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Simple Match Analysis

Being alone on the sidelines, I use my #2 Keeper, Assistant Coach or a Parent to take notes. This is the best player to view the game and give me help. If I use a field player there is difficulty of who gets the notes next when players run on and off the field.

So here is my match analysis.

# 1. Keep track of who wins the one-on-one duels. This is a simple column of (+) for one side and ( )- for the other. Who wins the most?

# 2. Ball possession for us. There are three major components to this:

A: Does the keeper pass or throw the ball as opposed to kicking it into a crowd? My #2 keeper keeps track of this.

B: What happens with throw-ins? Is the throw a safe one square or behind square or a throw-away into a crowd or simply down the line?

C: On dead ball situations not near the goal do we maintain possession with a square pass or even a back pass? We keep track of that.

# 3. I want a record of shots. I give the #2 keeper a diagram of the field. He marks from where the shots were taken. This tells me whether or not we are taking good shots on goal. Mature shots.

I do not count corner kicks or fouls. I do not keep track of a lot of things, because I cannot address and correct all issues.

The items listed above are ones that I feel that I can change through coaching if they are not done to my satisfaction. There is no sense keeping a record of things that I cannot change. Other things are obvious. When a player is caught offside, he knows it. The best that I can do is to suggest running on a curve rather than straight running down the field. This is a player problem, not a team problem.

Dear reader, do not use my list; make up your own. As an example, I have watched my grandson play for many years. Some observations would include:

* The back line of defenders fails to run up in support of the rest of the team when they possess the ball. How frequently?

* The players have a tendency to one-touch the ball causing a high pace to the game with many turnovers. What percent of the time?

* Wild shots are taken from outside the box. From where and how often?

* Substitutions are made too frequently to prevent team unity on the field. Track substitutions.

Match analysis is like a test in the classroom. It does not cover what has been learned, but what is to be learned. A good classroom teacher can do this and a good coach must learn to do this. Match analysis can change from week to week; it is not a fixed formula for the whole season. Do not try to print a form for the season; that will not work. Change it as needs change.

I have pads and pads of match analysis forms. Nobody wants them. I wonder why.

Alan Maher

You may recognize Alan Maher from his many articles published by FUNdamental Soccer over the last three decades. What you may not know is that for more than a quarter of a century Alan Maher was the chairman of printed training material for the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. His articles can be read not only in NCAA's own magazine, Soccer Journal, but in every soccer magazine in the country. Alan also published the extremely educational/innovative "Attacking Soccer with the Neutral Player" book as a supplement to FUNdamental SOCCERS' popular '9-Step Practice Routine'.