What is a format in football?
We explore what a format is, why it matters and how using different types can develop your team’s skills.
In a game, the format is the number of players on the pitch at any one time. They range from 1v1 all the way up to the 11v11 adult game, with every variation in between.
Traditionally, small-sided formats were reserved for the youngest players. And the aim was to reach 11v11 as quickly as possible. But regularly varying your format delivers serious skill development, no matter your team’s age.
Want to increase each player’s actions on the ball? Choose a smaller format to get the ball at their feet more often. Looking to develop tactical returns? Move further towards 11v11. Each format has its own development benefits – and its trade-offs too.
And don’t forget that all your players are different. While 3v3 might give one person a familiar setting to deploy their superpower, for someone else, it’s a new challenge. Each time you try a new format, it gives you a fresh lens to see each player. What do they love? What are they good at? Where do they need help?