Observations from Spain -Part 2

sevilla-fc-coaching-staffThis is the second article about my recent trip to Spain and observing training at the Sevilla FC academy. During a week long visit in May I was able to observe training sessions for players aged four, right up to the 1st team.

Spain are the current world champions and Sevilla FC are recognized as having one of the most successful youth academies in the world. After yet another disappointing performance by Canada in an international tournament-Canadian female’s failure to win any games at the 2011 World Cup-surely it it time to change our philosophy and current player development structures.

The information I am presenting is freely available yet in Canada we fail to do the following:

  • Adopt a training to playing game ration of 3 or 4 training sessions per game
  • Spend sufficient time on developing and maintaining technical skills during the peak season (we spend less time in summer months working on skills)
  • Place greater emphasis on long term development versus winning meaningless tournaments or games
  • Embrace the work of private academies with highly qualified instructors within our system

To produce top player’s who can succeed in the modern game there are 5 main components. The 5 main components are detailed below and this issue will focus on how Spain develops players with great technique. I have included some video footage from Sevilla Fc training sessions.


Well-developed ball-skills so players are very comfortable in possession

  • 1v1 situations and in tight spaces under pressure.
  • Ability to execute with precision in all match situations


Good coordination is achieved when players have the ability to merge fluid, efficient and effective movement with technical and tactical aspects of the game

  • Coordinated movements between the ball and body
  • Quick changes in speed and direction

Tactical Knowledge

Develop broad tactical understanding of the game to quickly assess situations on the field

  • Make the correct choices for their team
  • Rigid team roles and positions will not succeed in the future; therefore players will be required to be flexible in where and how they play

Speed of Reaction

The pace of the game has reduced the time that players have to react under intense pressure from opponents. Increases the value of skills repetition, which helps to develop ‘automatic’ responses on the field.

  • Rapid execution of movement based on what they see/hear
  • Quick transitions between attack and defense

Mental Skills

  • Optimism
  • Focus
  • Pride
  • Competitive anger
  • Relentlessness
  • Courage
  • Passion

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