What do we mean with the words “Tactical flexibility”in football?
One coach thinks it means that a team should be able to play different systems in a competition; the second coachwill say that he wants his team to be able to change systems during a match; the third coachwill say that he wants his team to be able to be flexible within the same system in every game. For an Academy Director it could be the same; one, leave it up to coaches; two, decide it for the coaches to play different systems and three, decide one system and teach them all within that system.
So, the meaning of the words “tactical flexibility” can be differently explained by each football coach or Academy Director on any level.
This is what makes football interesting and which makes it possible to have different opinions within the same sport at professional level but also at academy or amateur level. Each coach wants to prepare his team according his thoughts about football.
Within the three options mentioned above every possibility can have it variants. That is why they have in professional football; scouts or specific match analysts, at opponents matches to inform the coach about the tactical plan of the team. This information is very useful for a coach to prepare his team and individual players with the coming opponent in mind and make them aware of the opponent’s football philosophy.
From the three options I feel personally more for the third option as a coach and as an Academy Director; where within one playing philosophy you are teaching, preparing and coaching your players the different opportunities to reach the highest level during that particular game and dominate while attacking and defending.
The opportunities within one system are to perform your tactics on different parts of the field in attacking and defending. To move your players, within your system, 5-10m inside, outside, backwards or forward can make a huge change in your playing style. In this I believe; to become a specialist in one system but knowing all of that particular playing philosophy and being able to influence players quickly.
Teaching football, educating coaches or managing a club or academy demands choices. These choices have to be made to keep clarity in your playing philosophy, to give direction to your coaches and players but the most important is that it needs to be checked by managers so that team coaches cannot change the culture, playing philosophy and playing style of a team, academy or club.
Be clear from the first moment, be strict from the second moment, share information for progress and correct when needed!