The Tactics Board – Undervalued at Grassroots Level

Is this an underused piece of equipment at Grassroots Level?

Is this a part of your coaching equipment?

We see professional managers and coaches using a tactics board on a regular basis to explain what they want from their team. So why can’t we use it?

We as coaches of grassroots teams may not need to go into the same tactical depth as professional managers. However as a visual aid for the players, it can make a huge difference.

Before today, I had never used a tactics board. However as I have started to coach the U15’s this year, explaining tactical concepts has proved harder than expected. The players are taking on the information but I’ve always felt that they haven’t seen the true benefit of what we’ve been working on. Things changed today with the introduction of the tactics board. The manager of the team happened to come across one and brought it to today’s match.


We spent around 5-10 minutes discussing our formation, how we would play out from the back and how we would press. The players were starting to SEE how what we’ve been working on would benefit. They’ve had an understanding of how we want to play and certain tactical concepts, but this took it to another level. SEEING the problems it would cause the opposition by simply splitting the two CB’s from a goal kick made a huge difference. SEEING why length, width and depth are so important when in possession. SEEING how we press and why we drop makes a difference. Their understanding of the concepts that we have worked on had progressed.

Now just to clarify, I didn’t get the tactics board out and start telling them everything we wanted to do. Guided discovery was used to get the players engaged and discuss the benefits and the problems of certain actions within a game.

The tactics board will definitely be brought out at the next match and I’m also thinking of how I could use it in our next session this Wednesday.

One thing is for sure, the tactics board is an invaluable piece of equipment for coaches; even at Grassroots Level.

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6 thoughts on “The Tactics Board – Undervalued at Grassroots Level

  1. Hi Meron,

    Good to see that you area posting interesting stuff here. I was at a Man City development centre with some of our boys and watched one of their coaches going through a drill and explaining how it worked. From what I observed, they got the gist of it quicker than if they were just told to go here or there and do X. During the small sided game he used the board at half time to explain to his side how he would like them to change position/shape depending on whether they were attacking or defending. I was inspired by what is a simple visual tool. Our first match for the U8s is this weekend and I intend to give the whiteboard a go and persevere with it through the season and at training.

    On the same note, I’m thinking of getting the iDrills app for the iPad to store my sessions. Anyone have any experience with it or other apps like it?

    • Hello Ernest,

      I can guarantee that it will help! I used the tactics board exactly how the coaches you observed used it. I used it before the game to give a brief run down on what we wanted to work on in the match. Then observed the match to see what we could improve and used the tactics board with guided discovery at HT to help the players with their understanding of how we could improve. Furthermore, the tactics board was brought out after the match to talk about what we will work on in the next training session.

      I know I will never get bored of using it as I’ve seen it’s usefulness.

      Let me know how it goes when you use it in your session/match.

      Thanks for the comment,


  2. I started using one this summer for my u10’s, and used it for real on Saturday before the match.
    The Players can now see what i’am trying to explain with regards to width, position and looking for the Killer pass. At first i thought it was a little over the top for that age group, but it is now a major part of my Coaching Equipment.

    • Hi Keith,

      Thanks for the comment. I think it can be used at that age but it’s important you don’t flood them with information or technical terms they don’t understand. It can tempting to think too much and give them too much information and that’s when they might switch off. But carry on using it and think of inventive ways to use it. Let the players move pieces about and be creative.

      Best regards,


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