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Glossary of Terms

Welcome to our Glossary of Terms, a comprehensive resource designed to enhance your understanding of soccer terminology. As you progress on your soccer journey, familiarity with these terms is not just beneficial but essential. This glossary covers a wide range of soccer-related phrases and concepts, from basic rules and techniques to advanced tactical strategies.

We encourage all players to thoroughly read and understand these terms. A solid grasp of this vocabulary will significantly impact your game, aiding in your ability to comprehend coaching instructions, tactics, and game dynamics. If you encounter any terms that are unclear or unfamiliar, please don't hesitate to ask for clarification. Our goal is to ensure that you have all the tools and knowledge necessary to grow as a player.

Understanding these terms is more than just about learning definitions; it's about enriching your soccer IQ and enhancing your ability to think and react on the field. This glossary is an invaluable tool for players at all levels of their development and will serve as a foundation for your ongoing learning and improvement in the sport.


  1. Defensive
  2. Offensive
  3. Tactical
  4. Mental
  5. Physical
  6. Performance

section 1


1st Touch (get away from pressure)

In soccer, "1st Touch (get away from pressure)" refers to a player's ability to effectively receive and control the ball in a way that immediately creates space and distance from opposing players. This skill is about controlling the ball with the first touch in such a manner that it moves away from defenders, thereby reducing pressure and creating more time and options for the player in possession.

A good first touch to get away from pressure often involves directing the ball into open space, away from tight marking, or preparing the ball for a subsequent pass or shot. It requires excellent ball control, anticipation, and awareness of surrounding players and available space.

This aspect of first touch is crucial for maintaining possession under challenging situations, especially when receiving the ball in crowded areas of the pitch. It allows players to evade immediate challenges from opponents and helps in transitioning smoothly from defense to attack. Developing this skill is essential for players in all positions to effectively handle high-pressure scenarios during a match.


In soccer, "containing" refers to a defensive technique where a player strategically positions themselves to prevent an opponent from advancing forward with the ball, making a pass, or taking a shot. Instead of actively tackling to regain possession, the defender focuses on restricting the attacker's options and space.

The key to effective containing is maintaining a balanced stance and a safe distance from the attacker, allowing the defender to react quickly to any changes in direction. The defender's goal is to guide or 'contain' the attacker into less threatening areas of the pitch, ideally towards the sidelines or away from the goal.

This technique requires good judgement, patience, and an understanding of the opponent's likely movements. Containing is particularly useful when the defender is outnumbered, waiting for backup, or when the attacker is skilled at dribbling. By successfully containing an opponent, a defender can buy time for their team to regroup defensively or force the attacker into making a mistake.

Defensive duels (1 vs 1)

"Defensive duels" or "1 vs 1" situations in soccer refer to moments when a defender is directly challenged by an attacking player. In these scenarios, the defender's primary objective is to prevent the attacker from advancing towards the goal, making a pass, or taking a shot. This involves using positioning, timing, and tactical awareness to intercept the ball or disrupt the attacker's movement.

Success in defensive duels requires the defender to read the attacker's intentions, maintain balance, and choose the right moment to tackle or contain the player. It's about understanding when to apply pressure, when to hold position, and how to effectively use body positioning to shield the goal.

These situations are critical in a game as they can prevent potential scoring opportunities. Defensive duels demand not only physical skills like speed and strength but also mental attributes such as concentration, composure, and decision-making under pressure. Mastery of 1 vs 1 defending is essential for any defender, as it significantly contributes to the team's overall defensive solidity.


In soccer, an "interception" occurs when a player successfully cuts off or captures a ball that an opponent has passed or is attempting to pass. This defensive action prevents the ball from reaching its intended target, disrupting the opposing team's flow and possession of play. Interceptions require players to anticipate the opponent's actions, understand their tactics, and position themselves strategically. Effective interceptions can halt attacks and provide an opportunity for the intercepting team to transition quickly from defense to offense. This skill is essential for a team's defensive strategy, helping to reduce scoring opportunities for the opponents while creating potential counter-attack scenarios.

