Hello everyone and welcome back to Barcelona, Spain.
Week 13 of the MBP Master in High Performance Soccer was exciting because after learning and studying for 12 intense weeks, it was time to implement the theories and training exercises on the field. In addition to the practice coaching sessions, we learned how to use the video analysis software that MBP uses for their tactical advisement sessions with professional players and had another physical conditioning lesson with Dr. Altarriba.
Prior to traveling to Osona for the MBP training session, we attended the U19 FCB – AS Roma Youth Champions League match at the Mini Estadi. The match was exciting as Roma came back from being down 3-0 to earn a 3-3 draw. There is no question that FCB was dominate, but as Dr. Rude often preaches, dominating the game structures does not guarantee a winning result. As I have said multiple times, the game is filled with uncertainty and the FCB – Roma match demonstrated just that. Within the first half of the match, FC Barcelona sustained three injuries and subsequently was forced to use all three of their substitutions. Then during the flow of the second half, one of their center-backs acquired his second yellow card and was sent off causing FCB to play with ten players. Although FCB dominated the game structures, Roma was able to climb back into the game and head back to Italy with 1 point. On a side note, take a look at this incredible goal that Carlos Alena scored for FCB. What a player he is!!
After the game we traveled to Osona for the MBP training session in order to execute our practice coaching. In a previous post I briefly discussed the progressive nature of the MBP Academy and I think now is a great time to discuss the specifics of the academy in greater detail. Dr. Rude explained to us that if we asked a player in the MBP Academy who their coach is, he said the player would respond with six names. The reason is because the club’s coaching infrastructure is divided into developmental areas and there are two coaches per area (3 areas) hence why the players would respond with six names. Then each team is assigned one coach that attends the games on the weekend.
For the players between the ages of 6-13 years old (grassroots development), the three developmental areas include Coordination, Individual Fundamentals, and Collective Fundamentals training. By training three times per week, each team and player will train in each developmental area one time per week (i.e. Coordination on Monday, Individual Fundamentals on Wednesday, and Collective Fundamentals on Friday).
When the players progress to Collective I and II (High Performance) in terms of game understanding (usually U14 – Pro’s), the three areas are modified to Tactical Fundamentals, Physical Conditioning, and Game Model training. Following the same pattern, the players and team will train in each area one time per week (i.e. Tactical Fundamentals on Monday, Physical Conditioning on Wednesday, and Game Model on Friday). In addition to those 6 total areas, the club also has goalkeeper training one time per week.
One aspect of the MBP Academy that really impressed me is the idea that the club trains one value per month. Not only is the academy seeking to develop intelligent players but they are also striving to develop great people. In essence, the club communicates the ‘value of the month’ to the players and parents, and the parents work with their children to find examples of the value from the internet or newspapers. For instance, if the value of the month is sportsmanship, the video below could be used to demonstrate an understanding of the value.
Now that you have a better understanding the MBP Academy, I think our practice coaching sessions will make more sense. Before the training sessions (we did practice coaching sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday), Dr. Rude told us which tactical fundamentals the team was scheduled to train and it was our responsibility to use the MBP training methodology to create an exercise that trains the specific fundamentals. On Tuesday, Jesus and I designed a ‘Line Game’ to improve a defensive line fundamental in the block of ‘maintaining the balance’ and an offensive line fundamental in the ‘mobilizing the attack’ block (Tactical Fundamental area).
On the following day (Wednesday), we traveled back to Osona to execute another training exercise, but this time the session was within the physical conditioning area. Once again Jesus and I worked together and we designed a possession exercise that included physical components such as endurance, plyometrics, and strength work.
As I reflect on the line game, I felt as though the exercise created an environment for the fundamentals to appear, but due to my limited Spanish, I was not able to communicate enough detail to the players. Going into the training session, Jesus and I discussed that we were going to coordinate information and translation but we quickly learned that in an exercise with a great amount of tactical details, it is difficult to coordinate such actions.
With regards to the possession exercise on the following day, Jesus and I improved a great amount from the previous session. Utilizing techniques that Dr. Rude taught us, Jesus and I were able to better control the flow of the game in order to communicate specific coaching points within possession game. Throughout the course of the exercise we added specific restrictions in order to challenge the players in the progressive manner that related directly to the tactical aspect of the training session (although the area was physical conditioning, every training session has a tactical focus).
On the following days, (Thursday and Friday), we had lessons with Eric Lira and Dr. Altarriba focusing on the video analysis software and nutrition/supplementation respectively. During our lesson with Eric, he demonstrated and taught us how MBP utilizes video software during their tactical advisement sessions with professional players. There are a lot of video software programs that exist but one that is not too expensive is FOCUS. Here is a link to their website http://www.performanceinnovation.net
In fact, my classmate Jesus published a great video from the recent Clasico. See below!
Our lesson with Dr. Altarriba was focused on the nutritional aspects within soccer. It was great because Dr. Altarriba provided us with a lot of information and resources on the subject. For me, one of the best nutritional resources is www.drcate.com which is the website of Dr. Catherine Shanahan who is the nutritionist for the Los Angeles Lakers. If you click on the ‘training’ tab and scroll down, you will see a training tip that includes a link to a recent interview that Dr. Catherine Shanahan gave on Lakers.com.
To conclude the week, we went back at the Camp Nou for the FC Barcelona – Real Sociedad match! The game was exciting as the Trident bagged 4 goals in a 4-0 win (Messi 1, Suarez 1, and Neymar 2). Here are the game highlights!