Tag Archives for " Coaching Spanish Soccer "

Spain, the 4-2-3-1 and Tika-Taka

This post is part of the Introduction for our book, Coaching Spanish Soccer by Jordi Pascual.

THE 1-4-2-3-1 & THE “TIKI-TAKA”

“Tiki-taka” is the popular way to describe this possession style used by Spain. The journalist Andrés Montes made the name very popular, and a lot of people think that he was the first one to use it; but this is not true. The term “tiki-taka” was first used by a Spanish Coach called José María Maguregui (known as “Magu”), when he was Manager of RCD Espanyol from Barcelona, during the beginning of the 80s. With that, he gave the name to a style of playing based in keeping the ball and not going so directly to goal.

The important thing here is that the “tiki-taka”, together with the formation 1-4-2-3-1 is used by all Spanish National Teams, from U-16 to the “A” team. Everybody is playing the same way, which makes the players know how it works when following the entire path from U-16, until they arrive to the “A” team. Of course, some players arrive older to the National Team, but it is also obvious that the older they are, the more knowledge of the game they have, so it is not difficult to fit within the team.

As can be seen in the picture, there are 4 Defenders, playing in a Flat-Four, 2 Defensive Midfielders, 3 Attacking Midfielders (1 centred a 1 at each flank) and 1 Centre Forward or Striker.

First of all, let me say that I’m not a fan of “formations”. Formations, for me, is just a number or a name written on a chalkboard or a sheet of paper, and saying where a player will be at the beginning of the match. Also, it says, more or less, where the area of influence will be of that player, that’s all. Roles and responsibilities of players are given by the coach/manager of the team, not by the “position” you have. But that’s another story.


The “formation” 1-4-2-3-1 used by Spain

In the Spanish case, the Back Four is a classic from the last years in football. That means

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Coaching Soccer the Spanish Way

Today's article is an excerpt from our new book, Coaching Spanish Soccer by Jordi Pascual

Coaching Spanish Soccer contains the player development and training methodology that has made Spain the #1 Soccer Nation in the World tells you everything you need to know about Spain’s rise to dominance. With an in-depth look at the players, formation and the infrastructure that created a golden era of success, this comprehensive book is the ultimate guide to unlocking the secrets to Spain’s success and how you can apply them to your own team.

This excerpt shows one of the training sessions introduced in Spain by Johan Cryuff when he was the manager at Barcelona in the '90s.

Coaching Spanish Soccer

We talked before about how are the sessions organized in Spain and what is mainly the methodology. In this chapter, we’ll see some of the most typical exercises used in Spain.

The first thing to notice is that these activities can be used (and they are used), at all levels and ages. “Rondos” and possession games are introduced at early stages of development. It won’t be strange to find kids of 9-10 doing it. It’s just a question about how to adapt the size of the grid or the number of players and coaches.


The first one is one of the most typical in warm-up, being used, first, by FC Barcelona (as far as I know, it was used in the 90s, when Cruyff was the manager; probably, it’s one of the exercises he

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