Marking (distance / timing)

In soccer, "Marking (distance / timing)" refers to the defensive technique of closely following and guarding an opposing player to prevent them from receiving the ball, making effective plays, or scoring. This concept involves two key elements:

  1. Distance: This is about the defender's position in relation to the attacker they are marking. The correct distance depends on various factors, including the defender's speed, the attacker's skills, and the overall tactical approach of the team. Being too close might result in being easily bypassed by a quick move, while too much distance can give the attacker ample space to receive the ball or make a play.
  2. Timing: This involves choosing the right moment to engage or challenge the attacker. Effective marking includes knowing when to close down space, when to tackle, and when to intercept passes. Good timing in marking can disrupt the attacking player's rhythm and decision-making, making it harder for them to contribute effectively to their team's offense.

Successful marking requires a combination of physical skills, such as agility and stamina, and mental attributes like concentration, anticipation, and understanding of the game. It's a crucial part of team defense and plays a significant role in minimizing the opposing team's scoring opportunities.

Recovery Runs

In soccer, "recovery runs" refer to the action of players quickly retreating back to a defensive position after their team has lost possession of the ball. This movement is crucial for reorganizing the team's defense and preventing the opposition from exploiting space and creating scoring opportunities.

Recovery runs are typically performed by midfielders and attackers who find themselves in advanced positions when the ball is lost. They need to sprint back to help their defenders, fill gaps, and mark opposing players. The effectiveness of a recovery run depends on its speed and the player's ability to read the game, anticipating where their presence will be most needed defensively.

Effective recovery runs are essential for maintaining the team's defensive shape and balance, especially in situations where the team is vulnerable to counter-attacks. These runs demonstrate a player's commitment to team defense and their overall work rate, playing a key role in a team's ability to transition from offense to defense. They require good stamina, awareness, and a strong defensive mindset.


In soccer, "tackling" is a defensive action aimed at dispossessing an opponent of the ball. It involves a player using their feet (or body, to a lesser extent) to take the ball away from an opposing player legally. Tackles can vary in technique, ranging from a simple poke of the ball away from an opponent to a more physical challenge where a defender uses their body to block or dislodge the ball.

Successful tackling requires timing, precision, and an understanding of how to approach the opponent without committing a foul. There are different types of tackles, such as the slide tackle, where a player slides on the ground to knock the ball away, and the standing tackle, which is performed while remaining upright.

Tackling is a fundamental defensive skill in soccer. It's crucial for stopping attacks, preventing shots on goal, and regaining possession for the team. However, it must be executed with caution, as mistimed or reckless tackles can result in fouls, penalties, or even injuries. Effective tackling combines physicality with tactical awareness and respect for the rules of the game.

section 2


1st Touch

"1st Touch" in soccer refers to a player's ability to control the ball effectively with their first contact. It's about how a player receives a pass or controls the ball when it comes to them from any direction. A good 1st Touch sets a player up for their next move, whether it be a pass, a shot, or a dribble. It's crucial for maintaining possession and for quick, smooth play. Players with a proficient 1st Touch can better handle the ball under pressure, make fewer turnovers, and create opportunities for their team. It's a fundamental skill that impacts a player's overall effectiveness on the field.


A cross is a long pass played across the field, usually from a wide position, towards the opponent's goal area. It's intended to create scoring opportunities, often by finding teammates positioned to attempt a goal.

Long pass

A type of pass in soccer where the ball is kicked a significant distance across the field, typically over 20 yards, often to switch the play or reach a teammate in an advanced position.

Offensive duels (1 vs 1)

"Offensive duels" or "1 vs 1" situations in soccer refer to scenarios where an attacking player faces a direct confrontation with a single defender. The objective for the attacker is to outmaneuver the defender using dribbling skills, speed, and tactical awareness to either create a scoring opportunity or progress the play. This might involve bypassing the defender to take a shot at goal, deliver a cross, or continue advancing towards the opponent's goal.

Success in offensive duels depends on the attacker's ability to read the defender's movements, utilize effective dribbling techniques, and make quick, decisive actions. These duels are critical moments in a game as they can lead to goal-scoring chances. For the defender, the challenge is to anticipate and neutralize the attacker's moves, aiming to regain possession or disrupt their play. Mastery of 1 vs 1 situations is a valuable skill for players, particularly forwards and wingers, as it often determines their ability to break through defensive lines.

