Coaching Philosophy Defines Analysis - Kyle Ferguson, UU, Football Coach & Analyst
How can Coaching Philosophy define what matters for analysis?
'I’m a senior lecturer with Ulster University and I coach with a number of teams as well. When I use analysis, what I’m looking for is how can we get a difference here, how can we find something that we wouldn’t see with the naked eye. So we generally use our own knowledge as a coach to inform what we’re looking for, we set a clear purpose of what we’re trying to find out and then we start to tag the game.'
'But that’s when we have to take our coaches hat off and tag things objectively and trust the process. Trust that the statistics we are tagging will generate information that is important. Then when we look back at them, we can clearly see what’s relevant, instead of having to watch a 90-minute football match we’re looking at very clear trends.'
'For example, If I looked at final third entries or attacking zone entries I’m looking at how many opportunities were created, how many times we gave the ball away needlessly, how many times we were forced to give it away - and those three things alone will give me points to coach. So, I’m either coaching or let's try to improve on where we created the opportunities, why did they create those opportunities and who was moving in which direction, how did it happen.'
'Then breakdown the opportunities when we gave the ball away needlessly - was that because we didn’t have the movement, was it because of an individual technical error and we can work on that and create individual action plans. Then finally, when we’ve been forced to give the ball away - what could we have done 5-10 seconds before to avoid that.'
"I’m trying to identify key moments in time linked to our purpose and how we coach, and if I can identify those key moments I can go back 5-10 seconds and look at the build up play and ask those questions - which clearly for me are; ‘what did happen, what could happen, and what should happen. And if I can get my players to identify that - I know that they can problem solve better on the pitch."
Giving feedback and involving players? - what’s the recommend process
" think it’s very important that the players are involved from the start, but you’ve also got to know your players. Some players want all the information possible and they take that in and they really thrive on it. Other players just want to go out and solve problems as they go. To some extent you are having to treat players differently and it's finding a happy balance, but you can do that very clearly with having group feedback as well as having individual feedback."
'Being able to break down a game into two or three key 10-second video clips, send that on a forum, like a Whatsapp or whatever your forum is to engage with players. You’ll know very clearly who engages with it, who watches it, but I think it's very important to start with those players getting to see that content in their own environment, on their own mobile phone as opposed to being in a classroom.'
'As soon as you bring players into a classroom there’s a barrier that goes up - is there a fear that somethings going to show them up? Is there ego - that this is going to be brilliant? Let them see it in their own environment, to watch it two or three times and then start to use questions.'
'My philosophy would be that players are involved in it and they problem solve, and we’re guiding them to solve their own problems as opposed to telling them and solving their problems for them.'
“I think analysis and video analysis is a great tool to guide players and help them solve their own problems. Ultimately they’re on the pitch themselves and they have to work things out as they go, so being able to ‘Reflect in Action’ is really what I would try to get my players to do.”
How important is training analysis? - how to involve players
"I think training analysis is probably more important than match analysis. I can’t stop a match and say ‘come and have a look at this on the iPad’ - but I can stop a training session."
'I can set a training session up and bring players in and out to have a look at the video on the iPad and send them straight back in with their own thoughts, to go and identify that and problem solve as they go. Being able to identify it on a video and then put it straight into action is a great way for players to learn. And I think even being able to tag training sometimes - I would tend to set up two to three drills and repeat them maybe once a month or once every six weeks and tag those drills.'
'It could be a shooting drill to look at how many times they get shots on target, how many were goals, and then repeat that drill on a regular basis under different conditions - I start to see what things are like in matches compared to training sessions and it might help me to adjust or make training more intense, or I might need to change the tactics were using based on weather for example and how that can fit for the player.'
For Coaches, where’s the best place to start? - why analyse performance
'I think there’s two parts to it. The first is; what are the two most important things you want to do with your players in attack? What are the two most important things you want to do in defence and what are the two most important things you want to do in a transition?'
"If we can identify that strategy or philosophy that a coach uses - we can start to set our tagging template up around those very purposeful events."
'What I then say to the coaches is - ‘even take a pen and paper to the dugout and just write down the time something happened and we can record that as a coaching point’, and we can look at those instances as well. That means the coach still has their subjective opinion recorded, but everything we’re looking at is towards a purpose. If we start off with two or three key statistics and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), we can then build that later on and layer it.'
“But to start with, we don’t want to overwhelm everyone with a data mountain, we want to make sure that this analysis is adding to the coaching process as opposed to taking away from it.”
What do you mean by layering data? - linking objective stats to coaching points
'To start with we want key moments in time that are very obvious about coaching points. So for example, if we have attacking zone entries and we notice that 30% of the time we’re giving the ball away that’s a key area for me to look at as an analyst.'
"What the coach wants to see is two or three examples - that might be for the whole team or an individual. Then when we layer the coaching points on top of that - we’re saying well ‘why is it happening’ - is it that the player’s body shape is not in the right position or optimal position to open up. Have they scanned behind them - so if we can incorporate those coaching points of being able to receive the ball on your back foot, having scanned and opened up into space then we might be able to see an improvement."
'So we’re able to create a baseline first, and then we put a coaching intervention in place. It may be a coaching drill like a ‘keep ball exercise’ where we’re trying to constantly reinforce - ‘receive the ball on the back foot and before you receive it, scan over your shoulder.’ Then over a period of weeks we can identify has that coaching session made a difference, has that player improved, has our team overall improved and has that translated into an improvement in the opportunities we create in the final third.'