When we were able to chat later, I told him what I’d observed. It seems that at the highest level of football, this is something you have to do, and he now does this instinctively. We talked about other things as well, but I wanted to let you know what I observed, why it is crucial for players to know what is happening on the pitch and how they can benefit from it. When players look and assess what is happening around them, they can:
• improve the speed of decision making
• make more effective use of the space they find
• support the rest of their team effectively
• make the opposition work harder by taking them out of their formation and creating more space
• make more use of the first touch to set up additional play
• be more alert as they look, assess and move
• have more options for using the ball, such as getting a touch, making an immediate pass, shielding, dribbling, running with the ball, shooting and so on
• avoid pressure with ease
• improve team communication and organisation.
This small change will make a big difference to football players. The next time you train, teach your players to be alert and look around, to check quickly before moving themselves to a better position relative to their team mates, opponents, and the play of the ball.
If you’re doing a level 3 or a licence at UEFA C or above, then here are a few other observations that might help you:
* when coaching and giving feedback to the player on the ball, ensure that you also affect the team mates
* make sure that all players are able to hear your coaching advice so that when you give them feedback they can add that to what they have learned from your coaching of other members of the team. This can really help them to learn/
* When you need to demonstrate your coaching skills, it’s a mistake to choose the best players. When players are already good and make the moves you want instinctively, then you don’t show off your skills in the practical.