The holidays are an ideal time to make progress thanks to an intensive football course.

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Improving technique, surpassing themselves, learning to make the right decisions on the pitch, taking part in international tournaments and facing Europe’s most prominent teams… Different priorities come with different ages and each student has their own personal objectives, but there isn’t a single footballer that lets Easter by without playing their favourite sport. Intensive courses are a holiday classic and at Marcet we’ve spent decades developing the best methodology to get the most out of them with the aim of training intelligent footballers with values.

The Tailor-made philosophy, based on an intensive evaluation system, allows for personalised student monitoring based on rubrics. At the end of the course each player receives a detailed report that accounts for the tasks that were performed correctly, aspects that need attention and the necessary course of action to progress. The goal of this evaluation system is situating the footballers and their needs at the centre of the training program, guaranteeing a positive evolution in their learning process.

Training at the Ciudad Deportiva Marcet, Barcelona’s centre court.

In Marcet each group is formed exclusively based on technical and pedagogical criteria. The aim is to create a cohesive unit where every player’s footballing ability is at a similar level. Something that is vital when trying to successfully implement the technical education of intense training. As per this principal, the difficulty of the tasks that the trainer sets up are only a step higher than the ability of the scholars, in order for them to understand that with effort, concentration and tenacity they’ll be able to overcome them.

If there are scholars in the group with a lower ability than the average, they would then start to become very anxious after realising that they won’t be able to overcome the proposed tasks. They won’t take full advantage of the course nor will they improve. On the other hand, if there is a player with a higher level than the rest of the group, they would become bored and won’t be able to progress either.

The multicultural origins of the scholars provides extra values to an exchange that’s not only cultural but full of diverse footballing concepts that remarkably enriches everyone that takes part in the learning process at Marcet. The kids that come from abroad integrate into the groups with teammates from Spain and other countries.

 

A course for each age

The attendees are divided into different groups according to their age. Forja, High Intensity and High Performance. The first group is for kids between the ages of 3-5 and is held in Barcelona; the second group is for kids between 6-13 and held in Barcelona as well as Madrid; and finally the high performance courses are for scholars between the ages of 14-21 and these are held at the main centre in Barcelona.

The aim of High Intensity courses is to understand concepts on collective technique and comprehend tactical movements in the unravelling of a match, which allows players to focus on improving their vision, to think quicker and make better decisions. They are players that understand concepts on collective technique and, train and play with the upmost intensity. A vital requirement for any player who wants to join the Master Grade course is that they must consistent and resistant to stress.

A goalkeeper anticipates a player during an intensive High Technification course in Barcelona.

The main technical learning objectives of the High Intensity Course is to improve on the following aspects of the game: control, dribbling, passing, on the ball control and shooting (with their wrong foot as well), also heading, attacking technique, defensive technique and football intelligence.

TIMETABLE
09:00h Training Session 1
10:30h Snack
11:00h Training Session 2
12:30h Technique Circuit
13:30h Technique evaluation
14:30h Lunch
15:15h Video Training
16:00h Training Session 3
17:00h Instructional Match
18:00h Shower & afternoon Snack
18:30h Sightseeing
20:30h Dinner
21:30h Free time
22:00h Return to dorms
23:00h Lights out

A training in the beach during a High Performance intensive course.

From the age of fourteen, players are assigned a different programme, more in line with the demands of their age, where competition plays an important role. During the first phase of the course, players have individual appointments dedicated to sports psychology, technical-tactical analysis and, optionally, applied New Technologies.

The schedule works on an alternate day basis (A-B-A-B, etc.):

TIMETABLE A
07:00h Target practice
07:30h Snack
08:00h Technical-tactical Session
09:00h Physical Session
09:15h Shower
09:30h Breakfast
11:00h Training session and Sports Psychology
13:00h Technical-tactical Session
14:00h Shower
14:15h Lunch
15:00h Leisure Activity
18:00h Technical-tactical Session
19:00h Physical Session
19:15h Shower
20:00h Dinner
21:00h Free Time
22:00h Return to dorms
23:00h Lights out

 

TIMETABLE B
07:00h Target Practice
07:30h Snack
08:00h Technical-tactical Session
09:00h Break
09:15h Shower
09:30h Breakfast
10:00h Training session
11:00h Break
11:15h Training session
12:45h Shower
13:00h Lunch
13:45h Siesta
16:00h Sports Psychology
17:30h Individual Technique
18:00h Technical-tactical Session
19:00h Physical Session
19:15h Shower
20:00h Dinner
21:00h Free Time
22:00h Return to Dorms
23:00h Lights out

Furthermore, all students to enrol have the option to take part in an international tournament and play prominent european teams. The first days of the course in Barcelona act a genuine draft where players will have to prove their abilities before the technical team. Depending on their performance on the pitch, each player will be summoned to the tournament that best fits their capabilities.

