Since sharing my training session template, I have had quite a few requests for further drills. My response has always been, what drills do you want? Why do you want them? How will they fit in with your players’ needs?
Early on in my coaching career, I used to read a LOT of books with training drills and think… “that’s a good drill, we’ll do that tonight.” The problem was that many times the drill didn’t go as expected, or the players didn’t respond to the drill as the book said they would.
This was because I was not coaching to the needs of my players. I had not properly assessed their strengths and weaknesses and therefore, did not understand what they needed to be coached.
As I have gained more experience, I have come to understand how important Player Analysis is, prior to designing sessions. Of course, when you coach a new team you will not know their requirements. The first few sessions will be your assessment. I suggest using many small-sided-games to do this.
Player Assessment Template
I designed the above template whilst studying my UEFA B. The data in it is for an U16 team. I use a 5-point scale to rate the players in 136 different attributes from Range of Passing to Understanding Role and Responsibility within a Variety of Formations. The result shows the individual player needs. The colours provide a ‘heat-map’, making it easier to pinpoint areas that the whole squad needs to work on.
Not every player is assessed on every attribute — I didn’t assess the goalkeepers on their finishing capabilities for example.
Some players are assessed in more than one position.
How you rate the players is a matter of opinion — which is why we talk about football so much!! You could use the following criteria:
1. Rate against other players in the team — a 5 would mean that player is the best in that attribute in that team
2. Rate against other players in the same league/competition from other clubs
3. Rate against potential — 5 is the rating you want them to get to by the end of the season
You will also need to consider things such as Relative Age Effect — the impact on a player’s current development relative to their age. If they are young for their age group they may not be as advanced as older players and allowance should be made for this. They may still have great potential and by the time they are a young adult, they may well be better than their older peers.
Individual Development Plans
It took a long time to complete and was done so over the first 4 weeks that I worked with the players. On tabs 2, 3 and 4 of the template you can see three players that I focused on for my project and the improvements that they made (or didn’t make) over a six month period.
I discussed my assessments with the players and their parents and then put together Individual Development Plans. I provided examples of professional players to observe, read up on and learn about so the players’ could ‘see’ what they were working towards.
Each week, the player would report to me with a review of the work they had done outside of our main training sessions and we would discuss any questions that they had. I provided an update on my assessment to the player and parents every 6 weeks.
Player Analysis is an integral part of coaching. You need to identify player needs to be able to properly deliver effective coaching sessions. You also need to do Team Analysis, but this is a topic for another day.
I would love to receive your feedback and hear about how you perform Player Analysis.
If you would like a copy of the template, please leave a comment below with #PlayerAnalysis, then click here and sign up to my mailing list — you will receive an email back straight away.
I hope you find the template useful. If you know anyone else that may benefit from this content, as I plan to send more, please share.