How to observe your team during training and matchdays
With insight from The FA’s Sharon Muxworthy and Danny Fenner, we look at six ways to improve your observation skills during training and matchdays.
Consider your set-up
The first step when observing training is to ensure your players are enjoying themselves and you’re giving them a chance to learn. Ask yourself:
- Are the players safe?
- Do they understand what to do?
- Is the organisation of the session appropriate?
Once you're clear on that, begin observing whether:
- the players are enjoying the session
- every player is meeting the objectives
- all players feel included.
Have a clear focus
Football is a fluid game. A lot is happening; if you try to observe everything, you can observe nothing.
To help you with this, specify what you will observe at different stages of a game or training session.
It's important to give your training a clear focus. Design practices for a skill you want players to improve, then observe it in action. The STEP framework (Youth Sports Trust, 2002) can help.
Once your players perform a skill, break it down using The FA's six core capabilities. These are scanning, timing, movement, positioning, deception and techniques. Doing this can help structure any reflections or feedback.
In this video, Sharon Muxworthy explains how she uses STEP and observations to adapt training sessions.