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Benefits and disadvantages of the didactic strategy Games at 11

Within the MBP methodology, there are 16 different didactic strategies (DS). Each of them has its own characteristics and a different purpose than the others. This is why each DS has a degree of proximity in relation to the real game, i.e. competition.

Didactic Strategy: Games to 11

One of the DSs closest to the competitive reality are the Games to 11. This type of task is basically used to train behaviours of the game model and its different scenarios.

Looking in depth at the design of Games to 11, there are a series of characteristics to be taken into account for the coach, which we at MBP School of Coaches consider to be decisive in the creation of this type of task, and which in turn, the coach has to reflect on during the design of it.


Which day of the microcycle can we use them, and in which part of the training session should we introduce them?

Games at 11 can be used within the microcycle on two different days. Firstly, the most common day is MD-3. When they are used on the duration day, the times of the DS will be increased in order to achieve the conditional objective.

The second option to use them on MD-1. In this case, some parameters will have to be adjusted in order to fit within the activation day.

Furthermore, when we talk about its position in the training session, we set it within the main phase. The fact that it is a task very close to reality, with very specific content and behaviours, implies that it should be used once the player is physically and psychologically ready, i.e. 72 hours after the match.


What are the benefits and disadvantages of using the Games at 11?

As with all didactic strategies, the Games to 11 have a series of pros and cons to consider. These should be taken into account by the coach in the preparation of the session with respect to the content to be trained.

One of the most important advantages is the high degree of transfer at a tactical level that this DS generates. As it is a type of task that contains all the elements of the game; space, rules, number of players and opponents, among others, this means that we can train real game situations.

Another benefit of this task is the ability to cover a large number of structures at the same time, in addition to meeting the cognitive and mental demands. The coordination and conditional structure will also have preference in the game, thus achieving a transfer very close to the competitive reality.

Regarding the disadvantages, the most significant is the impossibility of using this DS in excess. The excessive use of 11v11s during the week can harm the player by causing an overtraining load. For this reason, it is advisable to use them in the MD-3 dynamic, and sometimes in MD-1.


What types of Games to 11 exist in the MBP methodology?

As explained above, this DS can be used on two different days within the weekly microcycle. Depending on which day we use it, we will use it in a completely different way.

Dynamics of duration: It must respect the competitive reality of the game, so on MD-3, the Games at 11 must be continuous. Interrupting the task would break the physiological and tactical load of the task. Therefore, it is recommended to do 2-4 sets of about 10-15 minutes. With regard to the content to be trained, the main focus will be on the development of the team’s game model.

Activation dynamics: When used during the MD-1, the recommendation is that the games to be played should be discontinuous. In this case we should increase the number of sets and reduce the total number of minutes in each set (2 minutes per set maximum). Therefore, the main focus of training will be on how to execute the match plan.



The Games to 11 are a very useful type of task to work on concepts related to the team’s Game Model, and also to the match plan. As we have described during the article, the coach must consider a series of items in the implementation and design of the didactic strategy.

Finally, we attach an example of a Game to 11 where we work on the principle of play in the final 3rd within our attacking phase.

Click here to download the template.

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