How to Involve Players In The Analysis Process

Involving players in the analysis process is becoming more common in the modern game. The days of a Head Coach, authoritarian figure standing at the front of a meeting room telling players what they must do are slowly slipping away.

Players have access to more video, data and other information about themselves their team and the opposition than ever before. Coaches are forced to, and beginning to adapt.

Nottingham Forest Head Coach, Steve Cooper was featured in an article during his time as a Coach foe England’s youth teams:

The players now take far much more control of the development program, including how we prepare for games. For example, the game plan used by Steve Cooper’s U17 World Cup final team [now U18s] against Spain was prepared by the players.

The players were given some footage of the opposition during the build-up to the game and through their unit meetings and work with the specialist coaches they developed objectives linked to in and out of possession to beat Spain.

The players own and drive that content and are facilitated and supported by the coaches. This culminates in the creation of a game-plan which then gets taken from the team room out onto the grass to help prepare the players.

When the U17s were 2-0 down in the final the players were able to keep calm because they had created the game plan and actually believed in it. It is a big difference than simply being told what to do.

The game plans aren’t there for when things are going well, they are there for when things are going wrong.  The U17s were a great example of a group that didn’t panic and knew how to stick to the plan in order to win the game.


Our Analysts and Coaches who contribute to APFA courses almost unanimously agree that involving the players in the analysis process is essential. Here’s some short snippets from our courses:

In the video above Matt Pilkington mentions players being involved in target setting and the analysis of their own performances. As Coaches evolve into learning facilitators, the onus is now on the player to take ownership of their own development.

Finding ways to keep players engaged is essential, and empowering players focus on themselves may just be the perfect way to do so.

If you’re struggling for time, or finding that player development is stagnating at your club, then self-analysis may be the perfect solution.

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