Today's article is an excerpt from our new book, Coaching Spanish Soccer by Jordi Pascual
Coaching Spanish Soccer contains the player development and training methodology that has made Spain the #1 Soccer Nation in the World tells you everything you need to know about Spain’s rise to dominance. With an in-depth look at the players, formation and the infrastructure that created a golden era of success, this comprehensive book is the ultimate guide to unlocking the secrets to Spain’s success and how you can apply them to your own team.
This excerpt shows one of the training sessions introduced in Spain by Johan Cryuff when he was the manager at Barcelona in the '90s.
Coaching Spanish Soccer
We talked before about how are the sessions organized in Spain and what is mainly the methodology. In this chapter, we’ll see some of the most typical exercises used in Spain.
The first thing to notice is that these activities can be used (and they are used), at all levels and ages. “Rondos” and possession games are introduced at early stages of development. It won’t be strange to find kids of 9-10 doing it. It’s just a question about how to adapt the size of the grid or the number of players and coaches.
The first one is one of the most typical in warm-up, being used, first, by FC Barcelona (as far as I know, it was used in the 90s, when Cruyff was the manager; probably, it’s one of the exercises he took from Ajax) and, actually for a lot of teams, included the National Team; it’s a 8v2 in a grid of 10x10 meters.
At this level it’s played with just one touch and, and the worst that can happen is that the defenders are nutmeg or split by the ball. The key point in this, and all the “positional” exercises is this: they are “positional”; this means that the players with the ball must stay just on the line; these are not games where players go dribbling inside or whatever; the idea is always look for the best pass; this implies a lot of awareness and decision making. The player is waiting for the ball, looking for the options to pass and knowing that there’s no time to control the ball and pass it; when the ball arrives to the player, immediately is kicked to another player; if you are bad positioned, not ready, etc. you fail (passing or receiving, depending where you are) and, you must go to the middle to chase the ball.