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Football Performance

Günter Neuser

Football Performance

Strategy und Analysis

A practical guide for fans, analysts and coaches

tredition publisher

For you football enthusiasts with a great interest in this fabulous sport and the desire to gain real insights into the methodological background of systematic planning and control of football performances.

Written for you by Günter Neuser (economist, soccer coach B-/A-Schein, referee, member of the BDFL).

"Football is a very complicated game. You just have to play it simple and you'll succeed!"
Felix Magath (A German Profi trainer)

This book is the first part of a three-part book series on the subject of achievements in football. This series comprehensively describes the central processes for the overall management of sporting performance of teams and players. This is done for the performance areas game, scouting and training. Due to its high speciality, the performance area of medicine is not covered.

This book describes the definition and analysis of game performances. This provides the methodological basis for the following two books on scouting and training.

In addition to these books, the structures and essential contents are presented in a knowledge system which can be used free of charge by the buyers of this book. Please send an email for access to info@optikick.de.

This book has been prepared with great care. Nevertheless all information is provided without guarantee. Neither the authors nor the publisher can accept liability for any disadvantages or damages resulting from the information presented in the book.

Wherever it made sense in terms of content, text passages from public Internet publications have been adopted even without specific reference to the source. An overview of the most important document sources for this book is at the end of the book.

List of content

The Performance Model

The general performance model for sports games

The football specific performance model

The Game Model

The structural model of the game activities

The Level 1 - Technique - Elements of the (tactical) action steps

The Level 2 - Tactic - Tactical action steps

The Level 3 - Processes - Tactical action phases

Variant A

Variant B

Variant C

The Level 4 – Style - The Playing Style

A general game strategy

The team-related game formations

Play phases independent behaviour patterns

Game phases specific behaviour

The Level 5 – The operating objectives

The Match Analysis

The match analyis - Preparation

The match analysis – Observation

The match analysis – Qualitative match analysis

The match analysis - Quantitative match analysis

The quantitative performance indicators

The dimensions

The quantitative Analysis

The match analysis – Presentation

The presentation of the qualitative analyis results

The team video training

Small group video training

Individual video training

Further possible applications of video training

The presentation of the quantitative analysis results

Introduction and development of a football performance management - Match

The development status and objectives

The development path

The author and contacts

List of pictures

List of tables

List of catalogs

Some links to literature sources on the Internet

Market overview of systems for performance management in football


"Playing football is easy - understanding football is complicated."


Why were Spanish teams so successful in the Junior and Senior World/European Championships and in the Champions League between 2008 - 2012?

Why did this not continue and other teams like Germany and even more so France won the international titles?

Also the simple statement "money shoots goals" is not always true. Conversely, whoever pays the most on the transfer market does not automatically buy sporting success.

Picture 1 Season 2018/2019 Income / Expenditure (Source KPMG Football Benchmark)

In football many factors must be right to be successful in sport.

Picture 2 The key elements for the Spanish success between 2008 - 2012

This is why the identification of individual, team and club-specific sporting success factors and the measures to promote them is the elementary task of sports management (including coaches, match analysts and sports managers).


There are essentially four areas that plan, analyse, evaluate and control football specific services in the club in an integrated manner:

a. the scouting of players, in the sense of a methodical and goal-oriented search for talents with potential for development in the youth sector and players with potential for play in the adult sector

b. medicine as the "team behind the team" to protect and promote the players' most important asset - their physical and mental health

c. training as the planned and systematic implementation of measures (training contents and training methods) for the sustainable achievement of personal and team goals (training goals)

d. the game in terms of the specification of a long-term game idea (syn. game philosophy / game style) for a club, youth age groups, tactical positions / groups and specific teams / players and the review of the long- and short-term competition performances.

Picture 3 The sports performance areas in football

Note: The presentation of all relevant aspects in the planning and analysis of the performance of one or more games is the subject of this book. The areas of scouting, medicine and training are not considered in the following.


Coach Thomas Tuchel (Mainz 05): "That was once again a reflection of this season. We started well, dominant, switched well and should have led higher."

To systematically plan, analyse and evaluate the performances for the game requires conception and application:

a. the style of play (syn. game philosophy / game system) as the way to play football in one or more seasons

b. the match plan as the taret for a specific match

c. match analysis and evaluation of the performance of a match (e.g. in comparison to the match plan) before, within and after a match

d. the game trend as the analysis and evaluation of the performance in several games compared to the style of play to be considered as long-term development plan.

