Steven Poacher

Steven Poacher – Two important coaching tools

GPS trackers can be very useful for coaches

GPS trackers can be very useful for coaches

LAST week we played Burren in a Down Division One league game, but unfortunately we fell short on the evening with the difference on the night proved to be the efficiency of the free-taking from each side.

After the game in the club whilst having a cup of tea and a sandwich, the full extent of the Burren management’s backroom team was brought to my attention by one of their clubmen.


It doesn’t shock me anymore for club sides to have three, four, even five men all working with the senior club team, it’s certainly not a one-man job anymore.

Club football has certainly moved on and is now probably at a level where inter-county football was a few years back and probably on a par with some of the lower financially backed inter-county sides.

Most top club sides now have a manager coupled with strength and conditioning coach, possibly a football coach or trainer, a video man, a stats man, a kit man, selectors, a physiotherapist, a sports nutritionist and sports psychologists, all pitching in for the pursuit of the Holy Grail.

I am a big believer in the little things making the big things happen and if anything can progress your team and bring an added edge to preparation then it is definitely beneficial because you must remember that preparation equals performance.

I often hear some critics complain that the games gone mad, club teams are taking it too far etc, but you must examine the variables surrounding  the argument.

What level is the club team is competing at? What are the club’s aspirations? What are the player’s aspirations? What are the benefits to the club long-term?
There are quite a few questions that need asked before deciding the level of time and effort you are looking to invest in your team.

Regardless of the answers, if you are looking to be a successful club and move onto the next level in your preparation and performance, the following two coaching utilities may be beneficial to you:

1) Use of GPS

An excellent device for monitoring intensity levels and physical output of players in training and matches. Wore as a small vest with a unit safely attached to a pocket at the back of the vest resting in between the shoulder blades. Statistically the GPS will give you tons of excellent data, on distance covered, what was covered at a high intensity, knowing exactly how hard each player worked and will also allow you to taper and tailor your training around individual specific physiological needs of a player.

For example, what type of distance a half-back is covering and at what intensity in a game can be measured against how he trains. You must be cautious on analysing the results of them though particularly from games. You could have a centre half-forward who scores 1-05 from play and GPS stats are very poor compared to a wing-back who’s stats are through the roof on the GPS but has given the ball away ten times in one half.

2) Use of video analysis

Now common practice among a lot of teams, video analysis provides the players with excellent visual feedback on their performance rather than the traditional old school method from the coach of subjective observations based upon their own perceptions on how they saw the game. Despite the coach having knowledge, vision and good observational powers, trying to remember every single small detail is virtually impossible and not reliable, this is why the video is a key tool for recall. Everyone is different in how they analyse the video and report back to the players.

Me personally, I like to break it down into four key areas – game situations which may include restarts, breaking ball, turnovers, basically any situation which may occur during the game.

The next two areas I like to focus on is our defensive play and offensive play, this might include our one-on-one defending, our shape, structure, our transition or our decision-making in the final third. The final area will be general, if there is anything specific in that particular game that happened either positively or something we could improve on.

Try to keep the video clips short and sharp, I know Performa Sports offer a fantastic package which would really help you refine your analysis in this area.

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