Van der Lem and Hoek’s explanation and discussion of the Ajax system of play now turn to the two remaining moments of play: Transition and Attack. In this case, the Transition phase of play that the coaches are referring to is Transition to Attack. Nowadays, we typically speak of four phases of play: Defense, Transition to Defense, Attack, and Transition to Attack (some coaches even refer to the five phases of play by adding Set Pieces as a separate phase). However, in the Ajax System of Play, as described by Gerard van der Lem and Franz Hoek, the Defensive phase and Transition to Defense phase are considered as one.
Transition: Immediately upon winning the ball back in the defensive half of the field.
- Build-up on the right side – #2 and #4 (midfielder in formation vs 3 strikers) move wide, #6 and #8 move inside.
- Build-up on the left side – #5 and #4 move wide, #6 and #8 move inside.
- Build-up on one side.
- Patient build-up.
- Wing attackers are wide (touchline).
- If forward passing is impossible, pass back and start again.
- Use goalkeeper (only unmarked player).
Attack: Attacking half
- Play to side quickly through #3, #4, and #10.
- #4 always supporting behind the ball.
- Can skip stations with passes – long balls to wings.
- Look for free man.
- #6 and #8 move inside.
- Make triangles.
- Look for #7 and #11 on the wings.
- Always look for the “killer” pass to #9.
- Give back support immediately.
- Only #7, #9, #10, and #11 can dribble to take-on defender.
Positions in front of goal (cross from left side)
- Front post – #9
- Far post – top of 6 yd box – #10 (behind #9)
- Top of penalty box – #6
- Back post – #7
- Ball support – #8
- Cross support – #4
- Ball support and cross support are more defensive in trying to keep the ball in the attack.
- Cross from right side – same assignments, opposite side.