Waiting for that rating

Ian Plenderleith goes looking for football advice on the web and comes up with something technical, something feminine and something simply divine

We’ve all played in teams where the performances of our team-mates have failed to live up to expectations. But at an amateur level it can be problematic to explain to the enthusiastic left-back that his headless chicken forward runs are not only failing to create anything up front, but are leaving a huge hole at the back too. After all, the left-back might be your mate and, even worse, if he doesn’t turn up next week because he felt all insulted, then that gap at the back might be even wider.

Now, thanks to Match Analysis, you no lon­g­­er have to explain to your players’ faces why you think they’re crap. Simply video the match and mail it off, and this website will analyse every touch of every player, then send it back so that you can simply hand out an authoritatively written report which will id­entify exactly where things went wrong in last week’s 8-0 mauling.

“With five different ratings, Defending, Support, Possession, Distribution, and Shot Cre­ation, every player is almost sure to have at least one area to be proud of and one that de­serves some attention,” claims the website. A number of convincingly technical looking graphs and charts are provided in an attempt to explain to your play­ers why they threw in the towel after 25 minutes, and what they need to do about it.

It certainly seems a more civilised solution than throwing pots of hot tea across the changing room. Whether explaining to the big lad up front who’s a mate of Nobby’s that he needs to improve his “shot creation rating” actually works, is unfortunately something you won’t find out until you’ve handed over your $100.

You will find slightly more straightforward coaching tips at My Beautiful Game, a web­site for women foot­ballers, at their Advice Cen­tre. At first glance it may seem a little obvious to state: “Passing is the ability to strike the ball ov­er a distance and successfully find a team-mate or en­ough space to maintain pos­ses­s­ion.” But when you think how few pro­fessional men in Bri­tain fail to complete this simple procedure week after week, then it’s maybe not so stupid after all.

There are some unusual pointers for play­ers in the Health Tips section, including the advice to “plant lots of shrubbery in your yard” (helps create healthier air) and to re­member to floss your teeth, because “recent studies make a direct connection between long­evity and teeth flossing”. The site doesn’t mention that removing all that plaque will lessen your body weight, but then it probably goes without saying.

If none of the above advice seems to be of any help to either your team or you as a player, then perhaps a little divine intervention could provide the necessary lift to achieve better on-pitch per­form­ance. Thanks to F.C. Zieg­ler Company , an “in­spirational soccer statue” is now available to look at and, pres­umably, inspire you to higher feats.

The item is part of a sports series featuring Jesus, in full replica Bible-era kit of a long white robe and sandals, drib­bling the ball effortlessly past two young children (though you’d think he could have org­anised a decent six-a-side with the disciples instead of power-and-glory-seeking ag­ainst small kids), and reportedly makes the “perfect religious oc­casion gift for young athletes”. Who knows how this great unfulfilled talent might have blossomed if Judas hadn’t sold him to the Romans?

From WSC 183 May 2002. What was happening this month