The Principles of Play have been around for many years, and for as long as the rules of football keep it as an 'invasion game', where one tries to score and the other team try to stop them scoring, they will be around for many more years to come.
The Principles of Play are fundamental 'rules' that help teams be most effective whether they are in or out of possession, and are split into two main groups
Separating the attacking and defending phases it the 'Transition', either from attack to defence or defence to attack.
Transition, as its definition states, is the period of changing from one state to another. In football's case, it is the moment when possession changes from one team to another.
Understanding the Principles of Play well, will enable coaches to support the development of their players as they learn this fundamental strategies to deploy in practice during games.
Sessions and coaching practices should always be designed with the Principles in mind, and under-pin what is being taught to the players. Players who have a solid knowledge of the Principles will be able to call on this information in the heat and pressure of a match-related situation.
When coaching the Principles of Play, always consider the age and technical ability of the players. For example, when coaching pressing, it may be that you need to begin coaching your players how to individually put pressure on and close down an opposing player with the ball, rather than working on how units might deny space.
Likewise, when working in possession, starting from a player first approach, then unit, then team.
Here's an example of coaching practice that focuses on the Principles of Play that you can try with your team.