Subbuteo for half time tactics

Half time is an extremely important break where the manager and coaches can talk to the players and get their feedback on what has been good and bad about the first half … and that’s where Subbuteo comes in for England youth players.

England Under-21 boss Aidy Boothroyd is using Subbuteo as a useful tactical tool to help his players during half-time team talks.

Subbuteo players

The Three Lions coach first introduced the classic table football game to his dressing room when he was in charge of the national team’s under-19 side and continued to use it during the Under-21’s European Championship campaign last summer

Speaking to the FA’s Boot Room magazine Boothroyd said: “Sometimes the players come in at half-time and it’s a massive high, sometimes it can be a huge low, and sometimes the momentum is in the balance. What is most important is that you remain very calm, but you also remain very structured in what you do.

One of the tools the England coaching staff use to empower the players and help them work through problems is a Subbuteo table, laid out in the middle of the dressing room.

“We’ll have the Subbuteo table there which has become quite popular now because players are quite kinaesthetic and they want to grab hold of things and they want to shift them around. We also find the players will talk more when it’s about them in that particular position.

“We want our players to be empowered and we need to facilitate the discussion in different ways to help our players think and become thinking players,” explains Boothroyd.

With only ten minutes of time with the players, the outcome of all discussion has to be clear and concise.

“There will be times when I look at what the coaches have put up on the wall and I’ll ask for further clarification and we’ll discuss it. But I always say to the staff: communicate the messages on the flipchart in a simple way. I need to look at the points and be very clear about what they mean immediately.

“There is also a time for putting observations on the back-burner for later to reflect on. The half-time communication is a case of filtering the things that are going to help us win the game, stay in it or whatever it is that you need to do.”

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