The BFCN Tournament Builder is an excellent downloadable PDF that coaches can use to enhance the engagement, fun, ownership, and learning of your players. And the best thing about it is that it is free!
Sometimes it's great to just play games. It's all they want to do anyway. But is there a way to make games more beneficial, rather than simply throwing a ball in there for the match at the end? Kids love to use their imaginations, which are powerful tools, so let's play on that! They like to emulate their favourite teams and players. That's why they buy replica shirts and play FIFA. We can bring some of that to the training ground.
In this PDF you will find Football Manager style instructions that guide teams on how to play. The above example is a tactical plan to play 5v5, with a formation and strategy that is easy to read and understand. If you want to take a more hands off approach as the coach, you can give this to the players and let them interpret it and put it into action. Players want to learn and improve, and they love taking ownership of that process.
There are six teams per game format; 5v5, 6v6, 7v7, 8v8, 9v9, and 11v11. Each team has their own formation and tactics. Players will learn all kinds of different concepts and ways of playing if they are to have a go at multiple teams.
It doesn't even necessarily have to be a tournament. You could simply pick two teams and play like them in a training game. The clash of styles will provide plenty of opportunities for learning and a wide range of experiences, as your team and the teams you face may not play many of these styles, thus exposing your players to a whole range of different problems to face and solutions to find. Make sure to include periods for discussion and reflection, asking players what problems they faced, what solutions they found, and what were the strengths and weaknesses and what they could do to be better next time. And most importantly; was it fun to play that way? If it was boring but your team won, was it worth it? Would you like to do that in competitive games?
At each format (5v5, 7v7 etc.) we have tried to choose teams that play in different colours. The idea behind this was helping the coaches with the bibs in training!
If you have the time and resources to turn it into a tournament between several teams during your club training sessions, we have even included a ready made round-robin and league table for you to keep track of results and schedule the games. We have done this for three, four, five, and six team tournaments. Just print these pages off and keep track of the games!
If you like the sound of this, you can download it here for free! Spread the good word and inspire the next generation.
Here's a list of the teams;
5v5: Benfica, Borussia Dortmund, Panathinaikos, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Juventus
6v6: Manchester United, Villarreal, Santos Laguna, Basel, River Plate, Corinthians
7v7: Liverpool, Club America, Portland Timbers, Inter Milan, Borussia Monchengladbach, Shakhtar Donetsk
8v8: Bayern Munich, Tigres UANL, Palmeiras, Manchester City, Valencia, Anderlecht
9v9: Chivas Guadalajara, Columbus Crew, Celtic, Barcelona, RB Leipzig, AC Milan
11v11: Atletico Madrid, Kaizer Chiefs, Seattle Sounders, Porto, Tottenham Hotspur, Bayer Leverkusen
As mentioned before, these teams are to help with the bibs in training, so there aren't two blue teams for example. We've also chucked in a few clubs from different places around the world, because we can't always be Barcelona and Chelsea. You never know, it might spark the curiosity of some of the players to look up Greek, Mexican, or South African football! There's plenty of football outside the Premier League and Champions league. Football is a gateway to a whole world of possibilities!
If you like the look of this, check out some of our other resources here!