April 13, 2023

Game Film Analysis – What Professional Soccer Coaches Look For

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Mike Semenza


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Hey guys, it's coach Mike Semenza with Blayze Soccer.

Today we're sharing some insights into our game film analysis feature. I pulled four random clips and will walk you all through what I, and possibly your coach, might see in a game film analysis session.

Four Key Metrics

I want to just go over the four key metrics that I look at for any athlete of any age group.

1. Involvement

When I am going through a game film analysis session. The first thing I look for is a player’s involvement in the game.

  • How many minutes did they get to play in those minutes?
  • Did they have a positive impact on the game?
  • Were they on the ball for a good amount of time?
  • Is the player communicating with his teammates?

2. Positioning

The second item I am looking for is a player’s positioning on the field and how that positioning impacts their performance. Specifically, how their positioning affects different scenarios during the game.

  • A player’s overall recognition of time and space on the field
  • Positioning includes body shape, checking shoulders, movement, and runs off the ball

3. Decision Making

Third, I want to look at a player’s decision-making. Both when they are on and off the ball. Items I am looking for are:

  • A player’s overall understanding of the game and their teammates
  • Things like choosing one or two touches, short passes vs long passes, dribbling or shooting, etc.
  • Does the quality of their decision have a positive or negative impact on moments within the game and the game as a whole?

4. Individual Technical Skill

The final metric I look for is individual technical skill as a whole. This can include:

  • A player’s ability to complete their passes, dribbles, and shots
  • Position-specific skill

The four key elements of a game film analysis for soccer players

Examples of what your coach sees in game film analysis


Involvement In Game

The first metric we look at is a player’s involvement in the game. In this clip, we are going to watch at number 10 on the white team.

The first example is the player does not have a lot of involvement in the game. He has many things to improve upon with his positioning. But we are going to focus on his involvement first.

A central midfielder should be getting the ball, and he should be the one switching the field of play.

But you can see he is jogging around and stuck between two defenders. This limits his involvement. You can see he keeps skipping the ball side to side and passing through him. He is not playing through the central midfield.

This is a problem because he is not finding ways to get involved in the game.

When I fast-forward it a couple of minutes into the game, we see him getting more involved in the game. This is what a coach wants to see from the sidelines.

He is still a central midfielder and doing a better job of separating himself from defenders to stay involved in the run of play as they move forward.

He receives the ball here for the attack and moves it forward. Immediately he is sprinting forward to stay in the play. He gets the ball back and creates passing triangles with his teammates.

It does not matter that the quality of the cross into the box was not the greatest, he had a positive impact in those 10 – 20 seconds moving his team up the field.

As a coach, this is what I would show him. How can he replicate this type of involvement over and over again?

That is a great example of what you might see in your game film analysis when you're looking at involvement in the game versus what I might see as the coach.


Understand Of Positioning In Game

The second key metric in our game film analysis is a player’s understanding of their positioning.

Our focus is now on the right back or outside back. Notice how the position that he takes up as this ball becomes a loose ball here. The ball is circulated around the back.

The first thing we want to see for outside backs is not being tucked inside – they need to get their feet closer to the sideline and make the field bigger for their team. You can see the spot that he puts himself in messes with the team shape a bit when he goes to retrieve the ball. Instead of him retrieving the ball, he should be out wide as the supporting option.

As the two players draw in a bunch of defensive pressure into the space, this player could have been in a better spot and the goalkeeper could have come forward for the ball. The player may not understand what he did wrong here. But it ends up becoming a turnover for his team.

All of this can be corrected with a better starting position.

In the game film analysis session, we help the player understand that this is not the ball he needs to go retrieve. His job is to be in a better position to allow his team more of the space to play into.


Decision Making In Game

The third key metric of a game film analysis session is the decision-making of the player.

There are times in the game where it can become very chaotic. Things move fast and it can be tough to make good decisions when you are tired and in the chaos.

Here is a great example of a decision that I think the player can change to positively impact his team. We have a set piece here. The defensive team is switched off and they are all facing the wrong direction.

The players should be facing the ball and able to react to where it goes. But the decision-making that we will look at is of this player, who is going to play the free kick. Watch the decision that he makes and how he could have changed that to better the outcome for his team.

He plays the ball and is always looking to play the ball along down the field. Me, as a coach, I want my team to have the ball. In moments like these where he notices that the defensive team is all inside their own half, the decision needs to be better.

Look at all this space he has with his team to play out of. Instead of lumping this ball forward as far as he can down the field, there are better options. It comes down to his decision-making.

He needs to get his eyes up, to notice that there is nobody in his own half of the field. He can play a pass to one of his teammates. There is a triangle they have where they can get down the opposite side of the field.

As a coach, we can show this player a better decision. Show him the space and let him know the better options, like playing the ball back, to maintain possession.


Individual Skill In Game

The last key metric we look at in a game film analysis session is the player’s individual skill within the game. This includes things like completing passes, taking on players while dribbling, or taking shots on goal.

This is the same player from our positioning example. He is an outside back. He is in a similar scenario where there is a loose ball. Instead of him going to retrieve it, he allows the center back to get it. He does a good job of improving his positioning and getting into the wide area. Now he can express his individual skill.

He checks his shoulders and takes a quality first touch across his body. He delivers a great entry pass into his winger here. He improves his positioning and allows for his individual technical skill to show in a positive way.

These things all work together – your involvement, your positioning, your decision-making – all these result in your being able to express your individual skill on the ball.

There are many moments within these games that a player or parent might watch and not see much. But there are so many elements going on within these little moments.

This is why game film analysis can be important for players, parents, and even coaches.


Blayze and Game Film Analysis

One of the many amazing things we provide here at Blayze is game film analysis! This is how our coaches know exactly what to work on for you as a player. It is the “secret” to our amazing private training programs.

By watching your game film, the Blayze professional coaches analyze your individual and team playing style. From there, they can work with you by pinpointing what you are doing well within a game. They also help to design a training plan focused on your goals, paired with areas you need to work on to improve your performance.

Blayze coaches can help to identify bad habits, bad techniques, quality movement, and growth opportunities. All simply from watching your game film!

You need not spend hours searching for a private coach to help improve your game performance. Or spend weeks asking your coach to provide in-depth feedback about your performance in a certain game.

With Blayze, you can upload your game film to your selected private coach, and he/she will analyze it for you. Then they will set up a time that is convenient for you to sit down and go over their findings. From there, you two will work together to develop a plan of improvement and goal setting. It truly is amazing.

All of this is available through our Blayze program. Tap here to select your dedicated private pro coach at Blayze for one month for just $29!

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About the coach

Blayze Coach Mike Semenza

Mike Semenza

6+ years of professional coaching with LA Galaxy, EXOS and COPA STC


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