November 10, 2021


“A coach needs a broad and prepared staff to be able to delegate from psychology to game analysis”

By BIHub Team.

On a break while preparing their Champions League match against Hoffenheim, the coach of the female FC Barcelona, Jonathan Giráldez, and the players Alexia Putellas and Marta Torrejón have connected with the 5th edition of the Sports Tomorrow Congress of the Barça Innovation Hub on the day dedicated to methodology to explain how they face the most difficult challenge that may exist in the sports competitions: to continue winning after the season.

The objective, Giráldez has said, is that the players improve individually and the team from a collective perspective. A challenge, because when you win is when you have to make more changes, although you tend to believe otherwise. The key for the coach goes through coordination with a broad and prepared technical staff in which he can delegate, from psychology to physical therapy, through game analysis.

Marta Torrejón has highlighted the “dissatisfaction” of a workforce that has come to where she is always wanting to win: “We’ve never seen a roof.” For her part, Alexia Putellas has explained that since the beginning of the season they have forgotten the successes of the previous one, the victory in the Champions League and the Iberdrola League, because you cannot think of what has already been won. “You have to keep reinventing yourself; if you stop, others are always moving forward.”

“Playing together does not mean moving simultaneously, but being emotionally linked”

The coach of the Italian women’s football team, Milena Bertolini, has shared the methodology she applies as a selection team. For her, a team is a complex context, like everything human, “it is a container of diverse emotions, of the desires, hopes and needs of each player.” Therefore, the most important thing is that the players are in tune with the collective.

Regarding the staff, she has referred to it as “a team within the team.” They took 27 people to the World Cup in France. In such a large group, Bertolini believes that the selection company must act as a mediator and, at the same time, leader of all, which forces it to master all the subjects to be able to understand each member of the expedition with their particular characteristics.

In football, above all, you have to educate your mind, she noted. There is no point in understanding the game or having tactical knowledge, because without an adequate relationship among all of them, it will never be possible to function well. You must be aware of all the underlying aspects in a workforce: “Many times the same situations, terms or words can have different consequences; each player must be understood beforehand, because that is what makes it possible for the team to be managed; otherwise, it is impossible to understand the conflicts that may arise between them.”

Bertolini is also convinced that payers play in a specific way according to their respective personalities. The way each football player reacts on the field has to do with her character. At the same time, the position in the field also marks the behaviour. She herself has proven that when she watches videos with her players, her reactions are different depending on the positions they hold in the field. However, football has changed. “Now the defenders don’t just defend, they also build, the midfielders have to be complete, they are the link between defence and attack, while the forwards also have to defend, they are the first line of pressure, that is, of defence.” All this, without taking care of the affective relationships between them, is impossible to coordinate. The identity will be marked by a common language; the idea of the game becoming the identity of the game is determined by the relationship between “I and us”, she noted.

“Where men make excuses, female athletes are self-demanding, responsible and direct.”

The new coach of the Spanish hockey team, Max Caldas, has shared his experience as a female team coach in the Netherlands. During this period, when he obtained titles such as the Gold Medal from the 2012 Olympic Games and the 2014 World Cup, working with women was what made him learn the most about this sport.

To start, because of the stereotypes that jumped through the air. The women’s section was undervalued by “playing more slowly” or “throwing shorter aerial passes”, but he learned that all of this depended on contextualization. The teams and players could be distinguished by their speed or slowness, just like the men’s teams, but each one in their context. Hence its maximum: “More is not better, better is better.” What could be compared directly was the level of commitment. Where he had seen men make excuses for everything, he then proved that women were “self-demanding, responsible, direct and wanted to be the best every day.”

As a recruiter, it was proposed that his presence not be that of an examiner who appears before the competitions, but rather a coach with whom you can have constant communication. He also integrated the coaches of the under21 and under17 teams in absolute play, made them travel with absolute play and allowed them to work on aspects of the game in their training sessions.

He maintained an individual relationship with each player which was strengthened by a public feedback exercise that they frequently did. These conversations led to intimate aspects related to the sexual orientation of the players. For Caldas, that sincerity was “impressive” and he was aware that the level of confidence and security that allowed them to share those details only indicated the magnitude of the collective strength of that workforce.

In everyday life, he considered that there must always be criticism. “When you win you do things wrong and, when you lose, you do things right; the result makes you forget whys.” If these aspects are dealt with continuous communication, then the recruiter is not surprised by the reactions that may be triggered in certain situations.

“The professionalization of women’s football in Italy will be a great step, but not just for sports, but also from a social and cultural perspective.”

The director of the women’s section of the Juventus in Turin, Stefano Braghin, has explained the changes that are taking place in Italy in relation to women’s football. First, there was a key measure years ago when the clubs were forced to, if they wanted to participate in men’s competitions, federate a minimum of forty under-15 and under-17 players.

That standard was a milestone, Braghin has pointed out, although there is still a long way to go, because if there are countries with three hundred thousand players, Italy still has around thirty thousand. The second key measure is about to arrive, it will be the professionalization of the league in the 22-23 season. No female sport is yet professional in Italy, he has complained. The first one will be football and it is an emergency because the players need guarantees. The change will not only be sporty, but also “a great cultural and social step”.

