Why do executions always get the most attention from TV analysts?
The last step in individual tactics is execution. The execution always gets the most attention, because this is what is most easy to see. The TV analysts show how the striker is all alone in front of the keeper and scores but they don’t show the perfectly timed run of the striker behind the defense or they show how a defender wins the ball while he is alone against two attackers after a fast counter attack, but they don’t show that he wins the ball because of the line that he runs back in.
What is execution of an individual tactic?
The execution of an individual tactic is the technical action that you perform with or without the ball.
It’s the last step in the individual tactic. You start with the perception, your senses pick up information that your brain identifies, organizes and interprets. With this information you make a decision on how to execute the individual tactic. This decision gets send to your brain and your brain sends the stimuli to your muscles to execute the individual tactic. This whole process of an individual tactic is what we call a fundamental at Tactalyse.
Every situation in football asks for the execution of a fundamental. During a game football players are constantly executing fundamentals. Even when players don’t have the ball they are executing these fundamentals. On average a player executes 300 individual tactics during a game based on the Tactalyse methodology that we discussed earlier. These 300 individual tactics are not all different situations, they can be categorized into different fundamentals. Each fundamental has an optimal execution.
Training the optimal execution of an individual tactic?
There’s a reason we talk about execution in individual tactics last. This doesn’t mean we think execution is not important. We think execution is really important. But in our eyes to consistently have a good execution of an individual tactic, you have to have good perception and decision making. But ultimately the execution is what everyone will see and judge players on, because this is the actual technical action that you perform.
Part of the reason why we talk last about the optimal execution is, because it’s easy to explain in theory. A lot of players have the technical abilities to perform these execution. The difficulty lays in knowing when to execute them. The way we train individual tactics right now is that we only train the execution. A lot of football schools have really good exercises for the technical execution of these individual tactics. But when to execute these is a way harder thing to train and teach. We would say that a player not reaching a professional first team is mainly because his individual tactical decisions are not good enough. We create players that are really good at isolated technical execution of individual tactics.
But to execute it in a match is different. An execution in a match comes from the reactive memory, to read what we mean with this read this article about decision making. The reactive memory stored behavior how you’ve always done things, you use this to execute individual tactics in a match. By learning the theory of the optimal execution of an individual tactic, you store this execution in the reflective memory. You know in theory how to do it, but because you’ve always done things the other way your reactive memory falls back on how it is used to execute. To learn the new execution of individual tactics takes time, for some players more than for others. But at Tactalyse we believe that by repeating and training the same in game situations and showing the players which individual tactics they execute, ultimately they will recognize this situation in a game and will respond with the optimal execution of an individual tactic.
Loran is the tactical expert in sport and he is the founder and owner of Tactalyse.