What’s the best way for grassroots youth coaches to improve their ability to quickly read the tactics and approach of the opposing team?

Ask Dave

Dave says

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

If you have some notes jotted down in your kitbag, or one of Soccer Coach Weekly’s handy formation guides, you can quickly check out the strengths and weaknesses of the particular formation they are playing – and thus work our how you can counter them.

Also take a couple of minutes or get a parent or a helper to watch the opposition in their warm up. Is one player taking charge and doing everything? Are they working on anything specific, such as focusing on a goalkeeper who 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 are playing out from the back and have individual players who run the game for them, you can have a good guess that they will be looking for those players to pass to and you can weight your defensive line-up to counter that threat.

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 set-up to exploit or cover the way they play.

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