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'Playing with a Back Three' MSC Webinar Preview

Updated: Mar 1, 2020

Our new webinar on the Modern Soccer Coach Community Platform is live on Monday. As with previous webinars, I have used this as a development tool for myself, as well as to provide value to the coaching community. I have only ever used a 'Back 3' on rare occasions as a coach but, like many, I always wanted to give it a little more consideration. To help me for this webinar, I've brought in three coaches to bring a little variation to their insight. Each presentation is approximately 15 minutes long and we have over one hour of total content.

David Seymour is our first guest presenter on the webinar. He is a coach for Claremont Football Academy and a writer for Total Football Analysis His presentation is centered around VfL Wolfsburg and head coach Oliver Glasner's version of the back-three system. David has studied and wrote about the system and gives phenomenal detail in his presentation. He shows different ideas in the build-up and also shows comparisons with Dortmund using the same system.

Tristan Thomas is our second contributor to the webinar. He has been on the Modern Soccer Coach Podcast before and runs the excellent Twitter account @flyingwingback. Tristan covers the overlapping center-backs in a back three, using Sheffield United and Atalanta as case studies. He uses video and data to take an in-depth look at each system, how they set up against different systems and details their attacking functions and defensive transition functions. Below is a preview of Tristan's presentation.

Gavin MacLeod is an assistant coach at University of Cincinnati, who themselves have used the back three system for a number of years. I wanted to get an insight from Gavin on how they trained the system throughout the week and more specifically on the defensive side of the game. One of the advantages of the three-back system is that you can pull the wing-backs alongside them and defend with five players. However, if you get the timing wrong, this can limit your attacking options. Gavin details how he strikes the balance between attack and defense in session design, and highlights how they recreated specific situations that their players would experience during the games. You can see a preview of Gavin's presentation below.

To conclude the webinar, I take a look at some aspects that I have seen over the past 12 months and have been intrigued by them. These are aspects in the build-up, movement of the front line, and rotations in midfield, that can be used by a team. Variation is a common theme throughout the webinar so I wanted to finish it off with personal preferences from teams that I have enjoyed watching. I've used clips from the outstanding Twitter account Footy Analytics and discuss what I observe around the movements and where they could be used in a back three system. You can see a preview of that below.

To access the webinar, please register for the MSC Platform, you can sign-up here. You will get a free two-week trial and then it's only $6 a month. You can access all the previous webinars on-demand, as well as access to over 300 video exercises, and weekly content uploaded by Gary Curneen. We also have a special offer here in the Modern Soccer Coach Shop where you can order one year's subscription to the platform and get a FREE MSC book of your choice for only $60. That works out less than $3 per month for the free webinars and all the content!

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