How to read your tournament opponents

There are a couple of ways you can improve on reading the opposition. The main one being to watch how they line up at kick off, work out what formation they are playing and that will give you a good idea of the way they are going to play.

If you have some notes jotted down in your kitbag you can quickly check out the strengths and weaknesses of the formation they are playing and how your team could counter that.

Also take a couple of minutes or get a parent or helper to watch the opposition in their warm ups. Is one player taking charge and doing everything, are they working on anything specific like the goalkeeper may not like coming out and collecting the ball at corners?

This will help give you an insight into what the opposition are going to find difficult in the game.

If they have individual players who run the game for them you can have a good guess that if they are playing out from the back they will be looking for those players to pass to and you can weight your defensive line up to counter that.

If all else fails watch the opposition carefully for the first five minutes to see where their strengths and weaknesses lie, then you can change your team’s set up to exploit or cover the way your opponents are playing the game.

You can use tournaments to not only see players on other teams using skill but also your own players. Coaching skills is important for these small sided type of matches. Read my advice in How to coach a skill.

Try these sessions to prepare your team for tournament play:

For a bit of fun when your players first turn up get them going with Airball. To make sure your players are mentally alert Success in transitions is a great way to get minds working. And don’t forget about your keeper… keepers are match winners in tournament play. Try Goalkeeper 1v1 against a striker.

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