Offensive efficiency

"Offensive efficiency" in soccer refers to how well a player performs during attacking plays. It includes skills like accurately passing the ball to teammates, effectively moving the ball towards the opponent's goal, and successfully scoring or assisting in scoring goals. It also involves making smart decisions on the field to create scoring opportunities and helping the team maintain possession of the ball during offensive plays. A player with high offensive efficiency contributes significantly to the team's ability to score goals and win games.

Play under pressure

"Playing under pressure" in soccer refers to the ability of players to perform effectively while facing intense opposition from the other team. This includes maintaining possession, making accurate passes, and executing strategic plays despite being closely marked or challenged by opponents. It requires players to demonstrate composure, quick decision-making, and technical proficiency under challenging circumstances. Developing this skill is crucial for success in high-level soccer, as it enables players to handle the physical and mental demands of competitive matches.

Shielding the ball

Shielding the ball in soccer is a technique used by a player to protect the ball from an opponent. This is done by positioning the body between the ball and the opposing player. The player uses their body as a barrier to keep the opponent from gaining possession of the ball. This technique is particularly useful when a player is waiting for support from teammates or looking to create space to make a pass, turn, or initiate an attacking move. Shielding effectively requires good balance, strength, and an awareness of the opponent's position and movements. It is a fundamental skill for maintaining possession under pressure and is useful in various situations on the field.

Short pass

A pass made over a shorter distance, used to maintain possession, build up play, or make tactical advancements on the field.


A shot in soccer is an attempt to score a goal, where a player strikes the ball towards the opponent's goal, with the intention of getting it past the goalkeeper and into the net.

section 3


CCSC : Close down, Cover, Shift, Communicate

"CCSC" in soccer is an acronym that stands for Close down, Cover, Shift, and Communicate. It's a tactical concept that outlines key defensive principles for a team. Each component plays a vital role in effective team defense:

  1. Close Down: This refers to the action of a defender approaching an opponent in possession of the ball to apply pressure. The aim is to reduce the opponent’s time and space, making it harder for them to pass, shoot, or continue dribbling effectively.
  2. Cover: This involves a defender positioning themselves in a way to support a teammate who is closing down an opponent. The covering defender is ready to intercept passes or take over marking duties if the primary defender is beaten. This also includes covering key spaces or potential passing lanes.
  3. Shift: Shifting is about the entire defensive unit adjusting their positions in response to the ball's movement. This coordinated movement helps maintain the team's defensive shape and ensures that spaces are covered effectively.
  4. Communicate: Communication is crucial in organizing a defense. It involves players constantly talking to each other, giving information about positioning, marking responsibilities, and potential threats. Effective communication helps in making quick decisions and maintaining a cohesive defensive structure.

The CCSC principles are fundamental for a team to defend successfully as a unit. They ensure that the defense is organized, adaptable, and resilient against attacking plays.

Collective pressure (where, when, how)

Understanding collective pressure in soccer refers to the coordinated effort of a team to apply defensive pressure on the opposition. This concept involves deciding where, when, and how to exert this pressure effectively as a unit. Each aspect plays a crucial role in disrupting the opponent's play and regaining possession:

  1. Where (Spatial Aspect): This involves identifying the specific areas on the field where the team will apply pressure. It could be high up the pitch (high press), in the midfield area, or closer to the team's own goal. The choice depends on the team's strategy, the opponent's strengths and weaknesses, and the context of the game.
  2. When (Timing): Deciding the right moment to apply collective pressure is critical. This could be triggered by certain cues, such as an opponent receiving the ball with their back to goal, a misplaced pass, or when the ball is played to certain areas or players deemed vulnerable. Good timing ensures that the team acts together and is not caught out of position.
  3. How (Method): This refers to the manner in which the team applies pressure. It involves aspects such as the intensity of the press, the roles of individual players (who presses and who covers), how the team moves and adjusts as a unit, and the tactical approach (e.g., cutting off passing lanes, forcing play to one side of the field).

Understanding and effectively implementing collective pressure requires thorough preparation, tactical awareness, and excellent communication among players. When done correctly, it can lead to winning back possession, creating counter-attacking opportunities, and preventing the opposition from developing their play. This concept is integral to modern defensive strategies and is employed by teams at all levels.

