Coaching the Tiki Taka Interview Part 1

Coaching The Tiki Taka Style of Play

Part 1 of 2 Interview with the Author and Coach;
Jed Davies + Ajax Sample Practice Below
Dear Fellow Coach,

Jed Davies is the author of "Coaching The Tiki Taka Style of Play".

The Tiki Taka style of play has been extremely successful in recent times with Barcelona and Spain as the best examples. Jed shows you exactly how to implement tiki-taka football into your training sessions.

In part 1 of our interview with Jed, he explains what Tiki-Taka is, the philosophy behind it and how you, the coach, can benefit from reading this book.

Interview with Author
1. What exactly is ‘Tiki Taka’?
My own view is that ‘tiki-taka’ is not just about possession, short passing or pressing but about controlling the game through understanding the spaces on a football pitch and understanding moments that occur in football. “The intention is not to move the ball, rather to move the opposition” [“La Intencion es a mover las pelota, sino a mover la oposicion”]

Pep Guardiola The Barcelona model is as much about defending as attacking, it is about warm-ups and training sessions as much as it is about losing the ball in the 89th minute. In my view, it is the most complete philosophy in football.

Tiki Taka is ‘a whole’ approach and takes ‘total football’ to the next level of ‘totality’. In my book I explore tiki-taka football in a historical context and go all the way back to the late 1800s right through to today; detailing each major paradigm change in football that has led us to modern day tiki-taka: the overloading of central areas, pressing techniques, possession, formation changes, transitional moments.
2. How important is attention to detail to train the Tiki Taka philosophy?
Using Barcelona as an example, these ‘rondos’ that Barcelona use are generally in 8×8 metre squares and primarily start off as warm-ups before progressing to positional rondos (in Spain anyway!). Why 8×8 metres? Well the Spanish coaches at Barcelona have an answer for this! It turns out that 8×8 metres is also the desired distance that Barcelona coaches want their players positioned when in a defensive block and 8×8 metres is also the typical fast-pace passing phase of a game in a congested midfield or in amongst the defensive team’s block right on the edge of the box.

The Barcelona players, whether they know it or not, are being trained to habitually react to moments they recognise in football. They cut out the 0.3 seconds reaction time of an elite athlete to nearly half and being 0.15 seconds quicker than your opponent in football wins you the ball.

Therefore, when Barcelona players are involved in a 5 v 2 rondo in an 8×8 metre square, they are always working on different components such as 1st, 2nd and 3rd line passing or the moment of lightning transition.
3. What is ‘the Rondo’ and how important is it for technical training and possession play?
The Rondo is more than just a warm-up exercise, it really is. Simply put, the rondo is a fast paced possession exercise in an 8x8 square with 4 players against 2. However, you can have any number of variations of this depending on your coaching focus: pressing in threes; 1st, 2nd and 3rd line passing; wall passes; setting traps etc.

I think this exercise is the most powerful training exercise for this philosophy. For such a seemingly simple possession exercise, there is a hell of a lot of detail to drip feed the players as they take full ownership of the rondo.

The rondo is so much more than ‘piggy in the middle’, there is a lot of coaching detail we Brits haven’t been told – it’s like the Spanish want to keep it a secret! It took me a while to find out myself through a translator observing a session with me. I remember he turned to me and translated something the coach said and I responded “wait, what?!” – this was just the rondo, how could the coach be talking about the 89th minute of the previous match with his coaching intervention.
4. What type of coaches is the ‘Coaching the Tiki Taka Style of Play’ book for and how will coaches benefit from reading the book?

I’ve tried to cover as many areas of coaching as I can within this book. Part 1 focuses on youth development from the earliest of age groups and introduces the reader to the current models of Barcelona, Liverpool and others. Part 2 consists of 50 different training drills/practices. You will notice that very few have too many specifics, such as strict dimensions, and this is so that the reader can adapt these ideas to all ages and ability levels and this was intentional.

This book also includes a total breakdown of how football has got to where it is today within this philosophy (right back from the early 1800’s) and what many of the components are in terms of this particular philosophy.

5. How important is it as a coach, to adapt practices and create your own ideas?

All in all I wanted coaches (and myself) to walk away from this book with ideas of how to adapt the current model, with a comprehensive understanding of what each of the many adaptations and considerations are within it. So if you’re a coach who wants to understand, review and adapt your own mindset and to better the best, then this will be for you.

This is not a guide to simply emulate others and I don’t think true emulation (or perfect implementation) is ever possible. In a playing philosophy implementation we have 4 key stages:

1. A tactical philosophy.
2. The training methodology.
3. Match day implementation and post-match review.
4. New targets and adaptations.

There is no such thing as linear implementation, it is very much an ongoing cyclical model and that’s why I’ve tried to offer more than a guide to implementation.

