned the team's players are to carry out their tactical instructions regarding tactical shape and player movement. The better a team's tactical organisation is at any point during a match or, in other words, the more tactically organised the team is at that point, the more effectively it can use its playing system.

Good tactical organisation enables a team to more effectively use its playing system. In contrast, the opposition team can take advantage of poor tactical organisation by penetrating space or restricting space more effectively. A team should therefore tactically reorganise as necessary throughout a match.

The greater use of higher risk playing methods requires more frequent tactical reorganisation due to players moving further away from their tactical positions, while the greater use of lower risk playing methods requires less frequent tactical reorganisation.

In addition the greater use of higher risk playing methods by the opposition team results in a team facing a higher level of attacking pressure or defensive pressure. This can cause the team to become tactically disorganised more frequently due to defensive mistakes and attacking mistakes being made by players and, therefore, more frequent tactical reorganisation can be required.

Tactical Transition

A team's tactical transition is the tactical reorganisation that is necessary as a result of it winning possession or conceding possession.

A team's attacking transition is its tactical transition after winning possession, in which it tactically reorganises from its defensive system to its attacking system. A team's defensive transition is its tactical transition after conceding possession, in which it tactically reorganises from its attacking system to its defensive system.

Speed of Tactical Transition

The quicker a team's tactical transition is, the earlier it can use its playing system effectively after a change in possession. If a team's tactical transition is relatively quick, compared to that of the opposition team, then it can potentially take advantage of the time during which the opposition team is still tactically reorganising. However, if its tactical transition is relatively slow then the opposition team can potentially take advantage.

To enable quicker tactical transition, the attacking instructions regarding attacking shape and attacking mentality that a team assigns to its players are typically similar to the defensive instructions regarding defensive shape and defensive mentality that it assigns (in particular, equivalent attacking and defensive methods are typically used to a similar extent), while there are also usually similarities between attacking instructions and defensive instructions regarding player movement.

Other factors that affect the speed of a team's tactical transition include its mobility and its use of vertical movement partnerships.

A team that has good mobility tends to have a quicker tactical transition while a team that has poor mobility tends to have a slower tactical transition.

A team that uses more supporting partnerships tends to have a quicker tactical transition while a team that uses more overlapping partnerships tends to have a slower tactical transition.

Phases of Play

The phases of play are the cyclical stages of possession and tactical organisation that a team moves through during the course of a match.

As explained for Tactical Objectives, when a team has possession it is in the attacking phases and when a team does not have possession it is in the defensive phases.

The Attacking Phases

The need for attacking transition means that a team moves between two main attacking phases after winning possession, one where it is tactically organised and one where it is still tactically reorganising.

The two main attacking phases that a team moves through are:

The Defensive Phases

The need for defensive transition means that a team moves between two main defensive phases after conceding possession, one where it is tactically organised and one where it is still tactically reorganising.

The two main defensive phases that a team moves through are:

Attacking Organisation

A team's attacking organisation is its tactical organisation in the attacking phases.

Good attacking organisation enables a team to more effectively use its attacking system.

Consolidating Possession

A team can give itself more time to tactically reorganise in the attacking phases by consolidating possession before attempting to exploit any significant penetrative opportunities.

Consolidating possession involves the attacking team temporarily using a low risk mentality to a greater overall extent. This enables the attacking team to temporarily focus more on keeping possession, retaining solidity and retaining compactness.

By consolidating possession a team therefore makes it more difficult for the opposition team to take advantage of poor attacking organisation while it tactically reorganises.

A team typically consolidates possession when it does not have any high quality penetrative opportunities, since good attacking organisation enables it to more easily create higher quality penetrative opportunities.

The ball movement that occurs as a result of a team using a more progressive passing range system (as is typically the case with the attacking football core style) typically leads to the team consolidating possession to a greater extent.

Consolidating Possession in the Attacking Transition Phase

Consolidating possession in the attacking transition phase can enable a team to move into the attacking phase more easily.

Consolidating possession in the attacking transition phase can be particularly effective if a team has a relatively slow attacking transition, as this results in there being fewer high quality penetrative opportunities in the attacking transition phase and the early stages of the attacking phase, and makes it more difficult for the team to keep possession.

Consolidating possession in the attacking transition phase can also help a team to achieve a quicker defensive transition should it concede possession in the attacking transition phase, as a result of it focusing more on retaining solidity and retaining compactness.

However, if a team has a relatively quick attacking transition then consolidating possession in the attacking transition phase is more likely to be ineffective and result in the team failing to exploit high quality penetrative opportunities while the opposition team is in defensive transition.

Therefore, a team that has poor mobility or uses more overlapping partnerships (as is more typically the case with the attacking football core style and the short plays attacking style) typically consolidates possession in the attacking transition phase to a greater extent.

Consolidating possession is discussed further in the Playing Style Balance guide.

Breaks

A team can take advantage of poor defensive organisation by the opposition team more effectively in the attacking phases by using breaks before the opposition team reorganises.

A break involves the attacking team temporarily using a high risk mentality to a greater overall extent. This enables the attacking team to temporarily focus more on penetrating space.

A team typically initiates a break when it has a high quality penetrative opportunity, since generally, the higher the quality of a penetrative opportunity, the more promptly it must be exploited by the attacking team in order for it to take advantage before the defending team tactically reorganises and reduces the quality of the penetrative opportunity.

The ball movement that occurs as a result of a team using a more direct passing range system (as is typically the case with the defensive football core style) typically leads to the team using breaks to a greater extent.

Breaks are discussed further in the Playing Style Balance guide.

Counter Attacking

Counter attacking is the use of a break in the attacking transition phase. It can enable a team to penetrate space more effectively while the opposition team is still in defensive transition.

Counter attacking can be particularly effective if a team has a relatively quick attacking transition, as this results in there being more high quality penetrative opportunities in the attacking transition phase and the early stages of the attacking phase, and makes it easier for the team to keep possession.

However, if a team has a relatively slow attacking transition then counter attacking is more likely to be ineffective and result in the team conceding possession and, as a result of focusing less on retaining solidity and retaining compactness, having a slower defensive transition.

Therefore, a team that has good mobility or uses more supporting partnerships (as is more typically the case with the defensive football core style and the direct plays attacking style) typically counter attacks to a greater extent.

Counter attacking is discussed further in the Playing Style Balance guide.

Defensive Organisation

A team's defensive organisation is its tactical organisation in the defensive phases.

Good defensive organisation enables a team to more effectively use its defensive system.

Delaying the Attack

The defending team can give itself more time to tactically reorganise by delaying the attack before the opposition team exploits any significant penetrative opportunities.

Delaying the attack involves the defending team players closest to the ball restricting space around the attacking team players in the area around the ball, with one player both closing down and holding off the player on the ball.

Delaying the attack makes it more difficult for the player on the ball to move the ball effectively and, therefore, makes it more difficult for the attacking team to penetrate space. As a result, other defending team players have more time to tactically reorganise themselves and reduce the amount and quality of penetrative opportunities as necessary.

Delaying the Attack in the Defensive Transition Phase

It is especially important for a team to delay the attack in the defensive transition phase due to the need for defensive transition. This can reduce the effectiveness of any attempted counter attacking by the opposition team.

Counterpressing involves the defending team closing down to a large overall extent when delaying the attack in the defensive transition phase. Counterpressing can make it more difficult for the opposition team to consolidate possession during its attacking transition phase but requires a relatively quick defensive transition to be effective.