What is scanning? How do I make faster, better decisions?

Learn how to scan on the pitch with Be Your Best

With the Be Your Best Trainer you can train and improve your mental and cognitive performance on the pitch. But how does it work? What are you actually training? 

What is scanning?

The Be Your Best Trainer helps you train, measure and improve your scanning. What is scanning you ask? Have you ever noticed how many of the elite footballers today and in the past seem to play with “wing mirrors”; almost like they have eyes in the backs of their heads? How did they know that their teammate would be at that exact position when they completed a pass, they weren’t even looking in that player’s direction? The answer - scanning!

Who better to show what scanning is than football legend: Xavi? Did you know that Xavi clocked an impressive 0.83 scans PER SECOND when he played in La Liga?!

Some may know it as “checking your shoulder”, “pre-orientation” or “awareness”; however what we call scanning is actually quite simple. It’s all about looking around as much as possible and gathering as much information as possible before you receive a pass. Information about what? Well, about where your teammates are, where your opponents are, and what is actually happening on the pitch.

That way, when you receive the ball you can quickly and efficiently decide what you want to do, where you want to go, and - pro tip - you are more likely to make a successful pass. 

So scanning is generally: eyes off the ball and gather information about everything around you.

In order to scan effectively, there are several things you have to keep in mind:

  • Scan frequency: how many scans can you do per second? How many times were you able to look away from the ball in the last 10 seconds before receiving a pass?

  • Scan timing:  When to look at the ball versus when to not look at the ball. Have you timed your scanning efficiently?
  • Scan direction and symmetry: In which direction are you looking? Do you make sure to scan equally both left and right? 
  • Scan length: How long do you scan for? Are you able to keep scanning right up until you receive the ball?
  • Micro scans: A chain of many smaller high-frequency scans in between longer scans
  • Misleading scans: Can you direct your eyes in a certain direction to fool your opponents on you real intent?
  • Opponent's scan reading: Watching and detecting your opponent's next move based on their own scanning
  • Critical Scan: As the ball is traveling towards you, make one final scan before receiving the pass.

Check out Zlatan Ibrahimovic's use of misleading scans, while deciding on his next move:

How do I make faster decisions?

So, you train on increasing the number of scans and the quality of scans you make on the pitch in the Be Your Best Trainer. Then what? Well, other than improving the number and quality of scans you make in a game scenario, it’s all about figuring out the best next move. How to make faster and better decisions, and move the game forward at a high pace. 

With the Be Your Best Trainer we work on your decision making skills. How long does it take you to make a decision and execute a pass to your fellow teammate? Did you remember where your teammates were from scanning? Or where you overtaken and lost possession of the ball because you couldn't decide your next move fast enough? 

How do I make faster, and BETTER decisions?

Okay, so we've helped you ramp up your scanning, and yes you do feel that you can make faster decisions. But how do you know if it's the right decision? Did your decision lead to the opposing team winning possession of the ball from your teammate? 

This is the third element that you gain from the Be Your Best Trainer - making better decisions. So, you gained the skill of scanning and you've mastered the art of making fast decisions. Finally, we work on perceiving all the possibilities that come with knowing where the other players are and being able to decide which way to go. 

Because simply knowing where your teammates are isn't always enough. You also have to have an understanding of what their current whereabouts mean in terms of possibilities.

Seeing that your teammate is in perfect alignment to make another quick pass to the attacking forward who's ready to make a run at the goal, but who is also surrounded by three of your opponents might not actually be the best decision to make! Perceiving the game in this way, gathering information about all possibilities, not simply the most obvious ones, will not only help you make a fast decision, but the right decision. 

And so, you achieve the cognitive skill levels that are needed to improve your performance on the pitch!

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