Why Indian Clubs need to adapt the Barcelona way?
Barcelona. The club is on the mouths of every coach in every country. “Move in triangles, Iniesta to Xavi, Xavi to Busquets”, a few examples of how coaches everywhere are using the phenomenon that is Barcelona to teach football. My aim with this article is to explain how and why it is necessary for Indian coaches to get onto the movement to coach football the right way- The Barcelona way.
Having trained in Luton for 6 weeks with coaches who work at the Tottenham Hotspurs academy, it is clear to see the influence Barcelona has had on their coaching methods. Every drill I was put through in those 6 weeks was to make me one with the ball. All my fitness, agility, tactical movement was done with a ball at my feet. The idea behind this was if you can do it over and over again in training imagine what you’ll be able to do in a game. Ryan Hall, One of the Under 12 coaches at Spurs, said that English Clubs had realized that football wasn’t just about being fast and physical, you need a brain to play as well.
Almost every club in the world is training their Under 5 to Under 16 teams to play the way Barcelona does. By the time these kids develop the ball is second nature to their feet, every turn and every skill engraved into their brain and carried out like reflex. Passing is sharp, control is accurate and believe me, you need to be really fit to play the Barcelona game.
Coming to why Indian clubs need to adapt these techniques, it really is a simple and logical fact. Indian players are physically(Size) not the same as European or even American players. It was clear during the Asia Cup that physically our senior team was not a match for the Australians and not as fast as the Koreans. I myself am 5’7 and was playing against 5’10-6’2 opponents. However, due to the way the coaches taught me to play I was able to match up to their larger size and really compete with them. Yes, you need speed and you need strength to play, but the amount of space intelligence and reading of the game provides can make you a genius of a player. Xavi and Scholes are not the fastest players but their sheer intelligent movement makes them always seem to be a step ahead of their opponent and in so much space to play the ball.
To develop Indian Football so that we can make it a global stage, we need our coaches to stop propagating the running an hour a day continuously will make you fit, doing weights will harm your growth ideology and really keep up with the coaching methods prevailing in the world. Indian academies focus on fitness without the ball, not realizing the same amount of fitness can be developed by doing drills with the ball and by coaching movement into the players. Zinedine Zidane, one of the greatest players ever to grace football, used to touch a ball 500 times a day. Players at Indian academies barely do 100-200 touches a day.
We need to identify our weaknesses, and develop a strategy which nullifies these weaknesses. These days, short height and lack of physical presence do not count as excuses in world football, Barcelona have shown that what counts is your technique and your intelligence with the ball.