As clubs become more sophisticated they will, often, develop club wide playing systems and styles. Ajax of Amsterdam were one of the first clubs to have a club wide system of play and a numbering system which described the role of the player in that area of the field. The player in the #11 position was, always, the left flank player. Some clubs would call it “left wing.” This is an important step forward as it means that everyone in the club understands what the #11 position is and where about on the field it is even if the player in that position wore the number 44!


One of the most important concepts is to have a club wide way of speaking…so that coaching colleagues and players understand each other. For example when we teach players to force opponents “to the left!”…what does that mean? It will mean forcing opponents to “our left” as we look down the field. When we shout across to the far side flank player to give us “balance!” do the players understand what we are talking about?


The following diagram below shows a naming system for the different positions in a 4-3-3.  It is important that everyone in the club speaks the same language regarding the positions the players play. Everyone needs to agree as to the names of the different positions, especially, as roles and numbers are assigned to those positions.

  1. Goalkeeper
  2. Right back
  3. Left back
  4. Defensive midfielder
  5. Left center back
  6. Right center back
  7. Right flank/wing
  8. Attacking midfielder
  9. Center forward.
  10. Attacking midfielder
  11. Left flank/wing

Having a club wide “Glossary” and a common, club wide, way of speaking

Is an important step forward for any club. This is very helpful in youth development clubs in describing the role the players have on the team.


Enjoy your coaching


Jeff Tipping