Professional Master in Football

Organized by:

The objective of the program is to train a professional capable of interpreting training from a systemic point of view, contemplating all aspects that influence the optimization of performance and training of the player-team in the framework of this paradigm shift, going from the foundation to the game and the methodology to complexity, promoting an exchange with the player consistent with the principles of the theory of dynamic systems.

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October 2021

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June 2023

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2 years

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F.C. Barcelona facilities and Barcelona's INEFC

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Coaches with a federation degree or certification. Sports science graduates. Professionals who have the necessary knowledge and skills to benefit from the course.


The objective of this module is to describe the idea of play and justify all the components that are taken into account when applying a successful work methodology such as that used by FC Barcelona in recent years. The way the content is developed will allow the student not only to learn the most relevant concepts for developing the idea of play, but also to learn the tasks that facilitate their assimilation.


1. Justification of the FC Barcelona “game”
1.1. What is “our game”?
– Origins and first manifestations
– Current fundamentals of the game
– The contribution of complexity in the development of the game
– Differences from traditional football
– Description and justification of new terminology for understanding the game

Study load: 4 hours

2. Structural components of “our game”
– Description and application of “phase spaces” as complex structures
– Development of semantic-spatial elements
– Evolution and integration of E-T
– Conceptualisation and implementation of organisation and self-organisation

3. Specific methods of game optimisation
– The training session as a means of game optimisation
– Description and justification of the different moments of a session
– The importance of introducing values in the session and the matches

Study load: 24 hours

4. Control and training process assessment
– Description of the player’s “profile”: its validity for the session and the match
– The coach’s observation criteria during the session and the match

Study load: 2 hours

In this module we will cover the role of the teaching guide in the specific training of players in the first formative stages, differentiating the teaching models from the learning models. We will also discuss the need to treat these models as guides for the optimisation of a player’s skills, within a framework of situational ideas of play, and from a systemic/holistic point of view. We will differentiate the facilitating/preferential competencies from naturalised behaviours, by facilitating or stimulating the emergence of the latter, from a perspective that favours the applicability of this methodological and pedagogical proposal through the game itself and the basic skills involved.


1. Competency training model. What do we teach? What do we learn?
– Difference between the teaching model/learning model
– Concept model/optimisation guide
– Structuring of the idea of play:

Study load: 8 hours

2. Coherence in the periodisation and sequencing of content based on the principle of individualisation. When do we teach? When do we learn? How do we organise?
– Periodisation
– Timing (principles of individualisation)
– Session outline
– Tools for timing preference
– Comprehensive learning objectives, optimisation indicators and their monitoring
– Content stratification as a function of the player’s cognitive maturation (internal logical knowledge of the game)
– Tools for monitoring the application of the competence model

Study load: 8 hours

3. Teaching methods of the coach-trainer. How do we teach? How do we learn? 360 follow-up report (initial/ongoing pedagogical project on behaviour from a holistic perspective)
– Procedural strategies
– Teaching strategies
– Cooperative learning and active teaching experiences
– Selection of the trainer’s profile
– Analysis of the coach’s teaching methods (qualitative analysis of the tasks and guidelines for reflection)
– Potentiality profile
– Videographic report on the facilitating and naturalised competencies
– Preferential emergency actions and preferential occupation zones

Study load: 10 hours

4. Dealing with the coordinative structure. How can we conceptualise motor action?
– Integrative conception of the coordinative structure
– Facilitative coordinating actions
– Coordinating links
– Didactic application of the motor action continuum

Study load: 6 hours

5. Dealing with the cognitive structure. How do we decide?
– Cognitive impairment of constraints
– Emotional work experiences (the relationship between SPD and emotions)
– Strategies for optimising players’ autonomous behaviour (self-management)
– Optimisation of the decision-making system based on the development of collective tools for communication and relationships. Relationships and communication within the team
– Values during training
– Identification of collective behaviours based on the stimuli and circumstances of the game
– Game situations (their relationship with the coordinative structure)


Study load: 12 hours

This module starts with the assumption that the game of football requires the construction of collective organisational structures (collective organisation) which serve as support for the aspirations, ideas or objectives that the coach proposes as a way to play (model or game idea). These ideas that define and shape the model are called concepts or group game resources, which are the units that allow for any kind of superiorities to be obtained. With this in mind, the objectives of this module will be to study and understand the game by observing the collective patterns of organisation. At the same time, we intend to study, observe and analyse the main collective behaviours of high-performance teams based on their organisational structure and the interaction and interrelation of the players in the emergence of different patterns.

Teams are based on 3 supports that allow them to have a defined identity. We call this identity the structure, and the supports are as follows:
– Collective organisation – collective positioning. How we occupy spaces collectively.
– Interactions and movements. Signs of identity expressed by the players’ different characteristics, which the coach directs and gives coherence within a certain idea of football that allows the team to be recognisable and to have one single idea of play.
– Basic concepts and fundamentals of the game. Understanding that these are universal and that they allow the creation, identification and harnessing of superiorities.


