My UEFA B – Block 3

Block 3 – Blog 3

First of all, thank you to anyone who is up to date with these blogs so far. You can read Part 1 and Part 2 here and here, respectively.

Block 3

Coming into Block 3, I was really looking forward to getting back together with the group, some of whom I’ve spoken to regularly in recent weeks around in-situ visits, session plans and the wider concepts of coaching. Judging by social media, I wasn’t the only one looking forward to it either!

In terms of the course content, I was looking forward to showing how much I felt my coaching had developed in the past few months after spending a lot of time working on developing my knowledge as a coach, creating ‘pictures’ to coach in sessions and getting to grips with using a more ‘command’ style of intervention.

I was also looking forward to spending some time comparing and discussing our ‘projects’ as at this point I was a little stuck for ideas, having only seen one example and feeling a little daunted about the detail within it.

Here’s the breakdown of the week:

Workshop Day by Day

Day 1

The first day started with a positive message from (tutor) Andy Lowe around the in-situ visits and the clear improvement in every session he’d seen. He then spoke around future learning and areas for work across the group such as session design and pitch geography (i.e. if you’re working with on central play, coach in the centre of the pitch!)

We then moved to a fun connecting activity which held a real purpose ahead of the 2 days coming. In small groups, we were asked to select our 24-man England squads for the World Cup and then the starting 11 for the first game against Tunisia. This was relevant to the course as we were asked to justify that team selection based on the playing style and personnel that the team would be up against, beginning to think tactically and using the analysis available (through a few google searches) to create more of a match plan than just selecting the ‘best 11’.

This task created some great discussions within our group and across the room as the opinions started to flow and the personalities/coaching style of members of the course started to show.

I won’t show our squad as I don’t want to be held accountable for ALL of our decisions; though I can say I was fully behind the idea of taking Ryan Sessegnon along for the ride!


In amongst this, there was also a great discussion on the current trend of using inverted wingers and wing backs and its effects on where assists and goals were coming from.

Moving forward, we were set a challenge, in pairs to plan and potentially deliver a ‘phase of play’ (8v8 using around ¾ of the pitch) on a given topic. Myself and Liam Nobbs were given the topic of ‘Forward Runs without the Ball’ which we delivered and the plan is below. Katie and Michael also delivered, covering ‘Playing in Central Areas’ whilst Brent and Martin delivered a session on ‘Defending in Wide Areas’.

Our Session

Session with Nobbsy (Full)

The main parts of our session are featured in the image, but in short; we looked to outline the key principles that would be affected during the session and ensured that they were part of our plan. The session took place with our attacking team working towards a goal as they would in a match and the opponents looking to counter into 2 ‘pug’ goals just over the half-way line. We outline 4 key ‘pictures’ that we’d be looking to coach. Liam took the ‘managed’ team and I lead with the attacking side.

As the session began, we recognised early that the space was still quite compact for forward runs and so we moved the pug goals back, to give us some more realism. These went all the way to the edge of the opposite penalty area.

We managed to stop and coach pictures 1, 2 and 3 from our plan, though we did seem to miss one. During the session, the ‘8’ of the team we were coaching, regularly made a long, straight run beyond the striker and into the box which was successful on a few occasions. As this wasn’t on our target list I didn’t step into it, although realistically I could have and we went into some detail on this during our review. Another pointer was the use of a ‘third man run’ which Andy took us through, showing how the ‘4’ could overlap the winger to support. I agreed that this was an option, although I had asked for our ‘3’ to do the overlap instead and Andy noted that this was a great example of different coaching styles and philosophies in play and that there is no ‘one right way’ when coaching, rather it is down to the coaches preference.

Our final piece of feedback came from (tutor) Graeme who demonstrated where setting up ‘starting positions’ could help us to manufacture more of the pictures we wanted to see. Personally, this isn’t something I have tried before and so I will be looking to work this into future coaching and tried to do so in the other planning activities in Block 3.

Overall, I felt the session went well and I was pleased to get on the pitch and showcase the work I’d been doing to develop in the past few months. It was also great to work with Liam who has a vast and varied experience in coaching and is now lucky enough to be working for Manchester City! (I don’t think he’s on Twitter etc., but I’ll update this if I find he is).

To take us into the afternoon, (tutor) Rich lead us into a planning activity ahead of the following day. The aim was to outline the key technical and tactical information for your primary player in a session on your given topic. Working with Gary Brown and Abi who joined the block from another course, were given the topic of ‘Defending Deep to Counter Attack’ however, to add a bit of confusion to the mix (in my head anyway) this was to be coached IN possession and so we decided to focus on the moment of transition, when the defensive team win the ball and start the attack, potentially using a ‘misplaced pass’ by the opposition as the starting point for our session.

To close off the day there was more session delivery as our tutors delivered a carousel session, developing from unopposed pattern play, into opposed play and then a small-sided game, focussed on progression and penetration. To finish, Rich supported Scott and James who coached one side in a SSG against Colin and Dan, supported by Graeme who took the other team.

