Reading & Analyzing the Game

Posted: April 14, 2011 in Coaching Philosophy, Tactical, US Soccer
Tags: ,

I had a great opportunity to analyze the Chivas USA v Columbus Crew game at the Home Depot Center this past week with a former Chivas USA coach.  Thought it would be great to pass on some of the information I learned about reading and analyzing a soccer match.

First; match analysis is something I’m very interested in because I was never taught much about it as a player or as an assistant coach.  Most of what I’ve learned about this important component has been self-taught, reading books, and brining up the issue with other coaches.  However, I feel like this is an aspect of the game that coaches in the USA don’t do very well and heavily under-use to improve our teams.  So what are the components of a match analysis?  Below is an example of what the US Soccer Federation (USSF) recommends for analyzing a match… 

  1. Team Stucture: What system are they playing?  What is the shape they are in?
  2. Attacking tendencies: How do they try to advance the soccer ball?  What are their objectives to advance the ball?  Who is the game maker; goal scorer; and who takes their restarts?
  3. Defending tendencies: What is the line of confrontation?  What style of defending are they using?  Man/Zone?
  4. Assessing Strengths and Weaknesses: How do you and the opponent match up with speed, size, and technical ability.
  5. Set Pieces: What are their objectives on corners, free kicks, inside of the penalty area extended, outside the penalty area extended.  Who are the kickers, their tendancies, cues?  Key target players.

Really enjoyed doing a match analysis with the National USSF Staff.  Walking through the match analysis and how we would use the information to plan out our training approach for the next week.  Very beneficial.  Highly recommend sitting down and making a priority list for yourself and using it when your team plays. 

This past year I’ve been able to discipline myself to start taking notes on the three stages of the game for our team (attacking, defending, transition of possession).  This has really helped my training sessions to become more focused and the players are making marked improvement on the things that will change our game for the positive.  I’ve always tried to design my training sessions around what I saw in the previous match, but the things I see are a lot different when I decide to be quite, sit down, observe the game, and make notes.  Wonder how many things I missed the previous eight years of coaching?

  1. Gloriana says:

    The forum is a brhitger place thanks to your posts. Thanks!

  2. Adam says:

    What books do you recommend to improve in this area?

    • Coach T says:

      That’s a tough one, most of what I’ve learned about analyzing a match I learned from other coaches and courses I’ve attended. Here’s what I’ve done; contact a couple college coaches in your area, and ask if you can sit down with them and take them out to eat for lunch to pick their brain about analyzing a game. If that meeting goes well then see if you can sit on the sidelines for one of their spring games (usually more open to this than in the fall), and sit in on their coaches meeting when they analyze the match and prepare for the next week of training.

  3. Mwamba Dismas says:

    I have really benefited from your information on how to analyse the game.

  4. Jonathan Spear says:

    Thank you. I am preparing to systematically analyse our opposition during games this season. This will help me set up a template.

  5. Melvin tejan-mansaray says:

    I really appreciate the infornation on this piece. As a football pundit i find it very useful.

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