Decision Making. How much do you REALLY train it?

Decision Making in Football. It is the cause of most goalkeeper mistakes and striker misses, but how much of your training session during the week are you practicing or put in a game realistic training session?

A survey on my twitter page that asked 'which area of your game was at fault or could you have done better on when conceding a goal' and they revealed these results

Senior Goalkeepers

  • 59% Decision Making

  • 25% Positioning

  • 6% Technique

Junior Goalkeepers

  • 62% Decision Making

  • 25% Positioning

  • 7% Technique

This didn't surprise me and is why I created Nine One Football but it may surprise some coaches.

Now if I did a survey of strikers it would probably be about the same result.

Now ask yourself, honestly, during your session as a coach or goalkeeper coach.

Does your session contain 60% where players have to make game related decisions?

So out of a 90 minute session that's around 55 minutes !

Now just to clarify what I class as not decision making in my eyes when coaching are.

  • Drills that have no defenders or ones that are passive do not count as decision making. Not sure what I mean by a drill then read this blog.

  • Drills that involve cones and structured catching/shooting exercises with no distractions are not decision making.

  • Actually anything that ends in word drill is not decision making. They are technical practice or skill acquisition.

  • Also I hear coaches say, tonight we are just working on 'low dives' again this is not considered decision making in my eyes as goalkeeper already know what technique he is using and doesn't have to think or adapt.

  • Finally goalkeepers shooting against goalkeepers is classed as half decision making, because a goalkeeper doesn't think or finish like a striker but there may be some similarities.

Did you answer Yes? Congratulations your players and team must be high in the league, scoring lots of goals and conceding few.

Did you answer No? Ok that's no problem and I'm sure quiet a few coaches have maybe thought? Maybe my session doesn't involve much decision making then, but there is help out there.

Now to clarify, technique, under no pressure, should always be practiced in every session but only for a short period and for me at the start of the session to prepare them for session ahead. You can still coach technique in a decision making session.

So what is the secret to planning a session 60% full of decision making, well unfortunately I don't want to giveaway what I have developed that will help you in this area, as that is why I have released the Nine One Football Coaching Methodology E-book sorry, but here is quote from highly respected US Goalkeeper Coach and Director of Goalkeeping at NC State Justin Bryant after he read the e-books

"Practical, real world ideas and solutions for training sessions at every level, from warm up to time management to advanced finishing sessions. It should be in every coach's library. Well worth the price."

Check it out on the website and I guarantee you that you will love being able to plan a game related session in minutes and your players decision making and enjoyment goes through the roof during the session, I always get 'Is it over already' which as a coach is great to hear. Go to the pinned tweet on my Nine One Twitter and you may also get a nice discount code.

I will though give you a few tips to make you start to think about your session planning that involves decision making.

  1. Is this practice being done in the area of the pitch it happens in a game and are balls coming in from game realistic areas?

  2. Are the positions or players realistic to what would happen in a game?

  3. Is there opposition/distraction in the practice that may change the decision of the player?

  4. Are you working on a football problem that has happened previously in a game ?

  5. Have you imposed rules that restrict decision making eg 2 touch games do not get the ball forward into the attacking third quicker, it restrict's taking the space with dribbling and forcing decisions from opposition.

Below are a couple of example videos of the type's of decision making you may have to make in the example of a 1st time finish.

So hopefully this blog has made you ask yourself some questions about how you can improve your players decision making. I welcome questions and constructive feedback as in coach education we learn every day.

About Nine One Football

Nine One Football are the Expert's’ when it comes to Striker & Goalkeeper Soccer Training. We have developed the revolutionary Nine One Football Methodology which is both conducted by specialist qualified coaches and has Elite Academies, Group & Private Training and now via Coaching E-books to get Results in the Final Third. Finally, a small sided game 3v3+GK has been created which has more touches, more goals, more saves. Head Coach of Nine One Football is Paul Harvey who is FFA Level 1 Qualified Coach who specializes in coaching Goalkeepers and Strikers.

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