If your child loves to play the sport, then it is likely that he/she is keen to watch football too.
And as a parent you are probably wondering whether your child will improve by watching the game, besides playing it?
Football lovers get a unique joy every time on watching a game. But feeling good is not the same as utilizing an opportunity effectively.
In the coaching world, it is universally acknowledged that watching football is the next best thing to improve one’s own game apart from playing.
But in reality, how much time spent watching football directly benefits one’s game – percentage wise?
Not much - unfortunately.
The main reason – players are never taught what to watch and how to watch.
In the absence of this knowledge, young players tend to watch the game in the same way as most football fans. At the end of any given match, the impressions of the players mirror those of other fans and/or the TV presenters. You can hear sentiments like ‘this player scored an amazing goal or that player dribbled well, or this team played defensively or that team played possession football’. But dig below this superficial level and most players would be hard pressed to offer their own insights about any particular player or team in a way that is relatable to their own game.
I see this all the time during the 360 Player Assessment interviews.
Benefits From Watching Football In The Right Way
Watching matches without purposeful learning objectives is highly ineffective utilization of time.
On the other hand, there are many benefits from analyzing the matches in a more informed way apart from efficient utilization of time:
- Extracting more from coaching – knowing what to ask
- Getting ahead of competition smartly – since most others are not doing it
- Improving one’s own skills, game intelligence and playing ability
You can find out in great detail how this leads to overall game improvement in the Masterclass.
What To Watch? To Learn Better
In order for your child to improve by watching football, it is important to:
- Watch matches on the ground rather than on TV/Internet
- This allows your child to follow specific players without being dependent on camera movements that invariably follow broadcast/fan engagement needs - not technical ones
- Watch full matches (on-Ground/TV/Internet) – not highlights/goal clips
- If it is not feasible to watch matches live on ground, it is better to watch them on TV/Internet – even segments of matches (one half) – but not highlights or goal clips
- Watching a highlight is like watching a movie trailer. It is interesting to any fan but not very productive for players who want to comprehend deeper insights
Moreover, a common myth is that watching matches at the highest level - top European leagues - will be most beneficial. But the highly technical and tactical situations that a Messi or Ronaldo experience are not relatable to 99.9% of young players.
As a matter of fact, watching local matches at junior levels (same or higher age groups) can be as productive or often even more helpful for young players since these games/movements will closely mirror their own immediate needs.
How To Watch? To Improve Faster
There is a method to analyze the matches in order to benefit fully from the experience and improve faster. This method is usually used by Scouts, Coaches and Football Analysts while watching Football. The knowledge and implementation of this method will help improve your child’s game drastically.
I will share more details in another article.
In the meantime, please use the above pointers to make the right choices on watching football and help your child to benefit much more from the matches he/she sees.
- Watching Football is a highly effective learning tool – if utilized in the right way
- Watching football in the Ground is better for learning than watching on TV/Internet
- Watching full matches or extended segments are better rather than seeing highlights/goals