Caring for the environment in which players spend their day to day is a priority for their sporting development.
The life of a football player is a constant series of changes. New teams, new countries, new partners… Adapting quickly and efficiently is essential to performing at the highest level. A swift and successful acclimatization happens in a comfortable living environment. For this reason, caring for said environment needs to be a priority for an athlete’s sporting development.
“The environment in which players live is directly related to their performance on the pitch,” explains Gonzaga Rubiera, Residency Director at Marcet’s High-Performance Academy. “Our goal is to work towards our players feeling comfortable from the first moment they arrive at our facilities. It’s about offering them all the necessary services to facilitate their day to day needs and that they focus on football without cluttering their minds with concerns irrelevant to their sporting development.”
For the adaptation process to be successful, it has to start happening before players reach their destination. “When a footballers arrives in Barcelona, our drivers are at the airport to welcome them and take them straight to the academy. Prior to a trainee’s arrival, the different departments of our football school have already coordinated themselves so that the newcomer settles quickly and knows exactly what awaits,” says Rubiera.
What’s a football residence like?
• General services.- A residence would not be such without having a series of requirements that improve the quality of life of its guests and make their day-to-day more bearable. “Our centre has double and single rooms with a private bathroom, a dining room, Wi-Fi connection, laundry service, daily cleaning service, gym, study rooms and television.
• Internal discipline.- The freedom of a player ends where his teammates’ begins. Especially since the residence is designed exclusively for athletes, in which aspects such as rest and food are particularly important. At Marcet, there is an internal regulation adapted to different formative stages, guaranteeing that the hours of sleep required by a High-Performance athlete are respected. When one’s habits and tasks are well planned there is always time for everything: our players train, study, stay in touch with their families and enjoy free-time, but at night it is imperative that they disconnect from their screens so that everyone can rest in the most appropriate and effective way.
• Personalization.- “Each and every player is unique and adapting to their individual needs is crucial. At Marcet we have a residence for children under 14, whose routines are more supervised with regards to their older colleagues,” says Rubiera. “The coordinator of the centre accompanies them to school and manages their leisure activities.” Compatibility between roommates is also taken into account. You can’t ever leave anything to chance. “That’s why every kid has a Marcet Counselor, someone in charge of meeting all their needs, not too different to how professional European football clubs function.”
• 24/7.- A decent residence must have a person in charge who lives in it and coordinates its activities. Only then is it possible to guarantee that all players are attended to 24/7. This is fundamental to being able to solve, in the quickest way possible, any incident that may arise.
• Control.- Safety is paramount. The coordinators of the residence monitor the routines of every player, such as entry and exit, to avoid inappropriate conduct, being at all times in contact with families or legal guardians in the event that it should occur. In addition, common spaces are constantly supervised. As a failsafe, video surveillance equipment is active 24 hours of every day.
• Diversity.- To be a football player means to live with teammates from other countries and cultures. This heterogeneity is reflected on a day-to-day basis. At Marcet, there are kids from more than 20 different countries, from Spain to Russia, passing through the US, France, India and South Korea. The diversity of our players provide an added value of socio-cultural exchange. “Relationships forged between the walls of our residences connect people from around the world through a common bond and passion: football,” says Rubiera.
• Integral education.- Learning to live with other people is part of the process that every educational institution should pursue. It is not only about progressing in sports or academia, but also as a person. In this sense, respecting the rules and knowing how to share spaces with other people is essential to being able to face the challenges encountered on both personal and professional journeys.
• Leisure.- Enjoying life is by no means overlooked. Without moments of happiness, progress simply doesn’t happen. Leisure and free time play an important role not only because they recharge, but also because they help develop social aptitude and teamwork. “In the evening, the common rooms are often filled with children who come together to watch football matches en masse,” explains the Director of the Marcet Residence. “Champions League nights and international competitions are experienced in a very special way at our centres, no doubt because of the international and cultural diversity of our students.”
All these components guarantee the necessary conditions for a footballer-in-the-making to develop his or her talent without having to deal with unnecessary distractions. Life at the residence has to be approached as an opportunity for social development that must be exploited in the face of future challenges that players will encounter throughout their careers. If adapting to new contexts and new partners is a constant in the life of every athlete, a good residence is the ideal place to develop this kind of skill.