Observing the current developments in professional football, there is increasingly more money in circulation, which raises up the pressure on the people involved. Coaches, directors, squad planners and scouts have a safe job, especially if the results are fine. True to the slogan: „The success proves right.“ This short-term thinking is quite common. Problems are postponed in the form of debt restructuring and borrowing in order to be successful in the short term. Players with high potential are sold sooner, to be able to add more experienced but older players to the team, which seems to be a good solution in terms of being competitive and reaching higher short-term targets. This is a pretty convenient and job-securing way for club officials. More than 90 percent of all clubs in the worldwide top leagues have changed their head coach position in the 2018-2019 season (an example is the german Bundesliga: during and after the 18/19 season there were 15 head coach changes – nearly 1 per team!)
This leads to the question, why coaches should be interested in following the club‘s mentality, forming youth players, admitting mistakes and thinking in the mid/long term?
The coaching profession in particular is a job, that should not be about managing or securing the clubs position through short-term measures. Rather, players should be trained and developed to create football, to be free and to be able to use their own creativity – every football organization should strive for sustainable development. There can always be setbacks within a season, but there is a difference to be made: Where does a “result crisis” end and where does a serious downward trend begin, that endangers the goals of the club? If you start from the starting thesis “The success proves right” the key question is:
How can success be defined separately from victories and table positions?
In the future it will be significant to make individual and team progress measurable. In times of big data, the performance of every professional and junior game (U17 or U19) is evaluated, all teams are collecting a large amount of statistics and information. In a conclusion to that, it is all about the correct interpretation of those facts and the breakdown to smart data, that helps to put the evidences into perspectives.
Filtering out relevant data can only succeed, if a club is following a consistent game philosophy, which exists over a longer period of time. In the best case, basic principles are specified by the club itself, which are anchored in the own youth academy. Any behavioral patterns that are proactively requested by the club and coaching team are part of the game philosophy (examples: aggression, room control, vision of defenders and much more). After that, trends can be identified and provide information about whether the team was able to implement it in their matchplan or not – regardless of the result. Analysts therefore have to think like trainers and have to deal with trainers who work like analysts.
„Individual development is the major target!“Malte Schlichtkrull, coach FC St. Pauli U17
Since, apart from the game, improvements of players in the individual and team tactical area are also favorable in training sessions, these must also be quantified. But how can you detect an individual development objectively? The cooperation between analysts and trainers is fundamental in this regard. The decisive factor is, what results are taken into account – this point is heavily linked with the understanding of football in relation to smart data. It is necessary to know how game data and facts can be influenced.
The game analysis including smart data can be used massively to measure performance and the individual development of the players, which helps to observe and study the work of the coaching staff independently from results. This offers decision-makers orientation and an objective valutation of the current state. Along with the club-specific game philosophy, goals can be evaluated and checked on a regular basis using analysis techniques.