Posts Tagged ‘reading the game’

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…

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?