Develop aspects of Football Intelligence when practicing alone

Head Up Decision Beep Test

HUDBT Snapshot




Full Visual of the HUDBT in practice


Reaction Light Pods ($100s) vs HUDBT (Free)

One of the big advancements made recently in regards to individual 'decision / reaction' training when training alone is the development of programmable reaction light pods. These are great. If you have hundreds 's of dollars spare then investing in these pods is a good idea. But note ; The HUDBT does the same things and a whole lot more, and won't cost a penny.

Note: This is a really poor example of how the pods should be used in regards to developing football technique and intelligence. If you have team-mates playing a game is much better for reactions and decision making. Lights pods and the HUDBT are only of value when a player is working alone, and when there are no other ways to develop components of football intelligence.

TFTs goal is to find ways to give all players access to all the learning tools needed to maximize the

Development of Individual Game Functional Technique.

The opportunity to improve should not be reserved for only those who can afford it.

The goal of the TFT individual development resource is to find ways to make all learning tools accessible to all players regardless of where they are or how much money they have.

So with this in mind we asked this question : How can all players anywhere in the world get access to the exact same concepts that the reaction light pods offer. We came up with the following development tool :


The 'Head-up Decision' Beep Test:

If you have looked through TFT's on-line mini sessions you will see that some of the games/activities use a video based exercise to help players get their head up, see a representation of pressure and space, and have to react to the information they receive. Check out this activity :




The following video is the actual 'Head up Decision Beep test' [HUDBT] used in the video above. 

It includes a brief description of how to use this development tool.


Intro Version.



HUDBT Instructions

Below is a breakdown of what this video actually is and how this video was used in the practical example.

In simple terms this video can be broken down as follows :

  • The concept of the HUDBT is quickly described at the start of this video.
  • While the 30 second countdown kicks in. This countdown allows players to get ready for the first set.
  • All Set s are 60 seconds long and in each set there are 6 different pictures that change  randomly.
  • Each picture in 'set 1' is on screen for 5 seconds (this is loads of time - ideal to get the brain into the exercise).
  • Each picture has a red background with 1 green block that will appear in one of 6 different positions.
  • These positions are :  front left : front right : middle left : middle right : back right : back left
  • Each picture is a representation of pressure (where the red is ) and space (where the green block is).
  • Following a very simple football 'rule' of play, the ball needs to be moved away from pressure, and towards space.
  • So the player has 6 options that match the information in the picture.
  • If the green block is front left (top of the screen and on the left) then the player moves around the front left cone.
  • Once around this cone, the players get their head up and wait for the next picture.
  • A 5 second picture length may be easy for the player to react to and may not be a problem for the player, but starting at an easier level may be a good way to get used to the rules. Once used to how it works, then make the exercise harder. EG : Once you go to the first (correct) cone, you can run around 3 cones or use the first 3 sets as an agility exercise [ react to the picture but then touch all 6 cones in the time period].
  • After 1 minute the player gets a 30 second rest (which should be necessary if the player adapts what they do, to make each set harder and a rest will definitely be a requirement as the sets get harder).
  • After the 30 second rest - Set 2 starts.
  • Set 2 is exactly like set 1 except now the pics are in a different order and are only on screen for 4.25 seconds.
  • In Set 3 the pics are only on screen for 4 seconds.
  • This continues until in the last set the pictures are only on the screen for 1 second. In this set you may only have enough time to step in the right direction.

If a player gets past the last set and can still manipulate the ball in the last set : then they have completed the 'Head up - Decision' challenge for this video.

The concept is very similar to the old school "Beep Test'. In a Beep test (which is a fitness test) the time to do the same thing slowly decreases until the activity eventually becomes too difficult to complete. The 'Head-up Decision ' Beep test works in the same way, except players are allowed to tweak what they do so that the activity they choose matches the time they have.


Example : A practical video of the full HUDBT

Here is an example of a player working through the HUDBT at a level they were comfortable to work at.  It starts with some lateral agility work, then moves to running with the ball, and then towards the end, when the pics change every 1.5 seconds,  it changes to a very simple footwork pattern.



The sky is the limit

In terms of activities that can be created, the sky is the limit. Go to this page to check out all the varieties of the HUDBT as well as the different ways the same version can be used differently.


The issue with using videos for this exercise.

Please feel free to try out this activity using the free video above. Hopefully this helps you see the potential for this exercise. However, if this was the only video you ever used, you would very quickly run into a few problems.

Firstly players have amazing memories. It would not take long for them to learn the picture sequence. Before long they are no longer reacting to what they see, but are anticipating what will come next and reacting to this instead.

The usefulness of having 1 video will not last long. So that is why there are a number of different versions of the HUDBT to make it much harder for players to recognise and remember the order of the pictures, and to change the learning objective of the exercise.