End of the working day, 28 May 2020.
Atmosfera bar, Central Avenue, Mykolaiv.
MFC Mykolaiv manager Grigor PASHA and assistant manager Anatoliy DIDENKO are enjoying a swift half — well, actually their second swift half — and sharing a plate of snacks.
PASHA: So this, Anatoliy, this is what I’m thinking for the first tactic we train.
[Places a diagram on the table.]
DIDENKO: Hmm, a tad asymmetric I see. Your thinking, boss?
PASHA: That too often symmetry is merely the default option. I see no reason why formations should be symmetrical in principle. In fact, if anything I suggest it should be the other way: asymmetric formations can require asymmetric responses from the opposition, which they may not be very good at. I mean, will anyone have trained for this?
DIDENKO: Quite possibly not. And then they might have to do some thinking and…
PASHA: …this is the Ukrainian first league. Precisely. And, to be frank, it’s such an imbalanced squad that it’s difficult to think of what else would work!
DIDENKO: I like the minimal team instructions. Don’t tie them down too much — or ask them to do things they might not be able to do.
PASHA: Plus we’re less likely to become predictable. [Chuckles.]
- There’s a good dicussion of asymmetry on The Technical Area podcast: https://open.spotify.com/episode/78bNhEQtr28PYYvloX9HZR. The host, Gaffer Graemo, makes the distinction between symmetry and balance.
- In his audio blogs FM Heathen has been experimenting with dispensing team instructions altogether. Though evidently that would be a step too far for Grigor Pasha, the experiment throws up interesting ideas on how to use other managerial tools.