Importance of Technical and Tactical Skill Acquisition

Biobanding research is being implemented in academy football where players are grouped on the basis of attributes associated with growth and maturation instead of chronological age. The players are categorised into two groups; early maturing players and late maturing players. In biobanding sessions, research is conducted to see how it effects training sessions when coaches put early maturing players with the late maturing players and when coaches mix the two groups together.

Applied Example in the Academy Context

A study was conducted with 4v4 small sided games where each player was assessed based on the criteria of physical, technical, psychological and the coach’s perception. The coach selected the best players and in most of these sessions, the coach selected the early maturing players as the best player in that session but on average they selected the late maturing players as the players with the most potential.

However, from an RPE (scale measuring the intensity of your exercise) point of view, the late maturing players found the sessions more difficult than the early maturing players. In addition, the amount of time spent on the ball, early maturing players spent more time on the ball compared to late maturing players which resulted to:

Differences in Technical Skills

Due to the late maturing players having less time on the ball, players would have to play the ball quicker compared to early maturing players. The early maturing players had more time on the ball resulting in the players taking a longer time to make decisions.

This posed a question to head coaches: does this concept mean that because of the above, does that actually help late maturing players develop better decision-making skills from an early age?

Applied Example from the Academy Context to the Professional Context

This concept has been taken through to the Professional Context where individual development plans for players were integrated with their data. A player from an Elite team showed that in training sessions he had double the amount of time spent on the ball (1.2 seconds) than the rest of the players in his position as centre midfielder (0.58 seconds). The player was constantly getting tackled and constantly losing the ball which lead to an individual technical plan with the coaching staff.

The individual technical plan comprised of drills that focused on “speed and reaction”. This drill entailed numerous small goals and targets where the player could only take two touches with the objective of receiving the ball and playing it quickly. This allowed the player to react to a different stimulus and to challenge the player’s decision-making skills. Instead of only focusing on the physical aspects of a player, the importance of focusing on technical aspects of players becomes apparent.