1. The collective organisational structure
1.1. Organisational structure
– What are the structures?
– Identity and playing style. The path towards the construction of collective models to optimise performance
– Definition of structure and the living aspects of structures: What is organisation? What is the functionality or function?
– Differentiation between associative and vertical structures

Study load: 4 hours

1.2. Structures built for positional play
– What is positional play?
– Description and application of the concepts of positional play
– Characteristic traits of associative structures at various points of the game
– Proposals for training situations for the development of these traits
– Observation of the concepts of positional play in high performance teams
– Applied proposal on how to programme and periodise the game concepts described

Study load: 6 hours

1.3. Structures built for high-pressure performance teams
– Description and application of the concepts of vertical play
– What are the characteristic traits of vertical structures at various points of the game?
– Proposals of training situations for the development of these traits
– Observation of the concepts of vertical play in high performance teams
– Applied proposal on how to programme and periodise the game concepts described

Study load: 4 hours

2. Functionality
2.1. Concepts in positional play and its training
– Marking with the ball
– Marking without the ball
– The Third Man
– Detection, identification and resolution of superiorities during the match
– Proposals for training situations for the development of these concepts

Study load: 3 hours

2.2. Putting the ball into play
– Characteristics of the game when the ball goes into play
– Description and analysis of the different ways to put the ball into play
– Proposals for training situations for the development of putting the ball into play

Study load: 2 hours

2.3. Recovery phase organisation
– Pressing: principles of tactical behaviour
– Offensive pressing
– Midfield pressing
– Small sided game situations and their application in the development of zoning fundamentals
– Preferential simulation situations

Study load: 4 hours

2.4. Compensatory movements
– Attack more on the offence. Compensation as an essential way to be balanced
– The game as a whole: studying readiness in the face of possible turnovers, according to the type of attack
– Concepts of compensatory play
– Preferential simulation situations

Study load: 3 hours

3. Contextualising group tactics: functional roles and fundamentals of the game
3.1. Functional roles in the possession phase and its training
– First, second and third attacker
– Methodological proposal for its application

Study load: 4 hours

3.2. Functional roles in the recovery phase
– First, second and third defender
– Methodological proposal for its application

Study load: 4 hours

3.3. Positional superiority and adoption of intermediate positions
– Description and observation of group resources without the ball
– Methodological proposal for its application

Study load: 4 hours

4. Examples of performance and training models in professional teams
– External application of the FCB model

Study load: 6 hours

The objective of this module is to provide the student with the necessary skills for understanding the game from the perspective of complexity sciences. It will examine the need for a new approach that allows participants to analyse the game from an individual to a collective level, considering the most recent scientific evidence in this field.


1. Introduction
1.1. Why is an approach with a focus on complexity sciences necessary for football?
– Assumptions of existing methodologies
– Challenges to applying complexity sciences to football

Study load: 3 hours

1.2. Complexity
– What is complexity? What are complex systems?

Study load: 2 hours

2. Applications in football
2.1. Dynamic systems theory. Basic concepts and their application in football
– What are the emergent characteristics?
– What are the degrees of freedom of a system?
– What is a dynamic system?
– What are the parameters of order?
– What is phase space?
– What are the attractors of a system?
– What types of constraints affect the system’s behaviours?
– What does the concept of self-organisation refer to?
– What is critical behaviour?
– How are variability and stability related?
– What do critical slowing down and relaxation time mean?
– What does hysteresis mean?
– What are intermittence and metastability?
– How does the distribution of the attractors of a system perform during a learning process?

Study load: 4 hours

2.2. Player-game interaction
– The perception-action cycle
– The opportunities for action
– From the individual to the collective level: the team as a complex system

Study load: 3 hours

2.3. Applications in human motor skills
– General theoretical coordination framework
– Non-linearity and ecological psychology for the study of motor skills in football
– Non-linearity in motor learning and the acquisition of skills in football
– the acquisition of skills in football through the modification of constraints

Study load: 2 hours

2.4. Dynamic psycho-biological integration during effort
– Exercise-induced fatigue

Study load: 2 hours

The objective of this module is to provide the student with the necessary skills for the design of a training process, taking into account the team’s conditioning needs based on the model of play and facilitating the optimisation of the conditional structure of the player. We will implement this through a rationale based on the application of emerging proposals and scientific discoveries.


