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Principles of play are the fundamental truths for your team. They remain constant whether you are playing a small-sided format or a full-sided game.

This is different from laws and tactics. Both laws and tactics change regularly. Laws are perhaps less so than tactics, but neither are fixed. Laws and tactics also have a direct correlation with one another. A change in the law (such as Law 12 Section 2 - the back pass rule) can create a new tactical approach (i.e., pressing from the front).


Whatever formation the team is playing, the principles stay the same.


The principles of play, along with technique, are the two primary fundamentals that players must learn if they are to reach their potential. One (technique) dictates their ability to perform the actions required in the game, and the other (the principles) dictates their game understanding. If either of these components is missing, the game will not be enjoyable because you won’t be able to play it properly.

Once you have these foundations in place, then the rest of the things that players require, such as tactical/strategic understanding, physical training, resilience, courage, and attitude, can be added to help you become the best you can be. 


Below is an example of principles from the four moments of the game.:

An example of a practice session
(you must include your principles)

Your 5 Ws will help when designing  your practice session

You let the players know the theme of the session

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Even in your warm-up, if possible, start adding your principles.

What is your objective?

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You may add more of your principles later in the session

If you have an assistant, have them counteract your coaching by working with the non-focus group

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