Hello everyone and welcome back to Barcelona, Spain!
We just completed the 14th week of the MBP Master in High Performance Soccer. It is mindboggling to think that there is only 2 weeks left of the course.
During the 14th week, we were able to observe Dr. Rude and Eduard Fortet (Director of MBP Academy) administer a training session. It was important for us to see the MBP training methodology being executed by expert coaches in order to compare our practice training sessions to those of Dr. Rude and Eduard. For me, it was a great learning experience because not only were the training exercises well executed, but it was clear that Dr. Rude and Eduard were focused on stimulating the players with constant information. The information came in a variety of forms but for the entire session and regardless of the training exercise, the players were challenged cognitively - the essence of the MBP Methodology.
Throughout the week, the focus revolved around the next soccer structure, the game. If you remember from one of the first posts, the coach must manage 9 soccer structures: Meta-Game, Players, Constellations, Team, Game, Coach, Infra-Player, Infra-Team, and Infra-Coach.
There are many aspects of the game structure, but one aspect that Dr. Rude stressed in the game structure is that there are three main problems that arise in soccer. Specifically, the three categories of problems include: Time/Space Realm, Information Realm, and Organization Realm. Let’s discuss these three categories in further detail.
Time/Space Realm: The team in possession of the ball must coordinate all individual and collective actions in order to overcome the opponent (moving obstacles), and when defending, must coordinate individual and collective actions in stopping the opponent and subsequently, win the ball. The idea is that depending on a given situation, time and space is a limiting factor in relation to overcoming the opponent and stopping the opponent/winning the ball back.
Information Realm: Dr. Rude explained to us that the team must process the information in the game in order to organize the team while simultaneously disorganizing the opponent. In order to do so, the team must read the game in the same light. More specifically, Dr. Rude continued by teaching us that the opponent’s uncertainty (disorganization) is dependent upon the positioning of the teammates in relation to the possessor. The idea is that the team must position in a way that provides the possessor with multiple options. In addition to the positioning aspect, the team can also increase uncertainty for the opponent through moving the ball rapidly.
Organizational Realm: Often times through the course Dr. Rude has preached to us that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. In relation to that cliché, the individual must integrate the collective project to his or her individual actions, offering their best to the team. The idea is that the team as a whole must communicate or organize itself in a common language and within that organization; the individual must seek ways to maximize their play within the collective project.
By coordinating individual and collective actions, reading the game in the same language, and knowing one’s role within the collective project, the team will be able to reduce uncertainty surrounding the game.
As we progressed through the week, we had another physical conditioning lesson with Dr. Altarriba. For the lesson, we traveled to CE Europa, which is a 3rd division club. The purpose was to observe the implementation of a circuit in addition to learning about how the club manages the internal load of each training session. The circuit was interesting as the fitness coach applied principles that Dr. Altarriba previously taught us. The circuit consisted on three stations that were based on a continuum from ‘general’ to ‘sport specific’. For instance, one station began with agility/proprioception training followed by backwards shuffling around poles and finishing with 1v1 at 60-70%. The idea was to apply the physical gains to a sport specific movement. In the previous example, the aim was for the players to apply the physical gains to that of a defensive movement (jockeying).
It was interesting to learn how CE Europa monitors the internal load of their sessions as we began monitoring the internal load with the Polar HR Team2 system at Quinnipiac University during the 2014 season. Similar to us, the coach was monitoring the heart rates with live time (monitors connected to an iPad). I am unsure as to the zones the players were instructed to maintain for the session, but by tracking the session with live time, the fitness coach could make adjustments when necessary.
To conclude the week, MBP hosted a ‘Family Day’ in Vic, which is in the heart of Catalonia. We went to Vic because of the Medieval Festival. Prior to the attending the festival, we had a great lunch with all of MBP in order to celebrate our participation in the course. The Medieval Festival was a great experience as there were many Catalan traditions on display in addition to a lot of great food!