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La Liga Formation Methodology Level 3 – Day 1

LIVERMORE — For the third time in four years of a joint adventure with US Club Soccer, NorCal Premier Soccer welcomed La Liga instructors to the state for a formation methodology course at Las Positas College.

With nearly 200 participants in attendance, the first day of a three day learning experience began Friday afternoon with an introduction from former Athletic Bilbao Director of Methodology Gari Fullaondo, a consistent contributor to the coaching development in Northern California.

Coming from one of the best youth development organizations in the world – as a club policy, Bilbao can only draw from homegrown players – the current technical and methodological advisor to La Liga shared his wealth of knowledge from working at the club that produced Basque legends such as Javi Martinez and Ander Herrera.

And partially how he began his session, explaining the importance of developing youngsters to be able to play in a variety of different ways, using the example of when Argentine great Marcelo Bielsa took over Athletic and changed the team tactics almost immediately.

“(We were still successful),” Fullaondo said. “Why? Because we didn’t develop players for one style of play, we developed them to play any kind of soccer.”

With his credentials proven, Fullaondo began to teach – as he constantly reminded the crowd, they’re teachers, not coaches – his ultra-prepared philosophy that has become the norm in Spain in recent years.

Bringing up examples from his periodization software, Kimet, Fullaondo began classroom sessions based around structuring training sessions so that coaches could learn to deliberately plan to teach all the necessary lessons to their players.

Doing so, he used the example of making a hamburger, where if playing the game is the finished hamburger, one still needs to learn to shop, cut vegetables, and cook the meat in the same way that a coach must incorporate a series of smaller aspects in training in order to get messages across to their pupils.

“A lot of coaching work comes behind the scenes in preparing and I think (La Liga) gave a great foundation for effective and efficient field sessions by the way you can prepare for them,” said California Magic Director of Coaching Haris Obic.

Added San Jose Earthquakes academy coach Luciano Fusco: “It’s been good that they focus on how important it is to have clear methods. Day one, there were some good examples about exercises to help younger players with space and time.”

From there, Fullaondo and his brother, Zunbeltz, headed out to the field for a practical session that involved the participation of NorCal Premier Soccer’s 06/07 PDP squad.

“There is a theoretical and a practical component, so you can see the same individual that’s in the classroom put two in two together to make it more applied in practice,” Obic said.

And with that, the half day was over, leaving the coaches in attendance yearning for more instruction that will come as day two continues with nearly 10 hours of instruction Saturday.