The Individual Technical Cycle of Football
The VAAD Process : [VISION - AWARENESS - ANALYSIS - DECISION]
The notes below look at the VAAD process in a bit more detail
VAAD : The Football Constant
VAAD is a constant throughout both the 'On and Off' the ball parts of the Individual Technical Cycle of Football. VAAD stands for Vision Awareness Analysis Decision and it's importance can be summed up in this statement :
'No matter what a player is doing, if they are not thinking they are not playing'
Is the VAAD process the most important component of individual technique?
Good players use vision and awareness (when both 'on and off' the ball) to gather information. Based on their football intelligence they analyze this information and make what they think is the best decision in any given moment.
A players ability to make good or bad decisions (within decreasing amounts of time and space) is a product of a players ability to work through the VAAD process. Considering players are in the VAAD process 100% of the time then it might be fair to argue that the VAAD process is the most important component of individual technique and is something team coaches always need to keep in mind when developing players.
But is the VAAD process a technique?
It is a part of the I.T.C.F. - so let's say: 'Yes, it is an individual technique.'
Can the VAAD process be practiced in isolation?
It is not easy and certainly not ideal. We look at this question later in the web-book series, but for now let's just say that the best way to practice and develop the VAAD process (and develop Football Intelligence) is to play games that force players to go through the VAAD process repetitively, and look for learning moments within these games.
This is why team training is so important for a player's technical development. It could be argued that a team coach's number one job at 'team training' needs to be to develop their player's ability to work through the VAAD process. This can't be done when isolating 'on and off' the ball technique, or when developing passing patterns or when doing fitness and conditioning work. It can only be done when playing an activity where decision making is at its heart.
Watching the VAAD Process in Action
The complete VAAD process can't be videoed. It is an intangible process and can't be seen (as it is mostly comprised from what happens in the brain of a player). Only the sight of a player 'checking and Scanning' and the end product (the execution of technique) can be seen, and it is the 'intention of the end product' that will let you know how well a player is working through the VAAD process.
Players who make a Good Decision are likely to have successfully navigated their way through the VAAD process and if this is repeated consistently, they will be demonstrating High Football Intelligence. Players who combine a high level of football intelligence with excellent technique are likely to be very good players (ignoring any physical or mental attributes).
Players who make a Poor Decision, are likely to have unsuccessfully navigated their way through the VAAD process and if this is repeated consistently, they will be demonstrating Low Football Intelligence. Having excellent 'on the ball' technique in this scenario may be of little use.
'Intention of end product'
The phrase 'intention of end product' was used above. This is an important distinction to make when watching a player. If a player makes a good decision but the execution was poor then a 'player, coach or parent' knows it is an 'on or off the ball' technical problem that's the issue, and this knowledge allows them to focus their practice in the right area.
And vice versa, if the 'on the ball' technique is good but a player still loses possession, then it may be an error in the VAAD process that's the problem, and developmental work should be directed towards developing the appropriate aspect of the VAAD process. That is; Is there a lack of vision and awareness? (Is a player playing with their head down too much?) Is a player leaving the thinking process too late? Or is the analysis poor? (Is a players football intelligence lacking?). All of these will be leading to a possible poor decision.
It is worth noting that, in terms of tool kits and quality of work, you can compare a football player to a tradesman. If you give a master tradesman an average tool kit, he will still probably do a good job. If you give a poor tradesman an amazing tool kit he will probably still do a poor job. If you give a master tradesman the perfect tool kit (that is, just the right tools for every part of the job) they will almost certainly do an amazing job. So in terms of developing football players, do we want a master tradesman with just the right tool kit, or a poor tradesman with an amazing tool kit?
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