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World Cup Inspired QUESTIONS 😊

World Cup coaches are traditionally great observers.  They seldom become emotionally involved in the action. They avoid managing players’ actions.

A crucial aspect of WC coaching is to refrain from assessing or assisting the referee during a match. While emotions can run high during intense games, great coaches maintain their composure and focus on guiding their players rather than getting entangled in officiating matters.

WC coaches take mental or written notes of the most prominent weaknesses to be corrected at halftime. They learn to recognize the strengths/weaknesses of individual, group, and team performance. They carefully construct the halftime talk to clearly address observed strengths/weaknesses.

Inspired by World Cup coaching strategies, coaches at all levels can adopt the following essential questions to analyze their team’s performance:

Defending:

Using questions similar to those employed by WC coaches, youth coaches can assess their team’s performance in Defending.

The questions include the 1st defender (Pressure), 2nd Defender (Cover), and 3rd Defenders’ roles, Group defending, and Team defending strategies.

1st Defender (Immediate Pressure) -Do players recognize when to become the 1st defender?

  • Are they in a good starting position?
  • Stop opponents from turning?
  • Deny penetration?
  • Apply ‘Controlled Aggression’?
  • Stay on their feet?
  • Know when to tackle?  

2nd Defender (Immediate Cover) -Cover the 1st defender?

  • Verbal Communication?
  • Angle of support?
  • Distance of support?
  • Ability to track players?
  • Maintain vision of ball and marking assignment?

3rd Defenders (Immediate Balance)

  • Verbal Communication?
  • Squeeze space toward the center of the field?
  • Track runners away from the ball, making forward runs?

Group Defending

  • Do players in the immediate area of the ball know ‘how to’ combine and communicate to defend effectively?

Team Defending

  • Do All players Transition to Defending When the Ball Is Lost?
  • Does the team play as a unit?
  • Is there pressure, cover, balance, and compactness?
  • Is the strategy effective/ appropriate in the different 1/3s of the field?

Defending Restarts (including throw-ins)         

  • Is the ball pressured quickly?
  • Are players quickly recovered goal-side?
  • Are we organized?
  • Concentration?
  • Do we have the appropriate number of players in the area?

Attacking:

Using questions similar to those employed by WC coaches, youth coaches can assess their team’s performance in Attacking.

The questions include the 1st attacker (Playmaker), 2nd attackers (Support), 3rd attackers, Group attacking, Team attacking strategies, and effectiveness during attacking Restarts.

1st Attacker (Playmaker)

  • Is first touch positive?
  • Is the first option to penetrate by means of…

1) a shot, 2) a pass, 3) a dribble?

  • Is the choice of 1, 2, or 3 correct?
  • Is it done quickly?
  • What is the quality of each pass in terms of:

-Accuracy     -Weight     -Timing     -Angle     -Disguise?

  • Is the choice of the pass appropriate?

-Long or short                -Penetration or possession

-One channel attack     -Change point of attack

-Pass to feet                 -Pass to space

2nd Attackers (Immediate Support)

  • Is there Verbal communication?   
  • Is there Visual communication?
  • Are they making space for themselves?          
  • Do they know how to lose a marker?
  • Distance of support?            
  • Angle of support?
  • Do they know when to play in front or behind the ball?
  • When to show toward or when to run away?

3rd Attackers

  • Is there Verbal communication?   
  • Is there Visual communication?
  • Is there a constant attempt to unbalance the opposition?
  • Being responsible for maintaining width and depth?
  • Is the fire choice to get behind the defense?
  • Can they make space for themselves and others?

Group Attacking

Do the players in the immediate area of the ball know ‘how to’ combine to perform basic combinations?

Team Attacking

  • Do All players Make Immediate Transition to Attack?
  • Does the team play as a unit?
  • Is there a connection between players and groups of players?
  • Does the overall ‘shape’ of the team allow penetration \ possession?
  • Is the strategy effective in the different 1/3s of the field?
  • Are key players dictating the rhythm of the game?

Attacking Restarts

  • Are restarts organized quickly and efficiently?
  • Do the players understand their responsibilities?
  • Are the appropriate players in the most advantageous positions

                to maximize certain qualities?

Imagine asking these vital questions inspired by World Cup coaches and using objective observation, constructive feedback, and tailored halftime talks contributes to aid your players’ development … Priceless!

In this article, the coaching strategies employed by WC coaches were revealed and how their proven techniques can significantly benefit you and your team. By embracing the essential questions, I firmly believe that coaches at all levels can elevate their team’s performance and contribute to the growth and development of soccer in the USA. Let’s adopt these invaluable insights and lead our players to success on the field, driving the passion for soccer to new heights across the nation!

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