Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics

How referees are using video and data to elevate their performances

Referees, like the managers and players, extensively review video and data analysis before the match to better help them anticipate where they need to position themselves on the pitch in a match.

Referee David Webb talking to the Training Ground Guru about what he gets from the data pack that the PGMOL provides mid-week before the match on the weekend:

What I find particularly useful is the information on goalkeeper distribution and passing lanes that you get. If a team is going to pass through the centre of the pitch, I know I will have to alternate my position from there.

If they tend to play more direct, I will have to anticipate play a bit more and be on the front foot. Looking at the passing lanes, I’ll know I can stay out of that zone and arc my runs left and right.

I find it beneficial to be proactive in a positional sense, rather than reacting. During the game you’re scanning, anticipating where play is going and you move that way. You’re looking at the ball but also what is going on around you.

Referees get a bad wrap because, when you are watching, it is easy to see when they get something wrong, but you have to appreciate all the information they take in.

They have someone in their ear, constantly running, talking non-stop with the rest of their team over their radios, scanning. That ability to remain proactive is necessary, or it would be a complete mess.

After every match I referee, I will create clips from the game, including big decisions, as well as positioning and movement examples.

It is common sense that they plan their movements, but who knew the extent to which they prepare for a match.

Featured image credit to the PGMOL

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