1. Planning model in football: where we come from and where are we going
– Theoretical organisational models based on the needs of both the game and the player

Study load: 1 hour

2. FC Barcelona’s conditional training from a holistic perspective
– Basis of the complex dynamic systems theory geared towards physical preparation
– What is structured training?
– Optimising training within structured training
– Coadjuvant training within structured training
– The team’s conditioning needs based on the model of play

Study load: 2 hours

3. Designing the structured microcycle
– What is the structured microcycle?
– Phases of the structured microcycle
– Restoration, implementation, optimisation, activation and competition
– Weekly organisation of training content
– Intercommunication of sessions based on match day

Study load: 3 hours

4. Preferential Simulation Situations (PSS)
– What are PSS and how do we understand them from a conditioning point of view?
– Variables that affect the requirement of the PSS
– Construction of PSS based on the needs proposed by the coach
– Designing tasks geared towards the coordination of the player, players or team.

Study load: 4 hours

5. The PSS within the structured microcycle
– How are PSS organised within a session?
– Distribution of the PSS in the different phases of the structured microcycle

Study load: 2 hours

6. Assessment and control of load during optimising training and competition
– Proposals that address physical variables
– Load assessment options based on specificity and the tactical dimension

Study load: 2 hours

7. Coadjuvant training
– Structural coadjuvant
– Of anatomical adaptation
– Of hypertrophic adaptation
– Metabolic
– Coadjuvant of specific qualities
– Of movement
– Of jumping
– Of fighting
– Of actions with movement
– Coadjuvant of prevention
– Of primary or group prevention
– Of secondary or individual prevention
– Coadjuvant of restoration

Study load: 2 hours

In this last module of the Master’s degree, an updated view of two essential topics in modern football will be explored. First, one of the objectives will be to show the student real situations related to managing a locker room and all of its members. Undoubtedly, we are increasingly aware of the influence of all those aspects that are not actually part of the game, but that have a real impact on the generation of positive team dynamics. An essential part of this Master’s course is the student’s ability to communicate, make decisions and empathise during the many different situations which occur in a team, from a position of responsibility.

Second, and considering that the scouting and analysis departments of professional teams have increasingly more weight, the Master’s management team considers it a necessary part of the player’s training to demonstrate the most up-to-date performance optimisation resources for players, while also assisting the coaching staff in making the best decisions.


1. Optimisation of the attention phase
– Post-training optimisation
– Final considerations
– Pre-match optimisation
– Tactical team meetings

Study load: 2 hours

2. Optimisation of the performance phase
– Optimisation of the first part
– Management of the middle part

Study load: 2 hours

3. Match assessment
– Post-match stage
– Pre-training stage

Study load: 2 hours

4. Training as a behaviour model
– Qualities and tasks of the team director
– The coach, principles and values
– Team member management styles and models

Study load: 2 hours

5. Problem-solving within human groups
– Human sports groups
– Non-sports human groups

Study load: 2 hours

6. The coach as a communicator
– Coaching communication models
– Orientations in communication

Study load: 2 hours

7. Tactical analysis and scouting from a professional point of view
– Characteristics of the observational methodology
– New technology applied to football
– Data interpretation and analysis

Study load: 3 hours

8. Scouting in the technical department
– Applying play analysis
– Defining operative strategy after personal analysis of the opponent

Study load: 3 hours

(2 consecutive sessions. End of season. Assessment.)


Activity 1 (Evaluation of each module)

In addition to a set of notes for every subject, at the end of each module the student will receive a compilation of articles, texts and explanatory videos that will reinforce the contents presented in the classroom and in the field. The first evaluation activity will consist of designing practical cases for each module, proposed by the module coordinator and using the information provided.


Activity 2 (Final evaluation)

The final evaluation will consist of three activities that will be based on solving real, high performance situations. These activities will take place over two consecutive days in June 2019, and will consist of the following:


1. The first activity will take place in the morning of the first day of evaluation, and will consist of observing a soccer match and then making a full report which identifies the strengths and weaknesses of the two teams, and takes into account the information presented during the master’s program.


2. The second activity will take place in the afternoon of the first day of evaluation, and will consist of building a microcycle based on one of the observed teams, and taking into account all the criteria explained during the master’s program. Within this microcycle, the student must focus on two main tasks. The first consists of designing measures for improving the performance observed in the previous match. The second is to prepare for the match on the following weekend, taking into account that the student will also observe the hypothetical opposing team for 45 minutes.


3. The third activity will take place throughout the entire second evaluation day. The students will be organized into groups of five, and coaching staff roles will be assigned to each person; they will then work together to prepare the pre-match team talk. The organization will provide a 45-minute video of the team to be coached, and a 45-minute video of the theoretical opposing team. Based on the assigned roles, the group must work throughout the morning to prepare a 15-minute presentation to be given in the afternoon before the evaluators.


For all the final evaluation activities, the students will have access to their notes and to all the previous material that they consider appropriate, for example, a previously-developed report model that allows them to solve evaluation activity 1 with a higher degree of precision.