Last Friday we hosted another tactical webinar alongside Association of Professional Soccer Analysts (APFA) with renowned coach and analyst Stevie Grieve. Using his experience at the professional level and current work at SJK Akatemia (Ykkonen) in Finland, Stevie shared insights around how coaches can integrate match analysis with their game models and provide ideas around more effective and consistent processes that coaches can implement throughout the season. The presentation was also delivered in an interactive format with coaches in attendance having the opportunity to get involved in the discussion. You can watch the full presentation FREE on the APFA website and below are some of the takeaways.
Firstly, Stevie's insight and perspective around the importance of a clear game model gave his presentation a very strong foundation to begin with. Early on he asked coaches: "If somebody was to ask someone else what you team looks like, would that person be able to tell them?" It's a thought provoking question for a number of reasons, one of which being that we should start to look at how our teams are judged by others, rather than our own views which can tend to be biased and inaccurate. Creating that specific identity, Stevie argues, then allows coaches to become more accurate in aligning training, feedback, individual player development and recruitment. Below is a short segment where Stevie outlines how to document those ideas and structure the process of co-ordinating all those important areas.
The second phase of Stevie's presentation was merging the key aspect of opposition analysis to the game model. Using his own team from Finland as an engaging case study, Stevie again proposed a series of challenging questions to the coaches watching: "What's the best thing you can do in a game to make the opponent as uncomfortable as possible while playing your own game?" In order to optimize this area, Stevie explains, you will need to create a clear distinction between the game model and your game plan. This is where you question what can be flexible in your organization and what must remain fixed. Again, this process itself challenges coaches to reflect on some challenging topics and how you would prioritize this with limited training time or little information on the upcoming opponent. Below is a short clip from the presentation where Stevie shared how to transfer this theory onto the training pitch and maximize the time you have to prepare for the next game.
Overall, Stevie gave an outstanding presentation that merges planning with execution and theory with practice. Creating an adaptable and flexible game model with well-defined principles that players and staff are confident in, is an extremely difficult skill but one that we must be striving for as coaches. Planning is key, but understanding the best way to maximize time on and off the training pitch is just as important so coaches can be productive with their time and energy. I would highly recommend this webinar for coaches who are looking at new processes or challenging current ones around game model organization and training for competition.