Posts Tagged ‘match analysis’

This is the home stretch, and the end is in sight.  This evening we have our technical analysis interviews (the old oral examinations), which is part one of our pass/fail.

Since we worked so hard on Thursday to finish up the practice coaching sessions we got a little time to sleep in before we kicked off our lectures in the morning.  Jeff Pill’s lecture covered the development and use of possession.  He had put several clips together of the USWNT and clips from the 2012 FIFA WC technical report to discuss the different possession tactics that are being used in the modern game.  Jeff does a great job of organizing his topic and communicating the essential points.  You can definitely tell he is a teacher.

We wrapped the morning up with our last lecture of the course on fitness.  The staff brought in the director of the exercise physiology department at the Florida International University to cover this for us.  He did a great job communicating the demands of soccer, the reasons we do fitness testing, what to do with the results of that fitness testing, and application of the program.  Some of the information was a little indepth for a room of soccer coaches who work with club kids two or three times a week, but the information was solid and had a lot of application for a college level team.

The oral examinations were specific questions about the tactics we saw in the USA v. Guatemala match.  Several candidates had questions on flank play, defensive tactics of the USA or Guatemala, and my question was to describe how the Guatemala backline and midfield combined to get forward in the attack.  I thought it was a fairly manageable question, and I believe I passed the oral exam.  I think this application of a match analysis is a very good change in the Federation’s course.  Talking to candidates in the “C” and “B” licenses it is something that is being done for all three levels, although the games might be different.  The baseline for coaching is the ability to evaluate our players and determine what they need to improve on most to be more effective playing the game.

I was one of the first candidates to go for my oral exam, so I was done by early afternoon and I decided to take a little mental R&R for myself before our final field sessions kicked off tomorrow.  I went down to the beach, took a small jog along the shore, swam for bit, then had dinner at a small seaside cafe while I started putting my thoughts down for my final practice session.  My topic for the final is “Coach a team to produce crosses to score.”  I think this is a manageable topic that I can apply the comments Mark Berson made on my practice session.  I spent the rest of the night bouncing ideas off of my roommates and finalizing my session outline.

The day started right at 8am with a field session on Deep Defending by Jeff Pill.  The way the course is set up is very different from the Premier Course (which is great for me to get a weeks worth of new information) in that the topics are geared towards styles and tactics used in an 11v11 match.  The Premier Diploma focuses on systems and styles of play commonly used within those systems (which I also thoroughly enjoyed learning) taught by four coaches who are currently, or were using those systems with the teams they coached on a regular basis.  The “A” license is looking at systems of play, but is primarily focused on tactics used by coaches in full sided games such as deep defending, high pressure, flank play, counter attacking, or build up play.

The other theme that I’m starting to catch on to at the course is the emphasis given to answering the “5 W’s” when analyzing the game of soccer; Who, What, Where, When, and Why?  Jeff presented his topic of deep defending by addressing these “5 W’s” during his model session.  The build up lead to a full-sided game on the full field.

The second field session of the morning was the 1-4-4-2 v. a 1-4-5-1 presented by Tom Durkin, and the tactical elements we need to consider in the attack and in defending.  Issues like defending the the extra man, attacking weaknesses, and strengths and weaknesses of the two systems were demonstrated in a full 11v11 match.

Jeff followed up his field session with a classroom lecture on the principles he covered in the field session.  In the afternoon we had the privilege of having Peter Mellor (former English professional with Fulham and Portsmouth) and one of our course candidates, Paul Rogers (current USWNT goalkeepers coach) conduct a classroom lecture and field session on goal keeping in a team system.  Key coaching points were the importance of organizing team shape and initiating the teams transition into attack.

Finally in the evening Tom Durkin conducted a classroom lecture on the elements required for a team to regain possession early by pressing.  By this session I’ve started to have a growing respect for the attention to detail, and the demand of a high standard, that Tom places on his players.  He demands a high level of attention to the small things that will make a team better, and it has been a great experience for me to listen to Tom talk about, and teach, the game of soccer.  There are things I find to be a little over the top about his coaching style and method, but you have to respect that standard he demands from his players, and the purposeful teaching method he uses for attention to details.

More to come with day 3…

Just wanted to do a running journal of my experience at the US Soccer Federation “A” License course.  If you’ve followed my posts in the past (and I’m sorry it’s been awhile) then you know how much I love coaching education.  I think it’s a valuable process to continue growing a professional and evaluating yourself to improve your teaching methodology.

I enjoy taking the courses in different parts of the country to get a variety of instructors, styles, and to meet new coaches and keep developing my professional network.  I took my “D” and “C” license courses in the Great Plains, my “B” license in California, National Diploma in South Carolina, Advanced National in the Midwest, and my Premier on the West Coast.  So I decided to register for my “A” License in Florida, and it has been a great experience so far.

The Federation is in a period of major transition when it comes to coaching education.  Every course I’ve taken has been a proving ground for new material or a new methodology.  Now, in the Klinsmann era, there are sweeping changes coming in the Federation’s methodology that are very similar to European models of coaching education.  I was in Kansas City this past fall for a Region 2 instructor’s meeting where we discussed and evaluated the changes being proposed for the “D” license that was initiated this month.  Very positive, and much more conducive to the learning and application process (hopefully I can get into some of that later).

One of the more recent changes to the “A” license curriculum is to have a consistent theme throughout the course related to tactical analysis, and I think it’s a very positive change.  In our pre-course assignments we were asked to watch the USA v. Guatemala CONCACAF qualifying game and do an indepth match analysis of the game.  It was one of the first things we handed in, and it was something that most of our candidates struggled with in part.  But throughout the course the instructors are relating back to that match analysis, and it has even replaced the oral examination topics.  Very practical and extremely applicable to advanced coaching.

Following in the next few days I’m just going to try and give a brief overview of the things I’ve taken away from each day and how I’ve benefited from it.


It’s always a really exciting thing for me to walk into a room of coaches I’ve never met and to start developing relationships and learning from one another.  My roommates are from Michigan and Georgia, one is a club director, and the other is a coach in the US Development Academy.  So two men who are working in different realms that I’ve had little experience in, great opportunity to learn.

The night kicks off with the course introduction and one thing I’m growing more and more positive about is the quality of the instructors we have at this course.  Jeff Pill is a director of soccer at Maranatha Baptist Bible College, and is a former US Women’s U19 National Team coach, as well as 40+ years of experience at the college and high school levels.  Tom Durkin was the director of soccer at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL for 13 years after two years as an assistant coach with the MLS side Tampa Bay Mutiny.  Currently he’s an assistant coach at Northeastern University and coaches club level teams.  Mark Berson has been the head men’s coach at the University of South Carolina for 35 years and is currently leads NCAA Division 1 as the active coach with the most victories and also spent some time as the head coach for the USA U18 Men’s National team.

We kicked the evening off with a lecture on coaching methodology as it relates directly to this course (coaching 11v11).  The concepts of building up and progressing your practice are the same as they have been in other courses, but now the final product is a full 11v11 match where team tactics are applied on the big field.

After that we watched the USA v. Guatemala game again and tried to get feedback from our fellow candidates about our match analysis and the things we saw.

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?