Training whilst competing: the maieutics of football


If players don’t think, they’re a slave of their own shortcomings. Reaching freedom means learning to find solutions in oneself.

Learning doesn’t necessarily mean receiving knowledge from the outside so much as it means waking what lies inside. The Socratic Method, one of the greatest legacies of Greek philosophy, is still very relevant today, both to ones life and to football. Intelligent players are those who know how to find, in themselves, the solution to arising complications throughout their time spent on the playing field. The trainer just as well can guide the way but it’s the trainees’ responsibility to give light and put into practice the knowledge they have been given.

In a constant methodological investigation towards a more intelligent approach to football, Marcet adopts the Socratic Method as one of its philosophical pillars. “We’re used to players always being stimulated exclusively by their trainer rectifying each and every flaw”, explains Abdenour Zrini Chatou, member of the Methodology Department. What we do here is look to have players realise what their own faults are and rectify them through the act of competing.”

Abdenour Zrini organiza los ránkings durante una sesión de entrenamiento en Aranda de Duero.
Abdenour Zrini organizes the rankings during a training session in Aranda de Duero.

How does this concern competition? “Having to compete at practice means players’ systems are active and in the right place for weekend competitions. The way of increasing player intensity is no doubt having them train in a competitive environment.”

Maieutics can be interpreted as a kind of competition between teacher and student. Thaºnks to the very questioning and curious nature of this method, dialectical provocations on behalf of the trainer lead to the trainee’s attainment of knowledge. So, in this capacity, maieutics and competition are complementary: two fundamental ingredients to the developing of intelligent scholars. If players aren’t thinking, they’re slaves to their own deficiencies. But if they learn to develop their judgement on the playing field, freedom gets closer and closer. Players are truly free when they are capable of doing as they wish, whenever they wish, on the pitch.


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