Understanding ball, opposition, teammates and space

Nothing can exist in football without perceptions of ball, opposition, teammates and space (BOTS for short if you want!). While there may never be one unequivocally correct answer to any given footballing problem, players can more adequately assess for decision making through muscle memory, experience, automatisms, sheer intelligence, and studying the tips in this article. But those same players, analysts and coaches must also recognize the deeply-rooted tandem bike quadracycle nature of the four elements of the game, and how they all co-exist to work in harmony.

The difference between seeing and understanding in analysis

When it comes to analysis, it's no secret that the goal is to think on a deeper level, scrutinizing over the finer minutia beyond what you see at first glance. But it's also no secret that this skill takes dedicated time and energy to learn. A lack of deep tactical understanding about the game often comes at a cost to coaches and amateur analysts. They are adequately able to perceive events on a football pitch, but they may be unsure of how to change what they are seeing for the better, or even fully comprehend what they are seeing to the level required. Coaches in my Mentorship Program often ask me - "How do you go from seeing to understanding?" Well that, my friends, is what we're after today. In this series of notes, I'm going to give you a series of images and videos, where you can go from seeing, to understanding. If you've been doing analysis for years, no worries, this will still be an excellent way for you to practice and refine your skills.

Explaining the Ball-Playing-Centre-Half – Player Role Analysis

As the name suggests, a 'Ball-Playing-Centre-Half' is a centre-back that excels in possession of the ball, from passing to long passing to carrying to dribbling. They can simultaneously exist as 'Sweepers' or 'Stoppers', providing another interesting asterisk to the role not found in many other positions. Unlike say a fullback or goalkeeper where we have created clearly defined separations and almost polarizations on a style scale, 'Ball-Playing-Centre-Halves' can also be 'Stoppers' or 'Sweepers'.

Explaining the Wing-Back – Player Role Analysis

A wing-back, as the name suggests, is a full-back that operates up and down the wing, holding particular importance in attacking phases. They may contribute to the defensive side of the game, and they may even invert into central areas. But wing-backs do their best work down the by-line, where they can deliver crosses into the box, utilize their trickery and skill to go 1v1, and surge up the field through their dynamic pace and timing of movement into dangerous areas. Here is our latest Player Role Analysis.

Alan Koch – FC Edmonton – Tactical Analysis

Koch has made a series of tactically intriguing decisions over the course of the past eleven games, developing a clear sense of style with his team. So with that, here is our tactical analysis of Alan Koch's FC Edmonton, why the Eddies are still worth a watch this season, and our recommendations for the team moving forward.

A short corner routine that will guarantee goals (ft. KC Current)

While brilliant, this set-piece won't work 100% of the time. But if your team can properly assess a time to play a short corner like this (such as having a player unmarked at the top of the box) and capitalize on that opportunity, this corner kick routine courtesy of Kansas City may just guarantee you goals.

Premier League Transfer Tax (Part 1)

It's easy to use the eye test and conclude that players like Jadon Sancho and Timo Werner haven't lived up to the hype. In a recent video, Tifo Football suggested that this phenomenon doesn't just apply to Bundesliga clubs, but a range of leagues around the world. So with that, we aim to use data from the 2021-22 season to determine whether or not 'Bundesliga Tax' is a real phenomenon, and what leagues Premier League clubs should prioritize in sending their scouts to this summer. Here is our analysis of what we're dubbing 'EPL Transfer Tax'. In Part 1, we examine the top seven sides in the league based on points during the 2021-22 campaign, drawing conclusions around the business that 'Top 7' clubs conducted prior to the start of last season. In turn, this could inform decision making ahead of the 2022-23 season, and potentially the wider future at hand.

Forge’s new signings paying dividends in recent run of form – Tactical Analysis

The atmosphere inside Tim Hortons Field was electric on Sunday, culminated by a string of impressive performances leading toward another top class win over first-placed Pacific FC. The Hammers dominated the tempo of the match from start to finish, with the entire squad in full flow and complete harmony over a tired Pacific team. Impressively, Forge's recent run of form has been accompanied by the introduction of two new faces to the team - Malik Owolabi-Belewu and Rezart Rama. Both have fit like a glove in Bobby Smyrniotis' side, pushing others into roles that allow the entire team to achieve equilibrium and stability. Here is our match analysis of Forge's 3-0 win over Pacific, and the impressive accomplishments of Owolabi-Belewu and Rama since entering the frame.

Explaining the Inverted Fullback – Player Role Analysis

Fullbacks are not always the flashiest of players, nor do they garner the greatest attention, even despite their importance to creating and generating chances in the modern game. That is precisely why a system like our Role Continuity Evaluation System works on so many levels, as we are able to adequately assess the important characteristics to a player's performance, while minimizing the scrutinization over less important facets of the player's game. Within the system, we break down full-backs into three broad categories: 'Wide Warriors', 'Wing-Backs', and the topic of today's article - the 'Inverted Fullback'. So with that, we explain the tasks, functions and role of an 'Inverted Fullback' and outline some of the very best in the position in 2022.

Football is more about psychology than tactics

This is not a headline that you would expect to see from a website so devotedly focused on tactics and analysis. But as complex and debatable as this may sound, football is more about psychology than tactics. The best coaches are not always the best tacticians. But the best coaches are always the best motivators. The likes of John Herdman, Emma Hayes, Jose Mourinho and even Jurgen Klopp, rarely ever speak about tactics when expatiating about the game. Instead, they pontificate about the psychology of their teams and players, and their attempts to get the best out of their mentality.

How I coached an unbeaten team

In the summer of 2021, I took a youth team to an unbeaten campaign, in their first ever season playing together. While winning is never the most important part of youth soccer, I share some of the key tips and tricks that allowed me to achieve success with my team and instill a positive culture where each and every player wanted to return. In the first half of the episode, I also discuss the exciting opportunities coming up on TheMastermindSite.com. Follow the show and my body of work @mastermindsite and @desmondrhys!