Players who are part of a team always must make quick decisions when playing in a game.

Their decisions will not always be correct and that is why training players in small areas forces players to make quick decisions, so in effect, we are also training the mind.

The players who make quick and accurate decisions in a game influence the outcome of the game. So, it goes without saying that the team with the players who consistently make the correct decisions quickly, will have an enormous advantage.

Clearly, training conditions need to reflect match conditions as much as possible. It is more about what a player sees and less about what a player looks at. It is all about how a player arrives at a decision.

Training sessions need to be about putting players in conditions that force them to make decisions.

I read somewhere that:

“The basis of the decision process is information. The time, quality and frequency of gained information is key in the process”.

The process:

  1. What a player sees;
  2. How the player analyses what he sees;
  3. Assessing the risks;
  4. Acting on his/her decision;
  5. Learning from mistakes


Everything starts with what the player sees.  Not from what a player looks at. Gaining the information, and reducing the blind zone are critical factors. E.g. In BPO (Ball Possession Opponent) a player needs to be scanning the pitch; constantly correcting body position and adjusting his/her position on the pitch to meet the actions of the opponent.

Scanning the field

Collecting information
– checking shoulders to see what’s.

A great example of how to do this is by ‘googling’ England and Manchester United great, Paul Scholes. He always was aware of his surroundings

Correcting body position

This is why I always tell wide players to be on the sidelines in BP (Ball Possession) because this way when a player gets the ball he/she can see everything as opposed to players running toward the sidelines for the ball.

Correcting position on the field

In BPO make the pitch narrow and compact, but in BP make the pitch long and wide.

Information to gain on the field in BPO and BP

The common denominator between the two teams on the pitch is always the Ball.

  • Where is the space that gives my team an advantage (create a 2v1 situation)?
  • Where are opponents?
  • Where are my teammates?
  • Where should I be in the team shape?

Being aware helps to make correct decisions in a timely fashion.

Coaches need to replicate situations which players had difficulties with during a game situation. Players need to be shown a certain situation and placed in the same position and not told but asked to find an alternative solution to that which they carried out on matchday. Decision making is what makes the difference between the good and the best players.

As a player, one must continually ask, “Could I have made a better decision”

As a Coach one has to place a player in a situation and show the player what the alternatives are and allow the player to come to his or her own conclusion in a situation where the thought process is in virtual slow motion.

A good small-sided game is ideal for this purpose.



  • Game 5v5+2 (1 neutral player In each end zone)
  • Goal can be scored by controlling the pass in one of the zones
  • Team with the ball must keep possession of the ball whilst getting from one zone to the other without losing the ball. While defending, try to set your body between the opponent and goal (END-ZONE)