Strikers and Constellations

Hello everyone and welcome back to Barcelona, Spain! As you can see, my new website is now live and I am excited to be working in the new platform!

I am excited to share my experiences in Week 7 as we completed the IFPs and moved onto the next soccer structure, the constellations.

To start the week, Dr. Rude taught us the tactical fundamentals for the strikers. After Dr. Rude completed the lesson, it became clear as to why professional clubs break the bank for strikers. Let’s get right into it.

For the striker position, the tactical fundamental blocks include:

Offense

  1. Providing depth to the attack

  2. Mobilizing the attack

  3. Offering support

  4. Side balls and crossing

  5. Shooting in the finishing zone

Defense

  1. Defending the space

  2. Defense-attack transition

For clarification, Dr. Rude defined the striker to us as the most advanced attacking player(s). The definition helped greatly because as you are aware, Pep Guardiola revolutionized the game of soccer during his time at FC Barcelona by using the ‘false 9’. Dr. Rude explained that if a team implements the ‘false 9’, the fundamental of ‘providing depth to the attack’ will be acquired by a different position (i.e. wingers).

In order to better explain the striker position, I want to discuss a sub-stage of the ‘providing depth to the attack’ block called ‘Guaranteeing the depth of the attack’. As I previously mentioned, in most systems, the striker(s) is responsible for providing the team with depth. More specifically, the striker must strategically position in a way that forces the opponents defensive line to move backwards, ultimately creating space for teammates to position between lines.

To better highlight my point, I want to show the same clip from my previous post of the FC Barcelona x Real Madrid game from 2009, and in a moment, you will see why. In the previous post, I said to pause the video clip at 6 seconds in order to show where Messi positioned. To keep things simple, go back to the 6-second mark, but this time, notice the positioning of Samuel Eto’o (the FCB player on the far left of the video screen). You can see that Eto’o is ‘guaranteeing the depth of the team’, in order to create space in the middle of the field for Messi. By positioning in the depth, Eto’o is moving Real Madrid’s defensive line back, generating more space for Messi in between the lines.

The idea is that the Individual Fundamentals per Position are individual actions that must be clearly understood in order for the team to operate in a synchronized manner. Allow me to explain further.

Now that we have completed the ‘Player’ structure, we continued on to the next structured named, ‘Constellations’.

Dr. Rude explained to us that a constellation is a group of 2 or more players, but not the whole team. He went on to explain that there are three constellation sub-categories.

  1. Bi-Constellations –2 center-backs, the #10 + forward, 2 forwards etc.

  2. Tri-Constellations – 2 center-backs + 1 holding midfielder, 2 wingers + striker, holding midfielder + the two #10s etc.

  3. Poly-Constellations – the defensive line, midfield line, center-backs + center-midfielders, holding midfielder + the two #10s + striker etc.

By classifying the constellations into sub-categories, the coach can better identify the constellations that exist within the team. Dr. Rude explained further by saying once the coach has identified constellations within the team, they can then enhance the strength of the constellation by manipulating the locker-room seating, practice groups, and planning off the field entertainment activities.

Dr. Rude taught us that the key to constellations is the ‘assertive-motor communication’ between players (non-verbal communication). The idea is that training sessions must constantly work to improve the ‘assertive-motor’ communication between players in order to create a harmonic playing style on the field.

For instance, below is a video of a FC Barcelona training session, which is working to directly enhance the ‘assertive-motor’ communication between players. On the surface, the training exercise appears to simply be a laugh and a joke. Conversely, the session is working to directly enhance FCB’s style of play. A major component of their style of play is triangulation, and by playing ‘soccer-basketball’ in groups of three, the assertive-motor communication between three players is becoming synchronized.

On a side note, when Dr. Rude began teaching us about constellations, one of the first ‘bi-constellations’ that we discussed was the Messi-Dani combination. With that being said, put your feet up and enjoy the show!

Thanks for reading!

Twitter: @BrettUttley & @TOGSoccer

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