Soccer expert Dave Newbery takes us through how to mimic the success of your favorite pro team using Hudl. 

Can My Youth Team Play like Barcelona?

Few teams in history have impacted coaching more than the Barcelona team of 2008–2011, managed by Pep Guardiola. With Messi, Eto, Villa and Henry leading the attack, Puyol, Pique and Toure in defense, and the magic of Inesta and Xavi in midfield, Barcelona dominated pro soccer in Spain, Europe and the world. 

In the last decade, team statistics for top professional teams have become readily available and prominently posted in news articles and soccer magazines. Our admiration of Barcelona’s effortless attacking combinations is backed up by data, such as possession percent, territory dominance, number of crosses and shots on target. Technology from Hudl and Hudl Assist provides insight into Barcelona’s DNA, which can be used to help the youth level improve. 

I Want to Coach like Pep

With Hudl and Hudl Assist, it’s realistic for youth, high school and college coaches to draw inspiration from top teams and coaches, even compare their performance data with these teams.  

Data provides clarity, evidence to back up what we observe and a blueprint for copying a team you admire. As a youth coach, I often incorporate the key principles that make Barcelona great, such as maintaining possession with high tempo and high frequency passing, into my coaching program. For example, let’s compare data[1] from Barcelona’s eight Champions League games (2021–22) with the Hudl data for my youth team.

  • Possession: Barcelona dominated the opponents with 58% possession (image 1), winning five games, tying one and losing two. In my youth team’s last eight games (image 2), we achieved 57% possession (image 3), with the same win record as Barca.
  • Passing: To achieve favorable possession, our second goal is to attempt more passes than the opponent and achieve extreme accuracy. In 90 minutes, Barcelona attempted a remarkable 770 passes per game with a passing success percentage of 91% (Image 1).  My youth team attempted 300 passes (in 60 minutes) with a success rate of 67%, which means we have some work to do.
  • Shots on target: The third goal is creating great scoring opportunities as a result of planned possession and taking advantage of shooting opportunities. 44% of Barcelona’s shots were on target, an average of eight shots per game, resulting in 2.25 goals per game. Over 56% of my youth team’s shots were on target, scoring 3.1 goals per game from nine shots on frame.
Barcelona Possession Stats

How Can Hudl and Hudl Assist Add Value?

Using Hudl’s reports to draw comparisons with well-renowned professional teams, players and coaches benefits the learning experience for all participants. Players and their parents will reward your efforts with improved performances, loyalty and commitment.

Data not only reveals the strengths and weaknesses of a team’s performance but also provides a blueprint for a skilled coach to follow and replicate.

How to Get Started

Data not only reveals the strengths and weaknesses of a team’s performance but also provides a blueprint for a skilled coach to follow and replicate. A good way to begin is to submit a game for review through Hudl Assist, then dive into the Hudl reports they provide, like box score and goals. Now compare and contrast your team’s data with the information readily available on your favorite professional team.

[1] Source: