In the past few years, I have adopted an almost entirely games-based approach to coaching. Everything is based within scenarios and situations players encounter in the game, and related to rehearsed actions on where to be in different situations players encounter on a football pitch. These are what the footballing world call "patterns of play", and what some top managers in the game have dubbed "automatizations".
If you're a frequent visitor to this website, or a visitor at all, chances are you probably love to watch football. For years and years I watched football mainly for entertainment. But increasingly, as I've coached the game more and more, I've developed a love for watching football, not just for entertainment, but for intellectual reasons as well. Football is more similar to chess than most other sports, and like chess, there are so many different ways to get to a single correct outcome. Football is a game that involves a countless number of complex decisions within each and every second for the twenty-two players involved both on and off the ball. This is why I love watching football. If you've read any of our Tactical Analyses, you may be wondering how to watch football with that same tactical lens. So, this article will cover how to watch the beautiful game like a tactical analyst.
One of the biggest dangers in the world of coaching in youth sports today is the concept of "joy-sticking" - whereby coaches control every act their players do and do not give their athletes freedom to be autonomous in their decisions. What is described in this article may be controversial as it is a literal form of "joy-sticking". However, this article presents the various ways that playing EA Sports' FIFA video game can be useful in analyzing your players, tactics and playing style, especially if coaches are mindful that what they do on the game may not translate into the real world. Although it is only a video game and a literal form of joy-sticking, every coach can benefit in a lot of ways from creating and playing with their team on FIFA 19.