What is Awareness?

'Awareness' in football terms is an understanding of what is going on, not just around you, but the entire pitch.

A player with good awareness has a good understanding of where his team mates are, where the opposition are and where the space is so that when they receive the ball they already have a good idea of what they are going to do it.

A player with poor awareness will often spend longer on the ball (and therefore potentially get tackled) and make their decision of what they are going to do it AFTER they have received it

Being aware of your surroundings is often done by looking around you, otherwise known as “scanning”. Research states the more times you scan, the more success you will have in terms of playing forwards or maintaining possession.

Who Needs Good Awareness?

All positions require players to have good awareness. However, consider the areas of the pitch where a player has opposition and teammates 360 degrees around them. It is in these central areas that challenges a player’s awareness as they have teammates and opposition behind them, on both sides and ahead of them.

For current players watch the likes of Thiago (Liverpool), Kevin de Bryune (Man City), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona) and watch how often they turn their head to see what’s around them.

How Do I Coach It?

‘Scanning’ is a habit that should be trained regularly. Consider the following process for every footballing action you are trying to coach. The example below is used for a player expecting to receive the ball before playing forward.

Before: C.A.B.Check shoulder, Angle to receive, Body position

  • What is around me?
  • Who is available?
  • Where is the space?
  • Do I need to move or stand still?
  • Check body shape to communicate to the passer where I want it to receive it


  • Receiving skills
    • Decision on number of touches
    • Decision based on space
    • Technique based on the decision
  • Passing skills
    • Weight of pass
    • Accuracy – feet or space
    • Disguise

After: What next?

Movement to support either beneath, to the side or move ahead of the ball?

The process then immediately starts again

Coaching Sessions

We have a selection of session plans and practices that you can download and adapt to use with your players.

TO VIEW AND DOWNLOAD THESE SESSIONS AND MANY MORE CLICK 'COACHING PRACTICES' ON THE LEFT-HAND MENU (you will need to log into your MiMentor account, sign-up for free, or subscribe.)

Learn More About Awareness

Our CPD course, Decision-Making In Football, takes this topic to the next level and is ideal for coaches keen to learn more about how to develop players to make better choices in and out of possession.

The course boasts multiple video and coaching session designs that can be adapted and utilised within your coaching sessions.

Click here or search 'Decison-Making' to start the course...

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