Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

Why watching games helps your coaching… just like Benitez

David ClarkeI watch as much soccer as I dare… As a coach it really helps me to see situations that I can write about. Watching a team defending deep or seeing players caught out of position is a good way to test your technical ability in analysing games.

With so many leagues and cups being played in grass roots, pro and international levels it is a fantastic opportunity to watch top class games. I have always thought that being at a live game rather than watching on TV gives more opportunities to see what is going on in the game.

I will often watch one player when I am at a live game, say an attacker, and watch them for 10 minutes and jot down what they do during the game. Movement and position and what they do in attack and where they go when the team is defending.

I can learn a lot by watching clever players and their movement – then pass it on to my own players so they know what to do at every moment in a game. Being in the right place at the right time is one of the keys to success for a young player, it just makes everything that bit easier.

Last month I was listening to Rafael Benitez. Without a job since leaving Inter Milan in the final days of 2010, the Spaniard was talking about how he keeps up with the events in soccer.

This is what he does when he watches games, much like myself:

“I try to relax when I am watching a game but it is something you cannot change, you are analysing the game. You are watching what will happen and why it is happening. I’ll be watching with my wife and I’ll say ‘goal’ then two seconds later it’s a goal. Because you can see the positions of the defenders, the winger may be free or the full-back goes late or something like that. So without thinking too much, you are just analysing.”

Watch Benitez talking to former England and Arsenal legend Ian Wright, now working with Absolute Radio in London


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Watching a game with your team can help you point out (visually) what you are trying to explain on the field. It makes a lot more sense to young players if they can see it and then repeat it.

Comment by Jodi Murphy

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