Coach Player Player Development

Radar View and Heat Maps in Youth Soccer

How to use radar view and heat maps to win more games and improve your performance faster.
Image of Trace radar view and heat map

by Charles LaCalle

Charles works with Trace to educate teams and parents on using video effectively for player development and recruiting.

Radar view and heat maps have revolutionized the way that soccer teams analyze player performance. Until recently, only professional clubs have had access to this type of technology. But soccer camera systems like Trace have democratized soccer analytics and mapping, putting it in the hands of the top high school teams and soccer clubs across the United States.

Analytics that track players help soccer teams understand how individual players perform and how each player affects overall team performance. The usage of these technologies is accelerating player development, helping athletes learn the fundamentals of the sport, and making coaches more effective at their jobs.

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Radar View Improves Team Positioning

The introduction of radar and heat maps helps teams win. Teams frequently adapt their style of play depending on game state, losing, winning, and tying. Some teams tend to change their style of play depending on whether they’re playing at home or away. Radar view gives coaches the ability to spot these trends, assess their impact, correct issues that hurt performance, and find areas where the overall formation can improve.

Radar view gives players and coaches a huge level of insight into their team’s tactical shape, player positioning, and spacing between the players at any given moment. The bird’s eye vantage point gives coaches the ability to truly see how players (and opponents) are moving on the field.

While’s Trace’s analytics allow players to see their speed, time played, and formation in the team’s play, radar view and heat maps go a step further to show how players’ styles are affecting the overall team performance.  

The heat maps are useful to see the areas of the field the player occupied the most for that match, which varies depending on team formation, the player’s role, and the context of the match.

As a coach, radar and heat maps give you a basic indication of how they were positioned that game and where they were receiving the ball most frequently, which can give you more insight into what was happening in the match. For example, if you have a player who normally plays in a wide role, but their heat map is showing them tucked into the middle of the field more frequently, this information might give a coach helpful information to analyze in future practice sessions.

“Our team normally plays a 4-3-3 formation with high and wide forwards or “wingers”,” states Coach Adrian Martinez. “However, in one recent match, we as a team weren’t able to find our wide forwards/wingers the ball in the wide areas of the field very well, so those players had to constantly pinch inside to receive the ball or drop back deeper towards our midfielders/defenders to get open.” In this case, Coach Martinez used Trace’s radar view to see that those players weren’t getting to the ideal locations where they could receive passes.

“Whether your team is in possession of the ball or not, it is a helpful way to see whether the players are located in the right positions on the field.”

Coach Adrian Martinez
Players analyze their own heat maps and sometimes post those on social to showcase their development.
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Heat Maps

While radar view captures single moments in time to give information about field position, heat maps give a cumulative look at where players spent time during the game. Heat maps allow players to see the amount of ground they covered during a game and where the ball traveled.

Heat maps might inform coaches about the style of play and preferences of players. For instance, a coach might be able to spot trends in where passes tend to go and how often players penetrate in front of the box. These insights give coaches direction for correcting positioning mistakes and serve as useful visual guides for individualized coaching.

Analyzing Opponents

One of the significant advantages of both heat maps and radar view is seeing and learning from the opposing team. For instance, a coach might notice that the opponent leaves the middle open, or maybe the opponent consistently runs it down the right side? Seeing patterns in the opponents’ plays will help prepare a team’s formation in preparation for your next match. 

With greater implementation of camera systems like Trace in youth soccer, players’ games will only continue to improve as players learn from a younger age how to analyze the pitch.

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