Developing the on-field education and the off-field performance of the young Wolves players is the key role of analyst Tate James.
As Academy Performance Analyst for Wolves’ under-15 and under-16 sides, Tate plays a vital part in providing the head coaches with the resources they need to get the best out of their players, as well as giving the players the information they need to push on their own development.
“Everyone learns in different ways, but a lot of footballers these days are visual learners,” Tate added. “By having an analyst like myself that can work with them, it enables the players to aid their development by reviewing the video clips and reflecting on their performances.
“We use footage to either back up the coaches’ points, or to help the players reflect easier, as it gives them a better visualisation on their performances.
“We give them technical detail or tactical detail which they might not have been able to understand without visually seeing it.”
After previously working with the Academy’s under-9 to under-14 age groups as an intern, Tate is now a full-time member of the Wolves staff, working on a day-to-day basis to help get the most out of the players in his age categories.
He said: “We have two official analysis sessions a week, usually on a Monday and a Friday, where we have the whole group of players in. If we can fit in other times to sit down individually with players during the week, whether that’s when they’re at the Academy on their day release from their schools, then we can do little bits of analysis with them then.
“The type of analysis we carry out with the players varies, depending on whether we are looking at it by team or individually.
“At the Academy, we split the game into four phases; build up, attacking, pressing and defending the goal, and we will tailor some of the analysis when we are focusing on the whole team in those areas. It could be combinations, or transitions from one phase to another.
“If the team is very good at build up play during their match at the weekend, then we might look at why it worked and how we can continue that in further games.
“On the other hand, if there is something that we struggled with – it might be our reactions after losing the ball – we will look at why our reactions were poor, if we can improve them and how will we do that.
“We try and do this in different ways with the players. We might do it as a team discussion or we might split them into groups and get feedback off them, as different groups might come up with alternative ideas as all the lads learn slightly differently.
“Analysis can also be tailored to the individual. I have players come up to me and ask if they can look through their individual clips, so that would focus on when they have the ball or were involved in some part of the play.
“If it’s a group session, we will look at how they worked together as a unit, but either way we will break it down into finer details.”
Tate added: “Analysis is kind of like an extension of the coaching process. We provide the resources to both the coaches and players, so they can develop in both their off-field education and their on-field performance.”
This article first appeared in the Wolves versus Huddersfield Town matchday programme, which is available around Molineux on matchdays for just £3.50, and also featured content with Jonny, Matt Doherty and Romain Saiss. Back issues are available in the Molineux Megastore and online now.