In sports where teams are required to play and not single players, there are different strategies of using each member to the advantage of your team; these are called formations. In football formations are thought as a strategy for the team, choosing whether to play defensively or offensively. Different football formations are used in both professional and amateur games, with the difference that in the latter, due to the more informal nature of the game, the strategies and rules are not so strict.
For formations to work efficiently, the players must be disciplined and obedient and trust the advice of their strategist. This requires intense practice and exercise, all done during the team’s training. But the success of a certain strategy is not solely based on practice; it is also based on studying the opposite team and their previous formations, to analyze their weaknesses and strengths. Football formations are not just some game moves you can apply whenever you feel the need.
One needs to have in mind the players available, the location of the game and the team and players they are fighting against. Formations can also be used to minimize the team’s weaknesses and to protect the weaker players from being alone in front of their adversaries. There are many types of basic football formations and they are usually described by stating the players’ positions on the field. The whole idea is to concentrate the power of defense or attack by grouping different kinds of players.
Some of the more common formations are the following: narrow formations, wide formations, change to attacking formations and change to defensive formations. The first type of formation can be used when the team has a surplus of central midfielders and needs to improve its attacking strength by advancing upfield as often as possible. Wide formations are useful when the team has an excess of forwards or wingers and they need to be arranged in wide formations to spread out the opposing team in order to weaken their defenses.
In the beginning of the game when the rules were more rudimentary, football formations didn’t exist yet, so the game had a more aggressive and offensive nature. Football was more about individual players and their dribbling talents, who only passed the ball when there was no other choice for them. All that changed and formations started to be an important part of football playing when Scotland won a game over England by surprising them with their tactics of passing the ball between players more frequently, thus managing to keep the ball in their team for longer periods of time. Since then, football or soccer has come to be one of the most complex and loved professional sports in the world.