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2:4:4:1system....how to play it

Suggestions on how to play this system. I have very young 1st team so feel i must play defensive hockey. Thanks

Hi Bev,

4-4-2 (as we say in the UK) is a very dated system, and was found wanting in many areas of the pitch, so i'd be very careful implementing this as a system. I will say however, if this is the system you are most comfortable coaching in then definitely stick with it - players will feed off your confidence so if you use a system you are unsure of it can often work against you.

You say you have a young 1st team - how old is that? And just because your players are young doesn't mean you need to put 2 banks of 4 behind the ball and try to 'stop the cavalry'. If the majority of your stronger players are more defensively inclined, then build a spine to your team with these players. This will allow the other players to play off of them, improving as they go, as well as offering that resistance in the middle of the park.

With regards to playing 4-4-2, you are looking to utilise your half backs to help your wide midfielders in attack, whilst having the advantage of always have two forwards in the D during these overlaps. The spare wide player from the other side of the pitch should look to come into the centre and help the forward line. It is a relatively simple press to understand as well (which will help a young team) in which the two forwards look to force the ball to one side of the pitch by cutting one off, and the four in midfield loop around to contain. Depending on the discipline of your players, you can rather play a flat 4 in midfield (LM, CM, CM, RM) or a diamond (CM, LIF, RIF, TD). I would think for a less experienced team a flat midfield would be more suitable. Just a quick note, you may find yourself short in the centre of midfield if you come across a team with 3 in the midfield. Be wary of this as you may find your team constantly overloaded.

Let me know your thoughts on the above, or if you are interested in other formations/styles of play,

Josh

Hi Josh..Thanks so much for quick response. My young team....had only 22 girls to choose from! A private school. After 30 yrs of coaching had to suddenly have a mind change. Ages are from 13yrs to 18yrs. Sooo you can imagine...youngsters not mentally there yet. A defensive system was recommended. I thought maybe 1:4:4:1. IF we attach to use first 4 in diamand formation. Any other suggestions for a system? Just not the tripple 3 pls. 

Many thanks. Bev

Hi Bev,

Thanks for the extra info. I've not heard the phrase triple 3 before, but i would guess it refers to the 3 banks of 3 with a sweeper which was popular in the 90s?

I'll attach the two current systems I put on my teams as standard (University level). If you would like the pressing sessions to go with them feel free to ask and i'll link them to. I tend to have my teams be very comfortable on the ball, happy to work in small pockets of space, but I would think you could transfer these shapes to most strategies.

4-3-3 [or 4-1-2-3]


Description:

- 4 at the back, with 2 full backs (FB )and 2 half backs (HB)

- 3 in midfield, 1 centre mid [CM] and 2 inside forwards [IF]

- 3 fluid forwards [FW]


Coaching Points:

- Avoid calling forwards left, right, centre as this can often give a restrictive mind set. Make it clear they should play the space they are in, and play off of fellow players (similar mindset with the inside forwards)

- One half back should be higher than the other. This should occur when the ball is on their side of the pitch i.e if the ball is your team is on possession on the right hand side of the pitch, the right full back should be high supporting player while the left full back should tuck in and be deeper

- Notice the triangular relationship between the midfield and forward line respectively, and how this then combines

3-4-3 with a diamond attached. I have also experimented recently with a 3-2-2-3 (ask if interested but the pressing gets a bit complex). If you would like me to do some more on the 4-4-2 (or another style I'll see what i can come up with).

3-4-3 (Diamond)


Description:

- 3 at the back, with 1 full back (FB )and 2 half backs (HB)

- 4 in midfield, playing as a diamond. Bottom diamond plays as a CM, left and right of the diamond play as inside forwards, top diamond plays the free role when in possession.

- 3 forwards [FW]


Coaching Points:

- Avoid calling forwards left, right, centre as this can often give a restrictive mind set. Make it clear they should play the space they are in, and play off of fellow players (similar mindset with the inside forwards)

- Top Diamond is to float between the lines, looking to drag players into unfamiliar places
- Bottom Diamond is to be disciplined, and is a screen to the back 3

- Half backs can attack, but must be fit and sprint back into position when possession is turned over

- One half back should be higher than the other. This should occur when the ball is on their side of the pitch i.e if the ball is your team is on possession on the right hand side of the pitch, the right full back should be high supporting player while the left full back should tuck in and be deeper

Thanks Josh. Will study your ideas. I have tried the 3-4-3 but my players are too slow to fall back. 

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  • or access our tried and tested plans