Picture 4 Performance planning and analysis areas in football

Systematic planning of the game performance is about promising behaviour patterns for

a. an entire club, an age-group, for tactical positions / groups and a team in the long term - this is the style of play

b. concrete players, tactical positions / groups and a specific team on the basis of the playing style at short notice for a game - this is the game plan.

The systematic recording, analysis and evaluation of game performance (here the game analysis and game trend) consists of

a. the recording of the actions during and after a match

b. the determination of the performance values and recognition of typical behaviour patterns in one or more games

c. the evaluation of performance through comparisons with planned values and/or planned/expected behaviour for own and opponent performance subjects (i.e. teams, tactical positions / groups and specific players).


The ideas of those responsible for the planning, analysis and evaluation of performance in football range between the extremes:

a. Everything is coincidence and only depends on the personal, individual abilities of the players. The coach is a pure (de)motivator like Franz Beckenbauer in 1990 "Geht's Raus und spielts Fuaßball". The consequence of this is: a planning of the game is only available in rudimentary form; a methodical recording of the game performances in the form of defined events is not wanted / possible and a measurement of the performances is also not possible.

b. Everything is pre-planned and runs according to defined (planned) patterns. The coach is the strategic planner like Felix Magath "Football is like chess". The game performances are comprehensively defined and therefore completely recordable, measurable and assessable.

To build up a systematic planning, analysis and evaluation of the playing performances in a club and to operate it sustainably requires

a. an overall methodological concept adapted to the current situation of the club and the goals pursued

b. the technical tools in the form of operational and intelligent (analytical) systems

c. the concentrated knowledge of all areas of performance management

d. the data used to record operational activities and performance indicators to evaluate performance

e. the training of the sports participants in the concept and tools by experienced guides.

Picture 5 The components in performance management


In publicly available sources, there are few sports science treatises as well as popular literature that merely present individual aspects of planning, analysis and evaluation of football performance in isolation.

There is therefore no generally available overall view in the sense of a framework for systematic performance planning and management in football. The availability of IT systems to support the management of match performance varies according to the subject area:

a. there are many systems for qualitative game analysis via video analysis with very different functions, technical features and prices

b. there are few systems for quantitative, data-based match analysis and no system for automatic, match style-related tactical analysis

c. there is no system for the methodical-systematic design of playing styles.

Overall, the market for these systems is relatively unclear and there is no reliable, systematic market overview.

Although there are many performance indicators showing technical (e.g. number of passes, pass rate, ball possession) and conditional (e.g. mileage, sprints) performances, there are no tactical performance indicators (e.g. number of counters versus number of combination attacks) for the large number of football fans.

The aims of this book are therefore

a. to present those responsible for sports (including coaches, match analysts, sports managers) in clubs and associations with a guide to support the development and implementation of performance management in football and to give an initial overview of the market for performance management systems

b. to show football sport journalists possibilities for improved performance evaluation and presentation in reportage

c. to provide football fans with a clear insight into modern performance indicators and analysis to help them better understand match performances.

These objectives will be achieved by

a. an overview of the services specific to football is presented in a match performance model

b. the tactical activities in the game are described in a structural model of football with their characteristics and process relationships

c. the development and connection of tactical activities in possible game concepts (syn. game style or game philosophy) are discussed

d. the long- and short-term performance targets are defined together with the performance indicators for matches

e. the methods of analysis and evaluation are defined

f. an overview of the currently existing IT systems for performance planning and analysis is given

g. the practical applicability of this guide is demonstrated by analysing and evaluating performance in specific games using selected IT systems.


How should one read this book or work with it?

You will want to look at practical examples of how to analyze and evaluate game performance before you get into the methodology, then

a. use the system of ortec/sports and look at selected analyses of games (https://ortecsports.com/free-trial/)

b. watch the video about modern game performance analysis from optikick on youtube

If you want to get a first overview of game performance, please read the chapter "Game Performance Model".

If you would like to find out about the content of game styles, then read the chapter "Game planning - game styles".

You want to understand how to analyze games using video scenes, then read the chapter "Qualitative Game Analysis".

If you would like to get to know the method of quantitative match analysis, please read the chapter "Quantitative match analysis".

If you would like to get an overview of the market of IT systems for performance planning and analysis, then read the chapter "IT systems".

