So far we’ve focused on team-wide principles and designed KPI’s to track them. It’s now time to turn our focus onto the individuals who make up our teams.
Just as our teams can benefit from an evidence-informed approach, so can our players. It’s now extremely common for clubs to have a positional profile with a set of customized expectations can benefit their players.
Some clubs are now going as far as hiring Individual Development Coaches who’s sole task is to focus on players at the individual level with far less responsibility for team-wide issues. The APFA has a course specifically designed to work on an individual development plan much like the team planning document from this one.
The course features tasks, match video examples and professional Analysts, Coaches and Technical/Sporting Directors and guides the learner through a step by step process of developing an individual development plan for a player, as well as measuring targets, information feedback and training session design.
Think back to our playing philosophy and the performance measurement framework we designed earlier. What can our individual players do on a game-by-game basis to help the team as a whole achieve it’s goals? If we’ve set a target of taking a certain amount of shots from the gold zone, then who’s expected to be taking them and creating them?
Lucy Rushton and Matt Pilkington share details on why setting individual targets for players can aid development. Lucy in particular expands on her points, giving real life examples of times when focusing on individual targets helped a player in the games immediately following review:
New York Red Bulls have one of the most productive youth academy’s in Major League Soccer, and produced a template for their players named the ‘Red Print’. The US Soccer Federation also make their individual profiles available to the public for coaches across the nation to access:
Leicester City famously used positional profiling to identify transfer targets on their way to winning the English Premier League/ They identified Riyad Maharez & N’Golo Kante using position-specific metrics.
Matt Pilkington explains how players are often involved in the target setting process at New York City F.C. He believes this can help players become more aware of their objectives, which aids their development:
For this module’s first task we’re going to use some Major League Soccer data to show how a positional profile can be built for a wide midfielder.
Please download the spreadsheet and open the task document below.
Individual Profile Data
Profiling Wingers Task
The second task for this module is to create positional profiles for our own players.
If we don’t believe something can be realistically measured due to our resources, a simple 1-5 scoring system is used by some clubs and coaches for certain aspects of performance.
Example – A holding midfielder needs to be positioned correctly to provide cover for the back 4. If we don’t think the amount of tackles or interceptions they make in a game will suffice, could we personally give the player a score of 1-5 for this aspect of their game and keep track of it?
Below are some examples of how one might go about presenting individual expectations if we wanted to take things a step further:
Finally, think back to the team-wide targets we set earlier. Do the individual targets we set correlate to your team? Are we setting individual targets that ask too much or too little of our players based on what we’d like the team to achieve as a whole?
Take the time to make any necessary adjustments to our plan and make some comments below if needed.