Ben Bartlett, Senior Youth Coach Educator at the Football Association, gives some fascinating real-life examples to explain the importance of aligning a team’s ideal model of performance with the capabilities and behaviours of its players and the practice of its coaching.


There is a Japanese proverb, highlighted by James Kerr in his book ‘Legacy’, which states that “Vision without action is a day-dream; action without vision is a nightmare”. With this in mind, lecturer and coach developer Bob Muir proposed the model below, asking coaches to consider whether, in the work they do with their players, the following four aspects align:

  • Model of performance
  • Player Capabilities
  • Player Development
  • Coaching Practice


Here’s an example to explain the importance of the Model of Performance, or vision. Let’s assume that part of your Model of Performance is for your team to conduct a high press in all games. In that case, you may need to identify what demands that Model places upon the players. This could be accurately achieved by researching across the highest performing teams (across a number of games) what the Passes Allowed Per Defensive Action (PPDA) measure is. This is calculated by dividing the number of passes allowed by the defending team by the total number of defensive actions (tackles, interceptions, challenges, fouls):

PPDA = number of passes made by attacking team divided by number of defensive actions.

“We can begin to look at what our players are currently capable of in relation to the target and construct a programme of training to support the team to meet it in all four corners.”

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Ben Bartlett
Ben Bartlett
Ben Bartlett has been involved with The FA as a coach educator since 2007. Now a Senior Youth Coach educator, Ben has also previously worked at Chelsea FC Ladies as General Manager & Director of coaching and is known as a real innovator in coach education in England.
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