We publish more than 30 books for Coaches of the Beautiful Game! Click to Learn More

Football’s Principles of Play

Football’s Principles of Play

Football Principles of Play Amazon

It started with a question, “What are the fundamentals of football?”

Whilst there are hundreds of books that look into the specific principles of coaches like Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola, and Marcelo Bielsa, there is no core, distilled text on the key principles of the game.

Until now.

Join best-selling author and coach – Peter Prickett – as he puts football under the microscope and breaks it down into its constituent parts. By addressing the two primary phases – in-possession and out-of-possession – the book examines the five attacking and five defending principles, plus the transitions between each phase, to reveal the underlying heart of the beautiful game.

These principles have underpinned coach education for decades and largely been unchallenged. When examining them, other deeper values emerge to support the one true principle – to score.

Designed for coaches and football fans interested in the theory of football, this handbook is a must-read for anyone looking to understand the foundations that football is built on.

Table of Contents


Principles of Invasion Games
Create and use space

Traditional In-Possession Principles
The Principles of Play
Penetration (or “go forward”)

Traditional Out-of-Possession Principles
Concentration (Compaction)

Positive Transition
Negative transition

Alternative Principles
Possession/Own the ball/Want to have and keep possession…
Defend By Retaining Possession of the Ball
Strong Position Play
Finding Space to Receive the Ball
Playing in the Spaces
Using the Width and Depth of the Pitch
Play in The Opponent’s Half as Much as Possible
Play Forward Early and Consolidate Possession
Fast Counter-Attacking
High Pressure When the Ball is Lost (5-Second Rule)
Winning the Ball Back Quickly in High and Middle Areas With
an Aggressive Pressing Game…
Show Opponents Outside as Much as You Can

Academic Principles
Deception Principle
Surprise Principle
Mobility Principle
Opportunity Principle
Cohesion Principle
Reserve Principle
Economy Principle

Additional Alternative Principles
Battle to exploit and protect space
One versus one domination
Diamonds and triangles
Overloads and numerical advantage

How The Principles Impact Practice
Penetration II
Support II
Possession and building out from the back
Showing Outside
Deception/Surprise II
Counter-Press II
Exploit and find space
One versus one domination
One versus one domination II
Diamonds and triangles
Diamonds and triangles II
Create Overloads



Are you based in the USA? This book is published as Soccer’s Principles of Play on our Dark River imprint in the States.

Click on the cover to learn more.


About the Author: Peter Prickett is an FA affiliate tutor with a decade of experience coaching with various organisations, and the author of the internationally best-selling books on “Developing Skill: Guides to 3v3 Soccer Coaching”. He was one of the first coaches in England to obtain the UEFA B Futsal qualification, and has a Masters in Performance Football Coaching.

3v3 soccer coaching

Developing Skill Amazon Review

3v3 Soccer Coaching Book 2

developing skill 2 3v3 football coaching


Author: Peter Prickett

Published March 15 2021 | ISBN-13: 978-1914066016 | 140pp | Print and eBook formats available.

When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.

* * * * *

This book is published on our sister imprint: Hawksmoor Publishing

Hawksmoor Publishing Logo - 400px

* * * * *

soccer coaching and football training books

See all our soccer coaching books

Book Categories: Peter Prickett, Soccer and Soccer Coaching Books.