Day 2

Day 2 started with a bit of paired work, interviewing each other on the journey so far. Here’s my 8 minute, excessively Geordie interview with Dan from Lumley:

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Guest tutor Lewis Dickman also commented that the progress within the group from Block 1, Day 1, when he first saw us up until now was huge and very evident.

As the delivery got underway, the first topic of the day was analysis, with Rich asking how we define it. After some discussion, the group concluded that not only was it ‘a tool for informing better decisions’ but Rich added the definition that it is ‘objective information to reduce the gap between perception and reality.’

Guest tutor Andy Brown made an interesting point that it can be misread or misused, using a great example that at one point in La Liga, Lionel Messi had ‘more failed dribbles than any other player’ however this doesn’t bring into context how many successful dribbles he had, how many were attempted and even how many defenders would be marking him, making it less likely for him to be successful and dribbling for Messi, harder than it would be for any other player.

Rich then stated that opposition data can change based on the opponent were playing. For example, Manchester United’s data vs Burnley would look very different than it would if they’d just played Manchester City. He also mentioned that it can be used in numerous different ways and it likely would be in our group as some may use the data to win games, whereas other may use it as a development tool for their own players.

After a trial run with a video, when then went out to the 3G to do some analysis on a game between Lumley’s U16 side and as it happens, the U16s from my own club Harton and Westoe. We were asked to analyse an aspect of the game that would support the session we were planning in our groups (Day 1 – Defending Deep to counter) and so we decided to focus on where Lumley were winning the ball and how it is used.

Here’s our first round of ‘data’ (Due to a coffee incident, this was re-written from the original!):

Analysis 1.jpg

Those further points in English are:

– Lumley are playing with a ‘sweeper’ in a 1-4-4-2, though he did push higher after 20 minutes

– H&W played with a high press

– The defence had to challenge for a lot of headers as at time the opposition were direct

– Dribbling in midfield worked well but happened rarely, number 7 being the best at it

– Lumley often won the ball and then aimlessly played long

(Additional) we recognised that Lumley weren’t necessarily defending deep, but we raised this with Rich who made the great point that it’s relative to what the team consider as deep. As a coach, the Lumley manager might have a varying view of where ‘deep’ is as opposed to my own.

This meant we had both quantitative and qualitative data to review. Having looked at this, we made some changed to the way we recorded the information and came up with the below for the first 10 minutes of the 2nd half:

Analysis 2.jpg

We made these changes so that we could link the first set of data together so that it was easier to use. For example, in the first set of data we can see that the ball was won most in defence, but we are unable to see where they then played it. In the second round of data, we can see that the defence won the ball most again and primarily played it into centre midfield.

As we moved on, Graeme led us in a session linking this data to our planning from the previous day and session plans on our set topic, considering the feedback from day 1 including; start positions, shape and formation and how the coaches impact and influence in the session. 3 sessions were then delivered by the course candidates.

To wrap up the weekend and the Block, we spent some time discussing our projects, how they need to look and what needs to be delivered, which is covered a little more, later in the blog.

Reflection and Progress

Overall, I felt a lot more comfortable discussing the finer details of coaching in this block than I had at any point before. I feel like it was clear to see the improvement in the coaching and knowledge of the whole group, something which the tutors mentioned and hopefully that we’re all on the right path to getting though the course.

For me, there was a huge amount of value in every part of the weekend, though in particular the match analysis was something I really enjoyed. We tried this way back in Block 1, but going through it again with the enhanced knowledge from the last few months, meant that I could really see the links between the data we are looking for and how it can inform future training or even measure the results of prior training sessions too. I am looking to step this up a level in my own work and try to tie this in more with my session and match plans as we go.

A tool I am looking to use is Dartfish Easy Tag, which creates a timestamped log of events (much like the tally earlier), making it a little easier to keep track of a game quickly whilst watching. Here’s an example of one of the panels:

Dartfish Screen.png

Moving Forward to Block 4

(And hopefully, a UEFA B Certificate!)

Project Cover

On the route to Block 4, I first have my final in-situ visit, where I am aiming to coach a ‘phase’ of play for Andy to review. I am hoping that this will allow me the opportunity to evidence my knowledge of ‘pictures’ and newly developed intervention styles too.

I will also be working on my project, both the complete document itself (all notes on the DNA of the club and coach, along with session and match plans, currently over 25,000 words, 90 pages combined!) and the means by which I will be delivering it to my tutor group, the unfortunate audience for the day. Initial thoughts are that it will be a PowerPoint, though I am hoping that I can bring some of the information to life a little more than flicking through slides. We’ll see!

Our final Block falls in early June and so fingers crossed that next time I am blogging about the course; it is as a qualified UEFA B coach.

Thanks for reading, I hope these blogs have been useful!


Don’t Stop Here

More To Explore

Serialised Dissertation Pt. 8 – Discussion

Here’s Part 8 of my dissertation breakdown, which begins to review what we’ve looked at so far. Be sure to check back next week for the final instalment! DISCUSSION TRAITS AND CHARACTERISTICS In interesting element within these strategies is to