Intro – Formative Soccer. It is not all about winning.


In my opinion, formative soccer can be considered as a tool to create “spaces” where children and youth can learn, develop, and refine the skills required for performing in the most successful way possible.However, this should not be your only consideration. Any soccer training of this kind should have a social dimension, because any training or educational physical activity should develop the personality of the sportsman in a comprehensive and integrated manner.

To do this, the grassroots must enhance the player in a cognitive, motor, and socio-emotional way. A cognitive level is necessary because the coach will propose a series of “problems” and cognitive disturbances that must be resolved through knowledge about the game that have been delivered. A motor level is necessary because soccer experiences raised by the “mister” require a great development of the mechanisms of perception, decision making, and execution involved in motor action.

Formative soccer has a playful character that allows the player to enjoy learning. It helps the young athlete to accept responsibility and structure their life in an orderly manner. The player learn the rules and respect them., as well as share space with other agents, such as coaches, referees, teammates, and opponents.

From my point of view, it teaches that in soccer training there will be more occasions of failure than success. The causes are varied. One example is the way children and young people observe and imitate behaviours, which should be completely censored in any sporting and non-sporting field, as we constantly observe coaches or players who disrespect the referee or opponents. Even the coaches / teachers themselves forget that they’re a role model in front of their players, and we must set a better example for young people. Coaches are teachers who set an example for our players, and it is imperative that we take responsibility for our actions. Not everything is about wining, and it’s important that we do not show disrespect for our adversary. The opponent is good for competition, because it motivates you and helps you to give your best to beat him and win, forcing you to push yourself to the limits.

If we want to create players with the ability to progress, we have to prioritize these concepts in preparation sessions. The best way to accomplish this is stepping up progressively the difficulty of exercises to create a clear progression of difficulty. The relationship that the player sets with himself individually, and collectively with his teammates and the opponents, is the key to building any football structure. The next step would be the collective work. First, work within the individual and then with the whole team, to apply the most important lessons.

This is where the second factor takes center stage: synchronization. Both  movement without the ball (fouls, defensive pressing, defensive coverage, surveillance, swaps, etc.) as well as when we are in atack (creation and use of space, orientation changes, etc.).


The Power of the team. From

The knowledge of space and synchronization between movement and pass works to consolidate the small collaboration within the interpretation of the game. Players linking together creates a collective idea, which creates a clear goal either when he has the ball or when he defends or retrieve it.

More info: Link about the famous coach in F.C. Barcelona, Paco Seirul.lo:

But how do we help the players to read the game and apply knowledge about the relation of space and team synchrony when necessary? It’s done by creating exercises that give players the freedom to decide for themselves. Players can then try to reflect on the wrong decisions and apply corrections. The use of open tasks (which have a wide range of resolutions of a problem) is essential to understanding the essence of the game, to understand that there is no single answer to a problem, and to take the appropriate steps depending on the training received on spatial planning and synchronization mechanisms.

You dont need to waste time arguing about the best model: what you need to do is train players that may develop in the largest possible number of records.

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How The Parents of soccer players have to act in this situations:




Trust the work of coaches. Know that they are better prepared than you to train your child in sports.

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– Enjoy as a neutral observer when you bring your child to train to offer tranquility and support.

– Each school has a sports director, lean on his experience and know-how.




– Remember that the main reason why your child is playing is to have fun. The result is not the only important part.

– Provide positive support, but do not push him too much.

– If you are nervous, try to calm down and feel reassured that your son and the coach have trained all week and are prepared for the game.




– Encourage your child and enjoy the game. Also, applaud the efforts and good performances from peers and the other team.

– Do not cry out when mistakes are made. It’s better that you praise him encouragingly with positive comments.

– Make things easy for  coaches without interfering in with their work. Encourage your son, but do not coach HIM, it will confuse him and his teammates

– Respect the referee’s decisions and encourage other parents to do it. The referee is the impartial judge and he is also practicing his skills.

– Reject the use of any form of violence or improper behavior, whether generated by the public or by the participants themselves. Think about the consequences of your actions and comments, which are observed first hand by your son and his friends. Do not do or say anything that you will later repent.




– Highlight the effort as the true measure of success; that is the true victory of an authentic sportsman. This way your son will learn to assess the successes and learn from the defeats.

What really matters in soccer is friendship, being fun of the game, developing technically and physically, and getting healthy habits.

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– Try to be objective. Control your tendency to always agree with your son. If your son does not play as much as you wish, the director and teacher will not object to offer an explanation.

– Remember that your child learning to deal with these situations is part of the experience; it will be a good lesson for lifetime.

– Encourage him not to give up, show affection, and support him when he’s going through a difficult time.


Eventhough no one is born knowing how to be a father or mother, you have to know that you are capable of being a great parent. Note your actions and values make you a role model for your child. The positive or negative impact that sport can have on your child is largely influenced by the approach that you take to sports.

Remember that those most responsible for the education of their children are their fathers and mothers.


Decision making in youth football:


As Johan Cruyff said, “in soccer, first of all is brain, and then feet. If brain doesn’t work, forget about feet”

Our streets are full of ball jugglers capable of genius, but do not confuse the with true footballers. Soccer is a “sport situation”, the gameplay is determined by changing situations. This uncertainty is determined by the actions of teammates and opponents, inestability of the environment and many other factors.

This fact eliminates the possibility of teaching stereotypical player responses. So, there is a constant necessity to make individual and collective decisions tailored to the performance of the player / team and the specific requirements of each moment. From the first contact with the soccer, to know tactical intentions and then, to develop different implementation procedures to carrying them out.

Decision making is essential to understanding the game, that involves the player to using his intelligence. These are what make the difference between between great players and the rest, as well as great teams and the rest.




“The process by which a choice between options or ways to solve different situations is done”.



To make the right decisions, you need:

-See the alternatives (open to you, the situation, your mates, and opponents).

– Analyze the pros and cons of each alternative.

– Choose the most suitable alternative at that time and for that situation.

-Apply the decision: after observing, analyzing and choosing the alternative or solution, it’s time to execute.

This whole process of decision making has to be done in milliseconds, and continuously for 90 minutes. Here lies the importance of working with a methodology that creates smarter players who are able to read the game properly.



Training analytically can promote good decision making in the player, since you “force” them to make a certain decision. Therefore, we know that with decision training, we can train more complete players who understand the game and know how to play.

Some say that intelligent players have innate qualities, but the fact is that nobody is born with that intelligence. If we teach an understanding of the game and we promote decision making in soccer training, we will be developing players who use their heads instead of acting like robots.



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Writed with Love by:

Jefrey Callau, Cofounder and Camps Director of Barcelona Soccer Excellence

Jeff Callau. Cofounder and Head Coach of Barcelona Soccer Excellence

Jeff Callau. Cofounder and Head Coach of Barcelona Soccer Excellence

-Technical director in YFI, India

-FC Barcelona School soccer Coach in Japan

-Head Coach, U14 in Hong Kong

-Bachelor’s Degree in Sport Science

-UEFA A Licensed Coach

Follow me @jefreycasanova


About Barcelona Soccer Excellence

BARCELONA SOCCER EXCELLENCE is a soccer academy founded by professional players and coaches with vast experience and expertise instructing younger players, as well as a past related with FC Barcelona youth teams.


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