The best way to improve your football intelligence and decision making skills is to play a lot of games, watch and analyze a lot of high level games.
Learn to calmly hold ball, get rid of negative thoughts and concentrate on actions on field. Observe surroundings before handling ball, check available space and position of players, and consider countermeasures in advance when playing with ball.
1. Quick Thinking Series
Watch how professional players make decisions in different situations during attacking process.
Robben received a half-high ball from a teammate with his back. In this case, he has several options.
Pass ball to a teammate or turn around past a defender.
If ball is passed to a teammate at this time, it will create a great shot opportunity.
But he decided to turn around and drive himself into a dead end, and in end he had only to try extremely unlikely back pass.
Calhal is now in possession of ball and has three options in this very dangerous attack.
Pass Benzema's ball through gap between two defenders. Either pass ball to Ronaldo in front of penalty area, or pass ball to Bell far from penalty area.
Passing Benzema or Bale can create very dangerous chances for scoring.
But he preferred to hit goal himself rather than pass ball.
During counterattack, Higuain receives a pass.
It looks like he has three options before last line of defense in front of box.
Pass ball to Callejon through defensive space or Kaka in far left corner, or you can dribble on your own.
Because two defenders are relatively close together, a pass from open space is more likely to be intercepted.
Fortunately, Higuain chose fourth option and passed to big gap on left, creating a great assist for players.
Second, observe and analyze
When you watch a game video or a video of you playing football, you need to start analyzing player's movements and passes and think about whether they are doing right thing.
First of all, two easiest ways to increase your football awareness are:
1. Check margin on both sides of shoulders
2. Keep your head up
Here are a few examples of things to look out for when watching a gameplay video to increase awareness and improve decision making.
De Bruyne did not panic after receiving ball, although a defender was right behind him. Because he knows his surroundings, he concentrates on passing accurately.
By looking at field ahead of time, you can pass ball without looking directly at your players.
Here you can see that Eriksen knows he will receive a pass from a teammate. Therefore, in process of advancing towards his teammates, he double-scanned field behind him.
He realized that he would be pressed from behind, and he would have to give ball back.
Understanding and decision making are intertwined because as you increase your level of awareness and gain more information about world around you, you make better decisions.
The most important thing to do to increase your awareness is to read and predict first moves and passes.
De Bruyne knows ball will be passed to a teammate who is in front and on move. So when he moves to left to create a pass for his teammate, he checks pitch from his right shoulder.
Even though ball is not passed to a teammate, ball is still moving in direction he predicted. De Bruyne now has space and has checked the positions of his teammates and opponents.
De Bruyne dribbles forward and hasn't looked at teammates since receiving ball. With three defenders on flanks, who began to put pressure in his direction, it was possible to beat off even a pass to him.
Now is time to change direction of your attack.
Give him more defenders when he goes forward and fakes a pass.
De Bruyne passes to free zone on left.
If he passes ball to a team-mate in front, risking four defenders, attack is essentially over.
When you have ball and your team is in good shape, try to hit forward more often.
Watching and analyzing a lot of game videos will teach you how to choose when it's safe to play ball, when to deflect an attack, and when to risk it.
First check field on both sides of shoulder, check new position of teammate next to you after change of position and wait for pass from teammate from afar. When you get ball, turn around and pass the ball straight to a teammate.
Scanning field before receiving ball will help you decide when to touch ball and increase your attack, when to dribble and when to pass.
At this time, there are four passing directions and only one teammate is running between two defenders on defensive line, which is an appropriate position to receive a long pass.
As you watch gameplay video, try to figure out which one works best for you and make sure you're right.
Try to anticipate pass and find best spot to catch it. Scans field, moving towards capture point.
When your team is in attack phase, try to move forward as much as possible.
Be more creative with your passing by avoiding replays and passive possession.
When there is no pressure from defender and there is no obstruction from defender at close range, a long shot can be chosen.
To be a good player, you need to constantly monitor situation on court. Think fast and judge to make right choice at right time.
Your attention is biggest motivation for Xiaobei!
May 15, 2023