I value unique and different experiences when it comes to overall player development. The idea of specializing players solely in one position, can stunt development and lead to a narrower skill set in players. I am not saying don’t spend time on specialized positional training, but does it have to be all or nothing? Do all trainings really have to relate directly to the game model, always putting players in the same positions, playing the same roles?
As a coach I watch trainings and games from the sideline, but my assistant goes up to the press box, viewing the game from a different perspective. This gives our staff two perspectives to formulate opinions from. Have you ever recorded yourself giving a training session? You may be surprised at what you see; video provides a different perspective, a new reality. When a person is exposed to different perspectives, it creates a different picture, and different pictures can foster the development new skills or cause you to see the game in a new way, igniting new ideas and ways to of thinking.
My team often played in a 3-5-2 formation this season, despite the formation being new to many of the players. I wanted the players to really get the feel for the system, immersing them into all the possibilities the formation holds, all the strengths and all the possible weaknesses. Each movement and phase of play should bring about a feeling among all eleven players, as if they are all connected, if one player moves, they all should feel it as the unit adjusts. What I am describing is essentially soccer intelligence among a team. The question is how do you train soccer intelligence when teaching a new formation?
The suggestion I have for you might not be the one you are expecting. I feel strongly that all my players should experience playing the formation in multiple positions. By playing multiple positions the players get a new perspective, this new perspective helps them understand the formation in a more complete way. Example: In training, having your center back play winger, center-midfield and striker will serve to increase his overall soccer intelligence, making him a better player with more understanding of the game and the formation. If you give every player the opportunity to experience multiple positions, you will be developing a more soccer intelligent and tactically savvy group!