Analyzing the Game – Part 3

This is the third part of a post I started a week or so ago called, Analyzing the Game – Part 1. An introduction to the subject.

As you would expect, the second part was called, Analyzing the Game – Part 2. You can find a quick glance chart to download and print if you are interested in trying to watch the game from a more analytical eye.

Today I will give you some links that I have found interesting and pretty fun. In fact the first link will certainly have your employers unhappy with me because it’s addictive and I expect you will find yourself going back to it throughout the day. It’s actually a series of quizzes put out by the National Soccer Coaches Association. The test is called Tactical Soccer Situations Test. It took me a bit of time to understand what I was looking at to begin with but after a while I did catch on. There are 16 sets of tests, all of them timed.

Another great source is UEFA’s web site. They used to have a technical area and then much to the disappointment of many of my coaching comrades, they removed it from the site. But it did return after a couple of years absence. I’m happy to say it’s back far better than it used to be. It’s called The Training Ground, and it’s full of stories, technical reports, skills and drills. But my favorite is the tab called, Team Tactics. Within that tab there are three pull downs. Positions, Formations and Tactical Dilemmas. Of course, formations and tactical dilemmas are my favorite. Most of this is presented in video form which is really a lot easier to understand. A chalk talk, really.

One last link is to a site called, World Class Coaching. Maybe a bit more geared toward the trainer but still good stuff in there along with a discussion board which is always interesting for me to visit from time to time. A lot of people will post tactical dilemma questions and everyone gets to add their two cents worth. Good stuff.

Do you have a good site regarding tactics and analyzing the game? Please share the link with us by adding to the comments below.

6 thoughts on “Analyzing the Game – Part 3

  1. “Do you realize that by supplying these links, you’re further enabling my FM addiction?”

    Well, I certainly hope so!!!!! hahaha. Thanks

  2. I did the tactical tests at the us coaches association, lots of fun, but now i’m totally frustrated. I’ve played and coached a fair amount, and thought I should be getting all right answers. not so much.

    the take aways for me were:

    a) video would be a much better way of doing the test. Lots of the answers depend on how fast the players are moving, which way their heads are turned, etc.

    b) the test creators over-emphasize dribbling in the attacking third of the field.

    c) the right answers are frequently the less creative answers. The risk of exposing new and inexperienced coaches to these ‘right answers’ is that they will attempt to enforce the stated principles (given in the answers) too rigidly. No wonder Americans are so often tactically flat-footed. Unless you’re lucky enough to get a foreign coach, you may actually believe all that stuff, to your detriment.

  3. Well, the “correct” answer issue has always been a knock both on the USSF and the FA. I have a friend who played for Malmo in Sweden and went through some of the coaching courses I went through here in MN where he settled. He used to have a fit at the rigidity of USSF. He had been to clinics and license classes all over Europe and it was eye opening for me to hear how many other countries such as Italy, Spain handled philosophies differently then the U.S.

    With that said, most countries will want you to dribble when you are in and around the box. You know the old, 3 thirds of the field. The attacking third is the risk taking third and you self pass or dribble to create chances. I didn’t always do so well in the attacking scenarios either. I pretty much aced the defending ones. Then again, one of my specialty sessions for youth players used to be a session called 2nd and 3rd defender. I think I was pretty successful at teaching a fairly complicated topic. So no wonder. I think defending is a bit more black and white, and you go by the numbers.

    In other words, baking is like defending whereas cooking is like attacking. Baking is methodical and more like chemistry where cooking is a little of this and a little of that till you get it right. Same as attacking, creativity at it’s finest. But there still are basic principles to follow.

    On the attacking though, as you say, there are so many other options and scenarios. After all, a good attack is varied and creative. For instance; Session 10 question #2, they want option #3. I chose option #1. Running behind the defender is the the blind-sided run (element of surprise) and if one curved his run you could stay onside. However, with that said you have no angle on the run and would be running square to the ball which is if you received a pass would be very hard to hit correctly as to a diagonal run which is recommend for better visual judgment and better mechanical contact with the ball.

    One last comment about all the dribbling answers. We always learned that dribbling was a last choice. It usually was something like this, first choice, shoot. If that is not an option second choice is long ball down the field to advance the ball as quickly as possible. Third choice short pass and fourth choice self pass or dribble.

    Oh, one more thing. Remember what the explanation of the quiz said? The original test was created by German coach T.K. Trapp, not an American.

  4. This is really cool Brian. I’ve already had fun with the tactical analysis tests and enjoyed listening to Roy Hodgson on the UEFA website. Will certainly come back to these again. I think in England we grow up with football from such an early age that we sometimes forget the principles underlying the game. I’ve only played at a very poor level and never had the desire to coach, but I do love being able to read the games I watch and identify the good and bad points of each team.

  5. Me too. I’ve done 8 exams with mixed success. Sometimes I’m not sure I agree with the ‘right’ answers, but it’s instructive to read the thinking behind them. What seems like obvious stuff is remarkably interesting, and then clearly less obvious that I had first thought. Put another way, I think I’ve just learned a lot…

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