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Sunday Football - Barcelona style (Part 4)

Total Football continues its unique regular column with Jasmit Jabbal, a Sunday League manager in Barcelona. Jabbal’s fascinating insight this week reveals how the side managed to bounce back after defeat.

In the league where we play football here in Barcelona, at the midway stage of the season the league is split into two. The teams’ points are divided into half and the top six of each of the two divisions form the first division, with the bottom six of each forming the second division.

After an indifferent start to the campaign, we did not make the cut and will start the second half of the season in mid-table in the second division. During the first season, Rodney Ballantine and I coached but did not manage the side.

With the next six months providing the chance to win the second division, Rodney has been granted the position of manager, assisted by myself. The changes we implemented immediately were to organize preparation before games and give players more information. This allowed the team to feel more prepared and as a result of that, more confident on the pitch.

Rodney introduced the tactic board when picking his side, giving clear visual examples of what he expects of each player. I then run a warm-up and stretch whilst we both speak to players individually. This is followed by Rondos and passing exercises so everybody has had a significant touch of the ball.

He has also designated Julien and I the responsibility to organize and talk to the defence and midfield. This means that although the whole team must communicate, there is one voice ensuring everyone is doing what they should. These subtle changes have already made a major impact on the football pitch. The first game of the new campaign saw us take on the side top of the division after the split, and the highest scorers, Torpedo del Raval.

Solid unit 

We only had 12 players available for the game, but as an organized side, we were a solid unit that Torpedo del Raval could not break down. We were brave in possession, following our Barcelona mantra of always looking for the pass and dominated a lot of the play.

In the end we conceded from a corner and were unlucky to lose 1-0, but we had given a disciplined performance and passed well, just lacking with movement in the final third. In training that week, Rodney introduced shooting and attacking drills, emphasizing the need to use the channels and get in behind teams. We had started to successfully implement the Barcelona inspired possession trap,

The midfield and defence keep the ball, switch the play and dictate the tempo looking for the opportunity to get in behind the team. Now we needed movement up front so we could turn possession into goal-scoring opportunities. The following week we played Big Kahuna, another team who has come down from the first division. Another twist, this side has now started training in the same stadium as us, meaning that we will now see them at every session.

We dominated the game, but now we created chances thanks to intelligent movement up front by Michael and Matt, and good wing play by James Smeeth and Ciarán. We ran out comfortable 3-0 winners, with two goals from Matt and one from Ciarán.

It could and possibly should have been a lot more. But the signs are positive; hopefully we can take this momentum forward.

By Jasmit Jabbal


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