Why Analyze the Opposition?
Before we investigate the different aspects of opposition analysis, we’re going to spend some time looking at why teams all over the world put so much time and effort into it.
The video below gives an insight into how and why Derby County and the England national team analyze the opposition. Some concepts like information feedback to players are mentioned in the videos. Don’t worry too much about this at the moment. They’ll be covered later in the course.
For now, we’re focusing on the level of effort and attention to detail that goes into opposition analysis at the top level of the game.
Almost every professional team in the world, and many semi-professional, amateur and college teams now allocate considerable resources into opposition analysis. As the influence of technology has grown in the modern coaching process, the availability of video and data on upcoming opponents has also increased significantly.
We now see video and data analysts working alongside traditional scouts to give the coaching staff the best possible picture of their upcoming opponents.
Sam Lawson and Oliver Gage have experienced working for professional clubs in England, American colleges, and Major League Soccer. Here’s their thoughts on opposition analysis:
Head Coaches have the most at stake when it comes to winning and losing games. During his time in charge of Houston Dynamo in MLS, here’s what Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera told us about opposition analysis as well as University of Virginia Head Coach George Gelnovatch.
These valuable insights show a commitment from teams at the top level of the game to do everything possible to prepare for the opposition. Most professional clubs now have at least one dedicated Opposition Analyst, and this number grows to as many as 3 or 4 for the world’s biggest clubs.
Sam Lawson also gave us a real life example of how some of his insights helped his team prepare for a crucial game:
For this module’s task please add your thoughts on opposition analysis to the comments section below.
Why do you believe it’s important to analyze the opposition and what do you think can be gained from this process?
Do you currently do this and do you plan to do this in the future?
Once you’ve completed this please move on to the next module.