It has been hectic since returning from Barcelona last week. The winter leagues preparation and UEFA B course work have had me sat staring at a computer, something I don't particularly enjoy.
ACCESS TO LA MASIA
Unfortunately our academy tour to Barcelona was postponed due to covid uncertainties but I decided to use the break to recharge the batteries, spend some quality time with my son and to further develop myself as a coach. I feel privileged to access La Masia on my visits to Barcelona and I have been fortunate enough to have been attending and learning from the famous academy for a few years now. I probably take more from a week in Barcelona than I do over the course of the year in Scotland. To learn about their coaching, their philosophy and their values is priceless and is the main reason I am keen to bring our players out here each year. For me it is more than just football/futsal and their club values and playing philosophy dictates how the coaches, players and even parents are.
Last week I watched a FC Barcelona futsal match at La Masia by taking in the u11s game and it got my mind thinking about how the kids must have felt playing in that game.
Before the match players had to show the officials their identification to ensure that players were playing for the team they are registered to before warming up to music and a timer counting down the time until the game started. It felt like I was at a real match and this would be further enhanced as the game went on.
During the warm up the players from both teams prepared well for the game and they were all focused on the match that was about to start.
The 2 teams walked out to the famous Barcelona anthem and to shouts of Barca, Barca, Barca from the parents. Imagine how this made both sets of players, their coaches and family members feel!!
The players then quickly returned to their coaches, got in a huddle and shared a motivational cheer before taking their place on the court or aa a substitute at the side.
Now onto the match. It was clear from the outset that Barcelona had the better players and had a clear way of playing. What surprised me was that the opposition were the complete opposite and tried to play no futsal at all. Maybe things are not that much different from back home!!!
Despite not trying to play the away side took a surprise lead from a shot from distance. Sitting in-between both sets of parents it was great to hear both sets get behind their team and to encourage them with the Barcelona parents even singing songs. It created a real positive atmosphere in the hall. Not once did I hear a parent shout at their kid or tell them what to do.
Barcelona kept probing and through some excellent play they took a 2-1 lead into half time.
The second half Barcelona completely dominated and ended up winning 6-3. All 9 goals scored were celebrated as a team and some of the players pointed to their parents in the stand and created a love heart with their hands. The 2 goals Barcelona lost in the second half were both from long punts from the opposite half that caught out the small goalkeeper. What I loved after both goals was how everyone reacted. The players on the court ran to console him, the coaches encouraged him from the side and the parents started cheering and encouraging from the stand. To me this highlighted exactly how a club should be and something we have to aspire to become. There was nobody pointing the blame, nobody throwing their hands in the air and going in a strop and together they helped the goalkeeper to recover from his errors. To see this from children aged 9 and 10 years old, wow!!
After the match both teams shook hands and applauded their parents in the stands before stretching off.
10 minutes or so later, both teams came out the venue to an applause from both sets of parents. It was a fantastic moment to take in.
Since then I have been thinking about the game in detail and wondering how we can create this environment here. Comparing this to my local football league and it was night and day.
We share the same values as FC Barcelona, now the challenge is adhering to them and ensuring they are across our academy and teams.
RESPECT - TEAMWORK - EFFORT - HUMILITY - AMBITION
We will be promoting our next trip to Barcelona in April 2022 next week. It will be open to all Futsal Escocia Academy players.