Part 2 of this Interview will be released in the next Newsletter
AFC AJAX: 4 v 4 (+1) Corner To Corner Possession Exercise
AFC AJAX: 4 v 4 (+1) Corner To Corner Possession Exercise

"This book is full great drills and info. very clear and easy to understand"
Steve, Canada
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Learn to Coach the 'Tiki-Taka' Style of Play

eBook also Available

  • Pages: 224
  • Print: FULL COLOUR
  • Analysis/Sessions: 30
  • Practices: 50
  • Age Group: U11-18+
  • Excellent
    "A thorough introduction to the 'tiki-taka' style, including the historical evolution and adaptations. Excellent & importantly clear to understand training plans, topped off with case studies, breakdowns, observations, quotes & notes. I learn something new every time I pick up this book." Mercier, France
    "I have bought many coaching books over the years. However, this one is head and shoulders above all others. It combines a history of the beautiful game with some outstanding training resources which I have used with my boys, and which they genuinely enjoy and are challenged. Would encourage all coaches to buy." John, United Kingdom
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    eBook also Available
    Jed Davies outlines in detail the Tiki-Taka football philosophy popularised by Barcelona and Spain and shows you, the coach, how to implement this style of play. Davies has studied the methods used at FC Barcelona, Liverpool FC, Swansea City FC, Villarreal CF and AFC Ajax who have all developed possession based philosophies as a way of controlling and winning games.

    Part 1 explores the development theory that requires an understanding before you are able to produce the Tiki-Taka style of football, this includes: Establishing a Football Philosophy, Identifying Local Talent and Purposeful Training.

    Part 2 looks at the Tiki-Taka philosophy and how it can be developed through purpose designed training sessions. 50 practices are provided from professional clubs including FC Barcelona, AFC Ajax, Athletic Bilbao and Liverpool FC.

    Part 3 looks at the influential figures in the evolution of Tiki-Taka with chapters on Rinus Michels (‘The Father of Football’), Johan Cruyff and Pep Guardiola among others.

    Part 4 looks at the Tactical Theory and provides a blueprint of how to play with the Tiki-Taka brand of football. It analyses positional systems, game realistic situations and solves tactical problems such as when the opposition are sitting in a deep low block (‘Parking the Bus’), all using the advice provided from professional coaches who have been involved in the implementation of the Tiki-Taka philosophy.

    Practice Topic Samples:

    • AFC AJAX: 4 v 4 (+2) End to End Possession Game
    • FC BARCELONA: 5 v 4 Breaking Out of the Middle Third
    • VILLARREAL CF: The Gridded 4 Goal Game
    • ATHLETIC BILBAO: Finding Space within the Block (Pattern Play)
    • LIVERPOOL FC: The Defensive Block Scoring Zone Game
    • FC BARCELONA: Switching Play through a Central Zone Transition Game
    • AFC AJAX: 3 v 3 / 6 v 3 Quick Phases Transition Game

    eBook also Available
    Meet the Author

    Jed C. Davies

    Jed C. Davies

    Jed is the assistant manager and head of analysis for Oxford University Centaurs and has worked with various youth players throughout Europe.

    He has studied the methods used at FC Barcelona, Liverpool FC, Swansea FC, Villarreal CF, AFC Ajax and a number of teams developing a particular fascination with the possession based philosophies in football as a way of controlling and winning games.

    Tiki-Taka football is a style of football popularised by Spain and Barcelona during the decade ending 2010 and is part of a philosophy in football that has existed right from the game’s very beginnings: a way of controlling the game through possession and positional systems.

    Jed Davies has been fortunate enough to speak in great lengths with a number of coaches who work at the clubs who currently advocate the possession based philosophy and in doing so, has developed a clear understanding of what the tiki-taka philosophy is and how it can be developed through purpose designed training sessions.

    A train of thought has been developed that football that is played in this way is developed through it’s ‘form’: positional systems, attitudes to building up possession etc. Davies therefore has proposed that football tactics should be designed around the dictum “form follows process”, a way of perfect football within an adaptive structure where the structure and positional system is the agent of change, rather than the players themselves.

    Coaching The Tiki Taka Style of Play

    This exceptional book contains a complete coaching resource on the
    Tiki Taka
    philosophy, development, training methods, tactical insight and of course practices from FC Barcelona, Ajax, Liverpool and more.

    Tactical: 30 | Practices: 50 | Age: U11-18+ | Pages: 224
    - Paperback: FULL COLOUR
    - eBook: PC / Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android Phone and Tablets
    - Paperback + eBook: Best Value

    eBook also Available
    Best Wishes,

    Coach George
    Director of Coaching
    UK: +44 208 1234 007 | US: +1 305 767 4443

    Learn how to Coach your Team the 'Tiki Taka' Style of Play
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