Defensive compactness (understanding)

Defensive compactness in soccer refers to a team's ability to maintain a tight, cohesive structure while defending. This tactic involves players staying close to each other, reducing the space and gaps that the opposing team can exploit. Key aspects of defensive compactness include:

  1. Narrowing the Playing Area: Players work together to condense the area of play, especially in their own half, making it difficult for the opposing team to find space for passes or shots.
  2. Maintaining Vertical and Horizontal Lines: The team moves as a unit, both horizontally across the field and vertically between the defense, midfield, and forwards. This ensures that there are no large spaces between the lines for opponents to penetrate.
  3. Communication and Coordination: Effective compactness requires constant communication among players to adjust their positions in response to the ball's movement and the opponent's actions.
  4. Disciplined Positioning: Players must be disciplined in maintaining their positions and roles, ensuring that the team's defensive shape is not broken. This often requires sacrificing individual pursuit of the ball for maintaining the team's structure.
  5. Pressing as a Unit: When applying pressure on the ball, the team does so collectively, ensuring that when one player steps out to press, others adjust to cover the space and maintain compactness.

Defensive compactness is a crucial aspect of a strong defensive strategy. It helps in minimizing the space available for the opponents to operate, thereby reducing their chances of creating goal-scoring opportunities. It requires a high level of teamwork, understanding, and discipline from all players on the field.

Get free (from an opponent's marking): timing-space

"Getting free from an opponent's marking" in soccer involves a player's ability to create space and timing their movements to evade the defensive marking of an opponent. This skill is crucial for making oneself available to receive a pass or participate in a play. It involves two key components:

  1. Timing: This is about choosing the right moment to make a move. Good timing involves understanding the flow of the game and predicting when and where the ball is going to be played. A player must time their movement to coincide with the teammate's ability to pass the ball, ensuring they are in the right position at the right moment.
  2. Creating Space: This involves using movement and body positioning to create distance between themselves and the defender. Players often use quick changes of direction, speed variations, or deceptive movements (like feints or dummy runs) to shake off their markers. Creating space can also involve working in tandem with teammates, using coordinated movements to pull defenders out of position.

Mastering the art of getting free requires not just physical agility and speed, but also a keen sense of spatial awareness and the ability to read the game effectively. It's a skill that is particularly important for attackers and midfielders, who need to consistently find space to receive the ball in potentially goal-scoring positions.

Identifying & Solving game situations

In soccer, "Identifying & Solving Game Situations" refers to a player's ability to recognize various scenarios that occur during a match and apply the appropriate tactics or actions to address them. This skill involves a combination of game awareness, tactical understanding, and quick decision-making.

  1. Identifying Game Situations: This requires players to be constantly aware of what's happening on the field. It involves understanding the team's current strategy, recognizing the opponents' tactics, being aware of the positioning and movement of teammates and opponents, and evaluating the best course of action in response to the unfolding play. Examples include identifying when to press the opposition, when to hold possession, or when to exploit space behind the defense.
  2. Solving Game Situations: Once a situation is identified, players must quickly determine the best way to respond. This could involve making a key pass, changing the point of attack, repositioning themselves or teammates defensively, or deciding when to shoot. Solving game situations effectively often requires technical skills, creativity, and the ability to communicate with teammates.

Developing the skill of identifying and solving game situations is crucial for players at all levels. It enhances a team's adaptability and effectiveness on the field and can be the difference between outsmarting the opposition or being outplayed. Coaches often train this skill through scenario-based drills, video analysis, and encouraging players to think critically about their decisions during games.

Play between lines

"Play between lines" in soccer refers to a player's ability to position themselves and operate in the spaces between the opponent's defensive lines. This concept involves finding and exploiting gaps in the opposition's formation, typically between their defenders and midfielders or between midfielders and forwards.

Players who excel at playing between lines are skilled at reading the game, understanding the positioning of opponents, and using this knowledge to create advantageous situations. They often receive the ball in these spaces, turning to either advance the play or distribute the ball effectively to teammates. This skill is crucial for breaking down well-organized defenses, as it disrupts the opponent's structure and creates opportunities for attacking plays.

Playing between lines requires not just individual skill but also strong team coordination and communication, as teammates need to recognize and exploit these spaces collaboratively. This tactical approach is often employed by teams looking to maintain possession and control the pace of the game.


In soccer, "scanning" refers to the action of a player frequently checking their surroundings to gain situational awareness on the field. This involves quickly looking around to assess the position and movement of teammates, opponents, the ball, and space on the field. Scanning helps players make informed decisions about their next move, whether it's passing, moving into space, or positioning themselves defensively.

