With a large number of our readers playing different roles in professional football, there is a growing need to include other aspects of the game on our blog along with strength & conditioning, sports medicine, sports psychology and nutrition. Video analysis is definitely a hot topic in the world of football, and today I am delighted that we have big name among the guest authors.
I met Josselin Juncker during our time together in FC Sochaux-Montbeliard, France, back in 2018. I have to admit that he left a very strong impression on me since the day one, both because of his huge experience, and relationship with the players and staff and his level of professionalism. With his experience from Granada CF, Sevilla CF, Cardiff City and Leeds United later on, I was sure that he will bring huge adventage to our team. So, without further delay, let’s start with a series of blogs related to video analysis and football coaching in professional environment.
Should coaches have a video analysis microcycle? How could it be structured? Why? In strength and conditioning, structuring the week based on specific objectives and needs has been for quite a long time now, accepted as an obviousness. Since the beginning of this century, and especially in the last decade, video analysis has considerably developed to the point that it is now considered as a specialty in the same regard as strength and conditioning. Therefore, if it is obvious that a week’s work should be organized in terms of distances, loads, strength sessions etc. Then it should also be structured in terms of team and opponent analysis. But How and Why?
In order to make it simple, let’s think only about a “simple” week, aka: one match’s week. Also, to structure our thoughts, let’s deal with team analysis first, and then opponent analysis, which we will deal with in some other posts. And within each of these subjects, first, collective analysis will be dealt with, and then individual analysis.
So, when should we have collective team analysis? Well, I have been confronted to/heard of lots of different ways. Some never do it. Lack of time, lack of interest; to be honest, I don’t buy it. There is always time, and it is, most of the time, beneficial. Some others do it sometimes. Need to occasionally praise or correct something; at least, something is being done. Still, I believe in a systematic way of using what Marcelo Bielsa calls theoretical training.
“There is a type of training that does not consume energy, it is the theoretical one. Football players train with energy consumption, they train when they rest, and they also train when they study theoretically what happened in training.”
Fortunately, the majority of coaches do it every week. So, what are the options? When to do it? I heard about “crazy Rodri”, now with Unai Emery at Villarreal, who used to have video analysis sessions the day after the match. I can see pros in this: shows commitment and exemplarity to players, ensures that players go into their rest day with clear ideas of what has been done right and what needs to be corrected. Cons? Not enough time to calmly reflect on what happened, risk of having emotions taking over.
Some do it the first day of the following microcyle. Pros? Sets targets, connects the past week with the current one. Cons? Sometimes it can be beneficial to totally forget about last match, whether it has been a win, a draw, or a loss.
Any other day of the microcyle? Which one? Why? Let’s share ideas and experiences. It’s not enough just to set a day, what do you show the players? How?Chronological summary of the game? Structured around the 5 phases of the game? Divided into positives and negatives? All actions about a specific topic or only a few ones? What other options are there?
At one point, a good friend of mine had his players to stay immediately after the game, to watch the full match all together, in order to have them think/debate about the situation of the team and how they could find solutions to their problems. Pros? Forces honest, constructive, and concrete communication between players. Cons? Risk of creating conflicts between staff and players or among players themselves.
Another question is the one about the length of the meeting. How long should it be? Should it be very short so that players leave the meeting with three clear ideas? Should it be very long so as to make sure that they really understand the point?
What about individual analysis? If I had to choose between collective and individual analysis, I would go 100% for individual. I massively believe that there is a need for the individualization and even personalization of everything in football. But that’s a topic for another post. Again, some coaches never do it. And again, I don’t understand why.
Some others, do it sometimes. To tighten things up with a specific player, to clear things out regarding a specific topic. I personally believe that every week, there is something to be praised or to be corrected. Every week. Every day. So, what about when players are systematically provided with individual analysis? When to do it? As soon as possible? In the bus/train/plane back from an away trip? Next day? Whenever players want by logging in the online platform? First day of the following microcycle?
Last season, at Badajoz, I used to have individual meetings about last match on large sided games day. Why? I got the inspiration from my time around Marcelo Bielsa at Leeds United. To me, showing it on the day where training is the most similar to the game, gives the players a chance to implement what has been talked about during the meeting in the following two hours of training.
I remembered that at Leeds United, Marcelo had individual meetings with his players about their last match on the day prior to the following match or even on matchday. In my first season at Badajoz, I stole his method and put it into practice. Only in a slightly different way: I prepared 30-40 seconds video that I would show the players right before entering the pitch, between warm up and referee check-up.
Depending on the player, his personality, his moment, I would show him clips of what we wanted him to focus on for that specific match. For instance, if it was a player that was not a usual starter but earned his spot in the starting eleven for this match, I would show him training clips of what he had done right during the week, to praise and remind him of what the path is for having a good match.
On the contrary, if the player was one of the most important ones, that we thought could relax for that specific match, I would show him clips of lost challenges of his last match, in order to make him reach that point of “survival instinct” where he feels threatened enough to demand more from himself.
Once the day is set, again, the question about the content of the video arises. What do you show the player?
Typical options are: chronological summary of the game, 5 phases of the game, positives/negatives, specific topic etc. Which one do you go for?
I personally usually (depending on player/person, context etc.) go for a 2 to 5 minutes video following this structure: In possession negative patterns-In possession positive patterns-Out of possession negative patterns-Out of possession positive patterns. Main reason for that structure is to point at mistakes first in order to show solutions after, thus strengthening the “good” as well as showing that there are ways to correct the “bad”.
So, what is the conclusion there? The initial question was “Should coaches have a video analysis microcycle? How could it be structured? Why?”. Even if results show that you don’t need a structured video analysis microcycle to win, I think that having a structured one, and especially one with a clear emphasis on individual analysis helps to be closer to victory. How can you look for success in the future if you don’t look at the mistakes from the past? PS: Those questions I ask during the monolog are not part of the decoration, I actually want to interact with the reader. I want to know about other people’s experiences and thoughts. So please, let’s be in touch at Juncker.firstname.lastname@example.org