Brief Overview

We examine the topic of tactical principles and the importance of understanding its different meanings and its use in coaching.


The game of football can be addressed as situations that continually unfold creating something we call problems (Grehaigne et al., 2012) for the teams, and consequently for the players that make decisions.

This can be easily understood by looking back to the rules of football: The fact that the game inherently encloses the notion of opposition between two teams in its rules means naturally that in any given moment the aims and tasks of both teams are opposed.

This creates a relationship of opposition where each team works to achieve the opposite aims and countering the opponent’s. By definition, implies that favourable conditions for one team are adverse for the opponent. In other words, it is a zero sum game.

In order to solve this, players carry purposeful behaviours coordinated with their teammates to achieve the aims in some way. Under this approach, tactical principles are guidelines or references for the tactical behaviour of the team or individuals to reach some objectives or make the things in a specific and shared way.

Hence, tactical principles can be addressed either from the collective or individual dimensions.