Getting started in football analysis

While this is an introductory course, it doesn’t matter if you’re an expert or novice, the time to learn starts now. School is in session. I famously love to guarantee results within my work, and I guarantee that you’re going to learn something from this section, even if you’re already the world’s leading expert. In this section, I’m going to drop tips and tricks for getting started in analysis, in addition to coaching, writing, podcasting, and even, if you’re interested, website creation.

Coaching the 3-1-3-1 (9v9)

When deployed correctly, the 3-1-3-1 can be one of the most fluid, flexible and fantastic 9v9 formations. Like anything in the beautiful game, team tactics, style of play and intricacies can only evolve within the realms of a team's own unique characteristics (including players involved, level of opposition, coaching preferences, and more). But if I had my pick of the litter within my squad, this is how I would deploy the 3-1-3-1 formation at the 9v9 level.

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! 

How to make substitutions like Pep Guardiola

Fifteen minutes to go in the 2021-22 Premier League season, the title looked likely to change hands for the first time in months, with Liverpool having every chance of stealing top spot away from Manchester City. But then came Pep Guardiola and three inspired second half substitutions, stealing the crown right at the death. Here are three ways to best support the substitution process, and make effective changes to change football matches.

I will change your mind about automatisms

Off-the-ball movement is, of course, the most important facet to the game. But saying that all passing patterns or attempts to make decision making automatic are "stupid" fails to account for the fact that these things don't have to be trained in isolation. After all, if they were stupid, why would coaches like Jurgen Klopp or Ralph Hasenhuttl deploy them as training methods?

The simple task anyone can do to improve their tactical knowledge

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.

How coaches can develop their tactical and analytical understanding of the game

One of the most common questions thrown my way is the typical - "How do you know what you know?" or "How did you develop your tactical craft?". Well, I finally have an answer for you.

Finding the balance between being fun and assertive in coaching (+ more Q&A)

In this special edition Spin The Ball Q&A, Rhys Desmond talks about how to find the balance between being fun and assertive in coaching, how to be more enthusiastic for your players, and gives his thoughts on the CONCACAF Champions League and Man City vs. Tottenham this weekend. Be sure to check out @mastermindsite on social media and everything we have going on at themastermindsite.com to never miss an update. 

A set-piece routine that will guarantee goals

Set-pieces are vitally important to the modern game, with a high percentage of goals being scored from set-pieces in the Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga and Serie A this season. However, we are a firm believer in giving players creative autonomy and freedom to make choices in football matches. Allowing them to have a voice in attacking set-pieces is the perfect spot to allow them such creative input, as set-pieces can often be so different to everything else the team puts together in their formation, style of play and game model. With that said, we want to help your team score more goals from set-pieces, especially if you're going through our game model examples, only to see that we don't focus all that much on set-pieces. So with that, here is my favourite corner kick routine, which can easily be used at both the senior and professional level.

Sam Holmshaw – Why everything in coaching needs to fit your context

There's a beautiful thing in the coaching community, where we all strive to share resources. But this inherently creates a problem. What works in one context, doesn't always work in another. Sam and I are both content creators who always get asked to come up with solutions to various coaching problems and share our thoughts on how coaches can accelerate their teams to new levels. While we love creating content and educating coaches, it must be said that everything we put out always needs to be adapted to the context of the individual coach, team, players and environment. The same could be said for taking things from the professional game, where very few lessons can actually be applied at the youth level.

Interview with Andi Gschaider – Founder of B42

Looking for a unique, innovative solution to help your players get through these tough COVID times? Look no further than B42. In this exclusive interview, Rhys Desmond is joined by B42 founder Andi Gschaider to discuss his football training app used by teams and coaches around the world, including pro clubs in Germany like FC Nuremburg. Rhys and Andi discuss how coaches can use the app to inspire their players, how B42 got its name, and the company's desire to make a social impact. Follow the show @mastermindsite on social media, and stay tuned for more exclusive interviews coming this month.

Goalkeepers in the build-up – a new meaning to the ‘Sweeper Keeper’

The role of the goalkeeper continues to evolve in the modern game, with keepers becoming better with their feet by the year. Not only are goalkeepers now a crucial part of their team's build-up structures, but they're coming higher and higher out of their penalty areas to contribute. We recently discussed how Robert Sanchez often joins the Brighton defense as an auxiliary centre-back when the Seagulls play out from the back. But Sanchez is not alone in the art. The likes of Alisson, Ederson and Manuel Neuer all perform a similar function for their teams, adding another number by which their team can shift the ball around and make the opposition sweat. But why exactly is this happening and what are the advantages? Let's explore.