Following the proposal made by Professor Seirul·lo, practical proposals and the way of understanding training in team sports must be viewed from their own specific perspective.1-7.
Playing and sharing an interpretation of the game with teammates in the closer space (help space) and in the more distant space (cooperation space) is not a matter of mastering pre-determined responses. It is not about automatic behaviours that are triggered when the game environment presents specific characteristics. It is more a question of behavioural structures that allow players to adapt/propose specific responses to the situation and to interact properly with their teammates in order to achieve the common goal that they’re pursuing. This interpretation of the game must be discovered by the player and displayed by the coach in the session. To do this, throughout each session successive tasks/activities should be proposed that are related to each other in such a way that, by adjusting their different abilities, athletes can abstract a cognitive/motor support structure to help understand how they should act in the game. Learning is not about repeating, it is about experiences in changing environments.
An example. In the mutual help space, it is not a matter of mastering a behaviour that must always be applied in the same way. Instead, the idea is to understand whether one’s partner needs help or space depending on the specific conditions around him or her and what he or she needs at that moment to perform to their best. Training sessions must help the players to experience these situations in different ways and the athletes must ultimately be able to propose personal responses after understanding the context of the game.
Therefore, player optimisation is about actively engaging all the mental, cognitive, coordinative, conditional, affective-social, emotional-volitional, expressive-creative and bioenergetic structures that support players’ individual performances. The situations that the coach designs must propose self-reflection and self-knowledge to create a personal vision of each training experience. So it is not about choosing one method or another, or one type of exercise or another. The player needs to be considered and conditions for the tasks need to be designed that will encourage self-optimisation. Practice should be viewed as a global activity that allows the athlete to truly participate rather than merely having to comply with whatever the coach orders. The idea is to present a practice environment where there is an exchange of information between the player(s) and the coach, but above all motor activity where the players’ own contributions and interpretations of what happens are the most important element.
In team sports the same principles do not apply as in individual disciplines. The concepts of the number of repetitions, pauses, intensity and volume do not have the same value. With the ball at the feet or in the hands, improving VO2max by 1% or 2% or working 5% above the anaerobic threshold is not as relevant as in athletics or cycling. There is neither an ideal number of exercise repetitions, nor an ideal task duration. It depends. Players optimise more or less quickly, with more or less executions/repetitions depending on their talent, their motivation, their interest in the activity, their previous experiences, their mood on any given day or the freedom proposed by the coach. Success in competition is much more determined by proper interpretation of space and time than by improvements to any physiological indicator. One may be far from one’s individual best but still be decisive in terms of relating effectively/affectively with colleagues. The idea is clear: football and team sports are not about training the hormone phosphofructokinase or type IIA fibres. They are practiced with players with names and surnames and with very different personal characteristics from each other.
In team sports, training is teaching/exchanging information. Coaches are human beings who train other human beings, helping them to generate an energy that allows them to satisfy the needs of each moment and each situation and not only what the coach wants. In football and team sports, players must be helped to optimise their interpretation of their surroundings, choose the best possible option from those available to them, be able to execute it in a varied way that is adapted to the contextual conditions and identify how to self-assess in order to optimise. And, in addition, all that interpretation of space must be in keeping with what the coach wants so as to improve all the members of the team as part of a shared idea.
Carlos Lago Peñas
- Seirul·lo Vargas, F. (2001). Entrevista de Metodologia y Planificaciíon. Training Fútbol.
- Seirul·lo, F. (2009). Una línea de trabajo distinta. Revista de Entrenamiento Deportivo, 23(4): 13-18.
- Seirul·lo, F. (1998): Valores educativos del deporte in D. Blázquez (ed): La iniciación deportiva y el deporte escolar (2ª edición), pp. 61-75, Barcelona: INDE.
- Seirul·lo, F. (1993b): Preparación física aplicada a los deportes de equipo, Colección CadernosTécnico-Pedagóxicos do INEF de Galicia, A Coruña: Centro Galego de Documentación e Edicións Deportivas.
- Seirul·lo, F. (2010). Estructura sociafectiva. Documento INEFC – Barcelona. Taken from: http://www.motricidadhumana.com/estructura_socioafectiva_doc_seirul_lo_Outline_drn.pdf
- Seirul·lo Vargas, F. (1993). Preparación física aplicada a los deportes de equipo: balonmano. Cuadernos Técnico Pedagógicos de INEF de Galicia nº 7.
- Durand, (M. (1988). El niño y el deporte. Barcelona: Paidós.