How does Depor work with youth categories

Feb. 21, 2018, 12:11 p.m.

How does Depor work with youth categories

Which is your current role at the Deportivo de la Coruña?

I’m the 2nd coach of the ‘first year child category’, and I’m also the coordinator of the Dépor Campus in different cities as well as the coordinator of the A Coruña Campus.

How important do you think videoanalysis is for a team’s development?

Analysis is a way to accelerate learning because it allows us to detect both individual and collective problems on our own team and come up with the solutions to work them out. It also gives us the opportunity to know and recognize regularities from our players and the rivals. This way, we have all the necessary ingredients to start working on the development of the match, both from an individual and collective point of view.

Which aspects do you think are more important when analyzing? What do you think has more effect on the result of the match?

From my point of view, when it comes to analyzing youth soccer, individual aspects are more important, especially those which we are working during the training sessions or those which we know we’ll continue to work on; by doing this, we have visual content for a deeper understanding and this allows us to know how consolidated our content is. This been said, there are a lot of occasions where matches provide us additional information about our players. From this information, we develop an action plan to improve or reinforce the aspects that we want to focus on.

On the other side, if we refer to professional football, one of the most interesting aspects is to count the number of times in which we are capable of, after possessing the ball, get to the finishing zones. A high possession of the ball percentage means we’ve been capable to surpass the defensive line of the rival team.

Which is more relevant, analyzing your own team or the rivals?

In my opinion, in soccer is more important to analyze your own players because of a basic reason: our main goal is for the players to improve on the game and for that, we need to know him in every way: strengths and weaknesses. Only this way we will optimize his development. The reason I’ve said player instead of team is because in the Deportivo, is a more important aspect. The player is who ascends of category, the one who gets to the first team and with the player in mind we must build our teaching-learning process. The more we can personalize this process, the better the results will be. This doesn’t mean teammates are not important, on the contrary, the context can stimulate or minimize the development, so we focus on the individual player and his characteristics.

This been said, I believe we cannot disregard the analysis of the rival team, as the actions of our players, depend among other facts, on what the other team does. Analyzing our players’ behavior enables us to know their game, their regularities and the possible solutions, which will eventually make them better players.

How is your work dynamic when analyzing the Deportivo de la Coruña? Do you have a specific department for analysis or each coach focuses on what he considers convenient for his team?

The club provides us with the tools to record videos (camera and tripod) while we, the technical staff, record the matches and the training sessions. Then we analyze our own game and the rival, select the frames and show them in a presentation.

Regarding our work dynamics, we base our work mainly on 3 types of videos. The first one is related to game aspects we are working on in our training sessions through video cuts of our own matches. For us it’s really important to analyze the player but without dismissing the group behavior. Because of that, when cutting video frames, we classify them into three different folders: (1) players, (2) demarcations, (3) concepts. This way, with a quick look, we can observe if there are any recurrent behaviors, positive or negative, in one person, in teammates that play in the same position or if the cause is related to the overall concept. From this, we generate videos of 3-4 minutes maximum, to show them to the player or players. Sometimes, we play these videos and also add clips from the R.C. Deportivo professional players developing the same actions, with the purpose of increasing the sense of belonging. If it is a group meeting, when analyzing an error, the most relevant aspect for us is the action rather than the player who made it; this way we focus solely on improving the behavior. This is very important when we work with young players because we don’t want to negatively impact their self-esteem. It is convenient to choose actions from different players, so they can observe it’s a common mistake, instead of feeling like they’re being attacked.

The next step will be to develop an action plan that will help them improve what they’ve been working on. This plan consists in: first, after watching the video, make a joint reflection with the player or players; second, come to an agreement when defining the objectives; third, create game situations where they can work out the defined actions; fourth, make a follow up of the development having in mind that we need to clearly communicate our objectives; and fifth, once we’ve see the behavior we were looking for becomes the norm, we make a video where the player or players can see how they achieved the goals we set out on the beginning, so we can then decide which are the following steps. In this last step, the objective is to positively reinforce the player so he is motivated to keep improving.

The second type of video we use, is based on the methodology we use for children education, from which we can learn a lot, this way the youth players are motivated to learn and they get to see why this is useful. This way, we can use goals or actions occurred in professional football and put them as examples of content we are developing or will develop in our training sessions. This helps us start the learning process: motivation, attention and memory. This is how the brain works. As a matter of fact, these last days we’ve been analyzing one goal scored by Andone from Levante. On this goal, he did an “L” unmarking movement, appearing from the back and overcoming his rival which is exactly what we are studying this week with the youth players: how to lose marks when you are a winger or a striker.

The third and last video is focused on the player’s emotional development and personality. Educate people, and not only football players, is vital to us, because without controlling emotions it’s really difficult for them to become big players. The majority of them get lost on the way, so it is also our responsibility to educate them for life. One of the videos I always use as an example, is the race where Marc Marquez starts on the last position at the GP Portugal 2010 but ends up winning the race. He knows how to handle the rage and frustration and transform them into hope and desire to succeed. And this is vital to raise successful athletes.

Lastly, to plan our work, we always take into account two factors: normalization and surprise. Normalization when we want the players to get used to this way of learning, without seeing any negative aspects or feeling attacked when performing a bad action. Surprise as an education element that attracts and actives their attention processes. Modulate these two aspects is the key to achieve the desired result.

Do you think the analyst role in professional football is fairly valued? How could we give more relevance to this person?

Every day, the analyst role is more and more important both in professional and youth teams. It is true that there’s still a path to walk on both of them (specially youth football), but, thanks to technological developments, academic courses and people who works on this, the video analyst role has gained relevance these past years. To know the game and the player and to know the behaviors from the own team and the rival, is what allows us to progress and gain relevance in the professional field. It is hard work and perseverance which will legitimate our role within the technical staff.

What would you highlight of LongoMatch as an analysis tool for matches?

I would highlight that it is user friendly and gives you lots of possibilities. The most important for me are: create personalized buttons, so we can edit the color of each one, classify them, decide when an action starts and finishes, etc. Being able to tag frames depending on the team and players, facilitates the access to the actions of each player.