Effective scanning allows a player to anticipate play, understand the game's dynamics, and react proactively rather than reactively. It's a crucial skill for maintaining possession, creating attacking opportunities, and preventing dangerous situations defensively.

Midfielders and defenders particularly need to excel in scanning, as they often have to make quick decisions under pressure and need a comprehensive view of the game to distribute the ball effectively or intercept opposing plays. However, it is an essential skill for all positions to help maintain tactical discipline and team shape.


In soccer, "support" refers to the actions and positioning of players without the ball to assist the player in possession. This concept is crucial for effective team play and involves several key aspects:

  1. Providing Passing Options: Players offer themselves as available targets for a pass, creating angles and space to receive the ball safely. This might involve moving closer to the ball carrier or positioning themselves strategically to keep the play moving.
  2. Creating Space: Support can also mean drawing defenders away to create space for the player with the ball or for another teammate. This is done through intelligent movement and positioning.
  3. Back-up for Possession: Support ensures that if the player with the ball is challenged or loses possession, teammates are nearby to help regain control of the ball.
  4. Communicating: Verbal and non-verbal communication is a key part of providing support. This includes calling for the ball, signaling for a pass, or guiding teammates on where to move or what action to take next.
  5. Support in Defense: Supporting players also contribute defensively by positioning themselves to intercept potential passes, closing down spaces, or being ready to tackle if the ball is lost.

Effective support is about understanding the game's flow, anticipating play, and being in the right place at the right time to assist teammates. It's essential for maintaining possession, progressing the ball up the field, and creating scoring opportunities.

Switching the point of attack

"Switching the point of attack" in soccer is a strategic move where a team changes the focus of their play from one side of the field to the other. This tactic is used to disorient the opposing team's defense and create scoring opportunities. Key aspects of this strategy include:

  1. Quick and Accurate Passing: Effective switching of play typically involves long, diagonal passes across the field. These passes need to be precise and fast to catch the opposing team off balance and exploit open spaces.
  2. Field Awareness: Players must be aware of the positioning of their teammates, opponents, and open areas on the field. This awareness allows them to identify the best moments to switch play and maximize the effectiveness of the move.
  3. Utilizing Width: Switching the point of attack often relies on using the full width of the field. Wingers and full-backs play a crucial role in stretching the opposition's defense and creating space.
  4. Timing and Decision Making: Players must decide the right time to switch play, considering factors like their team's positioning, the opponent's defensive setup, and the movement of the ball.
  5. Technical Skill: Players executing the switch need to have strong technical skills, particularly in long-range passing and ball control, to ensure the switch is effective and not intercepted.

This tactic can provide a team with a significant tactical advantage, especially against opponents who employ a tight, compact defensive structure. By rapidly changing the point of attack, a team can create mismatches, exploit gaps in the defense, and find new avenues to advance towards the opponent's goal.

Zone or Zonal Marking (Understanding)

In soccer, the term "Zone" or "Zonal marking" refers to a defensive strategy where players are assigned specific areas of the field to defend, rather than marking individual opponents. This approach focuses on covering spaces rather than tracking particular players. Key aspects of zonal defending include:

  1. Spatial Responsibility: Players are responsible for defending a designated zone on the field. When an opposing player enters this zone, the defender in that area becomes responsible for marking them.
  2. Team Coordination: Effective zonal defending requires excellent coordination and communication among teammates. Players must understand their roles and work collectively to cover spaces and close down passing lanes.
  3. Flexibility: Unlike man-marking, zonal defending allows players to remain flexible in their positions. Defenders can adapt and shift their focus depending on the ball's location and the movement of the opposing team.
  4. Preventing Overload: By defending areas rather than individuals, teams can avoid being pulled out of position or overloaded in certain areas of the pitch.
  5. Set Pieces: Zonal marking is often employed during set pieces like corners or free kicks, where defenders cover specific zones in and around the penalty area to clear the ball.

