Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

How to analyse youth players

davidscwnewI gave a talk last year about analysing players during the season – essentially when I do it and how I do it.

A lot of coaches were asking me about the system I use and wanted to try something similar themselves. They were keen to know how appropriate it was for assessing new players during pre-season or on trial days.

I use a system I call TIPS, which was introduced to me by a couple of youth coaches who worked at Dutch club Ajax.

Here’s what TIPS stands for:

T = Technique.
Can the player control the ball? What about his first touch, passing, shooting and tackling ability?

I = Intelligence.
Does the player make the right decisions? Can he think ahead?

P = Personality.
How does he communicate with others? What about leadership, creativity, receptivity to team mates and discipline?

S = Speed.
Is he quick off the mark, mobile, and can he maintain pace over long distance?I use it for players during the season to assess how they are progressing, but when I look at new players for my team it’s the IPS bit that I find most interesting.

That’s because if I feel a player is short on the ‘T = Technique’ part it is up to me to bring him up to a good level. It may not be his fault that his technique is not up to scratch so I look at the other things in which he may or may not excel.

Arsène Wenger said recently that when he assesses young players it is speed he looks for first and technique second which, coming from a coach who utlises a system where player technique is vital, it just goes to show that technique can be taught.

When you think about it, the level of technique for 99% of players in grass roots football can be taught – it is only that tiny percentage who go on to play in the academies and the professional game who need something extra. You can coach technique to your players so they are of a sufficient standard to play at grass roots level.

So on trial days I will give players marks out of 10 after observing them, and get my helpers and fellow coaches to do the same. This gives us a way of fairly analysing which players we feel would be a good fit with our teams.Why not apply this criteria to your players?

If it works for Ajax, it will hopefully work for you too!

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Triple Dutch – top three young players in demand

Bas Dost (Heerenveen) aged 22

Top scorer in the Dutch Eredivisie with 32 goals Bas Dost has been linked with some of the biggest names in England and Germany, but Dost himself claims to be more than happy in his native Netherlands with Heerenveen.

Signed from Heracles Almelo at the age of 20 after hitting 17 goals in 61 games, he has been a revelation since, impressing with his unorthodox style and finishing fourth highest scorer in Europe this season as he led Heerenveen back into the top five.

John Guidetti (Feyenoord) aged 19

Carlos Tevez is not the only wave-making exiled Manchester City striker – over in Holland, John Guidetti, on loan at Feyenoord from City, has 20 goals in 23 starts for the Rotterdam club. Just 19, he has scored three hat-tricks this season, one of which was against Ajax, Feyenoord’s greatest rivals.

Playing in Holland but not Dutch Guidetti is Swedish and won his first senior Sweden cap in Croatia and has a good chance of playing against England in the second Group D game at Euro 2012.

Luuk de Jong (Twente) aged 21

21-year-old rising Dutch star Luuk de Jong is tall, quick and technically gifted – De Jong boasts 62 strikes in all competitions over the last two seasons. The Holland international, who played against England at Wembley in February, scored 25 goals in the league this season for Steve ­McClaren’s FC Twente.

McClaren believes that Luuk de Jong’s style of play makes him a perfect fit for the Premier League. “Luuk is big, strong, brilliant in the air and scores goals so easily. He has every quality a top class striker needs to have for a big club.”

The Netherlands international has been in fine form this season, and has recently been linked with Borussia Monchengladbach, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Newcastle United and Tottenham.

“Very soon he will be the best in the Netherlands – and he even has all the qualities a forward needs to become a European great,” says Patrick Kluivert.

The secret to beating a static defence

One of the things I am constantly coaching my teams to do is to pass the ball into space behind the opposition defenders.
By playing a ball from midfield into an attacker he has the option to turn and run or try to make space for the shot or pass first time behind the defenders so one of his team-mates can run on to it.
In this video the AC Milan players at last year¹s Champions Youth Cup Final played Ajax ­ the kings of the pass ­ at their own game and scored a goal by playing the ball into space behind the defence. The Milan forward reacted quickest and had time to round the goalkeeper and finish into the net.