How to assess the competition pre-match

Assessing the competition before a match takes place is an important tactic to suss out their way of playing. By analysing the strengths and weakness of the opposition, it puts your team in better shape for tackling them and implementing a successful game plan. Here’s how teams analyse their competition before a big match.

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Assessing play

Walking straight out onto the pitch without any pre-existing knowledge of your opponents rarely happens in top teams. Sports managers carefully study how the competition plays, scrutinising their strengths and weaknesses, both as a team and individually.

Armed with this knowledge, they can then work out the best way for their team to tackle the opponents. Looking at the shape and tactics of the opposition before the individuals is crucial, as it will prove important to quickly assess if the competition prefers to play from the back or more directly, aiming to make their mark early in the game.

Don’t over analyse

According to Worthytowin, seven in every ten performances could be predicted before anyone even steps onto the playing field. Although this is an important strategy, it’s crucial not to ‘over think’ too much before a match, as this can create a doubting mindset of your own team’s abilities.

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Instead, it makes sense to keep your pre-match competition assessment simple, focusing on key points of the game. Aspects such as the strength and weaknesses of your opponents in both defence and attack should be your core concern. By focusing on these simple points that matter most, it’s easier to translate tactics to your players in a way that they can understand and implement during the match.

Don’t underestimate the dead balls

The team behind football kit suppliers, Kitking (, also suggest that it’s vital to consider dead balls when making an assessment of the competition. A dead ball situation arises in football when the ball isn’t in motion and play has stopped, typically when a foul has been committed. Corner kicks and goals kicks are dead ball scenarios.

Keep an eye on those opponents who are adept at sneaking in free kicks from dead balls, and get your full-backs and defending midfielders at the ready in their own penalty area. For those opponents skilled at taking corners, aim to give away throw-ins instead.

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