Zonal defending is a strategic choice that can help maintain a team's shape and organization. However, it requires players to be aware of their surroundings, understand their defensive responsibilities, and have the ability to quickly react to changes in the game's dynamics.

section 4


Ability to accept criticism / Coachability

The ability to accept criticism is a vital skill in soccer, as it directly impacts a player's development and their contribution to the team. It involves listening to and thoughtfully considering feedback or critique from coaches, teammates, and sometimes even opponents. This feedback, whether about technical skills, tactical knowledge, or game understanding, is crucial for identifying areas of improvement. Coachability goes hand in hand with accepting criticism – it denotes a player's willingness to learn, adapt, and embrace new challenges. A coachable player actively seeks advice, is open to trying different approaches, and views constructive criticism as an opportunity for growth. This attitude not only enhances individual performance but also contributes positively to the team dynamic, making coachable players valuable assets to any team.

Communication On & Off the pitch

Communication in soccer is essential both on and off the pitch. On the pitch, it involves players verbally and non-verbally conveying information about positioning, tactics, and opponent movements. Off the pitch, it includes discussions about strategies, feedback, and team dynamics, all crucial for team cohesion and understanding.

Emotional control

In soccer, "emotional control" refers to a player's ability to manage and regulate their emotions effectively during a game. This skill is crucial for maintaining focus, making rational decisions, and performing consistently under various circumstances, including pressure, provocation, or intense competition.

Emotional control involves staying calm, composed, and resilient, whether the team is winning or losing, and irrespective of any challenges or provocations from opponents or game situations. Players with good emotional control can avoid unnecessary confrontations, resist reacting impulsively to referee decisions or opponent actions, and keep their mind focused on the game strategy.

This skill is essential for team dynamics as well, as players who maintain their composure positively influence their teammates, helping to keep the entire team focused and united. Emotional control also impacts individual performance, as it enables players to execute skills and make decisions effectively without being hindered by frustration, anger, or overexcitement.

In high-level soccer, where the mental aspect of the game is as crucial as the physical, emotional control is a key attribute for any player aiming to compete at their best consistently.

Respect (time, rules, politeness, )

Respect in soccer plays a crucial role in the sport's integrity and the positive experience of all involved. Respecting time involves being punctual for practices, games, and team meetings, showing commitment and responsibility. Adhering to the rules is about understanding and following the regulations of the game, which ensures fair play and safety for everyone on the field. Respect also extends to how players, coaches, and officials interact. This includes using polite and considerate language, showing sportsmanship by acknowledging good play from both teammates and opponents, and accepting decisions from referees without dispute. Overall, respect fosters a positive and supportive environment that is essential for the enjoyment and growth of players and the game itself.

Self confidence / Initiatives

Self-confidence in soccer is a player's belief in their own abilities and skills. Taking initiatives refers to the player's willingness to make decisive actions or decisions on the field, like attempting a challenging pass or taking a shot on goal.

Will to win / Perform

The determination and drive a player shows to succeed and excel in both training and matches. It's about having the motivation and commitment to perform at their best consistently.

section 5


1st Steps / Agility / Mobility

"1st Steps" refers to a player's initial movements in response to a play, crucial for gaining an advantage over an opponent. Agility is the ability to change direction quickly and efficiently, while mobility encompasses a player's overall physical flexibility and range of motion, vital for performing various soccer movements effectively.

Body strength (duels - 50/50 balls)

Body strength in soccer is particularly important in duels and challenges for 50/50 balls. It refers to a player's ability to use their physical power to maintain possession, win aerial battles, shield the ball, and successfully engage in tackles.

Endurance (good engine - Amount of actions/min)

Endurance in soccer, often referred to as having a "good engine," is a player's ability to sustain high levels of physical and mental activity over the course of a match. It's measured by the number of actions a player can perform per minute, including running, tackling, and ball control, without significant fatigue.

Explosiveness (acceleration)

Explosiveness, or acceleration, is the ability of a player to increase their speed rapidly over a short distance. It's crucial for outpacing opponents, quickly closing down space, and changing directions swiftly.

Speed (running / execution)

Speed in soccer encompasses two aspects: running speed, which is the ability to move quickly across the field, and execution speed, which refers to how fast a player can perform soccer-related actions, such as passing, shooting, or dribbling.

section 6


Performance in game

This is about how effectively a player applies their skills, knowledge, and tactics in a match situation. It includes their decision-making, execution of plays, and contribution to the team's overall performance.

Performance in practice

This refers to how a player executes and applies themselves during training sessions. It includes their effort, skill development, tactical understanding, and application of coaching instructions.