What to Analyse in a Game of Football

By Javi Mera

08-October-2020 on Users

8 minute read

Javi Mera is a freelance scouting analyst and technician with extensive experience in Spanish football. Currently, he works for several Spanish Second, Second B and Third Division clubs and, in this guest blog for Nacsport, he dispenses some of his wisdom...

The goal of this article is to give you some ideas about what to analyse in a game in order to inform coaches and improve your team. To do this, I’ve based the article on some real life examples of my work in the Spanish 3rd division.


Obviously, an analyst needs to scout out an opponent and analyse various aspects of their game, but analysing your own performance is, in my opinion, one of the most interesting strategies for helping a team improve. It allows for the detection of weaknesses and the development of strategies for combating them.


I’ve divided this process into several phases which follow on from each other chronologically.


Phase 1. Set Up a Working Method


We can define the working method as a series of steps which allow us to reach an objective. The method must be differentiated from the methodology, which is the theoretical framework supporting this particular method or the study of these procedures.


Therefore, “the method” is the way of doing things.


Phase 2. Define Game model


If we’re going to analyse a football match, we need to know everything that is going to be analysed. We might include aspects such as the formations and systems used during the game, the tactics for defence and attack, etc. When we have all these details, the subsequent analysis becomes consistent and objective.



Phase 3. Prepare Reports


The first question we need to ask ourselves before getting down to business is “What type of report are we going to prepare?”.


We need to answer questions such as:


  • Organisation. How many sections will this report contain and how will it be structured?


  • In what format will it be presented? Written, audiovisual, slides, etc.


  • Are we using static images or video clips?


  • How long will the presentation last?


  • What level of description and depth will the report contain?


In short, we need the analysis report to provide as much relevant information as possible and be of the greatest possible support to the clubs technical team, as they are the ones who will make use of the final product.


In my case, in addition to working with Nacsport, I also use KlipDraw to illustrate my videos and provide additional visual information. The online platform Sharimg is also extremely important in my work as it means I can share my analysis with coaching staff online and we don’t have to be physically together for them to receive the information.


The Button Template


For the analysis, we use a button template which allows us to classify every action we want to analyse. Although this example is not the exact template I work with, we have devised a template which almost everyone can use as it has been adapted to be workable with Nacsport Basic+ onwards (max. 50 category and descriptor buttons).


This example template can be opened with any product in the Nacsport range from Basic+ onwards and is available to anyone who wants it. Drop us a line at media@nacsport.com and we'll send it out to you free of charge.


Example Nacsport Button Template


As you can see, the template is simple but extremely functional. It contains 6 categories and 40 descriptors (and thus is within the limitations of Basic+). This template allows us to extract specific information about our team’s movement with the ball, at a collective level, and also its movement off the ball.


Let’s take a more in-depth look at each section:


Offensive Plays


  • Start of Move includes all those actions which start an attacking move. Goal kicks, throw-ins, kick-offs and interceptions can all be included here.


  • Build Up is divided into 3 zones, depending on where the move starts: Low, the defensive zone which runs from the goalkeeper to 1/3 from field, sometimes called zone 1. Middle or zone 2, the midfield zone where the rival team is in retreat. High, zone 3, the attacking zone, the ultimate goal.


  • Long Ball, for when the ball is played high and long into the opponents box.


Defensive Plays


  • As in the offensive plays, we find three sections, Low, Middle and High, corresponding to the area of the field the action is happening.


  • Start Press Opponent, which use to indicate when we start to put pressure on the opposing team.



  • Attack - Defense. How the team reacts after losing the ball and whether it was pressured into doing so.


  • Defense - Attack. The opposite of the above parameter and whether a successful counterattack is mounted.




  • Divided into dead ball situations which fall under this category such as Freekicks, Corners, etc., where they happen on the field and whether for your team or against.


Other Buttons


  • Goal. To register any goals scored during the match.


  • Players. A button for each player. In this example, there are 11 players, but we can expand this to include the whole pool, if needed.


  • Restart. Button that corresponds to the beginning of game periods. The kick-off from the centre of the field at the beginning of the game, after half time or after a goal.


When all this data is obtained, and working towards the objectives of the coaching staff, we can analyse and present this information to improve the team.

It’s simple, easy to use and, for users who have the basic versions of Nacsport, useful for getting the most out of analysis software.


Remember, if you would like to receive this button template, which is perfect for video analysis beginners, message us at media@nacsport.com and we'll happily send it out to you.


If you are not yet a Nacsport user, click the link below to download a completely FREE 30-day trial of ANY Nacsport product. If you have any other questions or comments about anything in this article, please get in touch with us at media@nacsport.com.


Nacsport Lifetime Licenses


Thanks for reading!



You may also be interested in these...

How to Create a Report on Opponents Set-Pieces

27-11-2020 Written by Manuel Núñez
9 minute read

Opposition Analysis at Liverpool FC: Part 1

30-11-2020 Written by Greg Mathieson
10 minute read

Share this

Did you enjoy this article?

Subscribe to our newsletter and receive a monthly compilation of articles, interviews and Nacsport tips for video analysis.

Thanks for subscribing to our newsletter!

Once a month, we'll send a compendium of our best articles, interview and advice, straight to your inbox. Enjoy!


Are you enjoying this article?

Subscribe to our newsletter and receive a monthly compilation of articles, interviews and Nacsport tips for video analysis.

Thanks for subscribing to our newsletter!

Once a month, we'll send a compendium of our best articles, interview and advice, straight to your inbox. Enjoy!

Cookies are small text files that are placed on your computer when you visit our website.
They are used to save your activity history in our website so when you visit it again, we can identify you and configure the content based on your navigation habits, your identity and preferences. Cookies can be accepted, rejected, blocked and deleted. You can do this in the following options available in this window or by configuring your browser.
Further info in the Cookies Policy of this website.