by Wayne Harrison In recent years, a new way of playing soccer and a new breed of player have gained momentum worldwide thanks to the success of teams such as Barcelona and the Spanish National Team. This book: “SOCCER AWARENESS: DEVELOPING THE THINKING PLAYER” epitomizes everything Barcelona has been teaching in their famed academy these past 20 years at youth level.
World Famous Spanish National Team and Barcelona midfield player Xavi Hernandez shares the secret of the Barcelona Way of playing: “When you arrive at Barcelona the first thing they teach you is: think. Think, think, and think quickly. Lift your head up, move your head, see, think. Look before you get the ball. If you’re getting this pass, look to see if that guy is free, make a decision before you get the ball. Play First time.” “Most of our players are from Catalonia and have been at Barcelona a long time. Education in soccer intelligence is the key. Players have had 10 or 12 years at Barca; that’s the difference. Look at Busquets. He is the best central midfielder there is playing one-touch. Watch him, you’ll see that he doesn’t need more. He’s controlled, looked and passed in one touch. Some players need two or three touches and these days, given how physically demanding football is and how fast players are, that’s too much. That’s slow. Look at us: Dani Alves, one touch. Iniesta, one touch. Messi, one touch. Piqué, one touch. Busi [Busquets], me, seven or eight players with one touch. Fast.” The result? Complete mastery of the ball.
About the Author: Wayne Harrison is the author of 9 soccer coaching books and is a frequent contributor to coaching journals and magazines worldwide. He is a former professional player in England and Finland and has coached professionally in England, the US and most recently was the Director of Coaching for the Youth Academy of Al Ain Football Club in the United Arab Emirates, one of the most famous and successful football clubs in the Middle East and Asian regions of the world.