If you like to compete, and want to reach your full potential, you have to learn from past triumphs and failures. The best way to accomplish this is by watching and analyzing your soccer game film.
The sooner, the better
I like to watch game film as soon after the match as possible. With the game fresh, I can really internalize both the good and the bad without time clouding my memory of the game. You’ll be amazed by what your mind fabricates even a day post-match. Grab a bite to eat, take a shower, and by dinner time, get to work!
How To Watch Your Game Film
Do your best to keep an open mind while you watch the game. You’ll want to start by watching the entire match through so that you can clip out moments of yourself on and off the ball. Regardless of whether or not you directly impacted a play (i.e., made a run to open up space), mark that clip so that you can analyze it later. If you are not using Trace, plan on this taking 4-5 hours if you’ve never clipped a game before. As you get better, you’ll be able to finish in around 2 hours.
If you’re using Trace, all your moments are edited for you, so start with your moment’s playlist. That should only take you 2 – 5 minutes and is a massive time saver. Then progress to the playlist for your position. For example, I’m a midfielder, so I’d watch the offensive, defensive, and midfield playlists. If you’re a left-back, go through the defensive moment’s playlist.
How To Label Clips Accordingly
As you’re watching the game and creating clips, mark each clip with a tag to describe the skill. For example, if you scored a goal, tag it as “goal”; if you moved the ball from one side of the field to the other, tag it as “switching the play.” You can also consider adding a positive or negative in your tags so you can review two clips side-by-side. There are two reasons that I do this. 1. Using this system will allow you to recognize different patterns of play, which in turn, will help you to understand which areas you can most improve in. 2. This organized structure makes it much easier to locate the clips that you need and to make sure you and your coach are on the same page when you review the film.
If you’re using Trace, add these moments to your Trace iD. The tags are prefilled for you so select 1 – 3 tags that fit the moment. After adding moments to your iD, sort them in themes. This will make it really easy to go through with your coach.
Constructive Criticism Is Key
Everyone loves to watch their best game moments. However, great players study both the great moments and the mistakes they made to understand their errors and fix them. When reviewing, watch the clip in full 1 or 2 times and focus on your movement either towards or away from the ball, first touch, body position, and the players/space around you. To help with this, ask yourself these questions:
- Did I check my shoulder before receiving the ball?
- Was my first touch away from the defender?
- Was I moving in the same direction as another teammate, and if so, could I have moved differently to open up space?
- Was my body in the best position to receive this ball?
By asking these questions, you’ll get a better sense of how to fix this problem if there was a mistake, and you’ll know how to replicate your motion for the great plays you made.
Practice Makes Permanent
Remember that no matter your skill level, you are always improving as a player, and there is always room to grow! End your film by watching some of the good moments of the game to remind yourself that you are capable of making great plays!