If, after reading this book, you would like to start building up or expanding performance management in your football club or continue it in a controlled manner according to a maturity model, then contact optikick uG (www.optikick.de or guenter.neuser@optikick.de) and discuss the use of the more advanced integrated concepts and IT systems from optikick and its partners.

#Optikick and its partners now wish you much pleasure and many new insights with this book.

The Performance Model

The general performance model for sports games

The prerequisite for a systematic, i.e. plannable and controllable performance development of players and teams through objective-oriented training and realization in competition as well as its measurement and evaluation is a general model for the structure of sports performance.

Picture 6 The general sport performance model

The achievement of sport performances in training and competition depends on various conditions, which must be known.

The personal and team performance prerequisites are influencing factors, that determine the level or quality of a performance and its development.

These include:

a. Condition (strength, endurance, speed and mobility skills)

b. Technical coordination (movement and coordination skills)

c. Tactics (ability to analyse, decide and adapt to situations)

d. Constitution (constitutional requirements)

e. Personality (cognition, emotion, motivation).

The entirety of the personnel and team prerequisites for coping with the performance requirements makes up the performance capability.

The actions of players individually and in the context of tactical groups and the team are the game actions to be observed.

All game actions are objective-oriented and can have a positive (e.g. goal-shot) or negative (e.g. ball loss) result, the so-called game effectiveness.

The scope and results of the game performances are influenced by internal and external factors.

The game actions with their results (the game effectiveness) as well as the information on internal/external influences are summarised in the competition behaviour.

Competition behaviour is recorded by means of observation procedures, while ability and skill diagnostics, in particular by means of test procedures, are used to determine the performance prerequisites.

The football specific performance model

The characteristics of the football game (including the rules of the game, the pitch, the number and roles of players) and the resulting demands on performance and its development require a football specific performance model.

Picture 7 The football specific performance model

External influences (1) are factors outside the field of play (e.g. field conditions, weather) with a possible positive or negative influence on the performance of players and teams.

Internal influences (1) are events or conditions (e.g. substitutions, injuries of players) that ultimately affect the team squad and its strength.

The football-specific condition (2) is a prerequisite for the application of technical and tactical actions throughout the entire season. Condition is the collective term for all mental, physical, cognitive and social performance factors.

The football technique (3) covers techniques with the ball (including passing, shooting, dribbling) and techniques without the ball (including running and jumping techniques or tackling) for all coordinative skills or movements (with and without the ball). The mastery and successful application of the football techniques is a prerequisite for the desired success of the tactical actions.

Tactics (4) in football encompasses all individual and collective attacking and defensive procedures of a team, which are applied on the basis of a tactical concept, taking into account the adopted game plan of the opponent and taking into account the diverse playing conditions as well as concrete situation developments, in order to achieve an optimal game result in the tactical game phases and standards.

Classic game situations in the area of individual tactics are dribbling, crosses, passing and the 1-on-1 game. Group tactics describe the coordinated action of at least two players in attack or defence. The group tactic is the result of several individual actions. Simple examples are wing play, certain passing sequences and overcount play. Examples that explain the term team tactics are the defensive tactics or offensive tactics as a predetermined way of playing for the whole team. Team tactics also includes tactical formation (e.g. 4-4-2, 4-2-3-1, 4-5-1).

In order to define typical tactical behaviour patterns and reduce the complexity of the football game, the game is divided into game situations. At the highest level of aggregation, these game situations are phases of play with / without the ball and standards in offensive and defensive with their sequence relationships. These game phases themselves contain further tactical actions, which also have logical sequence relationships with each other.

The tactical actions are ultimately based on the technical actions, such as passing, crosses, goal kicks and duels.

The playing style (5) is the methodical description of the specific way of playing football. A specific style of play is defined, among other things, by determining the characteristics of the game actions. A playing style can exist in different forms for an entire club, a year group, a team and team parts (tactical groups / positions).

The Game Model

"In simple terms, the most important methodological and pedagogical principle of tactical periodisation is that the football game must be "coached/learned" while respecting its logical structure. In tactical periodisation, the "logical structure" of the game revolves around the four moments of the game. Accordingly, at least one of these four moments of the game is always present in each training exercise, whereby the so-called principle of specificity is followed". [(Garganta & Pinto, 1998)]

The structural model of the game activities

A prerequisite for the planning, analysis and evaluation of game performance is the clear definition of the individual performance elements and their structural relationships with each other. This creates a uniform and comprehensible football language for communication between all those involved in the provision of sporting performance ...

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