That does not mean that there are no concerns. Braghin is not yet clear that the cost of professionalization would be the immediate doubling of salaries, being sustainable with the income that women’s football has, which in this country is still very low. In any case, in his opinion, women’s football is more empathetic than men’s and the sense of belonging to the club, as well as the links between the players, is greater than that of men. “How players feel inside a club has a great impact on the performance of each player.”

Everything is pending an increase in competitiveness, for which the league is going to be reduced from twelve teams to ten, to avoid the gap between the top and the bottom of the table and the excessively bulky results. If the tournament is more disputed, that will attract the public and the sponsors.

“It’s not important to win, the important thing is to have the feeling that it’s possible”

The Swedish women’s team won the third place in the French World Cup. Their recruiter, Peter Gerthardsson, has revealed what the methodology followed to achieve this success was like. To start, he works with a reduced staff, he doesn’t want there to be too many people and that the management is out of his control. On the other hand, unlike men’s football, he has emphasized the importance of the educational system to be able to facilitate the players’ dedication to sports.

He compared the game with a rock group. The bassist and drummer create the structure and the guitarist and the singer add the creative part. Everything on the team depends on the balance between structure and creativity. However, you have no preconceived ideas of how it should be distributed. As he has shown, all his game plans are flexible and changing.

For motivation, Gerthardsson is committed to personalized communication to establish bonds of trust. “I don’t need a leader, I need leaders, in plural,” he specified. He likes, when there is an interruption in the games, to see that the players talk to each other, as he explained, that is also work. In this way, winning does not seem important to you, but it does feel like it is possible to achieve it.

“We don’t have the most talented players, we don’t have the best technicians, but we do the ordinary thing extraordinarily well.”

Iraia Iturregi, coach for the Athletic in Female Bilbao, has described the difficulty that her club has in keeping its teams at the elite level. Lezama’s philosophy is to only play with players, both male and female, born or trained in the Basque Country. This leaves a very narrow margin when it comes to setting up the workforces and everything depends on a job well done with the training categories.

When the first team lacks players, often they can’t do hiring and have resort to lower categories to get whatever there is, that’s why it’s essential, Iturregi explained, that young players are ready. No matter when they start and how many minutes they have disputed, the key lies in your training and preparation when the time when you are going to need them arrives.

To organize the teams in this way, she is committed to managing emotions. “Sometimes there are young girls who ask us crying to change them because they are making ridiculous, but we don’t do it to inculcate that we learn from mistakes,” he said. They work on frustration, as well as on the care of the players who alternate the first team and subsidiary so that they don’t feel that they don’t belong to either of them. The girls of the Athletic, in these circumstances, also need to bet on an extra level of physical intensity and, in that sense, the coach has confessed that, since they are children, “the small faults” are not whistled in the training sessions, so that they learn to compete where there is aggressiveness. This will achieve the minimum that the club demands, that even if you do not have the most talented players or the best coaches, “the ordinary is done extraordinarily well.”

“Unexpected events may appear in a game that you have to take advantage of not only to adapt, but also to change”

Based on the anti-frailty theory of Nassim Taleb, the female Milan Inter coach Rita Guarino, has shown how a workforce can be resilient and easily adaptable to changes and unforeseen circumstances to even take advantage of them.

Football is always uncertain, she said, and its complexity is part of its own essence. The teams are constantly exposed to failure, chaos and the unexpected. Therefore, what it prioritizes in its teams is the importance of knowing how to react to the variability of the game. Adapting to change and learning from mistakes is how the opportunity to transform oneself appears so that a failure can become a different and better identity.

“We try not to be straitjacketed in an idea; sometimes we have to follow sensations, use common sense”

The female Levante coach, Ángel Villacampa, has shared the methodology he applies to his team; a work system not straitjacketed in a single idea or model, which is sometimes guided by sensations, that is, “by common sense”. Of course, although he believes in freedom and creativity, he also believes that her role is to provide the players with solutions and tools, even in the most imaginative facets or “in the last third” of the field, where the cliché says that you only act by instinct or talent.

In a weekly work dynamic, he has been pointing out how the intensity of the training sessions increases until Thursday reaches the key day in which the signs appear that will configure the eleventh starter. A day that she calls a “murderer ball” because she demands that the players take it with the intensity of an official game.

“In the national team you can learn a lot”

Jorge Vilda, a Spanish national recruiter, has analysed the exercises and routines followed in the national team training sessions with the congress attendees. He thinks that being an international football player is a great opportunity for players, not only because of their prestige, but also for what they can learn. There are clubs that do not take part in international competitions and that opportunity is given to them by the national team. In this way, he tries to coordinate with the clubs and tries to maintain communication channels with the players so that problems occurring at a concentration never get “encrusted”. In this sense, he has praised the work of the psychology staff, which “is always touching the threads so that everything works”.

In his management, simplicity comes first. Try to use the video only to see the essence of the next opponent’s game. As for the data, take advantage of those strictly necessary, which speak to you about whether they have been dominant and how they have created occasions. In fact, he values the data from analysts in the selection more than external ones, because he thinks they vary depending on who collects them.





Do you have any questions about Barça Universitas?

  • Startup
  • Research Center
  • Corporate




The Form has been sent successfully.




The Form has been sent successfully.




The Form has been sent successfully.