In the second part of the course (from the 27/28th of March onwards) players will make their way to the headquarters of one of the following championships with their respective teams:

The Marcet Plan is the only course in Spain to develop a comprehensive early stimulation education program that is focused on improving football technique. It’s objective is to develop all of a child’s potential so that, when they start full training after the age of 6, they are completely ready to start practicing at the highest level possible.

A Forje Program student hits the ball during a workout.

The importance of cerebral stimulation under the ages of 6 is fundamental for the learning process later on. In other words, the more and better stimulation given to a child’s brain in their learning period, the quicker and more complete their neurological organisation will be, and consequentially, they’ll obtain higher capabilities in the sport.

The Forja Program is run by a team of specialists that include pedagogues, neurologists, psychologists, as well as sport coaches. Their goals are to procure a correct neurological organisation and therefor prevent possible deficiencies in motor functions, reinforcing all development with their general movement: crawling, cross-pattern walking, rhythmic steps and jumps, tumbling, swinging and swimming practice. It comes down to providing an environment full of incentives for the infants that will allow them to set up their locomotor in a way for them to reach maximum potential.

TIMETABLE
09:00h Start game
09:00h Snack
10:20h Flashcards
11:00h Technical skills video
11:20h Rules
11:40h Revision in names and dimensions
12:00h Live individual technique programs
12:20h Matches adapted for ages
13:30h Lunch
14:30h Siesta
16:00h Neuromotor exercises
16:20h Match
16:40h Shower
17:00h Afternoon Snack

 

Level Requirements

It’s important not to confuse Marcet’s High Intensity Courses and the High Performance Courses with other football camps that held over Spain and other countries that only have intentions of keeping kids busy during the holiday period. They are camps that don’t have any educational methodology behind them and most of the time they rely on a badge of a huge club for marketing reasons. During these courses the kids can—with luck— take some photos with famous players, visit legendary stadiums, stroll around beautiful cities, but won’t at all get the chance to learn football or progress technically neither tactically, and even less on collective concepts. For this reason it’s important for parents as well as players to be know that the intensity and, physical and mental demands of Marcet’s courses are extremely high.

An Indian player and a Mexican goalkeeper contest an air ball.

This doesn’t mean that Marcet’s scholars won’t have fun whilst learning. Everyday they experiment and take on a large number of concepts, abilities and techniques to fully embrace progression. Despite the heavy workload of each day, they always look forward for the next day because they know that each minute that passes they are improving as footballers and as people. This is the secret behind why more than 30 of Marcet’s students join top tier clubs around Spain and Europe each year.

 

Organisational Details

During this first day attendees have arrive at seven o’clock in the morning for the coaching staffs presentation and setting up of the initial groups. Then a series of tests are held to evaluate the exact level of each player and place them into the most adequate group for the course. The coach will take advantage of this initial test to spot parts of their game where they should work on most.

On the first day, the official players pack will be handed out to each scholar, this includes a training shirt, leisure shirt, shorts and socks. Every player should bring their own boots, preferably multi-studed, due to to all the pitches being of the latest generation of artificial grass. It’s better not bring brand new boots during summer courses, as they tend to cause blisters.

After completing the course, Marcet’s coaching staff will give every single player their personal evaluation for them to determine future possibilities for each player.

 

Dorms

The dorms service—with 24 hour 7 days a week supervision— is optional for players that don’t live in Barcelona. The scholars that use the dorms service will receive an extra uniform and will be able to enjoy a series of leisurely activities outside of training hours like go-karting, laser tag and sightseeing.

The standard accommodation is minimum of 4 persons per room. Depending on their availability and the influx of players, the service will be adapted to multiple rooms with bunkbeds for 8 or more players. However, if a family would like their child to stay in a superior accommodation (rooms for two to three scholars) they can have the service with a daily surcharge on the price of the course + dorm (limited offer).

There is also the possibility of an optional service of being picked up and returned to the airport, train station or bus station for those scholars that will travel alone. This is an individualised service and will be done by an employee of Marcet.

In the event of needing to extend the stay at the accommodation—before the course as well as after—due to plane or train dates and times, it’s possible to reserve a few more nights in the dorms.

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