he primary goal of youth sports is development. And even though most coaches claim development as their primary objective, they usually define their success in terms of winning, because it is the only thing they can measure. This is why soccer statistics are so important! Statistics help coaches re-define how they measure success and allow them to start measuring what matters - development! We have seen statistics completely change the culture of a team as coaches use real data to inform their approach with training, parents, and players. Here are a few of the advantages to using statistics as a soccer coach.
Confirm What You See: Coaches can’t see everything that happens on the field. Being able to look through team and player stats after a game help you confirm your assessment of performance is so helpful! This process helps coaches build confidence and self-assess the accuracy of their observations.
Discover What You Don’t See: As a coach, there have been so many occasions where I’ve missed an incredible performance by one of my players because I was focused on some other aspect of the game. Stats give you significantly more insight after a game to discover which players are giving you more per minute offensively and defensively and where you can make adjustments that will move the needle for your team and players.
Make Better Strategic Adjustments: Most coaches can see where the breakdowns are occurring and find ways to make personnel or tactical adjustments. But occasionally, coaches find themselves saying “what the heck is happening out there?”. Real-time statistics help give you an accurate picture of where your team is possessing, losing, and winning the ball and where your team’s and opponent’s opportunities are originating. Making strategic adjustments with this information is much more effective!
Prioritize Training Focus: Understanding what your team is doing well, and not doing well from game to game gives coaches a clear understanding of what topics they can train to help the team improve rapidly. This also helps coaches set more meaningful short and long-term goals.
Make Communication Easier: Communicating with parents and players about playing time, strengths and weaknesses, positional selection, or being cut from a team is difficult without data because opinions and perspective often differ so widely. Real meaningful data makes these conversations so much easier for all of the parties involved.
Increase Accountability: Data is truth! And truth is the easiest way to hold people accountable. Soccer statistics keep players accountable to their goals and commitments. Statistics hold parents accountable by requiring them to remove their rose-colored glasses as to how their child performed. And statistics hold coaches accountable to the data that telling them who is producing and should be playing on both sides of the ball.
Change Team Culture: All too often, youth sports teams have a toxic culture focused on winning alone that creates a pre-game, in-game, and post-game environment that is far more hurtful than helpful. Statistics can change this. When a team or a player had a good game, they had a good game! Regardless of the result! Statistics help everyone celebrate what went well and learn from what didn’t, every game.
If you’re coaching soccer and you’re not using statistics yet, you’re missing a big opportunity. Apps like Ollie make it easy for a single person using their mobile phone to capture meaningful statistics for every player every game. And it’s free for coaches! Click here to get your team started today.