Tactical Analysis in the Training Process

With the Major League Soccer season about to begin, in line with the CONCACAF Champions League being contested, coaches involved in these will be scouring the analysis departments for information in order to gain an advantage.

Using tactical analysis for the development of scouting reports, opposition analysis and training development purposes means utilising every method possible to succeed, however understanding and clarifying the tactical analysis data is key to successful analysis and practice design to overcome the opponents.


7 Steps of Analysis

Tactical analysis is a specific set of activities consisting of the collection, processing and appropriate use of information leading to an understanding of the cause and effect compounds occurring during a football game.

It is a process that is not about describing and making subjective assessments, but rather about careful observation.

Regardless of the form in which the information is processed and presented, videos, graphic presentations or descriptions are intended to lead to the creation of a reference point for the training staff for further, more precise and clearly defined work with the team.

It also offers a visualisation of the trainer’s message in relation to the team, thus giving legitimacy to the communication and working methods chosen.

The 7 steps in the analysis cycle can be briefly defined as:

  1. A game – a source of potential information,
  2. Analysis – collection and processing of information for its presentation and further application,
  3. Feedback – presentation of information and its placement in an appropriate context,
  4. Change of perspective – confronting existing knowledge with facts,
  5. Planning and adjustment of the training process – putting the information collected into practice as a reference point for working in a particular direction,
  6. Training – working based on new information (+ analysis),
  7. Adaptation of training conditions – intensity and work context management.


Analysis process in the context of working with a team
Prepared by: Sławomir Morawski, Analysis and Cognitive Aspects in Football, 2018

4 Areas of Tactical Action

When analysing a football game and trying to put our specific process into practice, we can follow three, and in the modern interpretation of football, four areas of tactical action. However, it is not just a question of trends or repetitive scenarios.

Beginning with the perception of the overall picture of the game, trying to explore its nature, we distinguish between: the area of team tactics, the area of group tactics, and the area of individual tactics.

 1) Team Tactics, including:

a. Team Structure
i. organisation of the game in offensive and defensive phases
ii. organisation of the game in transition phases
iii. managing the compactness of the setting

b. Space Management
i. depth and width of the game field
ii. managing the numerical structure in sectors
iii. increasing or reducing the space within the structure
iv. trends and directions for constructing team activities

C. The Distance Between Different Formations Within the Structure

D. Sectors and Corridors occupied by the team
i. creation and use of free spaces
ii. reactions after gaining or losing a field (progression, regression)
iii. behaviour ‘on the other side from the ball’.

2) Group Tactics, including:

a. Formation Structure
i. width and depth of formation – “amplitude”
ii. characteristics of positions within the formation
iii. behaviour in relation to the ball, the opponent, free spaces, and other formations
iv. the compactness and smoothness of formation passages

b. The Creation of “Small Games” and rotations within or between formations
i. item specificity and change process
ii. support from/to the ball, space support
iii. influence on ball handling
iv. characteristics of group activities, which differ between formations
v. management of numerical structures (transition between formations)
vi. trends and directions in the construction of group activities

3) Individual Tactics, including:

a. The Foundations and Tactical Concepts of the individual positions
i. individual training content specific to individual roles (in modern football, functions play a greater role than positions)
ii. individual behaviour regarding external stimuli
iii. the role of leader from a team tactical point of view
iv. trends and directions for the construction of individual actions

4) Mental attitude

i. voluntary features
ii. level of commitment and ability to maintain the intensity of the game
iii. resistance to stress, pressure, and fatigue
iv. managing the sphere of emotions
v. verbal and non-verbal communication


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