Match Analysis can be a useful tool for coaches to develop several aspects of their coaching toolbox. Watching games back is a good way to work on observation skills and identifying moments in the game where players have done well or something has broken down. It can also be taken a step further in analyzing those moments and why they occurred, what caused them, and how they might be prevented in future. Using this, information can be fed back to your players/team.
Observe and Identify
Coaches should possess the ability to observe and identify moments in the game. This is often an overlooked aspect of coaching; the ability to take a step back and observe. Is it a breakdown, is that breakdown technical or tactical (or both) or is it something that you've done well that could be improved further? To take this observation a step further, use a notepad and pen to write down key moment's in the game, trends or things that stick out in your mind (note the time). Alternatively, try tagging a game using an app such as vLoop.
It's not enough to simply observe and identify moments in the game though. Being able to break down those moments and examine them in a detailed fashion is the key difference between observation and analysis. Can you drill down into the elements or structure that contribute to what you observed. Think about the 5 W's (Who, What, Where, When, Why) or break things down using these questions as a guideline:
- What is their formation in attack? Can you diagram/illustrate it?
- How do they build up? How do they play through the thirds of the field? How do they penetrate in the final third?
- How do different units on the field combine? E.g. the attackers and midfielders or the midfielders and defenders?
- Who are the three key influencers on the game? Why?
- What does the opposition do that influences our style of play?
The most important part of this entire process is the way that information is fed back to the players/teams. It's all very well and good being able to pick out the right moments and be able to break it down to the minutest detail. But if you are unable to communicate it clearly to those that need the info, it can be a wasted talent.
Whether it's a session plan, a one on one talk or sitting down with some video analysis, the information needs to be clear and concise and wherever possible, the use of visuals can really add to a player's understanding if they can see what you're talking about.
Match Analysis can be broken down into three components. Your ability to observe and identify moments in the game, how you break that information down and analyse it and how that information is then communicated back. This is a rare skill set that can branch in to all areas of coaching. Think about how this influences match analysis but also delivering half time team talks or even the ability to identify and make stoppages in training.