How To Improve By Watching Soccer With A Purpose

How To Improve By Watching Soccer With A Purpose
Published: 2023-01-14
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Karl Dewazien of FUNdamental SOCCER, Emeritus State Director of Coaching for the California Youth Soccer Association 1978-2012, discusses how to improve by watching professional soccer.

 

Here are our FUNdamental SOCCER ideas for players to implement and coaches to consider assigning their players to complete when watching games! The following activities are a great way to ensure players are learning and improving while they watch professional soccer games.

Materials: Marking pen and sheets of paper. Drawing a soccer field on the sheets is helpful. 

 

Assignment: Observe A Particular Player

Instructions:

  • Jot down the plus (+) mark for every pass when possession is kept.
  • Jot down the minus (-) mark for every pass when possession is lost.

 

  • Jot (+1) for successful –Immediate- One Touch Passes
  • Jot (-1) for unsuccessful –Immediate- One Touch Passes

 

  • Jot (+2) for successful –Control & Second Touch Passes
  • Jot (-2) for unsuccessful –Control & Second Touch Passes

 

  • Jot (+3) for successful – Three or more Touch Passes
  • Jot (-3) for unsuccessful – Three or more Touch Passes

 

Total the Numbers and Have a Discussion.

Consider what the difference is between the player positions and types. Are there any patterns you and your players can pull out of the numbers? Do forwards play more risky than defenders? Or faster? How many mistakes do the best attacking players make? More or less than other attackers? What were the passing stats like for the goal scorers? And assists? Did they tend to also have more mistakes due to taking more risks, or not?

 

OPTIONAL ASSIGNMENTS:

  1. Assignment:  Observe A Particular Player
  2. Assignment:  Observe One Team’s Back Players 
  3. Assignment:  Observe One Team’s Midfield Players
  4. Assignment:  Observe One Team’s Forward Players

 

Instructions:

  • Jot down (F+) for every successful (Forward Pass)
  • Jot down (F-) for every unsuccessful (Forward Pass)

 

  • Jot down (S+) for every successful (Square Pass)
  • Jot down (S-) for every unsuccessful (Square Pass)

 

  • Jot down (B+) for every successful (Back Pass)
  • Jot down (B-) for every unsuccessful (Back Pass)

 

  • Jot down (L+) for every successful (Long Pass)
  • Jot down (L-) for every unsuccessful (Long Pass)

 

  • Jot down (Sh+) for every successful (Short Pass)
  • Jot down (Sh-) for every unsuccessful (Short Pass)

 

Total the Numbers and Have a Discussion.

Again, see what patterns you and your players can identify. What is the completion rate for each of these different types of passes? Which players tend to make which types the most? Can your team’s playstyle use any of these patterns to improve?

 

Assignment:  Observe the Goalkeepers 

Instructions:

  • Jot down (B+) for every successful (Bowling Release)
  • Jot down (B-) for every unsuccessful (Bowling Release)

 

  • Jot down (T+) for every successful (Throwing Release)
  • Jot down (T-) for every unsuccessful (Throwing Release)

 

  • Jot down (F+) for every successful (Foot Release) 
  • Jot down (F-) for every unsuccessful (Foot Release)
    •  (Pass; Volley; Punt; Goal-kick)

Total the Numbers and Have a Discussion.

How do your goalkeepers usually distribute the ball currently? Talk with them about the pros and cons of each option, and talk over these stats. How often to the pros tend to bowl, throw, or use the foot to pass, volley, punt, or goal-kick? What is the success rate of each? Do your goalies tend to have a very different approach than the goalies recorded here? Also, discuss how different types of games and play styles might be better suited by which distribution option. For example, a team that is spending most of the game defending and looking to score on the counter may focus more on a quick distribution from the foot like a punt or side-volley, or perhaps even a throw, that can quickly find a wide attacker and start a counter attack. What factors are your goalies using to decide which method they use?

 

MORE OPTIONS

  • Chart Throw-ins: Direction Thrown and Results (+ or -)
  • Place Marks from where Shots are Taken and Results (+ or -)

BONUS OPTION

  • Make this a Family Affair by getting the Parents involved.
  • Make Bonding Efforts during the ‘Assignment Results Discussions.’

 

These activities are a great way to take an enjoyable activity, watching soccer, and ensure players are also learning from their heroes. There are countless teachable moments throughout a professional soccer game, and by having players record this data and bring it into practice for discussion it helps them both focus on those moments, and also learn from each other about them in the talks. Don’t be afraid to come up with other tasks to look for and record while watching games.

Be Creative When Coming Up With And Giving Assignments!