We are finally here! We have arrived to the penultimate moment of this course. The ninetieth minute, if you will. But before we come to a final curtain close, we're going into extra time to have you work on a real life application of your learnings in this course. Here's how it works...
Microsoft Excel is one of the most commonly used platforms in businesses around the world, particularly for inputting and analyzing data. As an analyst, it will become a useful tool for you to keep information in one place, and create stunning graphs and charts on the data you find. It's used so much so that most platforms you will find (FBRef, Wyscout, etc.) even have the ability for you to download their statistics for your own purposes on Excel. Let's jump into how to use this well-known platform to your benefit when conducting football analysis.
I've relied almost entirely on my ability to create stunning graphics through one of the most basic tools in existence - Microsoft Powerpoint. With the tips I'm about to present, you could do the same on the well-known platform, or similar tools such as Keynote or Google Slides, without detracting from your analysis.
Let's face it. Football terminology can be confusing. There are a bucket load of terms that exist out there, many of which are overused, overhyped and oversimplified when other verbiage and language would be more appropriate. To help you along your analysis path, I'm going to be breaking down the very best football terms to know when discussing the tactical and analytical aspects of football.
When conducting analysis in any setting, it's important to ensure a balance is met, in every sense of the word. That includes considering and dissecting more than just the in-possession moments, and what the camera wants you to see on first glance. That includes considering both the positives and the areas of improvement, whilst keeping feedback constructive and actionable. It's difficult for an analyst to achieve all of the necessary components of an outstanding analysis in one big bundle, but balance must be met regardless of time or place as part of that package.
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.
How do you release the footballing demons (a.k.a. all of your thoughts on the beautiful game) out into the world? I know you have those thoughts, bursting inside of you, desperately clinging to the edge of your cliff brain, just waiting to get out. Do you share your thoughts on Twitter? Through podcasting? Writing? Do you bottle it up inside and never let it out? Regardless of whatever it is that would constitute as your "jam", why not start your own website? Seriously, why not?
As coaches, analysts, players, fans, and football obsessed individuals, we all want to grow our tactical understanding of the game. In fact, it's one of the top five questions I get thrown my way on social media or email (links at the end of the article), where people either want to know how I developed my degree of tactical knowledge, or want to know how they too can take their tactical and analytical understanding to the next level. Here is a structured process that you can follow to develop your own tactical knowledge, and continuously learn about the game on repeat.
If you're reading this article, chances are you love to analyze football. So allow me to help with your love for analysis with this call to action. Stop taking information from single-match occurrences, or single-match statistics, even statistics over time on their own, as a mechanism for making inferences about the wider context at hand. Recognizing patterns over time, and the wider context behind those patterns, are the essentials behind analysis in football, allowing you to more accurately assess performance, and improve upon performance problems.
A little over a week ago, we asked you to give us your top of the line ideas on how to stop the long-ball specialist. Every single professional team has at least one of these players in their side, yet it remains a relatively undiscussed discourse. When you take into account the inherently unattractive dogma surrounding the notion of a long-ball ravaging through the beautiful game, there's even greater negative connotations toward something that in reality, is incredibly elegant. So with that, here is our analysis as to how to stop the long-ball specialist, with your answers intermixed along the way.
As a football analyst, I often get asked a very broad question - 'How do you watch football matches?'. What people really want to know is what I look for, the process of watching to disseminating that information to an audience, and how they can learn more about the game to see football like a true tactical analyst themselves. A little over a year ago, I wrote an article titled 'How to watch football like a tactical analyst', following a 'how do you watch football?' type of question from one of our long-time readers. Since that article, the way I watch football has evolved, with new processes and techniques to study the game and prepare myself for the subsequent analyses that follow. So with that, today I share how I watch football matches, and gain the necessary insights that guide my articles.
This past weekend, West Bromwich Albion were relegated from England's top flight. The team lacked the quality to survive, and even despite Sam Allardyce turning them into a well-functioning team, they couldn't make up the necessary ground to stay in the division. But if there was one shining light in the otherwise unremarkable season for the Baggies, it would have to be their star attacking midfielder - Matheus Pereira.